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Search Area for MH370 Shifts North; Passenger's Partner Speaks About Experience: Fear and the Resignation Actually Has Turned into a Bit of Anger
Aired March 28, 2014 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN HOST: The driver, 21-year-old Rashad Owens, is already charged with capital murder and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle. Prosecutors say they expect to seek additional charges against him from a grand jury.
Well, the International Space Station finally has three new visitors on board a Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying two cosmonauts and an American astronaut, gliding to a smooth linkup last night more than 250 miles above Brazil.
The fast-track rendezvous had to be scrapped earlier in the week because of a technical snag with a thruster.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Let's hope the Americans and Russians get along better up there than they seem to be on the ground.
PEREIRA: Maybe they can look to the cosmos, right, and maybe they can teach us here on Earth.
BERMAN: (INAUDIBLE) part of the (INAUDIBLE) right now.
PEREIRA: That's a good point.
BERMAN: That's the trick.
All right. We are awaiting a grim announcement this morning from Washington State. Authorities expected to report a substantial rise in the death toll from the devastating landslide north of Seattle. Right now, 25 people are believed dead, 90 missing or unaccounted for. And as their families brace for the worst, stories of heartbreak and heroism are pouring in.
Here's CNN's Ana Cabrera.
ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A heroic moment in the midst of tragedy, an infant pulled from the wreckage of the deadly landslide.
KODY WESSON, RESCUER: I was just the right guy there at the right time.
CABRERA (voice-over): It was Saturday just minutes after this hill collapsed on a community below when Kody Wesson rushed into the disaster zone after hearing cries for help.
WESSON: I could see that baby's face. He was all bruised up. He wasn't breathing very good and he wasn't moving.
CABRERA (voice-over): The baby's mother also trapped in the mud and severely injured.
WESSON: She said his name was Duke. I asked her if I could take him out of there and she said yes.
CABRERA (voice-over): In a brave and bold move, Kody, a young father himself, scooped up the 6-month old and ran to rescuers who had just arrived.
WESSON: There was this ripped up roof on the mud there. We laid the baby on that. I ripped off my jacket I had on and wrapped him up in that.
CABRERA (voice-over): Baby Duke and his mother are survivors. But here not all stories have the same happy outcome; 150 rescue workers, countless volunteers and heavy machinery are up against Mother Nature. Mud piled three stories high, tons of toppled trees and scraps of scattered homes. Dozens are still missing and the death toll still expected to rise.
Dayn Brunner's days of digging through the debris finally led him to his sister, Summer Raffo.
DAYN BRUNNER, SURVIVOR: We were cutting pieces off of cars and removing steering wheels. She was sitting right in her driver's seat. We got her out enough and then I wrapped my arms around her.
CABRERA (voice-over): Closure for Stephen Neal's (ph) family as well. The 52-year-old plumber was identified among the deceased.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course, we melted. I dropped the phone and I screamed a little bit.
CABRERA (voice-over): Now the daunting task of moving forward.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just can't think of life without them.
CABRERA (voice-over): Ana Cabrera, CNN, Darrington, Washington.
Ana, thank you very much for that. It's so horrible. It's such a tragedy already and then you think that it is not even over because the search is still continuing. BERMAN: We're expecting more news out of there today and I do not expect it will be good news.
BOLDUAN: No, every time they've come out with news, it has not been good. We'll continue to follow that horrible story.
We're going to take another break though. Coming up next on NEW DAY, the hunt for Flight 370 continues. Despite three weeks without a tangible sign of the plane, at least one loved one isn't giving up hope that the passengers on that flight are still alive. We're going to be talking to her coming up next.
BOLDUAN: Now, more on the search for the missing Malaysia airliner and the passengers on board, 239 people on board that flight. About three weeks out now after it has vanished a new credible lead, they're calling it, shifts the search to a different part of the Indian Ocean. There are still no definitive physical evidence that the plane, though, crashed, allowing some of the family members to still hold onto hope.
Sarah Bajc, the partner of an American passenger on that Flight 370, Philip Wood, is joining us live now from Beijing.
Sarah, thank you so much for taking the time.
SARAH BAJC, PARTNER OF FLIGHT 370 PASSENGER: You're welcome. Thank you for having me on the show.
BOLDUAN: Of course. It seems every new day there is new information and a new twist in the investigation and the search for your partner and all of those on the flight.
How are you today with every new twist that comes your way?
BAJC: I'm actually better today because I stopped watching the news.
BAJC: I mean, other than the occasional check-in to make sure there's nothing critical. But, you know, the reality is every lead has been a false lead so far. And up and down was killing me. So I just had to stop watching.
BOLDUAN: Yes, I think many people would understand that. Earlier this week, Sarah, it seemed from your Facebook postings and your messages that you had come to the point where you were resigned you were not going to see Philip again. But now it seems that you still are hopeful.
What has changed for you during this week?
BAJC: Well, the message that I had put out was actually Monday evening. It had been a traumatic run-up to the press conference. The way they announced the conference itself was very, you know, fear provoking.
And then the text message that came right before the press conference came sounded so definitive that there was proof. And so I don't even know that I heard all of the press conference because my heart was thudding so loud in my ears.
But you know, the immediate response was, oh, my God, there's no hope left and I'm going to have to resign myself to this. It was -- the only feeling I can equate it to is just like falling off the top of a building. You're just falling through the air.
But after a couple of hours, I had a chance to talk with my son. He's very clear-headed. He looked at the text message and he looked at the -- he heard me talk about the press conference.
And he said, you know, they haven't told us anything at all, they just packaged it differently.
So once I realized that, then the fear and the resignation actually has turned into a bit of anger that they could be so irresponsible as to have that message for families.
BOLDUAN: Who are you angry at? Are you angry because they didn't give you information or the information that they gave you you don't think is founded in any real evidence?
BAJC: Yes. It's not the fault of the information. The evidence or the data they receive is the evidence. It was the fact that they made this pronouncement, right, that all hope is lost, they're sure beyond a reasonable doubt that the airplane is in the water and nobody has survived.
They don't know that. They just don't. Even though I realized from a logical perspective that that could be the likely outcome, there are plenty of other options that still exist. And we've seen very little pursuit of those other options. It's almost an intentional effort to avoid other choices.
BOLDUAN: And the new information that has come out today, overnight for us here in the United States, that they've now completely shifted the search area to a different part of the Indian Ocean, does that change anything for you?
BAJC: No, it doesn't, because we've seen them change their plan of attack an infinite number of times always so far. And it has each time been a false lead. Now that doesn't mean that this time won't be more substantiated. I do take comfort in the fact that the Australians are taking a concrete hand in this.
But, you know, I can't keep guessing what's going to work or not work. I just have to stay focused on being positive and trying to push a positive message forward and wait until there's actual concrete proof.
BOLDUAN: Yes. You say you take some comfort in the Australian side of this.
But do you trust that those in charge will ever be able to provide you with the clear answers that you want and you well deserve?
BAJC: No, I don't, because we haven't seen any evidence of transparency or full competence so far. And given the symptoms at least that we can see of what appears to be a bit of a cover-up activity, whether that's to avoid embarrassment or to relieve a liability, I don't know.
But in the end, I don't trust that there's not some intentional effort to not find the real answer. So we almost have people working against us at this point.
BOLDUAN: You know, Sarah, when I was in Kuala Lumpur and also in Perth, some families, they wanted to speak; some with family members missing, they wanted to speak out, they wanted to speak with us.
Other families, they just could not.
Why is it important for you to speak out? You've been such a strong voice for the families of the missing. How does it help you?
BAJC: Well, it's a personal release of energy. That's one thing. And it's my way to honor Philip's spirit. He's a very proactive guy. He's a doer. He likes to actively make a difference in life.
And I want to find him or at least I want to find what happened to him. And I don't see a lot of evidence that our government or other governments are taking a positive hand in that.
So if there's something that I, as an individual, can do to help keep the pressure up by engaging with media and driving the social media initiative through the Finding Philip Wood webpage on Facebook, then I'll do that because it's the only thing I know to do.
BOLDUAN: I know you've talked about your frustration and anger toward the Malaysian officials and others as well, but I also heard that you are still planning to move forward with your plans (INAUDIBLE) Philip to move to Malaysia.
Why is that?
BAJC: Well, partly because it's the plan we made together. And I can't just stop my life. I need to move forward with the thing that makes the most sense. And it was a very conscious decision for us to choose to go there. So I need to honor that and move forward.
And I think he would -- he wants me to do that. And hopefully he'll be able to rejoin me in that effort and we have a very bright future in front of us.
And if he can't do that in body, hopefully he can at least do that in spirit. But Malaysia's a lovely country. The country as a whole is actually in many ways is as much of a victim of this as the passengers on that flight. I feel very sorry for the country. BOLDUAN: Sarah, thank you so much for coming on and continuing to speak with us. You're such a strong and eloquent voice for the families of all of those missing on Flight 370. Thank you very much. Hope to talk to you again soon.
BAJC: Thank you. Of course.
BOLDUAN: All right. Much more on that. But let's get over to Michaela right now.
PEREIRA: All right, Kate, thanks so much.
Next up on NEW DAY, we have breaking news. There's word that objects have now been spotted in this new search zone. We'll have the very latest for you after the break.
PEREIRA: To our breaking news in the search for Flight 370. Objects spotted in the new search area. We should point out confirmation on these sightings is expected tomorrow. They want to send ships out to get a visual inspection of those if they can locate them.
That information is based on tweets sent by search crews. Overnight Australia has moved the search area some 700 miles northeast of where they've been searching this week. Satellites are now scouring that new area for clues.
But as we've learned over the past few days, satellite images can be tricky. Let's bring in Steven Wood. He is a satellite imagery analyst and CEO and cofounder all sorts -- AllSource Analysis, also former CIA senior intelligence officer and former vice president of Digital Globe, who took the initial satellite images that was released by the Australian government.
Really good to have you. In fact, why don't we start -- I want to ask you your reaction to this news that new items have been spotted in this new search area.
STEVEN WOOD, SATELLITE IMAGERY ANALYST: I am. Frankly, I'm a little frustrated, too, very much like Jeff Wise and David Soucie have both been explaining. We're looking at a new area again.
So you mention the distance that we're talking about. The good news is that satellites will be in orbit. And are right now; they should be able to collect in about 15 to 16 hours.
PEREIRA: That short a time?
WOOD: That short a time. So the orbits are fixed. But the satellites can be fed new coordinates. So this is the area they've been concentrating on literally for the past week. They now have a new area to look at.
PEREIRA: Is this reasonable in the course of an investigation? Because some people are saying, wait, who forgot to carry the 1? Whose math was bad?
WOOD: Yes, I think it is. Again, I've been speaking a lot with colleagues and with David literally right before I came out here. This is typical. And we have to be careful that we don't now throw out all of that information and evidence that we've been looking at. We have information that's continually coming in.
This is what we do. This is collection at its finest. This is intelligence analysis and bringing in all of the sources that we can to help get the best possible area. It's frustrating because it's taking more time.
PEREIRA: To that end, I want to ask, is this still potentially in play as being -- because we've seen all the debris. In fact, let's go there.
All of this debris, is it just sea junk, because we know that area collects sea junk because the current's really aggressive in that area, or could that actually still be debris even though this new search area could be a point of impact?
WOOD: Bottom line, we don't know.
PEREIRA: It's possible?
WOOD: It is possible. And then I think we heard statements from the Australian officials or authorities today. We still need more positive identification.
We spoke a lot about it in the past couple days, the problem with satellite imagery in a case like this, and when you're looking at the ocean -- Chad Myers yesterday was talking about a bubble bath. I loved his phrase because --
WOOD: -- think about foam on the ocean and you're looking at it from 450 miles up in space, white objects like foam can often look like an object. So it's very, very hard, very challenging to be able to actually identify conclusively and definitively that this could be debris from an aircraft.
PEREIRA: OK. Now, here's where a lot of people -- because we know too much now, right? The general user at home that uses technology and Google, this is where we get a little frustrated. We've all used Google Maps, trying to find a friend's address or even look at our own house. I can see a pool toy floating in that pool, the color of a vehicle, a car. This is Google map technology, yet we look at the technology that's being used for satellite, there's massive discrepancy there.
(CROSSTALK) WOOD: Fundamental difference: this is taken from an airplane. This is taken from a satellite. Satellites are not allowed, even if they're technically capable right now to get down to this kind of quality. We call it resolution in the imagery world.
So this is taken from an airplane that's flying at a much lower altitude. If we had an airplane like we now do in the search area, you're starting to get the capability to have that resolution. Satellites will play an important part because they can cover a large area. The airplanes need to get that closer visual inspection.
PEREIRA: So that's again why, and we've talked about it in this breaking news that came in just now. It was one of New Zealand Air Force's P-3 Orions that spotted something. That also shows their capability of being able to see with much better clarity.
WOOD: From what I understand about the Orion, it is more importantly the signals and the information that they're detecting onboard the plane. So there's a visual search that they'll be doing, but it's also the package, the sensor package that they carry on the plane that can look for metal objects. And that is, I think, also very important ingredient that'll help refine the search.
PEREIRA: So there are limits to satellite technology?
WOOD: There are. Right now it's a legal limit. There's a legal limit that says in the United States you can only see at 50 cms. It's about 19 inches in resolution. This by comparison is probably 25 centimeters.
PEREIRA: But in terms of that, and I think this is a point that I've been talking to you about before, we are not necessarily going to see the same images released to the public that investigators may be looking at satellite wise, correct?
WOOD: It's possible. Again, the beauty of commercial imagery is it's publicly releasable. You can go onto the digital globe website and go to the airbus defense website. You can find these areas on their websites to publicly look at.
It's hard. Like we've been speaking about, it's difficult, but it's not being held back. There are other sources of data that governments will hold because of national security reasons that they may not want to publicly release. But again, that's where this public data becomes so important and so valuable.
PEREIRA: So going back to it, we see this. This does not concern you that we've now (INAUDIBLE) -- because, again, they're doing reanalysis, a re-crunching, further refining. This is not -- this doesn't scream to you a mistake. This doesn't -- it doesn't scream incompetence, it just says to you they're refining and tuning it.
And not just throwing the baby out with the bath water. WOOD: That's correct. You said it very well. There's more information that's going to come in continually and you have to be willing to adjust accordingly. You got to keep looking; the search isn't done yet.
PEREIRA: Steven Wood, appreciate you. Let's talk to you again in an hour or so. OK?
WOOD: Will do.
PEREIRA: All right. Kate, Chris -- John.
BOLDUAN: He's here in spirit.
A lot of news breaking this morning in the search for Flight 370. Let's get to our top story for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) the search for Flight MH370 has been shifted to an area north. The plane was traveling faster than was previously estimated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A waste is a waste by any other name. I mean, this is time that has been wasted. There's no question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will continue and we will not look back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): An infant pulled from the wreckage of the deadly landslide.
WESSON: I was just the right guy there at the right time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Not all stories have the same happy outcome.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was sitting right in her driver's seat. And then I wrapped my arms around her and got her out.
BOLDUAN: Good morning. And welcome once again to NEW DAY. It is Friday, March 28th, 7 o'clock in the east. I'm Kate Bolduan. Good to be back with all of you, joined by John Berman who's in for Chris Cuomo, who will be back with us Monday.
Within the last half hour, a search plane spotted something in the new search zone almost 700 miles northeast of where the search has centered so far. Ships are heading to that area and will have to confirm what it is. And what -- and that, of course, may not happen until tomorrow.
Breaking also this morning, Australian officials announces a search area moved, as we've mentioned, almost 700 miles northeast. So why this shift? Because authorities now believe the plane was traveling faster and burning more fuel so it couldn't stay in the air (INAUDIBLE). we thought.
In the last half hour, as we've just mentioned, a search plane did spot something in the new search zone. Ships are heading to that area and we'll have to confirm exactly what happened. We'll be following that throughout the morning.
BERMAN: Yes, and this P-3 Orion that did spot the debris, it did, we understand, take some images, capture some images. They still have to be uploaded. So when that happens, that could be an exciting new piece of information as well.
Meanwhile, Malaysian officials, they were briefing all morning, very much on the defensive. They say this new search area, they say it is based off the best new information they have, including from the FAA, from the NTSB, also from Boeing.
Still, they're standing by the fact they were focused on that old search area location for quite some time. They also say that they stand by the hunt for debris captured by all those satellite images over the last few days. So the question is, will the change in the search for Malaysia Flight 370 finally lead crews in the right direction?
For the latest now, let's go to the ground. Andrew Stevens live in Perth, Australia.
Good morning, Andrew.
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning, John. That's the question. And at this stage, no one will be prepared to answer that, given there's been so many false leads and false hopes in this 21-day search and investigation so far.
What we can say is that the Royal New Zealand plane that saw those objects has taken images of them, is due to arrive here back at the Pearce Air Base behind me just shortly. So we'll keep you up to date on that.
But certainly, the Australians, when they announced a few hours ago that the search area was changing, were very clear to point out that it wasn't new information. It wasn't new data they were getting. It was actually new analysis of the data they already had.
They were at pains also saying this is a normal part of an investigation, that we go on the best information we have available. The information, the data, it continues to be crunched by a whole network of experts from several countries now. The latest information is that that's the search area. It's still the size of Poland. It's 120,000 square miles. It is a vast area.
The good news is that it's quite a lot closer to the mainland of Australia. The search planes can get there quicker and they can stay on target longer. Another 24 hours, perhaps before the -- before the ships get there, but this very much is the area of focus.
It's interesting how the Malaysians were not actually linking, not definitely linking, but saying there could be a possible link between the debris we've seen of those five separate satellite images of various objects in the water. There's a very specific terminology here, objects and debris.
The Australians are saying, we don't say debris, we're saying objects. Debris would indicate a debris field, perhaps a downed airliner. But the Malaysians are saying that there is a link between the objects that have been seen in the southern areas and what may be in this place about 700 miles further north.
BERMAN: All right. Andrew Stevens in Perth, of course, the key bit of information, ships will be arriving on the scene where that P-3 Orion -- we just learned -- did take some images of possible objects in the ocean in the new search area.
Meanwhile, we have more breaking news, the CEO from Malaysia Airlines has said that new pilots for that airline will have to go psychological tests. They will have to get psychological tests, new pilots will.
Let's get to Jim Clancy in Kuala Lumpur with more on that.
Jim, you know, that's an interesting development because there's been a lot of talk about the pilot and co-pilot on this plane. And Malaysian officials and investigators, some have been careful not to cast too much suspicion on them, but now they're saying they're changing their policies going forward.
JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I didn't understand that he was changing this policy so much, as saying that all new pilots undergo medical testing that would include some level of psychological testing as well.