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300 Objects Spotted by Thai Satellite; Possible Science Behind Ocean Debris; Jumping off Mount Everest

Aired March 27, 2014 - 08:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this morning, bad weather sent planes back to Perth in Australia right in the middle of their search for Flight 370. They were unable to track down the new sightings of possible debris, including this.

This was the breaking news this morning. Some 300 objects spotted on a satellite from Thailand. Check out this image right here. The question is, how bad is this day, now another day lost by the planes. There are still some boats there in the area. Six search vessels scouring the situation out there.

We're joined now by CNN aviation analyst and contributor to Slate, Jeff Wise, and Ryan Abernathey, who's an assistant professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.

I want to put up this picture again, the new satellite image taken by a Thai satellite showing some 300 pieces of possible debris. This was found, now, about 120 miles or so from the picture we saw just yesterday of 122 objects of possible debris taken a day earlier.

All right, Ryan, show me where these debris sightings were, these possible debris sightings from the satellites and the significance.

RYAN ABERNATHEY, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: OK. So the two early sightings, or the three earlier sightings, were the more northern dots. The new point is significantly south of there, you know, 100 miles or so south of there.

BERMAN: Just to show, this was the very first picture we got from a satellite showing a -- some possible debris within the search area, which is that square. The second dot right in the middle, that's where 122 pieces of debris were found by the French satellite. This third dot, the picture we're just seeing today, some 300 objects of debris. Is this where the currents could be taking it?

ABERNATHEY: Yes. So what's happening right now is we have a couple eddies in this region, which are big, circulating sort of swirls of current and they're pulling this material around and they're pulling some of it to the north and the new observations indicate that they're also pulling some of it to the south.

BERMAN: And just to be clear, we see 300 possible objects a day about 120 miles from where we saw 122 objects before. Could they have drifted that far apart in one day or are what we seeing perhaps by the currents, you know, dispersal over two - given the 20 days that we have now?

ABERNATHEY: What I think we're seeing is probably the original crash material that has been spread to many different locations. I doubt that the images are showing the same material. I think it's different pieces.

BERMAN: That may have spread out over the last two weeks. If, in fact, it is the debris. We just don't know yet. Why don't we know? Because all the search planes and search vessels have been yet to locate any of this by air or by sea. It's been very, very difficult.

First of all, we have the currents, which we've been talking about for some time right now. The currents, which have been moving this in a vast area. That bright line, as you pointed out to us yesterday, that's an area of very strong currents pushing things around. So the planes and whatnot, you know, it could be flying over areas where it's spread out for some time. You can see there that graphic image of where it could be floating, how it floats away.

Then in addition to the currents, there's the cloud cover which has moved in and caused all kinds of problems, Jeff Wise, making it very difficult for planes to spot anything from the sky and also could delay some further satellite images right now. Every day that passes, Jeff, you know, how much more complicated is it for verification?

JEFF WISE, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well just inevitably this debris is going to get further and further away from its starting point. It's going to get more and more dispersed. The error box that's going to result when you try to work backwards to the impact point, that's going to get larger and larger. So we're really working against time here. Conditions are not favorable. We've got nighttime, we've got cloud cover. It's been very frustrating trying to locate on the surface this stuff that we're seeing from the air.

BERMAN: Let's talk about tracking back. You know, with this information we have right now, Ryan, knowing what you know about the currents and how the seas has moved back here. We have three data points now from satellite imagery. Could you trace a line going back to find maybe a point of impact?

ABERNATHEY: We have satellite data also of the ocean currents. We can measure something about the currents from space. So using those measurements, you could work backwards from these points and try and figure out where the original crash location is and I sure hope somebody's doing that.

BERMAN: And, Jeff, your area of expertise right now where you've been really diving into are these handshakes between Flight 370 and the Inmarsat satellite, which showed the flight down the southern corridor. Just to remind people, that's coming down right here. And then that last partial handshake, which could indicate maybe that area of impact, correct? WISE: Right. Exactly. What we're trying do is match up these different sets of clues, electronic on one hand and this debris on the other, trying to get them to intersect to give us a solution.

BERMAN: And right now you still think, Jeff, because you've been concerned they're not looking in the right place or there's the possibility they're not looking in the right place.

WISE: Right.

BERMAN: Given that they keep turning up these possible debris fields, does that give you more confidence they might be looking in the right place?

WISE: Well, you know, until we can actually get this debris and then get it on a ship, take a look at it, it's not really evidence one way or the other. It's just potential evidence. And that's not really going to let us narrow down (ph).

BERMAN: That's a great point, it's only potential evidence until you get your hand on it. Jeff Wise, great to have you here. Ryan Abernathey, really a pleasure. Appreciate it.

Let's get to Christine Romans now for the five things you need to know for your new day.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, number one, 300 more floating objects have now been spotted by Thai satellites in the southern Indian Ocean. It's about 100 miles from the search area from Malaysia Flight 370. The aerial search was called off today because of bad weather.

Number two, 90 people are missing or unaccounted for in the deadly landslide near Seattle. That's about half the number reported yesterday. This landslide is blamed for as many as 24 deaths. Authorities still searching for survivors in the mud.

President Obama meeting Pope Francis for the first time. The two talked privately for nearly an hour and they traded gifts, including a handmade chest with seeds from the White House garden.

A new intelligent report has Washington worried. It says Russia likely will invade the eastern part of the Ukraine and might even try land grabs in the Baltics.

There are more employees than students, so says a national labor relations board office. The ruling gives Northwestern University football players a green light to unionize. The school plans to appeal.

We are always updating the five things to know, so go to for the latest.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: We promise we will. Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: OK. PEREIRA: Next up on NEW DAY, much more on the plane's search, including what new satellite images could show. An expert will help us break them down.

And how about this, climbing Mt. Everest. Tough enough, right? Getting down, no easy feat. So one climber has the answer, jump. Yes, you heard right. We're going to speak to the daredevil next.


PEREIRA: So this morning we want to introduce you to someone with real guts.

BERMAN: That's a way to put it.

PEREIRA: Or real nuts. Joby Ogwyn is an explorer like none other. He has climbed all seven of the highest mountains in the world and then flown off those peaks in a wing suit. In May, he will be the first person to ever fly from the summit of Mt. Everest. Joby Ogwyn is right here to tell us more about his daring/nutty adventure.

You look sane to me, son.


PEREIRA: So let's talk about this. You're going to climb Everest, which is a feat in and of itself.

OGWYN: Right. Yes, I'm going to climb from the bottom to the top, just like everybody else.

BERMAN: The tippy top.

OGWYN: The very tip top. And they - and then I'm going to change out of my climbing suit, into my wing suit, jump and fly down and land at base camp.

PEREIRA: Which is chilly, can we just point out that.

OGWYN: Oh, yes. Yes, yes, yes.

PEREIRA: He has to change clothes on the top of Mt. Everest.

OGWYN: I'll have a little tent at the top.


OGWYN: I'll have a little tent at the top and get inside -

PEREIRA: And then fly down.

OGWYN: And then fly down. That's the program.

PEREIRA: In one -- it's going to sort of fluid like that?

OGWYN: Pretty much. I mean once we get to the top, as we're getting to the top, the live show starts. And so everything's kind of happening and the clock is ticking. So it's all choreographed to be at exactly the right time.

ROMANS: But the mountain is going to decide that time.

OGWYN: Right.

ROMANS: I mean you can't say, on May 15th I'm going to jump off Mt. Everest because just climbing Mt. Everest is a huge, huge undertaking. And you're going to have to stop. You're going to have to (INAUDIBLE). Tell me about that.


OGWYN: That's right. That's right. I mean everything that we're doing is weather dependent. And the good thing is that, in Nepal, on Mt. Everest, the weather is very consistent. And so, you know, sometime in the month of May, that monsoon comes in and it really changes everything. The wind drops down. There's several different multi-day windows of weather that we'll pick probably one at the very beginning and kind of get ahead of all the other people that are there.

BERMAN: Is -- you know, I know a lot of people think what you do is very, very brave. It takes a lot of guts. But aren't you taking the easy way out by - I mean, you know, you're climbing up to the top and you're not using the energy to climb down.

OGWYN: That's true.

ROMANS: The easy way off.

OGWYN: That's true.

PEREIRA: That's one way to look at it, Berman.

OGWYN: That's one way to look at it. And it will be interesting because I'm going to fly down in about 10 minutes. Something like that.

BERMAN: Holy cow.

OGWYN: And my team will still be up on the mountain. It will take them two to three days to descend the mountain. So I'll probably be back here in New York by the time those guys get back to base camp.

BERMAN: What's the biggest risk when you're jumping off a mountain in a flying suit? I imagine there are a number of risks. But what is it up there, is it just the wind that will blow you right back into the mountain side?

OGWYN: It is something that we're considering. You know, the wind conditions are really good because they come from the same direction. But if the wind is too much, then it could prohibit me from jumping.

PEREIRA: So to that end, how on earth do you train for a feat like this? ROMANS: Oh, he's not on earth.

PEREIRA: Yes, I mean, how on earth do you -- how do you train for this, because the conditions aren't going to be exactly like that, the elevation, the winds, et cetera?

OGWYN: Right. Well, we've been doing a lot of extensive training in Switzerland.


OGWYN: In Utah and in Colorado just recently to test all the different pieces of equipment, different types of suits. And then, obviously, we've got to get to the top. So fit is a really big deal. A lot of running and hiking. I had a really simple program, but it's very intense.

ROMANS: Now you climbed the seven summits by the time you were like 26 years old or something.

OGWYN: That's right.

ROMANS: So you have been climbing. How does a kid from, well, like the flatlands of Louisiana, how do you end up loving mountains -


ROMANS: And then loving jumping off of them? What does that career reflect (ph)? How do you do that?

PEREIRA: Yes, and what does your mother say?

OGWYN: Right. I think it was probably because I was some -- such a flat state that I chose to, you know, find something a little bit higher.

ROMANS: I'm from Iowa. I will never do what you do.

BERMAN: Yes, I mean this is overcompensating just a little bit.

PEREIRA: A little bit.

What do you make of all of these - we've been seeing a lot in the news lately, folks getting in trouble for these illegal base jumps -

ROMANS: Oh, yes.

PEREIRA: Getting arrested. They're looking for some people that gondola jump in Whistler. One - the Freedom Tower.


PEREIRA: What do you make of these illegal jumps?

OGWYN: Well, I think a lot of base jumpers are guys that are kind of against the rules and so they try to infiltrate buildings and stuff like that. I've never even jumped off a building. I'm a guy who likes the mountain.

PEREIRA: You're a more mountain guy.

OGWYN: I like the mountains and I like to be, you know, everything legal.

BERMAN: Shew (ph), draw the line.

OGWYN: You know, I don't want to get into any trouble.

PEREIRA: Right. Right.

OGWYN: So for our jump we have all special permits for everything we're doing on Everest. And it's on the right track.

PEREIRA: So that is live. When can we expect to watch this?

OGWYN: Sometime in May. Hopefully right in the beginning of May.

PEREIRA: I admire you greatly.


PEREIRA: I think you're also insane, but I think I like you very much, as we would.

OGWYN: Thanks.

BERMAN: We wish you the best of luck.

PEREIRA: Quite a -- quite an adventure.

ROMANS: Good luck.

PEREIRA: Can't wait to hear about it. I'm sure you'll be tweeting and social media along the way.

OGWYN: Oh, yes. Yes, it will be all over the place. You can't miss me.

PEREIRA: We'll be following.

ROMANS: And a big smile on his face for 10 minutes all the way down.

PEREIRA: I know. I know.

ROMANS: Thank you.

BERMAN: Nice to meet you.

All right, next up for us on NEW DAY, new images may give some new clues in the search for Flight 370, but how do we know that these pictures really show anything significant? What experts are saying and seeing in these latest exciting satellite pictures. It's the breaking news this morning.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PEREIRA: We've been talking this morning about these new satellite images of what could be debris from Flight 370. A Thai satellite showing this -- 300 objects, potentially, possibly, from Malaysia Airlines, the 777 that's missing. This, a day after French satellite showed some 122 objects in the Indian Ocean near the jet's likely flight path.

We're bringing in Stephen Wood, a satellite imagery analyst and CEO and co-founder of All Source Analyst, a former CIA senior intelligence officer and former vice president of Digital Globe, the very company that took the initial Australian satellite images. Good to have you back with us.


PEREIRA: Let's start looking at these new images right here. How -- tell us what an analyst would look at and how they would determine that this is credible and then make the decision to send out search teams?

WOOD: Sure. Well, first and foremost, I think what you have to do is you have to start seeing the geography of all of these. You are seeing objects. It's very hard to distinguish. You might see some bigger spaces. There are objects that appear.

But if you would, I think probably most significantly if you go and you start looking at these other images as well, if you wouldn't mind going to the image on the 23rd.

In this particular case as we zoom in here, these images were taken by the French company Airbus Defense. To me it's another piece of the puzzle. And I think really this is a story that's been happening all, really, for the past couple of weeks. Forensically, putting together this story where you're seeing objects and unusual items across many different areas.


WOOD: Can you conclusively tell that this is part of an airplane?

PEREIRA: I can't.

WOOD: Neither can I at this point.


WOOD: But what it does do is it's helping us to narrow down the search area. And so if you go to the map, ultimately, this starts to show kind of the whole timeline of how this information is unfolding.


WOOD: We've talked a lot about the distance and how far and how remote this area is. Look at this image on the 23rd. As you see, the first thing that I notice is clouds. This is a very difficult thing to actually now go through this imagery and find objects because the weather has been so horrendous. But what we're starting to piece together to the best of my training and my analysis is we're now starting to see a pattern.

PEREIRA: We certainly are seeing this area, it's a zeroed in area.

WOOD: That's right.

PEREIRA: Back to the clouds for a second.

WOOD: Please.

PEREIRA: We had a really clear day yesterday. Is there a hope that satellite imagery because, you know, more satellites are being sort of brought in to help.

WOOD: It is a great point. And in fact, I know Digital Globe happened to cover a large portion of this region yesterday when it was completely clear. But the imagery right now is going to be interpreted. It's going to be looked through. I would be willing to assume that there are government agencies and commercial companies that are going through this data right now.

PEREIRA: Can we talk about the difference between the government and the commercial enterprises that have the satellite?

Governments are going to be a lot less willing to necessarily release those satellite imagery, will they not?

WOOD: Well, I think there's prudence that has to be involved here. People want to be extremely careful for a couple of reasons. Number one, there may be national security implications and people don't -- governments don't want to release the state of the art of what they can do. That's the beauty of commercial imagery. It's unclassified. It can be shared. And we can be here on CNN and I can use the imagery to explain what's being seen.

PEREIRA: And is it fair that that lack of willingness to share the military satellite imagery would have delayed the investigation early on?

WOOD: I personally don't think so.

PEREIRA: You don't think so.

WOOD: I think it's more the scope of this area that we're talking about.

PEREIRA: Sure, sure.

WOOD: Look how large it is and the difficulty of going through methodically to try and actually find these objects. This is not easy. You are getting waves. You're getting white caps. You're getting glint off the ocean from the sun. These are not easy things to find and it still takes people to do that.

PEREIRA: Is this about the grade of clarity that we should expect to see or will it get even more exact or fine-tuned?

WOOD: I believe that as more data comes in and as more imagery is being collected and as more information comes in, the guest you just recently had, Ryan, who's speaking about the ocean currents. That's what all source analysis does. It's how you start bringing in all this information forensically.

One of my former colleagues called it CSI from space.


WOOD: That's what you have to do. You need to bring it all in. Not just the satellite imagery but this can do it very quickly.

PEREIRA: But we need people in the search area to get to that.

WOOD: I think that's ultimately the conclusion.

PEREIRA: That is the key, right?

WOOD: Right.

PEREIRA: Stephen Wood, as always, thank you for coming here and joining us.

WOOD: Thanks Michaela.

PEREIRA: Appreciate it -- John.

BERMAN: Interesting perspective.

All right. Coming up for us on NEW DAY, a miracle in Chicago: a star high school basketball player, victim of gun violence, but he turned his misfortune around. We'll show you how. That's coming up next in "The Good Stuff".


PEREIRA: Let's head out to Chris Cuomo. It is our Thursday edition of "The Good Stuff". And in honor of our series "CHICAGOLAND" want to bring you a bit of "The Good Stuff" from the Windy City where many are calling Tyquone Greer's story nothing short of a miracle.

The star high school basketball player's promising career became uncertain earlier this month when he was one of six people shot at a party on Chicago's West Side. The question after that bullet pierced his leg wasn't when but if he would ever play again. Then less than two weeks after the shooting, Tyquone stepped back on the court and did this.


PEREIRA: A three-pointer with just three seconds left on the clock. Not only was it the game-winning shot, but it propelled his team, the Orr Spartans, to the state semifinals.


DANIEL PONEMAN: That day, without -- it seemed like the whole world was crumbling down. I never could have imagined couldn't imagine that nine days later he'd be in the position he was in, hitting the game- winning shot and being on every news station and TV channel in the country.


PEREIRA: The Orr Spartans are now just two games away from winning the state championship. It would be their first. Many of Tyquone's teammates say his triumphant return is all the motivation they need.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a real inspiration, him coming back, making the shot.


PEREIRA: How about that? Amazing -- right?

ROMANS: Those are the kinds of shots we want to see young men and women taking.

PEREIRA: That's the kind of shot you want to be taking.

ROMANS: Those are the shots -- absolutely.

PEREIRA: Two weeks later.

Tune in tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Central for "CHICAGOLAND". You can watch it right here on CNN.

BERMAN: Just because he bounces back from that shouldn't obscure, you know, the causes behind it. They have to get on that.

PEREIRA: Exactly. Look at what's going on.

BERMAN: On "CHICAGOLAND" you can really see the battle they are up against in fighting the violence around this school.

PEREIRA: Everyday.

BERMAN: Every day thing -- a really, really interesting series -- I hope everyone gets a chance to watch.

We have some big news here at NEW DAY today.


BERMAN: We have some big news. What is it you have? We're launching our new flip forward magazine. Look at those three attractive people on the cover, none of which is me. What is Flip Forward, you ask. It's an app that allows us and you to dive deeper into the issues and the topics that we feature on air. All you have to do is download the Flipboard app on your smart phone or tablet. Then in the search bar, in the top right-hand corner, what you do is you search for NEW DAY -- six letters that could change your life.

ROMANS: Attractive John Berman will not get to this.

BERMAN: If you search for my name maybe a photo of me will pop up. I can't guarantee it. You can share content, you can leave comments. You can tell us what you want us to cover so you go to to learn more about this. It's really terrific technology and very, very exciting.

PEREIRA: Before we head out the door, one last note from our earlier segment. If you would like to watch Joby Ogwyn jump off Everest. You can see it on the Discovery Channel. That will be in May. You know we'll be tuning in.

BERMAN: I'll be tuning in and crossing my fingers for him.

PEREIRA: It's time now for "NEWSROOM" with Miss Carol Costello. Hi Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks a lot. Have a great day. "NEWSROOM" starts now.

Happening now in the "NEWSROOM", breaking overnight -- new satellite images and new hope for the families.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The satellite images could be invaluable.


COSTELLO: 300 new objects found floating in the ocean.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now whether it's a ship or the aircraft, it's hard to say until they actually pick up a piece.