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Malaysian Officials Conceded Still Chance of a 'Miracle'; What Will U.S. Role Be if Debris is Confirmed?; 5.1 Earthquake Shakes L.A.; Uninterruptable Autopilot; Aviation Expert Mary Schiavo on the Flight 370 Investigation; Black Box and Cockpit Recordings in Airplane Crush Investigation; Russia's Amassing Its Troops at Ukrainian Boarder

Aired March 29, 2014 - 07:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN CO-HOST: Take a nice deep breath. You made it to Saturday. And I know that it feels good for you. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CO-HOST: It always does. I'm Victor Blackwell, 7 a.m. here now on the East Coast. It's NEW DAY SATURDAY.

PAUL: And we want to begin with breaking news overnight in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. A Chinese plane, we've learned -- that's it right there; you see it? -- spotted three, what they're characterizing as suspicious objects today in that new search zone for the missing airliner. According to Chinese state media, the objects were white, red and orange, and this is about 700 miles north.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And this latest sighting comes a day after five other planes, the pilots there, saw objects in the same area, the huge area of the Indian Ocean. Although, none of the objects has been confirmed as coming from the missing plane.

PAUL: Yes, just to give you some perspective, the new search area is about the size of New Mexico, and as I said, about 700 miles northeast of where authorities have last focused their search. The shift was based on a new analysis of radar data.

BLACKWELL: And the Chinese plane is one of eight planes dispatched to the area today. Seven ships also in that area looking for any sign of the missing plane.

PAUL: In the meantime, I mean, let's talk about the families here. What a roller coaster this is for them. The families of the missing passengers protested again in Beijing today. They're demanding proof of the claim by Malaysian officials that all lives were lost. But this is what's interesting today.

BLACKWELL: Yes, just a few hours after that, a top Malaysian official was offering some hope to the relatives there in Kuala Lumpur, and he told them, quote, "Miracles do happen."

For the father of one missing passenger, the comments stirred some new optimism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SELAMAT OMAR, SON MISSING ON FLIGHT 370 (through translator): There's still hope. He didn't say all the passengers are dead.


BLACKWELL: Well, the first of the three Royal Australian Air Force planes returned to base in Perth, Australia, just a short time ago.

PAUL: Its pilot said so far they haven't found anything of significance today, but there are other planes and ships that are still out there, searching as we speak here.

So let's bring in CNN's Paula Hancocks, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Paula, so the base of the search operations, as we know, in Perth, Australia. Are there any plans for Malaysian officials to physically go there at this point?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, there are plans. We know that there's a delegation that could be going at some point in the future. People who are part of the investigation, which is based out of here in Kuala Lumpur.

But we haven't got a definitive answer as to whether or not there were officials and members of the Malaysian authority already in Perth and coordinating with the Australians. Basically what they've said all along is that the Australians are leading the search.

And what we've heard from Malaysian authorities today, saying it's not just a search. It is actually a search and rescue.

But at this point, we don't know exactly when a potential investigation could head down to Perth. We know that the Malaysian authorities are planning to take the relatives of those passengers of that missing plane down to Perth if and when they find debris. But at this point, the delegation itself is standing by. We don't know when it might go -- Christi, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Paula, over the past weeks, just a few days ago, actually, Malaysia's prime minister said that all lives were lost in this flight. But now, the acting transportation minister there in Malaysia is giving the family some hope. He seemed to get a little emotional this morning. Tell us about that.

HANCOCKS: Yes, this was a very interesting thing that Hishammuddin is saying, the acting transportation minister, said. He was basically meeting with the families who were holed up in one of the hotels here in Kuala Lumpur. He said that within that meeting -- it was a closed meeting that CNN could see. And basically, they said that they wanted to make sure even if their family members and their loved ones are dead, they wanted to make sure that the search will go on, that they will still look for them. And the transportation minister said that he gave a guarantee that they would. He also gave a guarantee that the other countries involved would continue to search. Let's listen to what he said.


HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN ACTING TRANSPORTATION MINISTER: Miracles do happen, remote or otherwise. That is the hope that the family members want me to convey, to the -- not only to the Malaysian government, MAS, but to the world at large. And if it needs our prayers, that's not a very difficult request either.


HANCOCKS: He said right from the beginning, the priority was on searching for survivors. He says that has not changed, even if there is even the remotest chance of there being a survivor; that they will do everything that is necessary.

Now of course, it is interesting, as well, that CNN was on the scene, and they actually saw some of the Chinese families of the passengers on board. They were at one of the hotels. They heard this meeting was going to take place between the transport minister and the Malaysian families, and they wanted to go and hear what was said. They were actually prevented from doing so, by the Malaysia Airline authorities and officials. They actually stood between them and the hotel and the taxi and prevented them from going to this area where the briefing took place.

Eventually, they were allowed to go, but they were very angry. They believed that they were being holed up and kept away from information inside this hotel. But eventually, the acting transportation minister did meet with them and did try and pacify them and tell them they are doing everything they could to find their loved ones.

BLACKWELL: Paula Hancocks live in Kuala Lumpur for us this morning.

Paula, thank you.

PAUL: OK. Let's talk more now with CNN aviation analyst Steven Wallace and CNN safety analyst David Soosy (ph) about all that's going on -- Soucie, excuse me. About all that's going on here. By the way, he also, David, is the author of "Why Planes Crash."

BLACKWELL: Steve, let's start with you. What do you make of the sudden shift that I think surprised a lot of people overnight -- I think it was Thursday into Friday? Nearly 700 miles northeast. Some analysts have -- are a bit confused by this move.

STEVEN WALLACE, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Right. Well, of course, it makes the trip, as has been pointed out, out to the search area like going from kind of New York to Kansas City, rather than New York to Denver, which extends the time on station, probably at least doubles it. So that's a good thing.

But it is part of a pattern of kind of slowness in getting the best evidence before the best experts that's plagued this investigation from the beginning.

So, now, the data's been refined, and it's been put before the best experts. And now they've come up with another search location. Of course, we're all very, very hopeful. And this is the toughest accident investigation I've ever seen, but I still remain confident that it will be solved.

PAUL: David, why -- I'm wondering why is this new analysis a better lead, let's say, than all the satellite photos that we've seen thus far?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: The new analysis of the moving location, is that what you're referring to?

PAUL: Yes.

SOUCIE: Yes. Well, I think it's good. What it says to me is that this team, and Steve will attest to this, that it takes a while for an investigation team to gel, particularly when you're looking at different countries and different authorities all together in the same room.

So to me, it's an indication that they have gelled and that they're starting to agree on information, and they're confident enough in this new information to give up on and to say, "We've -- we've exhausted the possibility it could have been in that lower area. Now, we're going here. All resources are out of there and here."

So it shows to me that they're getting to gel. They're starting to listen to all the experts and see what the best opportunity is for -- for recovering the aircraft.

BLACKWELL: Steve, what do you think about the resources in this area? We said it's the size, approximately, of New Mexico. Today, eight planes out, seven ships either there or in en route? Is that enough?

WALLACE: It's unprecedented. And it shows that there's just such a collective desire to solve this that -- at any cost. So truly unprecedented.

I'd just like to add one comment about the families which kind of relates to sharing the best information with the best experts. I think that some of these families, they're suffering, which has just been so horrific, would have been perhaps reduced if their own governments had been involved from the beginning. You know, if the best Chinese experts were shown the data early and were able to communicate that to their own citizens.

So this has been a very difficult accident. I mean, this is an impossible situation with these families. And you know, the prime minister's speech seemed to have taken away their last hope. And now someone's giving them some hope back.

We've had accidents in the back where a few people have survived where hundreds have died. And so miracles do happen. Of course, we're hoping for that. I have to say that handling the family matters, it's getting better, but it really was very -- very poor initially.

PAUL: You know, let me ask you, David. I'm wondering the earlier images we had of all this debris in the old search area. And now all this debris in the new search area. How confident are you that any of that is from the plane? Or that it's just flotsam. I mean, we know that the Australians say, "No, no, it's not the plane." The Malaysians say, yes, it is. What do you say?

SOUCIE: Well, it's too early to tell, really. I mean, as far as the debris in the south, if -- if they're confident of this new area, which they definitely are, it really in my mind puts out any possibility that that debris we were looking at before was aircraft. Because just the physics of it being able to get from that location to the others is nearly impossible. So I really don't see that there's any possibility.

And I was hopeful, as well. I found myself finding aircraft parts in that debris in my own mind. And it's hard to separate from that when it's so emotional. And everyone really wants to make this -- make this happen, wants to find that aircraft. So you almost trick your own eyes into seeing things that aren't there.

So at this point, I'm really hopeful that the air -- that the ships get out there and start identifying some of this debris and either rule it out or rule it in, so we can move on to the next phase of this.

BLACKWELL: See, Christi and I were just talking during a break about the lapse of time between a pilot spotting something, dropping one of these flares, dropping a marker. And then the time it takes for a ship to get to it. And then to take it back to an analyst. Are these ships going out, at least, with the analyst who can, on spot, make a determination if this is a part of the jet or not?

WALLACE: Well, I believe so. I mean, we've seen every day, we have a new tally of all the assets that are being applied here in many, many ships. But I mean, the airplanes will go 500 miles an hour. And the ships will probably go 30. So there's a lot of time involved.

I don't think that they -- and I don't know if the analysts are aboard the ship. I assume they are, or at least people who are competent to identify a piece as being likely to be from the airplane or not. It could be easy. It could be a life jacket. You know, if you're -- you might get a piece of the aircraft component with a part number on it. So something might be fairly obvious.

But I have to agree with David. We all want to see some aircraft wreckage here. But we just can't tell from these photographs.

PAUL: Yes. Well, we're so grateful that you are sharing some time with us here this morning, to explain some of this, the search, that just continues.

Again, they're still out there, folks. We're waiting to see what they came back with.

Steven Wallace and David Soucie, thank you both so much for being with us.

WALLACE: Thank you. SOUCIE: Thank you, too.

PAUL: And if any of the debris spotted so far is confirmed to be part of Flight 370, I mean, you know the search is going to launch into a whole new phase at that point.

BLACKWELL: Yes, this is just the beginning. What role would the U.S. play? We have a live report coming up from Washington next.

And another earthquake jolts the L.A. area. The second one in just a couple weeks. And we're getting in some new video of the huge mess it left behind.


PAUL: Well, the big news this morning, a Chinese plane has spotted three suspicious objects today in this new search area, this new zone, for the missing airliner. This, of course, after five other planes observed debris in the same huge swathe of the Indian Ocean there. But none of those objects at this point has been established as having come from that lost plane.

BLACKWELL: Yes. But if confirmation does happen, this massive search will likely take on a whole new focus.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins us now from Washington.

And at some point -- no one knows when, of course -- debris from 370 will be found. What, then, will be the U.S.'s role once it's confirmed to have come from the plane?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Christi and Victor.

You know, the U.S. will get very involved. One of the reasons everyone is more hopeful about this area is, if they do spot objects, the first step is, here in this new search area it may be much easier to get to them. And we talked to an oceanographer about that first step.


KATHLEEN DOHAN, OCEANOGRAPHER: The current, the strength of the currents are going to play a large role in, if you spot it at one spot and then go back six hours later, how much will it have moved?

And so the great thing about this new search location, if indeed this is the right place to be looking, is that the currents are way slower compared to the other search location by, say, five miles a day travel versus 35 miles a day. As well as the winds are less strong.


STARR: So, look -- there you are. First of all, this is an area where the currents are less significant. So if a satellite, if an aircraft going overhead spots debris, a ship should be able to get to it.

What happens then? Well, then, they pull it out of the water. They try and verify that it's actually from a triple-7.

At that point, that's when U.S. Navy technology may actually kick in very quickly. They will send that pinger locator that they are putting out there. That will go in the water. That will be able to listen for the data recorders if they can begin to calculate where they may be, based on those currents in that area.

And they will also be able to put a U.S. Navy unmanned drone, if you will, a little kind of mini-remote sub that they have, into the water to map the ocean floor, to look for more objects that could be debris.

So -- so it's the fact that this part of the sea is a little bit calmer, a little bit more steady. If they can find debris, they should be able to more quickly ascertain what it is and then begin the real search -- Christi, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Hopefully, they have all the resources there to ramp up this search. We know seven ships there, eight aircraft kind of returning at dusk there off the coast of Perth.

Barbara Starr, thank you very much.

You know, for three weeks now, experts have said that the key to solving this mystery could be inside the so-called black boxes. But have you ever wondered, where is it in the plane? Well, I'm going to show you.

PAUL: And another earthquake rattles L.A. Look at what it did: created a rock slide, flipped over this car. We're going to tell you what happened in a news conference, too. You've got to see that. Stay close.


PAUL: Obviously, we're going to have more on the missing plane for you in a moment, but here's another big story that we're following. For all of you folks in California who may, at this point, still be up...

BLACKWELL: Yes, because of that 5.1 magnitude earthquake that rattled the L.A. area last night. Some water mains were broken, hotels evacuated. That's understandable. Some 2,000 people left without power.

PAUL: Nick Valencia is following the story. I've had some people on Twitter and Facebook telling me they felt it. And one of them was a good hour away.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This was felt far and wide, from Palm Springs, Riverside where you got that Facebook message from to down in Orange County, where it originated.

And unusual sequence of events for an earthquake. You had a 4 shock and then you have this 5.1 earthquake that really rattled everybody. You had Disneyland stopped rides. Dodgers Stadium was in the middle of a Dodger game there. They felt it there.

And then check out this new video that we got in from one of the stringers there in Los Angeles. Store shelves. You see the mess there.

Thankfully, it was no major structural damage but especially after the earthquake that was there two weeks ago, that really shook some nerves, definitely, in Los Angeles. A place that's used to earthquakes, but haven't had a big one in a long time.

BLACKWELL: How about the aftershocks? We know that those are often, of course, following these bigger quakes.

VALENCIA: So this is the interesting thing. You have 30 aftershocks. A swarm of aftershocks, a ton of them, with three being above 3.0. and it even happened during a Cal Tech press conference. The lady there kind of took it in stride. Check out this video.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you felt a long strong roll, you're relatively far away from the event. We're having an aftershock now, about 2.7.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did your early warning system work on this -- on this water main (ph)?



PAUL: Look at her. She's just like there it is.

BLACKWELL: Worked it right in. Yes, there's another one.

VALENCIA: Does not skip a beat. Just keeps the press conference going. Very impressive.

This -- just to mention guys, real quick, Puente Hills Fault, not the same name recognition as the San Andreas Fault, but definitely an area that has had major earthquakes in the past. So it's a big concern, especially after those seismologists at Cal Tech.

PAUL: Yes. And I hope that the person in this car was OK. Somebody on Twitter was asking me about it. We do know there was just one injury in Orange County.

VALENCIA: Just one injury; a minor injury.

PAUL: So we believe that person who was driving that car was OK.

VALENCIA: But people are, you know, thinking that this might be a precursor to the big one. Last night at 10 p.m., I saw a lot of people in stores. I woke up this morning to a lot of texts from friends and family in Los Angeles saying, "Don't worry, we're OK."



PAUL: I'm glad you're OK, but from what?

BLACKWELL: What do we have to worry about?

VALENCIA: But thankfully, like you said, nobody seriously injured. So we'll keep an eye on what happens.

PAUL: And I think the mayor came out and said, just be prepared.


PAUL: Just be prepared.

BLACKWELL: Best you can do.

VALENCIA: Heads up.

PAUL: So thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Nick.

You know, it is -- it's hard to believe it's been three weeks since Flight 370 just vanished from radar, vanished from the sky. And just when investigators seem like they're closer to solving this mystery, the investigation and the search takes a huge different direction.

PAUL: Up next, why one aviation expert says all of these twists and turns are not necessarily...


PAUL: We've got your mortgage update right now. Rates are down from last week. Here they are. Ben!


PAUL: That coffee doing the trick for you this morning? 7:28. You've still got some time. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: Maybe it's tea. I'm a tea drinker. Let's hope. I'm Victor Blackwell.

Let's start this half with the five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

Up first, a Chinese plane has spotted three suspicious objects. That's the way they're characterizing them. They found them today in the new search zone for Malaysia Airlines 370. The Chinese state media reports they are red, white and orange. Five other planes found some objects in the same area of the Indian Ocean, although not one object has been confirmed as having come from some part of the plane. And we'll have much more on this story in just a moment.

Up next, heavy rain, strong winds, they are hampering the rescue work at the site of a Washington state landslide. Hundreds of volunteers -- you see them here in this huge mess -- looking through for any sign of life. But officials are worried the bad weather may cause another landslide. The death toll now at 17, and 90 people are still missing.

PAUL: No. 3, the FBI asked a now-dead suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings to be an informant. This is according to court documents filed by attorneys representing the sole surviving suspect. Now the defense says agents approached the accused older brother and asked him to give them information about the Boston Muslim and Chechen communities. The government, by the way, denying that.

Number four, the Security Chief for One World Trade Center has resigned after an embarrassing string of security breaches. David Velasquez submitted his resignation yesterday. Now, this comes the same weeks four men were arrested for sliding past security back in September and parachuting from the top of the building. And in separate incident two weeks ago, a New Jersey teen snuck past security and climbed to the top of that tower.

And number five, the FBI is asking for your help in trying to find whomever pointed a laser at a Delta flight, temporarily blinding its pilot. This incident happened in New York's LaGuardia Airport. It was back in March. Officials believe the laser beam may have come from a neighborhood in Queens. A $10,000 reward is being offered for tips leading to an arrest. So, earlier this month that happened.

BLACKWELL: Well, the list of questions about what happened to Flight 370 is obviously growing. And no definitive answers.

PAUL: Could a remote-controlled autopilot, that's the question, saved Flight 370 and the 239 people on board if it had been installed? We're going to find out more from CNN's Brian Todd now. Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, we found documents for a patent that Boeing applied for ten years ago. It's for a system that could enable a plane to be flown by remote control from the ground in an emergency. The system hasn't been deployed. One of our experts says if it had, this Malaysia Airlines incident may have well turned out very differently.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lost signal, a vanished plane and on the ground a feeling of complete helplessness. But an idea has circulated to put auto pilot on passenger planes on remote control in stress situations. . In 2004 Boeing applied for a patent for a system referred to as uninterruptible autopilot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ground controller could now take control away from the pilots so that they wouldn't have control over the throttles, over the yoke, over the rotor (ph) pedals, and now this would be handled by the ground. So, everything now that the pilots who tried to do would be inconsequential. TODD: With this idea, pilots could flick a switch when under stress centers in the cockpit could go off or - the system might have even had sensors on the cockpit doors that would have activated the autopilot if a certain amount of force were used against the cockpit door.

Then, ground operators could take control of the plane using radio or satellite signals and steer it to a predetermined airport they'd be flying it almost like a drone. If Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was hijacked or if a member of the crew purposely did something to alter the path, could this have saved that plane?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If in fact they determined that it was a problem, that - and they tried to get in touch with the pilot and the co-pilot, and they couldn't, then if that system were in place, it seems as though, the ground controller could then have landed this aircraft.

TODD: Right now, autopilot systems are manually switched on and off only at the discretion of the pilots in the air. And autopilot cannot land or take off. But this potential solution could also present a new problem.

(on camera): This wouldn't necessarily be hack proof, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This system wouldn't necessarily be hack proof. And so terrorists might be able to get into this data stream and force the plane to land or do whatever they wanted it to do?


TODD: Has Boeing advanced this idea from ten years ago? Is the company still testing it out? Or has it scrapped the idea entirely? We tried multiple times to get information from Boeing on this project. The company wouldn't speak to us about it. Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: Brian Todd, reporting for us. Brian, thank you so much. You know, it is - it's tough to believe that now we're starting week four since Flight 370 vanished. March 8 was the date this plane was in the air and last on radar.

PAUL: Yeah, and now, the search area has changed and we're wondering what kind of problem that poses or if it's actually beneficial to this whole thing. Mary Schiavo is joining us next, to talk more about the investigation, the search and the families. Stay close.


BLACKWELL: It's been three weeks now since this plane MH-370 disappeared. And it seems as the investigation continues and there's one promising lead, then it takes a huge turn. And this morning, there's a new discovery of some new objects in this new zone.

PAUL: By the Chinese. They apparently saw what they called suspicious objects in this new search area. Chinese media reported they were red, orange and white. Now, remember, yesterday, five planes spotted what they were calling as potential debris or objects, again. The question is, are investigators any closer to finding Flight 370? That's what - it is.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN aviation analyst and former inspector general of the Department of Transportation Mary Schiavo. Mary, good to have you back. And every day this week there has been a satellite or someone on this ship who has spotted something. And not yet has any one piece been connected to 370. When you hear about these three suspicious objects identified today, are you skeptical? Are you optimistic? Where are you on the realm there?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, in terms of an investigation, I'm always optimistic when additional pieces of potential evidence come into the investigation. And you have to be optimistic about that. Because, you know, that's where you get your clues, that's how you put the case together. So, each piece that comes in as a potential to help you solve the case and granted, more of them turn out to be nothing than turn out to be something. But that's a way it is in almost every investigation. You have to go through a lot of chaff before you get right down to the heart of the matter.

PAUL: The new - the good thing as I understand it about this new search area, is that because it's closer to Australia, the time that they can spend out searching is greater. And I think that's been one of the big frustrations. Is they've been so far out. It's taken so much time to get there and then get back. We know that there are seven ships out there right now as we speak. But it's getting dark there. Are ships able to search at all at night, or do you anticipate right now, they're just taking a breather?

SCHIAVO: Well, most of the time for our searches and recovery, they don't search at night. If it was search and rescue, I mean, day and night. They have search lights, they have spotlights, if they were - if there was any hope to recover human life, you know, they do it day and night. They're really amazing in what they can do. But they will be taking a rest at night because it's very difficult to see.

BLACKWELL: Mary, there's a "USA Today" report, which cites Malaysian law enforcement source that says that the pilot is believed to be the sole suspect in this investigation. Actually, let's listen to what the "USA Today" writer behind that report told CNN'S Anderson Cooper.


MAHI RAMAKRISHNAN: The financial motivation has been ruled out, which means that he did not do anything for the money. But he did tell me that it is quite clear that he flipped in his mind. And that could have been brought about by any factor. And my source believes that the key to figuring that out is going to be through investigations or interviews with the wife. And for now, he told me that even though they did manage to speak to the wife a few times, she's not that forthcoming with information.


BLACKWELL: So I want to put some punctuation on this, that CNN has no evidence that suggests the pilots were behind the flight's disappearance. But, Mary, the question is what do you make of this "USA Today" report? And is it possible that some kind of death wish or a pilot who was trying to hijack a plane could do that and leave no trace of evidence behind?

SCHIAVO: No. I don't. I mean I wish I could sugarcoat it. I don't believe the reports. And I think it's erroneous. I mean "USA Today's" aviation reporters are fine. I think they probably got a bum tip, but a good investigator, and a good investigation - remember, that part of the case is criminal. I mean a good investigator simply would never make a statement like that, so whoever the leaker was from the investigation, I don't believe they were informed. Because first of all, no one would ever say that the pilot, quote, flipped. And I think whoever is saying this, they have something stuck in their mind. You know, there are many biases in investigations that you have to guard against. And, you know, there's one called an anchoring effect. And if you get an idea in your mind early on in the case, you try to make the evidence fit it. And, you know, rookie investigators do that, but when you've been around the block a few times, you know you can't do it. And it sounds like you're trying to make evidence fit that theory. But there is not one shred of evidence.

And I - you know, I've been in investigations for most of my career, and I have yet to meet the perfect criminal. So I don't believe that someone could have carried off a huge criminal mastermind plot and leave no clues. Because I've certainly never seen that plot to date and I've been doing investigations, for what, 35 years. I don't believe it.

PAUL: When we talk about the ships that are out there right now, if they do retrieve something out there in the ocean, I was asking this earlier, are there analysts on the ship who can help determine whether it's from 370? And if there are no markings and if maybe it's a small piece, how do you determine whether it's from that plane specifically?

SCHIAVO: Well sometimes, they do have analysts on the ships. You know, for example, the NTSB in the United States will often go out with the ships and they'll be right on board. But in this case, they have instructed everyone to bring the pieces back to Perth. They will examine them there. And you can - there's lots of ways you can tell. But they are looking for different things. On the pieces of the aircraft, for example, if there was a fire explosion, there's particular kinds of markings on the wreckage, there's explosion, there's pitting and there's characteristic pit marks depending on what caused the explosion. And on the wreckage itself, depending, you know, like the crumpling and tearing patterns.

And whether the motion, in which they were torn apart or crumpled, that's all very important. And experienced air crush investigators can tell preliminarily just from looking at the pieces. So, as soon as they get them to the experts, and I say, in this case, they've said they are taking them all back to Perth and there they will decide what to do. There will be clues right away from the wreckage. The key, of course, is to get it and to determine that it's really from the plane.

PAUL: From 370. Well, I think that's what I meant. If there are no markings, how can you determine it is from 370 specifically?

SCHIAVO: Well, they're pretty, pretty telltale signs. For example, on the plane, on the inside of the plane, it's kind of a gray/green color. Most parts and things from aircraft, in fact, many aircraft parts are specific and have numbers specific to that plane. Pieces and parts of aircraft are all manufactured specifically for the aircraft. For example, seats and parts on the aircraft you wouldn't find on a ship. And many of the parts, in fact, most of the parts on the airplane have to be specifically approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for use on that aircraft. And, so you wouldn't find them in other applications, typically.


BLACKWELL: All right. CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo. We'll see you next hour. We've got a few more questions. We've got a lot more questions. And thanks for sticking around. Give us some answers.

PAUL: Thank you, Mary.

Now, for weeks we've been talking about the so-called black box, too. And why it could help solve the mystery of Flight 370. But this black box might be a mystery in itself, as Victor found out.

BLACKWELL: Yeah. And there are actually two of them. Have you ever wondered where the black boxes are? Why they're called the black boxes if they're actually orange, and they are. We're coming up, we'll take you inside a Boeing 777, explain the anatomy of the plane and we'll tell you why it's called a black box.

PAUL: And we're also watching thousands of Russian troops mass along Ukraine's border right now. Russian President Vladimir Putin calls President Obama. We're going to talk about what that means. Straight ahead.


BLACKWELL: To really understand the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, investigators need the black box that you've heard about. You may wonder where is it, what is it, what does it offer? Well, let's start here. There are actually two black boxes. There's the digital flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder. You might imagine that something so important would be up here in the cockpit in this area of the plane. Actually, it is all the way in the rear of the plane in the ceiling compartment below the vertical stabilizer. Let's learn more about these two parts of the plane. First, with the flight data recorder. This records all the technical data of a flight, the speed, the pitch, the yawn, the acceleration. When it climbs and how high.

Also, you know, there are hundreds of those, may be in this Honeywell model that you see up here. There could be thousands of those parameters. And it retains the last 25 hours of the flight data. But remember, that is just the technical data. To learn what was conversed about, what they talked about, you have got to go to the cockpit voice recorder. That records the communications inside the cockpit. If there is a directive given from the captain to the copilot. This will record. And also, let's say in the case of a crash that the flight data recorder, which is the technical communications that is not found for some time, but you have the voice recorder. There are a few things that you can glean from the audio recording because there is an ambient microphone in the cockpit. You could hear the alarms that go off, the sirens, and even some clicks and hums can tell you about some of the technical decisions that were made during the flight.

You know, we also know that changes are coming to the black boxes. Next year, the FAA requires any new aircraft to have a battery life on the beacon, the pinger that we know, the battery will die from this flight in eight days or so, to extend from 30 days to 90 day. So, in this case, the searchers would have additional two months to find these black boxes. Also, in 2018 as part of the same FAA regulations, there will have to be a stronger beacon that will send ping at a lower frequency, so you'll have a stronger, longer lasting, a ping that these search crews can find.

Also, one will be attached to the air frame to help crews find the actual debris. There has also been a proposal as it relates to the cockpit voice recorder to extend the audio recordings. Right now, it is two hours, the last two hours. And if the pilots in this case were incapacitated, they would be silent. However, the proposal is up to 24 hours. Now, there are no 24-hour flights, but that could obviously give some indication of what was discussed beyond just the two hours.

Now, there's been the question that I received, Christi, I know you've received it. Why is this called a black box, why are these black boxes when they are obviously not black? They are orange. Well, the term actually comes from journalists in the 1960s. Back then no one knew a lot about the technology that was inside these two devices. So, they made it seem magical and mythical, even extraordinary. This black magic inside these boxes. So, that is how they got to name black boxes. And, you know, they are actually equivalents to the FDR and the CVR in our cars that record everything that happened in the car - a truck, or a bus. But those are called event data recorders and insurance companies, of course, look for information now after crashes there, too. Christi.

PAUL: So interesting. Hey, Victor, thank you.


PAUL: Vladimir Putin called President Obama about the crisis in the Ukraine. We are going to tell you what they talked about. We have a live report coming up for you in just a moment.


BLACKWELL: March madness is in full swing and later today, two teams will earn a spot in the final four. You know, the Dayton flyers are these - your Cinderella team. 11 seed that's already - to hold off three upsets to make the elite eight. But, to make it the final four, Dayton will have to pull off their biggest upset yet and beat the overall number one seed Florida Gators. Gators have won 29 games in a row, which is partially why I chose them to win it all in my bracket. Tip off for these games, 609 Eastern, the other game tonight, number one, Arizona takes on number two. That's at 8:49 Eastern. Back in 80 seconds.


PAUL: Well, Vladimir Putin, and this surprised an awful lot of people, reached out to President Obama to talk about the crisis in Ukraine. The two leaders agreed to have their top diplomats discuss proposals to resolve the situation peacefully.

BLACKWELL: According to U.S. officials, there are 40,000 Russian troops along Ukraine's border right now. Our Karl Penhaul is on the border. And Karl, tell us what you are seeing there.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are seeing here on the Ukrainian side a buildup of the Ukrainian military. We are looking at them digging in there with armored personnel carriers mounted with heavy machine guns. We also saw some of that T-80 tanks also digging in and protecting bridges, presumably the line of advance that they think the Russians would take if they would roll across that border. And more importantly, we are saying that the civilian population themselves is beginning to organize. They say that they can't trust the United States or Western powers to come to their aid. They are doing it for themselves. They purchased military uniforms at the market here in some of these towns. And they are forming the self- defense committees that have been digging trenches and setting up ramshackle outposts. They say that they could well be the only line of defense if Russian tanks roll in. But they really don't have any real weapons to speak of. They are arming themselves with Molotov cocktails and also putting up barricades (INAUDIBLE). They say they'll throw smokescreens if the Russians come in.

PAUL: So, the civilians are saying they are on the defensive, but they aren't going to initiate anything with them, right?

PENHAUL: Well, exactly. The trigger there, of course, would be if the Russians come across and that is where there is some doubt. Pentagon speaking of 40,000 Russian troops massing just across the other side of Ukraine's eastern border. The Ukrainian government puts the figure more than twice as high saying that they also have tanks and attack helicopters. But of course, what the Pentagon officials are saying is we don't really know what Vladimir Putin's intent is. Does he really intend to come in and try to annex some of the eastern Ukrainian cities like he did with Crimea? And we have heard this morning from Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister saying, they have no intention of coming into Ukraine. Vladimir Putin is once again saying that he believes that Ukrainian ultranationalists are threatening ethnic Russians living in Ukraine and that, of course, is the same excuse that he used to go meddling in Crimea.

PAUL: All right. Karl Penhaul, thank you so much for bringing us the latest from that area. And we are so glad that you are starting your morning with us.

And you next hour of your "NEW DAY" starts now.