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Malaysian Official: "Most Promising Lead"; Pistorius Takes The Stand; Injuries, Damage In Mississippi Tornado; Remembering Mickey Rooney; U.S. Pinger Locator Detects Two Signals

Aired April 7, 2014 - 06:00   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: We will remember his remarkable career that spanned an unbelievable nine decades.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. We want to welcome our viewers across the United States and around the world. Breaking overnight an American pinger locater on board the Australian "Ocean Shield" has picked up signals from the Indian Ocean consistent with those emitted by black boxes. The signal was detected a day after a Chinese spotted pings several hundred miles away.

Now officials are calling the new pings a promising lead, but they stress nothing has been confirmed. Kate, we're going to take you through this morning and show you the different locations involved and all the variables.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We've got a lot to work through this morning. So just for the sake of argument, if this is where the black box came to a rest, retrieving it won't be easy. The water, the ocean level at this location is almost 3 miles deep, about 2.8 miles in depth at that location. And the batteries on the black box as you well know at this point are expected to start running dry.

Let's start our coverage this morning with Erin McLaughlin live in Perth, Australia, which is a little more than 1,000 miles from where the signal of the ping was picked up. Erin, what are you hearing from Perth?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, extraordinary, promising, encouraging, all words that had been used to describe the discovery made aboard the Australian vessel the "Ocean Shield" today there is new hope in the search for missing Malaysian Flight 370.


MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): A month into the search for Flight 370, officials announce what they describe as an encouraging lead.

HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION: The ping on the HMS "Ocean Shield" has detected signals consistent with those emitted by aircraft black boxes.

ANGUS HOUSTON, CHIEF COORDINATOR, JOINT AGENCY COORDINATION CENTER: The audible signal sounds to me just look an emergency locator beacon.

MCLAUGHLIN: The "Ocean Shield" picked up two distinct pinger returns here in the northern part of the search area. These signals detected about 350 miles away from the area where a Chinese ship picked two audio signals on Saturday. Britain's "HMS Echo" has been moved there to investigate. They do not believe it's related to the "Ocean Shield" find.

HOUSTON: I would say it's unlikely, but in deep water, funny things happen with acoustic signals.

MCLAUGHLIN: Officials stress they need to find wreckage before they can confirm any of these pings are related to the missing plane.

HOUSTON: We haven't found the aircraft yet. We need further confirmation.


MCLAUGHLIN: Right now, the "Ocean Shield" is still out there, still trying to detect perhaps a third acoustic event. If they're able to accomplish that, they say they will be able to narrow down that search field and deploy the Bluefin 21, an American provided underwater autonomous vehicle that will be able to go beneath the ocean surface and try and find this wreckage. Only then will we know for sure if this has anything to do with the missing plane -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Erin, let's get back to the map here. We have Richard Quest with us. We know you were up all night. Thank you for being with us this morning. Appreciate it. Let's start with learn something new every day. In the water, sound travels much farther than it does in the air above so that is good and bad. That means you can pick up the signal long range, but it could mean that you're far away. So with that as the context, what do we know about these new two locations?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Right. So we have the "Ocean Shield," which is the circle to the left.

CUOMO: By my well-shined shoes.

QUEST: Absolutely. And to Haixun 101 with my rather grubby shoe.

CUOMO: Now they look close, but they are not that close.

QUEST: They are about 300 miles apart and that's Angus Houston says he thinks it's unlikely, but highly possible that they're actually both the same acoustic events. There is something known as the deep water travel, and that can travel between the two. Let's put aside Haixun 101 and let's focus on "Ocean Shield" because that is where they've had the two most promising events. One lasting more than two hours, one lasting 13 minutes. And it's there that all the attention is going to be focused on the next few days. It takes about three to four hours for them to turn the ship around, "Ocean Shield" come back and then have another sweep pass.

CUOMO: And that makes sense when you understand that they are dragging something thousands of feet behind them at great depth. They have to be very deliberate to get back on the same bearing and course.

QUEST: What we learned about last night, which is fascinating is the way they did it. The first time they got the ping or at least they heard from the pinger, the tow was about 300 meters down then they lowered it even farther.

CUOMO: At 1400.

QUEST: Absolutely. And then even further about 3,000, and at that point, they were into the area where they could properly hear it and it lasted for some two hours and minutes.

CUOMO: And when they turned back around, they got it for 13 minutes that could mean a lot of different things. We keep saying what does it sound like, we believe we have it, right?

QUEST: Have a listen.

CUOMO: It's even harder to find in the studio -- there we go. So that's the sound obviously being picked up by equipment, but that is basically what they're looking for.

QUEST: Right, what Angus Houston said, which is why he sounded so hopeful and so optimistic, I believe to temper that optimism, what he said, he had seen it on a wave scope so he'd actually seen a visual representation of it. And he heard it, and everything was consistent with it being the black box.

CUOMO: All right, so now, the NEW DAY way is to test the information. Let's talk about what else it could be. We have a graphic that popped up. We should put it back now. There are other things. They could just be wrong. There's a lot of sound in the ocean because sound travel so far. It's a noisy place. This seismic air gun. What is a seismic air gun?

QUEST: Do not allow yourself to be distracted by these other events on this occasion.

CUOMO: I must.

QUEST: No, no, I have to urge you not to be. This is -- because of the way they were talking last night, they were so optimistic. They were saying basically because it lasted two hours, more than two hours --

CUOMO: It couldn't be a seismic air gun.

QUEST: They didn't to think it was anything else. They weren't talking about seismic air gun --

CUOMO: How about a whale?

QUEST: They certainly were not talking about whales or dolphins or other ships equipment or other boats or anything like that last night.

CUOMO: Seismic air gun sounds like something that you would hear. You have to tell me what it is. I know you don't want to but you must. What is a seismic air gun?

QUEST: I'll be absolutely honest and tell you I have no idea.

CUOMO: I do. Indra told me. Indra Peterson is going to come on and talk more about sonar stuff, but literally it's a naturally occurring sound. They can come from movements in the bottom of the floor.

QUEST: You've been done to talk about seismic air gun.

CUOMO: It's a great title.

QUEST: Well, I suggest you leave the seismic air gun over with the desk. Back to the circles because what the circles show is the most promising evidence that we've had since this begun. Let us not underestimate, the huge difficulties that they are about to undertake because they've got to go back over here, they've got to re-create that noise or at least find it again. And then they have to get the autonomous vehicle into the water.

CUOMO: And dealing with three dimensions of conditions also, right?

QUEST: And time is against them because we are now way beyond the 30 days of the battery life.

CUOMO: Until they narrow the location, they can't drop one of those submarines down and scan the ocean floor and find it if the battery stopped. Do me a favor, we're going to be checking in with Commander Marks of U.S. 7th Fleet. He's going to talk to us about the equipment on board. It's an American piece of equipment.

QUEST: Are you going to ask him about the seismic air gun?

CUOMO: It may come up and you know, we are going to try and get all the different parameters they are dealing with. Why it's so hard? But why are they optimistic. However, two other big pieces of news this morning that deal with the flight path. One is confirming what they believe they knew and another one is a new piece of information. So take us through it

QUEST: OK, there are two pieces of information on the fly path. The first of all concerns which way the aircraft flew. We now know -- at least it's more believed that the plane, after it left Kuala Lumpur, went up, did the turn, then came back into the Strait of Malacca and then it went round the tip of Indonesia.

Now this is significant because although the plane flew, as you can see from the diagram, although it flew across the Malaysian Peninsula, it went round the top of Indonesia and we believe or at least officials believe in Malaysia, that was very deliberate to avoid Indonesian radar.

CUOMO: Why would they do that?

QUEST: Very good question because, frankly, it probably didn't work.

CUOMO: You only avoid radar by altitude, not by direction?

QUEST: No radar -- when you look at the next representation, you'll see radar lasts about 200 miles out. It is possible they could have tried to do that whoever was doing whatever they were doing. But the reality is, most people think it wasn't just to avoid radar.

CUOMO: It sounds a little far-fetched.

QUEST: It was to avoid flying actually over the peninsula country. It was actually to avoid going over the land mass because going over the land mass would have attracted far more attention.

CUOMO: So this is all feeding into somebody did this on purpose idea?

QUEST: And at that point, you and I will go our separate directions because who did what, where, when and why, I think we have to leave for another day.

CUOMO: I'm with you on that. I don't believe we have enough to work on with this flight path to go anywhere else other than this is where it went.

QUEST: No, but we certainly know this is the route it took. We know that from the radar data -- looking at the map, the radar data going from around the South China Sea.

CUOMO: So we certainly now know which way the plane went and the good news this coordinates with the search and rescue?

QUEST: And what we learned again, last night, again from Angus Houston, is that the work being done in Kuala Lumpur, they've refined the satellite data, those pings that we've talked about. They're certain that, where the "Ocean Shield" is, is in the northern part of the box. They're in the right place for the right reasons at the right time. Now, they've just got to confirm it's the plane.

CUOMO: So we'll be tracking it. We'll be checking in with the commander from the 7th Fleet who knows the most about what's going on the water. And I confirm we can't go any further than. Richard Quest, I cannot believe how long you've been up because you are still right on point. You are the seismic air gun. There's a lot of other news this morning as well. Let's get over to Michaela for that.

PEREIRA: I have learned so much from the two of starting with breaking news, Oscar Pistorius is taking the stand right now in his murder trial and immediately apologizing to Reeva Steenkamp's family. He was not the first defense witness on the stand today. A pathologist was asked to testify first for personal reasons. Overnight, a large and dangerous tornado touched down in Mississippi near the town of Collins. About 60 miles southeast of Jackson. That tornado was moving southeast at 45 miles per hour. Officials say homes have been damaged. There are reports of injuries. Damaging winds knocked down power lines and trees and caused damage to roads.

While investigators tried to determine a motive for the latest Fort Hood shooting, community members came together Sunday to honor the three soldiers who were gunned down by Army Specialist Ivan Lopez before he killed himself.

And a genuine show business legend has died. Word came overnight that Mickey Rooney passed away at the age of 93. Entertainment correspondent, Nischelle Turner takes a look at his long and colorful career.


NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Mickey Rooney grew up in show business, a product of Hollywood's golden age. By the time he played puck in the 1935 film "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Rooney was already a veteran. He'd made his acting debut before he was 2 in his parents' Vaudeville act. Vaudeville would serve him well. He would sing and dance his way through hundreds of films.

In 1937, his energy and versatility landed him the role of Andy Hardy, a witty character and one he would revisit in a series of 15 films. He was a contract player for MGM at the time. Rooney, his stage name replaced his birth name, Joe Yule Jr. In 1939, he was awarded a special Oscar for bringing the spirit of youth to film.

His turn as a tough juvenile delinquent paired him with Spencer Tracy in 1941. What followed was his first Oscar nomination for the feature "Babes In Arms" in which he and Judy Garland promised to put on a show.

Rooney was married in his 20s to Ava Gardner, but it didn't last. He would eventually marry eight times. Still Rooney was a much honored man for his work. He was nominated for four Academy Awards including one for "The Black Stallion."

In 1983, Rooney was given an honorary Oscar for lifetime contribution to film. Rooney married eight wife, Jane Chamberlain, in 1978. Decades later they starred and toured together in their one man, one ride show.

He stayed busy well into his 80s with small roles and a handful of movies including "Night of the Museum" in 2006. The life of his life, the constant of all of his life was always his work.

MICKEY ROONEY: We hope this business learns to love itself a little bit more and remembers the people who opened the doors for all these youngsters and people today.

TURNER: Nischelle Turner, CNN, Hollywood.


PEREIRA: Nine decades of a career, eight wives, hopeless romantic.

CUOMO: I don't retire, I inspire.

PEREIRA: I know what a life.

BOLDUAN: And so many generations being able to enjoy his work and will continue to from here on out.


BOLDUAN: For sure. Long career. Long life. Wonderful man.

Coming up next on NEW DAY -- a lot coming up on the show. They're calling is it most promising lead yet in the search for Flight 370. If those two underwater signals are coming from the missing plane's black box, how do the crews go about finding it now? Our experts will be weighing in.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

We're continuing to follow breaking news this morning. Pings detected in the Indian Ocean in the search for Malaysia flight 370. Officials calling the potential signals from the plane's black box the most promising lead that they've had to this count.

Let's discuss it. Let's bring in Mary Schiavo, CNN aviation specialist. And former inspector general for the Department of Transportation. Also joining us, Van Gurley, senior member of Metron Scientific Solutions and he was also part of the team that helped find Air France Flight 447.

Good morning to both of you. Another day, another set of developments we need to discuss.

Mary, I want to ask you, last week, kind of where we ended, it was -- it was always thought to this point that we were going to detect debris in from the air, and then you're going to send in the pinger locator, and you're going to then start the underwater search. How surprising is it for you, of course, a healthy dose of caution, because we don't know what it is yet, that that they've detected these pings under water?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, it's surprising because you're exactly right. Usually, they find a debris field and trace it back, accounting for currents and time and movement of the water. And then start looking and find the pings and the black boxes thereafter.

But here, fortunately because they went back and refining and refining that Inmarsat data, they were able to have flight paths if these are indeed the black boxes that the flight pattern that they calculated from the satellite panned out. There's a, I suppose, little bit of luck involved there, but I guess, kudos to math, because these are the math algorithms that they used.

So, it's unusual but, you know, the seismic sounds and ocean sounds aside, there isn't a lot in nature that sounds like this, particularly for two hours. So it's very promising.

BOLDUAN: You say it's unusual. But I guess you can say, everything about this search has been a bit unusual to this point, Mary. That's for sure.

SCHIAVO: That's right.

BOLDUAN: Van, let me lean on your expertise of oceanography, and the search specifically going on under the water. Let's focus on the Ocean Shield and the pings detected. The first ping they detected was for 2 hours and 20 minutes. Then they turned the ship around to get back to that path again. And they detected it for 13 minutes.

Does that indicate anything to you that we should take from it?

VAN GURLEY, METRON SCIENTIFIC SOLUTIONS: Well, the beauty of this, and the good news in this, is fact they've had such a long period of time. The two hours on the first occasion and immediately reacquiring it for another 13-minute period. That's very encouraging and leads me to believe that -- you know, we're on to the right location. Again, nothing for sure until we actually can see wreckage on the ocean bottom.

But again, these pingers are very short-range. So, you would expect as the ship slowly moves into the area it would come into the zone, pick it up. It would move through the zone where it hears it and then it would lose the signal as the range gets too great, and that appears to be what had happened.

So, what I would expect today is they will continue to make additional passes to sort of refine the area of where they're hearing it, where they're not hearing it. And that will define the real region for the follow-up exploration.

BOLDUAN: Officials are on the ground say it could be days before they really have more information on what we heard and where that area is.

For those who don't understand how a search goes about in the ocean, why can't they just turn it right around, nail it down and send down that Bluefin underwater autonomous vehicle, and take pictures of exactly what was sending out that signal? Please explain.

GURLEY: Well, the ocean's a very unforgiving place. So this requires very deliberate, very patient operations which is what the experts on the Ocean Shield are doing right now.

First, as talked about in the previous segment, just the thought of turning that shim around with the pinger deployed with thousands of miles with cable out is taking three hours. It's not like in your car where you turn the wheel and you get around the corner. It takes a long time to get all of that equipment turned around and back on the right bearing. Secondly, you know, they need to know what is on the bottom before they send down a Bluefin-21, which is a very expensive piece of equipment and very delicate.

So, they may need to bring the HMS Echo over and do some bottom mapping first, just to make sure there's nothing down there that's going to get them, in terms of some irregular bottoms or ledge features or other things that can be a problem with these some of these vehicles.

And then finally when they know what they're comfortable that they're in the right place and they know what they're getting into, they'll put the Bluefin 21 in the water. It will go down. Basically fly right on the bottom, a couple hundred feet up with cameras and sonars start taking pictures of the bottom to see what's down there.

BOLDUAN: And, Mary, as you have this focus going on for one part of the search area for the Ocean Shield, some 300-plus miles away you have the Chinese vessel who has detected what Australian officials think is likely to be the same sort of the same ping.

Do you think it's possible it's the same signal? Or do you agree with the Australian officials that it must be something separate?

SCHIAVO: I agree with the Australian officials that it must be something separate because the range on the pinger sound is so limited, maybe vertically a mile and a half through water and horizontally three miles. Experts say that's pretty much tops. And I know there are various instances in which water -- sound can travel very far through water. But that's just too far.

So, maybe, they have the pings. Maybe the Australians have the pings. But the Ocean Shield pings seem particularly promising. And I would think that those are the ones. What the Chinese vessel heard, you know, is up for grabs.

And maybe they will find something or some way that it did travel that far. The wreckage is there. It looks to me it's the Ocean Shield that has it.

BOLDUAN: It looks take they've put everything they've had to focus on this area. More planes and the ships heading to this direction as well. So, this could be a very important day in the search. Hopefully, as Mary, as we've been talking about a lot, they will be able to narrow down the search area. That's been the biggest challenge, is this vast area.

We're going to continue to talk about that throughout the show.

Mary and Van will be back with us to continue this conversation.

Van, Mary, thank you so much.


CUOMO: All right, Kate. We'll take a break on NEW DAY. When we come back, we're going to get a first hand account of the search from a U.S. naval commander with the fleet in charge. You're going to get to hear why they think they're on the right track.

And also, we have breaking news in the Oscar Pistorius trial. The Blade Runner is on the stand right now in his own defense. His dramatic apology to the family of his girlfriend, next.


CUOMO: Good morning.

We have breaking news in the search for missing Flight 370. U.S. Navy pinger locator has detected two separate signals that are consistent with aircraft flight data recorders, a.k.a., black boxes.

Now, this is being called the most promising lead yet in the hunt for Flight 370. I spoke earlier with Commander William Marks. He is the public affairs officer for the U.S. Seventh Fleet.