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The Mystery of Flight 370; Breaking News from Australian PM: "Very Confident" Signals are From Black Box

Aired April 10, 2014 - 23:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: This is a CNN special report. "The Mystery of Flight 370." I'm Don Lemon. And we have breaking news for you.

Fifteen planes, 13 ships headed out to the search zone for Flight 370. And that zone has narrowed again today down to around 18,000 square miles.

Still a lot of ocean but there's renewed urgency to the search coming after the crew of an Australian P-3 Orion picked up a signal yesterday that may be from the black boxes. It is the fifth signal picked up by search teams so far and it's being analyzed right now.

We're going to bring you the news on that just as soon as we get it.

And as the search goes on there are still many more questions than answers. You have been tweeting your questions by the thousands and we've got top aviation and security experts standing by to answer them for you like this from Sara. "How long would it take for the plane to sink and how far would the drift be?"

Now I want to get right to the search zone. Joe Johns is in Kuala Lumpur, Richard Quest is here with me in New York.

Good evening to you.


LEMON: All right. Let's start with you, Joe Johns.

Joe, we talked about that search zone. And -- that it was narrowed. It's been over a month now for this investigation, and today the Malaysian government revealed some new information about the plane's disappearance from radar. What did we learn, Joe?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Don, I think we learned three things. First, we are learning Malaysian Air force search aircraft were dispatched soon after the airline reported its plane was missing. Malaysian government officials, however, are denying that any type of jets were scrambled. So there's certainly room for clarification on that.

The second thing we're learning is that the aircraft apparently dipped between 5,000 and 4,000 feet during its travels, not clear whether it was the result of some trouble or if it was done by the pilots, for example, to try to evade detection. The third thing we learned was that the voice on the sign off on those last haunting words, "Good night, MH-370," apparently was the voice of the captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

So three important new elements to add to the piece of the puzzle. And the question, of course, is how all of these things put together -- Don.

LEMON: Joe, do we know for a fact who was flying the plane, was it the pilot or the co-pilot?

JOHNS: I don't think that's clear. I don't think it's clear at all. What we do know is in those last final exchanges verified by voice comparison with other pilots at Malaysia Airlines, the voices were calm, apparently no stress. And apparently no voices in the background. Still, we don't know who was in control of the plane at the time -- Don.

LEMON: All right, Joe Johns, thank you very much.

I want to go now to Erin McLaughlin.

Erin, there's been another possible ping heard. How is the search changing based on these -- on these latest signals?


LEMON: OK. Apparently we're having some trouble with Erin. I go to Richard Quest now.

So, Richard, she's having a little technical problem.

QUEST: Absolutely.

LEMON: That happens when it's live. How has that changed now because since it's 18,000 square miles now and these new -- this fifth ping?

QUEST: Every time they get another ping, it increases the certainty that what they found is the right thing and that allows them to decrease the area that they are searching in. Now we haven't had this fifth ping confirmed, but if it is confirmed -- it's like we saw last night with Tom Foreman, you keep getting these pings. You draw the circle and the more pings you get the closer and closer it becomes.


QUEST: So your search area is greatly reduced. And that's why Angus Houston wants to keep -- trying to get as many pings as possible.

LEMON: Right. And as many pings as possible because, number one, the battery life, the battery is weakening every single minute.

QUEST: Absolutely. He said that. Yes. Absolutely.

LEMON: That's important to find it as soon as possible.

QUEST: Yes. Absolutely. The battery life is weakening. He doesn't have a second chance. Once the -- once the pinger has died, that's it. So why not spend the time now getting as many assets in the water. You've got the buoys, you've got the ships, you've got the towed ping locator, all these things searching now while they can.

LEMON: Now what about this? Joe Johns said that they had no idea, was it was the pilot or the co-pilot. And that was interesting because they said it was -- the last thing was "Good night, 370." And they said that was the pilot's voice, but they still don't know who was flying the plane.

QUEST: The chief executive of Malaysia Airlines early on said it was his understanding it was the co-pilot, the first officer, Fariq Hamid. Now they seem to be just amending that. They played it to five different people. Officially they are saying nothing. Unofficially sources have told CNN that they believe it is the captain.

We don't know. We have to stick with what we're being told officially which seems to suggest the first officer.

LEMON: All right. Let's check in again with Erin McLaughlin.

Erin, are you there? Can you hear us this time?


LEMON: There's been another possible ping heard. How is the search changing from where you are based on the latest signal?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they've been analyzing that new data overnight yesterday. They said it looked promising. We're waiting for some sort of updates on that today. We'll let you know as soon as we hear. But really if this does in fact turn out to be the real deal it's significant for two reasons. It lets them know that the batteries associated with the black box pinger have not yet expired and Angus Houston, the man responsible for coordinating the search effort, has long said that the search for pings will continue as long as they believe that that battery is still in play.

And it also gives them more information, it will also give them more information with which to narrow down a potential search field. And the more pings they get, the more information they have to be able to send down -- to narrow down that search field in order to send down an underwater autonomous vehicle supplied by the U.S. Navy, the Bluefin 21. It'll be able to go underwater, not only search for the wreckage but take pictures, as well. But as far as we know at the moment, we're not quite there at that stage just yet -- Don.

LEMON: Erin McLaughlin, thank you very much. We appreciate that. You know, the Australian prime minister has some previously scheduled remarks this hour in Shanghai and we will let you know if he says anything about the search effort. So make sure you stay tuned.

Richard, I want you to stay with me and I want to check in now with CNN's Martin Savidge. At this moment he's in a 777 flight simulator along with flight instructor Mitchell Casado, of course.

So, Martin, sources tell CNN the plane dipped to an altitude between 4,000 to 5,000 feet after it crossed back over the Malaysian Peninsula.

Martin, help us understand that.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, well, I'll tell you right now, we are cruising in the simulator at 4500 feet. The speed of 250 knots and we're headed northwest up the Strait of Malacca, again in the simulator. So this is what they suggest Malaysian -- our Malaysian sources suggest the plane did. The only difference is we've got it in daylight just so you can see the horizon, see the aircraft.

If you're trying to avoid radar by doing this, any pilot, anybody with any understanding of radar would tell you, you fail and you fail miserably. Mitchell shows where we'd going to be if we truly wanted this aircraft to somehow disappear and go off of radar and I've got to tell you it's going to have to be something dramatically closer to the ground.

Mitchell is going to put us into a really steep dive there. You're going to see the water racing up to us through the windshield here. You hear all the alarms going off, alerting us that we're flying way too fast and going way too low but we're going to bring it in to a level that we say would be more realistic if you were trying to take this plane below a radar level in the Strait of Malacca and it's really going to have to be about here.

And if you bring up the other vantage point, Mitchell, this is that aircraft, the simulator here showing it now. This plane is about 100 feet off the deck. That's where you would have to be to try to avoid any kind of radar. It would be extremely noisy. It would be -- what would it be like to handle this?

MITCHELL CASADO, PILOT TRAINER, 777 COCKPIT SIMULATOR: Just really stressful. Really noisy. Really -- just dangerous.

SAVIDGE: And remember, it would have been night time. This would have been suicidal. OK. So take us up. So then there's another way. We could try to explain this. And that is, maybe they weren't trying to avoid radar but in fact what they were trying to avoid was other aircraft, commercial aircraft. Get down low enough that they are out of the primary plane where any kind of planes are going to be.

In other words, one way you depict this makes them look sinister, hiding. If you put it the other way and say, no, they are trying to avoid other planes. It makes them look like they might be dealing with an accident and they're trying to be safe and not harm other aircraft -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Martin Savidge, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

I want to get the reaction now from Geoffrey Thomas. He's the editor in chief of Clive Irving, a "Daily Beast" contributor, and Richard Quest also with me here on set of course in New York.

Geoffrey, we just saw Martin demonstrate that Flight 370 may have flown as low as 4,000 feet. What would be the plane of descent or drop to that level?

GEOFFREY THOMAS, AIRLINERATINGS.COM: It is an interesting question, Don. It had been speculated when this information was first rumored a few weeks ago out of Malaysia, that they might have been terrain hugging to avoid radar. It seems to sort of -- it seems to sort of support the theory that this was a very deliberate action combined with the altitude changes that we had known about and also the information which CNN got a few days ago that the airplane had flown completely around Indonesia. It all seems to paint a picture of trying to avoid primary military radar.

LEMON: Richard, what more do we know about the altitude drop and why this info is coming out now and not from the very beginning?


LEMON: Remember we heard the drop to 12,000 feet? But we didn't --

QUEST: We had really numerous altitude reports. The first said it was up to 45 and then down to 23.

LEMON: Right.

QUEST: Then we had one, it was at 12,000.

LEMON: Right.

QUEST: And that wasn't for radar, that was to avoid traffic.

LEMON: Right.

QUEST: Now we've got this one that says it went -- it went under 4,000 and tried to avoid radar. But here's the contradiction on this one. Because they say it did disappear from radar, this source.

LEMON: Right.

QUEST: And then reappeared again. So we don't know why that source said it did disappear from radar and then reappeared again. This was in the Straits of Malacca as it moved across the peninsula. So we have to treat this I think with a very strong --

LEMON: And a lot of this we knew, we just didn't know the altitude.


QUEST: We do know the altitude --

LEMON: But we know that it went off and on from radar.

QUEST: Absolutely. LEMON: OK. So, Clive, I have to ask you this. You wrote an article explaining a couple of different scenarios of how this plane would have broken up if it crashed over the water. Lay those out for us, will you?

CLIVE IRVING, SR. CONSULTING EDITOR, CONDE NAST TRAVELER: Yes. Well, I just wanted to add something to what you just said.

LEMON: Yes, go ahead.

IRVING: If it did go down to that altitude of 4,000, 5,000 feet, then what happened after that? Because if it had continued to that altitude for the rest of the flight it wouldn't have gone anything like the distance we now know or believe it did go because it would have used too much fuel. So it's implying that if it was down at 4,000, 5,000 feet it would then have to ascend to a cruise altitude in order to go the full distance where the search is targeted now.

LEMON: Right.

IRVING: So I take great objection to the fact that this stuff is let out bit by bit and inferences are made by various different people drawing different conclusions to it. This is no -- this is less than accurate. I mean, if we were to be really fair about this and take this seriously, we want to see a complete radar map, a continuous complete radar picture, not just little fragments.

Anyway, Don, to get back to your original question, exactly how this -- how this aircraft hit the ocean is crucial. We don't know that. But there could be a huge difference in the type of debris field that it creates according to which way it went in. If it went in a powered kind of dive then it would have broken up in to literally millions of pieces because that's what happened to an MD-11 that went into the Atlantic off of the coast of Halifax.

If it, on the other hand, went in similarly to the Air France 447 in a relatively stable condition it would have been broken up into a number of large pieces, and many smaller pieces, but I still think it's fascinating now, Don, that we still have not had any sighting at all of any piece of wreckage. And it's pretty interesting that Angus Houston, the Australian commentator, who is measured in what he says.

I think it's admirable the way he's conducting these press conferences. He's very measured. And he's made it very clear that until they actually get wreckage there's no proof of what has happened. Now he's talking in this case -- in this case I think not about wreckage that's floating. He's talking about wreckage beneath the ocean. And as you've been saying, the area has been narrowed to 18,000 miles -- square miles today. But that's an enormous area. Because in the end what you've got to go for is an area probably no larger than a few city blocks.

So we've got to get from 18,000 square miles down to an area of no larger than a few city blocks to have any chance of finding this at two --

LEMON: And Clive.


LEMON: Yes. I want to ask you, how optimistic -- I mean, I understand your scenario about the chances -- down to a few city blocks, but how -- do you believe that these five signals the searchers have picked up so far, alleged fifth, are the pings from the black boxes?

IRVING: Yes, I do. I think we've got very lucky. I think this search had to start very late because we moved the 700 miles further north. And it's worth remembering that if they were searching in the original area, further to the south it would have been impossible to deploy this equipment because the weather and seas are so bad. So I'm encouraged by this. And I think the Australians have been very careful about what they're encouraging us to expect.

And I think the big question is what happens when the pings stop? Is there an equipment gap between the broad stroke searching done by the ping detector and the very specific targeted searching done by torpedo size.

LEMON: By the -- yes, the Bluefin-21.

Clive, I want you to stick around.


LEMON: I want Geoffrey, Richard, everyone, to stick around here, because we have some breaking news tonight in this country.

Nine people are dead after a fiery collision between a tour bus and a FedEx truck in Glenn County, California. California Highway Patrol says the passengers on the bus were students from Southern California on their way to visit a college.

We're going to bring you more details just as soon as we get them.

And when we come right back, I want to bring in my team of experts to weigh in on the big mysteries of Flight 370. What Malaysia knew and when they knew it.


LEMON: We're waiting word tonight on the analysis of that fifth signal picked up by searches. It's being called very encouraging and we're going to bring you news of that just as soon as we get it. And right now, I want to bring in my panel of experts.

Jeff Wise, the author of "Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger," Mary Schiavo is a former inspector general of the Department of Transportation, she's now an attorney for victims of transportation accidents, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Kay, a former adviser to the U.K. Ministry of Defense, Jim Tilmon, a retired American Airlines pilot, and Fran Townsend, she's homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, and also Geoffrey Thomas in Perth, all back with me now. And Clive Irving.

OK, so, listen, guys, I have some breaking news into CNN. And this is according to the Associated Press. And Richard is going to tell you what -- what our affiliates in Australia is reported. But the Associated Press is reporting that this breaking news from Australian prime minister says searchers are confident that the signals are coming from missing plane's black box.

Again, Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, says searches are confident that the signals are coming from missing plane's black box.

Geoffrey, you're there in Australia. Hang on, Richard, and --

QUEST: It's pretty much all the Australian networks in some shape or form are reporting the same comment. I'm guessing the prime minister must have made some comments either entering or leaving a building because they've all got the same.

LEMON: Well, a second with Geoffrey -- Geoffrey, you're there in Australia. What do you know about this? And there is the Associated Press' tweet right there.

What do you know, Geoffrey Thomas?

THOMAS: OK. You are quoting AP, that's great. And that confirms what we were hearing here that the prime minister of Australia was going to make an announcement, was going to make -- possibly make an announcement. That's just rumor at this stage. We don't have any confirmation at all.


THOMAS: But one of the things -- yes.

LEMON: Yes. But again, again, that is not CNN's reporting. We are reporting again what our affiliates in Australia have put out and also the Associated Press. And again, again, we want to tell you that this all should be perceived with a bit of caution here. CNN has not confirmed that. But the Associated Press is reporting that the prime minister is saying that he is confident, again, and I'm just giving you the quote here, the Australian prime minister says searchers are confident signals are coming from missing plane's black box. And we don't know the context in which that was said.

QUEST: We don't know the context and the comment as such is interesting and it advances the discussion, it's not revolutionary because we've had very similar to -- from Angus Houston but it is setting a scenario.

LEMON: Right.

QUEST: It is creating a picture of what the thinking now is in the officialdom in Australia and (INAUDIBLE).

LEMON: Yes. And Mary Schiavo, we want to be very clear. Again, this is not coming from Angus Houston, the man in charge of the search, it is coming from the prime minister. The prime minister could have made some offhanded comment leaving a press conference or maybe he was trying to repeat exactly what Angus Houston had said, and didn't say it exactly. Because Angus Houston has said he is confident that it is coming from a device which is -- which would be a black box.

QUEST: A flight data recorder.

LEMON: Yes. Go ahead, Mary.

MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: Well, again, I would expect to hear this from Angus Houston. He's been so far been good to his word. He said when he has something to announce he'll call a conference, a press conference and announce it. So he was very optimistic on his last press conference. And perhaps the latest ping that they've picked up, once analyzed, was exceedingly good but I'd kind of like to wait and hear it from the leader of the task force.

LEMON: Clive Irving, as you are hearing this information, would you be surprised by this coming from the prime minister rather than the person heading the search?

IRVING: Well, I hope that it's a considered comment by the prime minister because it's very important if it comes out of the mouth of the prime minister and it is endorsing the mood that we have been seeing over the last two days. And Angus Houston has been encouraging this mood, I think. And I think that this is great news if it's true because it means that the concentration of all these resources now that are out there on the top of the ocean, in the air, and under the water, all these resources can be now better concentrated in one place.

And so I don't think we should expect quick results, but at least it's a very confidence building day today, I think.

LEMON: Fran Townsend, in your experience with homeland security, what do you make of this latest information that we're hearing? According to the Associated Press and according to our affiliates in Australia?

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: You know, Don, it is typical when there is a big break in a sort of investigation that has worldwide attention that a political leader will make a statement. And so I'm not -- I'm not surprised if the reporting is right that the prime minister would say this. But I agree with Mary. What you ought to expect to come behind this is Angus coming out to make a more detailed statement on what's the context? Why -- why are they confident that this is coming from the plane's black box?

And sort of weaving together the narrative of the facts about why -- what's the significance of this development and what it's going to mean to the ongoing investigation.

LEMON: Go ahead.

QUEST: Let me jump in here. Forgive me. I'm going to throw in one more -- this is from our affiliate. LEMON: Is this News 9?

QUEST: No, this is Sky News Australia.

LEMON: Sky News, OK.

QUEST: Sky News Australia is tweeting from a press availability in Shanghai --

LEMON: And that's where the --

QUEST: That's where the prime minister is.

LEMON: Tony Abbott is in Shanghai.

QUEST: Yes. PM Abbott, and this is in quotes.

LEMON: Right.

QUEST: "We are very confident the signals are from the black box."


QUEST: So we are going up one notch.

LEMON: Yes. And he was at a previous -- previously scheduled press --

QUEST: I think he's on his way or --


LEMON: Now he's going to -- apparently we're going to be hearing from the prime minister. But again, this is all coming in to CNN. This is breaking news. We're getting it just as you are. As Richard Quest was saying this is coming from our affiliate Sky News, saying that the -- what's the quote again exactly, Richard?

QUEST: Well, they have it quote. "We are very confident the signals are from the black box." So whichever way we look at it, the PM of Australia tonight is saying --

LEMON: But until CNN says it, and I want to quote them specifically, the Associated Press is saying that the Australian prime minister says searchers are confident signals are coming from missing plane's black box. So we're going to get -- regroup here. Check with our affiliates and check with our sources in Australia, as well as in Malaysia to figure out exactly what's going on.

But again, that is a quote from the Associated Press and also from our affiliates here. According to Fran Townsend that often happens when you have big investigations like this. Someone will come out and say something and then they will have to sort of figure out how to give some confidence behind the words rather than just an off-handed statement, and then according to Mary Schiavo, she would like to hear from the man in charge of this investigation, as I'm sure we all would.

Angus Houston, from Perth, Australia, but again there is press availability from the prime minister in Shanghai. And that should happen at any moment. And if that happens live during this broadcast we will bring it to you. But don't go anywhere. We will be right back right after this with the breaking news.


LEMON: Welcome back, everyone. We have breaking news tonight on CNN. Reports that Australia's prime minister Tony Abbott is, quote, confident that signals that had been picked up are from the black boxes of 370. That is coming -- CNN has confirmed.

And joining me now exclusive is Paul Henry Nargeolet, he's the director of Underwater Research for Premier Exhibitions. Also Richard Quest is here with me.

First of all, it's -- it's Flight 447 that you helped, right?


LEMON: So what do you make of the prime minister's comments? CNN has now confirmed that he believes that it is the black boxes from Flight 370.

NARGEOLET: Honestly, I'm a little suspicious of this information because how we can say that. With what? Because there is, for the last few weeks, we are hearing pinger everywhere. How is this one better than the other one? I don't understand.

LEMON: You don't know how he can confirm the information without having the black boxes themselves.

NARGEOLET: Or seeing some debris or something to see the plane was there. I don't know. Maybe he has better information than anybody. It should be because he's the Prime Minister but I'm a little suspicious.

LEMON: That's my next question. Might he have -- obviously he is a Prime Minister -- more information than we have, Richard Quest?

QUEST: I think what he is going on is the information that we heard yesterday. The Australian Acoustic Defense Department, the experts, they are the ones that have said it is consistent, it's stable, it is 1.106 seconds, it's 33, whatever. And I think he's probably going on that sort of evidence from his own military experts in coming up with these -- with these comments, to be quite so definitive.

There's clearly been a much greater level of enthusiasm and optimism. And it's interesting to hear you say, sir, because quite rightly you remind us that, until we have evidence, we should not be off to the races.

LEMON: Right, some debris or something that says these are the actual black boxes, correct? But it is the Prime Minister of Australia. Australia is in charge of the search now and the investigation is of course Malaysia, but he is in charge of the search. My question is how does the search change now? Let's say the information is correct. Then how does the search change?

NARGEOLET: Well it should change because probably the area will be much smaller. Actually the area is 18,000 square miles, which is a huge area. It's like four or five times more than what was for Air France flight, which is a lot. And I can tell you on the Air France flight, it was already a big area. But, you know, I don't trust very much the acoustic because we used even on the Titanic, on the Titanic debris field, we were using the same pinger sensing as a marker.

LEMON: You don't trust it?

NARGEOLET: Most of the time we never heard them. It was so hard, and we know where they were. We were putting this pinger on a basket where we were putting our artifacts inside the basket. And sometimes -- because we put this basket and we have a lot of other artifacts around or a piece of the wreck, and it was very hard to hear. And we were like maybe 1,000, 2,000 feet away. And even when I was in the Navy, I was many times looking for black boxes and stuff like that. It is really, really hard to trust this kind of information because you can have a propeller, you could have something around making the same noise and it's very difficult.

LEMON: The same noise that is consistent with a black box over a period of time from a number of different times. Apparently there have been at least four confirmed by the Australian officials and a fifth possible one. Even with that you think that you are still suspicious of that?

NARGEOLET: Yes. Yes, because, you know, you never know. Like when the Chinese found the pinger. We don't know if the pinger is in a rubber boat who was sometime in contact with the water and working. We don't know exactly what the people are doing. And that happened to me so many times, to see mistakes like that, simple mistake like that. You take with your finger, the pinger -- anything wet can start. And the people, when they are on the side, to dry their equipment, they use finger and maybe they lost one.

LEMON: Is he rightly skeptical?

QUEST: How lucky we are to have you with us, sir. Because you're giving us a perspective that we need so that we don't go off too far with what we have. And unrelated to this, very interesting, because Angus Houston, the man in charge of the search, is basically saying exactly the same thing. He's saying I'm not going to say it's the pinger until I see real debris or wreckage, or I see physical evidence.

NARGEOLET: He's right.

LEMON: Yes. So, again, whether he's right or not, we should hear from him soon hopefully. But again, it's so good to have you here. Stick around. I'm going to get to a break and come back with this again. Paul-Henry Nargeolet, thank you.

More on tonight's breaking news. The Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, is saying, quote, he is confident the signals are from the black boxes that are just coming in, the black box, he says. That is coming in to CNN. CNN is confirming that. At first our affiliates in Australia were reporting that but we're hearing that he is telling that to media in China. He is in Shanghai now. Apparently he is going to have a press availability soon. We'll check on that for you. We will be right back with our breaking news right after this. Don't go anywhere.


LEMON: Back with tonight's breaking news. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he is, quote, very confident the signals they picked up are from the black box. Meanwhile, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said an initial assessment of the possible signal detected by RAAF APC-3 Orion aircraft yesterday afternoon of the so-called fifth ping has been determined not related to an underwater locater beacon. Again, that supposed fifth ping not related to an underwater locater beacon.

So there's lots of breaking news happening tonight. I want to bring in CNN's Richard Quest. We have confirmed what Tony Abbott is saying. It's similar though to what with we heard from Angus Houston, right?

QUEST: I think we are hearing a politician's version of exactly the same thing the military man said the previous night. He's put it as very confident it's a black box. We knew all of this. He says he's not going to say anymore until he has had a chance to brief the Chinese premier. He's in Shanghai so he'll be seeing the Chinese premier. So I don't expect to hear anymore from Prime Minister Abbott.

LEMON: What is our affiliate Sky News saying?

QUEST: OK, this is from the JACC can. This is the joint authority on -- the search authority. I can never remember what the two Cs are; somebody will remind in a second. Angus Houston says, "On the information I have available to me, there has been no major breakthrough in the search for MH-370. I will provide a further update if and when further information becomes available."

LEMON: So it sounds like, as you said, it's Tony Abbott's version of what Angus Houston has been telling us all along.

QUEST: The fifth ping doesn't exist. They are still waiting for information on when to send down the AUV. No major developments during the course of the Friday search day.

LEMON: And of course, in deference to the family, and Tony -- Angus Houston has been, has had the families top of mind and he doesn't want to give them any sort of false hope or any false information.

QUEST: I need to correct myself, the Thursday search day.

LEMON: Got ya. Anyway, he wants to be careful when it comes to the families, as well he should be and all of us should be.

So joining me now is Steve Wang, whose mother was on board flight 370. First to you, Steve, as you hear the new information from the Prime Minister, what do you make of that?

STEVE WANG, PASSENGER'S SON: Well, you know, they have such kind of information before from the first day until now. Every day there's some clues and some of them they feel positive that they could find the plane, but until now they haven't found anything which is exactly linked to the MH-370. Maybe we will wait for the final result.

LEMON: How are you and the families holding up?

WANG: Well, the faith that we will find our family finally.

LEMON: I'm sorry, say again?

WANG: Well, we just keep the faith that we will find our family and find the plane, sooner or later, but we will find it finally.

LEMON: I understand. You're keeping the faith that you will find your families and you will find the plane. The family committee that you are part of is calling for further help from Inmarsat and from Boeing. What would you like to get from them that hasn't been forthcoming already?

WANG: We have asked several questions. Maybe some of the things are about the plane, like the ELT, the communications system, the satellite phone, and we will ask such kind of questions the investigation team from Malaysia and the Malaysian government representative cannot give us any answer because they don't know it. So we want Boeing to give us some information about what kind of system and why ELT doesn't send any signal out. That is impossible.

And what's more for the theory from the Inmarsat which leads to the final ending, we ask the some kind of question, like, what it's based on? Like the speed, or maybe the height, or maybe is there any kind of difference between the different speed and different height, what will change? And the Malaysian team cannot answer either. And we asked them several times and we want to communicate with Inmarsat and Boeing directly. But I'm not sure whether they didn't send out such kind of requests, or Boeing or Inmarsat refused to give us such kind of help. So now we want, through the medi,a to ask Boeing and Inmarsat to give more help for such kind of things.

LEMON: OK, Steve, at this stage, I have to ask you what do you believe happened to your mother's flight?

WANG: Well, I'm not sure. There are all kind of possibilities. It might be a hijacking, might be a technical problem, might be any kind of things. I'm not sure. But the only thing I'm sure is that there are still some things that have been covered up by the Malaysian government and I wish that they could give it out to the world as soon as possible.

LEMON: What sort of proof do you think you and other families need to see now from the Malaysian government, from officials?

WANG: Many kind of things. The first is the sound record between the tower and plane. They have given us a text record, but if they can give us a text record, it means it is not confidential. But why can't you give us a sound record? Has it been changed? Or has anything happened? I'm not sure, but that's the most important clues we think now that we will know what happened to MH-370. And what's more, maybe the connection record between the satellite phone. They said they have called the plane several times between the 2:35 and 3:00. So there must be some more record in the satellite, so we want that kind of record. It may lead to where the plane was flying to.

LEMON: Steve Wang, we are all thinking about you. The entire world is watching. And hopefully by carrying the story we are hope helping the get some information and putting some pressure on the Malaysian government to come forward and bring more information and at least to help you and make you aware. Thank you for sharing your story. OK.

Much more on tonight's breaking news. Australia's Prime Minister says he is, quote, very confident the signals they picked up were from Flight 370's black box. More with our breaking news after this.


LEMON: Back now with tonight's breaking news. Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he is, quote, very confident the signals they picked up are from the black box. Meantime, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston says an initial assessment of the possible signal detected yesterday afternoon, the so-called fifth ping, is not related to an underwater beacon.

Back now with me is my team of experts. Fran Townsend, we'll get to you. On the one hand, we have the Prime Minister saying he's absolutely confident that this is the black box they are hearing, but then you have, you know, Angus Houston saying the fifth so-called ping not happening. What's going on here? How confident should we be in any of this information?

TOWNSEND: Well, I think the head investigator Angus is the person you want to take the details from. What you are getting from the Prime Minister is a sort of general statement that all of the information taken together gives him -- he didn't say it that clearly, but I think what he is trying to say is a politician's sort of high-level take on the investigation. They are confident that what they're seeing now is the black box, even putting the fifth ping, potential ping, aside.

And you are looking to the chief investigators for the details. We now learned that the fifth ping is not likely from the black box. But we have seen the search area sort of constrict; it gets tighter. And it does give us, just from what we are seeing, confidence that they are narrowing in on the appropriate area where they will be able to recover it.

LEMON: Mikey Kay, you really have had confidence in the Inmarsat data. You have been stressing Inmarsat data, Inmarsat data, even more so than these audio -- these acoustic events that we've been hearing underwater. You heard the family member there, Steve Wang, saying he wanted Inmarsat and Boeing to get more information from them and them to be up front. What do you make of his comments and do you agree?

KAY: I don't think they can share all of the information with the families at this stage. Look, Don, we have been covering this for four weeks. I think there's been an increasing degree of optimism ever since Angus Houston stood on the world stage last weekend and announced that first press conference. We then saw the Australia Defense Prime Minister, David Johnston, he then came on the world stage. And we're now seeing Tony Abbott, who seems confident and optimistic that this is going to lead somewhere.

I'd also emphasize, I wound find it if incredible if Australia got on the world stage without consulting with the other five countries that form up the part of the team that sits under the independent investigator in charge, which is Malaysia. Those five countries are the U.S., the U.K., France, China and Australia. So I would find it pretty peculiar if Tony Abbott wasn't consulting with those five countries as well to make sure that they were comfortable with this information coming out before he went on the world stage and announced it.

LEMON: Yes, it's very interesting that that is happening and there's been a lot of criticism about that.

Geoffrey Thomas, I want to go back to you. The search has been headed up by Australia. The investigation mostly by the Malaysians. On a scale from one to five, five being the best, if you were to rate the Malaysians on how they've handled this investigation, especially considering what you heard from the family member, what would you give them?

THOMAS: Look, you would probably give them a three out of five, maybe some people might give them a two out of five. But having said that, Don, there's not too many countries that would do this investigation any better because we haven't lost an airplane this size like this for a month. This is something that is quite extraordinary. And this would have challenged most jurisdictions, I would say.

But now that we have the collaborative effort of the United States, the British, the Australians, the Chinese, the French, as well, helping, it's back on track. And it's -- and they are doing very well as an international collaboration.

LEMON: All right. Jim Tilmon and Jeff Wise we'll get to you coming up shortly. Not to worry, we have a lot of show ahead of us.

When we come back, more on tonight's breaking news. Australia's Prime Minister says he is, quote, very confident they have picked up signals from Flight 370's black box.


LEMON: Back now to tonight's breaking news. Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he is, quote, very confident the signals they picked up are from the black box. Meantime, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston says their initial assessment of a possible signal detected yesterday, that so-called fifth ping yesterday afternoon, is not related to an underwater locator beacon.

My experts are back with me. Let's talk now about the possibility of hijacking, OK. This one is for Fran. Fran, this is from a viewer in Nashville. Viewer in Nashville says wouldn't hijacking explain everything? Just because nothing showed up on passenger's check doesn't rule it out. Fran?

TOWNSEND: That's right. The fact there is nothing on the passengers doesn't rule it out. We've seen much talk. I hasten to add it continues to be speculation right now. But when they ruled out there was nothing wrong with the passengers, the glaring absence was they didn't say about that at about that about the pilots. And so there's much talk in the law enforcement community about whether or not a pilot in there alone when the co-pilot would have to the lavatory might have locked himself in and sabotaged the plane. We don't know that. That is speculation. But the fact that the passengers were cleared does not rule out a hijacking or an individual sabotaging the plane.

LEMON: Yes, and Richard Quest, of course she is right on. They have not -- they still have not ruled out the pilots or even the crew, correct?

QUEST: Let's leave everybody in and everybody out.

LEMON: OK. Thank you very much. We appreciate that. When we come back, much more of tonight's breaking news. Australia's Prime Minister says he is, quote, confident the signals they picked up are from the black box.