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Grim News Expected on Landslide; Flight Passenger's Girlfriend Talks About Experience; Plane Spots Objects in Search Zone

Aired March 28, 2014 - 08:30   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Authorities expected to report a substantial rise in the death toll from that devastating landslide north of Seattle. Right now, at least 24 people are believed dead, 90 still 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, RESCUED BABY FROM LANDSLIDE: I was just the right guy there at the right time.

CABRERA: It was Saturday, 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. And he was all bruised up. He wasn't breathing very good. And he wasn't moving.

CABRERA: The baby's mother also trapped in the mud and severely injured.

WESSON: She said his name was Duke. And I asked her if I could take him out of there. And she said, yes.

CABRERA: In a brave and bold move, Kody, a young father himself, scooped up the six month old and ran to rescuers who had just arrived.

WESSON: And there was this ripped up roof on the mud there and we laid the baby on that and I ripped off my jacket I had on and wrapped him up in that.

CABRERA: Baby Duke and his mother are survivors. But here, not all stories have the same happy outcome. One hundred and fifty 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, VICTIM'S BROTHER: We were cutting pieces off of cars and removing the steering wheels. She was sitting right in her driver's seat. And we -- we got her out enough and then I wrapped my arms around her.

CABRERA: Closure for Steven Kneel's (ph) family as well. The 52-year- old plumber was identified among the deceased.

BRENDA NEAL, VICTIM'S WIFE: Well, of course, we melted. I dropped the phone and I screamed a little bit.

CABRERA: Now, the daunting task of moving forward.

NEAL: We just can't think of life without him.

CABRERA: Ana Cabrera, CNN, Darrington, Washington.


BOLDUAN: Your heart breaks and you have to think, as you were saying earlier, that you -- the expectation is, it's only going to get worse.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we are expecting more news from there today. And as we said, they are expecting that death toll to rise.

BOLDUAN: Significantly, too.

We're going to take another break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, the partner of an American on Flight 370, does she really believe Philip Wood isn't coming home? Why she's not willing to believe that the plane actually crashed. Hear her explanation. Her emotional, very compelling interview coming up next.

BERMAN: And satellites now scouring a new search area for clues. Will they bring us any closer to finding the missing plane? We'll have more with a satellite imagery analyst.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back.

Breaking this morning, new objects spotted in the Indian Ocean. Searchers are racing to the location that is almost 700 miles away from the previous search area in this new search zone. But the families of passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have been told that the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean. That was where it ended. And the lack of any actual physical evidence, though, is allowing some loved ones to hold out hope. Earlier this morning I spoke with Sarah Bajc, the partner of Philip Wood, a passenger on Flight 370.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: 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?

SARAH BAJC, PARTNER WAS PASSENGER ON FLIGHT 370: I'm actually better today because I stopped watching the news. 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 the up and down was killing me, so I just had to stop watching.

BOLDUAN: Yes, I get -- 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 that 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, you know, 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 -- my heart was thudding so loud in my ears. But, you know, the immediate response was, oh, my God, the -- you know, there's no hope left, and I'm going to have to resign myself to this. It was -- the only feeling I can equate to it is just like falling off the top of a building. You're just falling through the air.

But after a couple of hours, you know, I had a chance to talk with my son and, you know, he's very clear headed and he looked at the text message and he looked at the -- or he heard me talk about the press conference and he said, you know, they haven't told us anything at all. They've just packaged it differently. And 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 -- as to have that message for families.

BOLDUAN: And who are you angry at? Are you angry because they didn't give you any 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 had survived. They don't know that. They just don't. And even though I realize, 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 -- 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: I mean you really do understand when she said the ups and downs are killing me, you can only imagine that that is a thought shared by all of the families.

BERMAN: She stayed so strong through this. It's been remarkable. I was fascinated by what she said to you earlier, that she's still planning on moving to Malaysia. Still going through with the plans that she had made with her partner.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: When you talk to people that survive situations like this or lose someone they love, they have to keep thinking forward. It's almost like our human brain has to keep thinking about that next step, right, the next step (ph) to take.

BOLDUAN: The problem that everyone has here though is, for these families, they don't have closure yet.

PEREIRA: Sure don't.

BOLDUAN: They haven't - they can't -- it sounds to me that Sarah is ready to accept any eventual outcome. She said, logically, I can understand that maybe we'll find out that it ends up in the Indian Ocean is where the plane ended. But until then, I totally understand. I'm holding out hope and not being able to accept anything different (ph).

BERMAN: Yes. And they went through so much the first few weeks with the Malaysian officials. I think they don't trust anything right now.


PEREIRA: Absolutely. And we certainly all process this stuff differently, right?

BOLDUAN: Uh-huh.

PEREIRA: This is an example of it. Thanks so much for that great conversation, Kate.

BOLDUAN: It was good. And for her being on.

PEREIRA: A break here next up on NEW DAY. We've seen a series of satellite images this past week showing possible debris, objects spotted in the Indian Ocean. How do we know what matters? We'll ask an expert after the break.


PEREIRA: Breaking news in the search for Flight 370. Objects spotted in a new search area. Confirmation on these sightings is expected tomorrow. Overnight Australia moved the search are some 70 -- 700 rather, miles northeast from where they were searching this week.

Satellites are now scouring that new area trying to get new imagery, trying to get new clues. But as we've learned over the past few days, those satellite images can be tricky.

So we're going to bring in a man who knows it all too well. He's a satellite imagery analyst. And he's CEO and co-founder of All Sorts Analysis, also former CIA senior intelligence officer and former vice president of Digital Globe, the company that took those initial satellite images released by the Australian government.

Quite a business card you have. I was just thinking about that.

I want to talk to you about this news that we have -- the spotted debris. More objects spotted but this time by plane. This was not satellite imagery.


PEREIRA: This morning the New Zealand Air Force saying they spotted something that they're going to analyze their data from. Hopeful? I mean I think we're all keeping a hopeful eye, right? It's a little bit infuriating, isn't it?

WOOD: We spoke a little bit about it before. There's a sense of frustration as well because, you know, so much of the time and the attention has been focused here before. If you look in the past week, all of the imaging satellites, of which there are many, have been focusing their lenses on this region. Now we have a new area to look at.

So we've been going back and saying, you know, is there anything new? Any new satellite imagery that might have been collected from the same area? Unfortunately, not yet because the search again had been focused in a different spot.

PEREIRA: And we know that they were up against really bad weather yesterday.

WOOD: That's right.

PEREIRA: The air search had been called off. And in that kind of weather, you're not going to get good satellite data from the air on a cloudy, really cloudy, inclement weather day.

WOOD: Right. So two important points. One is the report that you came out with this morning reeling (ph) that the Orion has captured something. They detected -- there's something in the search area. To me that's hopeful. That's promising. PEREIRA: And again, explain why because the Orion can detect things that other --

WOOD: Right.

PEREIRA: -- that our eyes can't necessarily see?

WOOD: No, I'm not an expert in all the different types of sensors that they have on board the plane, but from my understanding they're trained to look for metallic objects. They're sub hunters. That's part of what they do. So seeing something, getting that signal presumably that they found the signal in this area, now that's again (inaudible) refine the search area.

Jennifer Gray had a session just a little bit ago explaining the meteorology and the weather and the currents and everything that's going to happen and perfectly described it. Tomorrow in about 12 hours or so, the imaging satellites should be allow to actually collect imagery in this area.


WOOD: But the weather plays a part.


WOOD: So as she showed in her segment, clouds are still coming in. That will hamper the optical search for this area. You need the flight crews there to get below the cloud deck. You need to have people and visuals to actually still detect these objects.

PEREIRA: That's the exasperation --

WOOD: That's right.

PEREIRA: -- because you might get some imagery that is nice and clear, right? But then by the time you get it you're not able to search and get those planes or ships there because of weather.

WOOD: Possibly. I think people are getting more attuned to this whole cycle.

PEREIRA: Yes. It is a cycle really.

WOOD: Yes, it is. And from the moment of collection to the moment of analysis, I think it's getting better. But it's a whole larger area. Look how large this shows up on the map.

PEREIRA: OK. So we've talked about the fact that it's been refocused.

WOOD: Right.

PEREIRA: I think there was initially some frustration like was this all for not? Why are we looking down here, wasting resources, hours, precious time looking in this region? What do you say to that? WOOD: No, it wasn't a waste of time. We're getting more information. This is an extremely dynamic situation. Just like an accident investigation scene like David was talking about before, this is part of the cycle.


WOOD: It's frustrating because we don't have the precision yet, but with each passing day we're getting more information. And I think literally the world is doing the best they can as the information becomes available.

PEREIRA: OK. So 700 miles to the northeast -- a new search area. We know there's an advantage. It's not as far for search planes to have to get to. We know the weather is a little bit better. The currents are a little bit better. Could it be that if this was the point of entry debris have moved where all of this imagery -- in fact, all of this imagery that we've seen, are we to throw all of this out and say this is just sea junk?

WOOD: I don't think you can throw it all out. It does raise to me, as an imagery analyst, that question. We've talked a lot about these objects over the past, you know, several days and multiple satellites all detecting something. We were never able to conclusively prove that, that they were actually objects from the missing airliner.

PEREIRA: We're getting word from our producers. We have breaking news. Five aircraft have just spotted additional debris or objects. Do we know how many objects were spotted? Multiple objects -- we're getting this. We're just now into our newsroom that additional. So this is obviously giving you --

WOOD: That's what you need.

PEREIRA: -- more. This is what you need.

WOOD: This is what you need.

PEREIRA: We need repeated sightings.

WOOD: Now that search area that we're looking at up in the north, now it's starting to really get all. It's seeing in particular the Orion, plus the new hit that you just got.


WOOD: That to me is very promising.

PEREIRA: And further promising is that this is not satellite data, this is spotted from aircraft.

WOOD: Right.

PEREIRA: So you're starting to feel a little more confident then?

WOOD: I am. PEREIRA: You want repeated hits. You want repeated sightings in this area, correct?

WOOD: Correct.

PEREIRA: Now the next step is to get the data on what those items are, those objects are?

WOOD: Right. And then hopefully, to actually physically retrieve them. That's what everybody's been looking for.

PEREIRA: Get the ships there. Get the ships there if you can actually take them and get your hands on them and look at them.

This is a big piece of -- this is a big development. Again, we just received word that five different aircraft have spotted multiple objects in this new search zone. This is in addition to the New Zealand Air Force that had spotted objects in that same new area. I want to get one last little bit of information from you on this because I think, you know, some of our friends on the blogs and online and on Twitter are saying, look, I can Google my backyard.

WOOD: Right.

PEREIRA: Google Maps will show me, you know, the car parked in my neighbor's driveway, a dog walking along the street, yet I get a black and white grainy satellite image. I think this is a great explanation. I'm going to let you do it.

WOOD: We get asked this question in the imagery world all the time. So first and most simply, this was not from a satellite. This was taken by the airplane. The resolution, the detail of what you can actually see, probably in this case it was somewhere between 10 and 25 centimeters -- less than a foot. You're able to see all kinds of things taken by an airplane.

The area on the right was taken by a satellite at 450 miles up in space. So fundamentally physics, you're not going to be able to see the same kind of quality of data. There's also another important point. Here with airplanes, there's no restriction on the quality of the data that can be publicly shown for example on Google.

PEREIRA: Well, that was point I was going to say because I can hear you at home, saying wait, we know that satellites can see the writing on a basketball or the license plate of my car. To that you say --

WOOD: Don't believe everything you've every read before, number one. Number two is there is a legal limit here in the United States and only lets the company sell at 50 centimeter resolution. So again, airplane data, probably 20 centimeters, maybe 10 centimeters -- here 50 centimeters the legal. That's being reviewed right now in the U.S. government.


WOOD: And companies can do better, they're just not legally allowed to do that publicly.

PEREIRA: And that shows us why these aircraft in the air is so important which takes the facts to that breaking news which we really appreciate. Stephen thank you so much.

WOOD: You're welcome.

PEREIRA: Kate, over to you. This is a great development.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: All right. We're going to be back in just a minute with more on the breaking news we were just talking about. Ten aircraft were in the air in this search zone. Multiple sightings of objects spotted.

We'll have more ahead.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Following continuing breaking news with the search for Flight 370; we've talked about the refined search zone this morning that was announced overnight. Well now, the latest update from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority is that ten planes went up today to search that new zone. Five planes, five aircraft have reported multiple sightings of objects in the new search zone.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Yes. This is a really interesting development. The first plane that we heard from was a New Zealand P-3 Orion. It came back reporting seeing a blue grayish -- two actually blue-grayish rectangular objects in the seas.

Then an Australian plane was able to go back and see those same objects again. That hasn't happened yet during the search and rescue. Five total planes spotted objects. There are surface vessel ships, one Chinese ship expected to be in the region tomorrow.

BOLDUAN: So obviously they're going to get eyes on it but this could be a big development in this refined search zone for Flight 370. They do say in this report that weather conditions are expected to be good in that area tomorrow. We'll continue to follow that.

We're going to be following the breaking news in a moment. We're going to have a live report from Australia ahead. But we want to return briefly to this week's CNN Hero.

In Canada, cancer is the leading cause of death for women. And for moms with young children the diagnosis can be doubly devastating. Not just what it means for them but of course for their children. That's where this week's CNN Hero comes in.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's 7:00 let's go brush your teeth.

Being a single mom is a full-time job. And you're tired. When I was diagnosed with cancer, the first thing that came to me mind was my son. Thinking about one day he gets up and I'm not there, it's the saddest thing for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mothers who are diagnosed with cancer are caregivers who suddenly find themselves in need of care.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We provide free relief child care to moms undergoing cancer treatment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of our volunteers are even cancer survivors themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you rest with a two-year-old running around?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our program allows mothers the freedom to take a rest because that's what they need the most to get better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What Audrey had done for moms with cancer is to give us hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much do you love mommy?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to win this battle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we do won't take away their illness, but it will certainly make their journey a lot easier.


BOLDUAN: You can go to to nominate someone just like that that you know is doing great work worth honoring.

BERMAN: That's it for us today. Have a great weekend, everyone. Chris is back here on Monday.

"NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now.

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

Breaking overnight: a major shift in the search.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This continuing analysis indicates the plane was traveling faster than was previously estimated.