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Fifth Signal Not Related To Flight 370; Ten Dead In Bus-Truck Crash In California; Kathleen Sebelius To Resign; : "Tired" Pistorius Breaks Down in Court

Aired April 11, 2014 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is Friday, April 11th, 6:00 in the east. New this morning, just a few mile, OK, those are the words of the Australian prime minister for how far away searchers are from the wreckage of Flight 370. They are now said to be "very confident," those are quoted words. Those signals picked up over the last several days are coming from the plane's black box and they know its location, almost.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Still, the head of the search warns there's no breakthrough here and a new signal heard Thursday we talked about now does not appear to be related. Our coverage begins this morning with Matthew Chance live from Perth, Australia, the heart of this search effort -- Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, thanks very much. Well, those comments from Tony Abbott, the Australian prime minister, really should be taken in context of the official visit that he was on to Beijing and China. Chinese, because they were the majority of nationalities on board. Malaysian Airliner incredibly sort of interested and have a great stake in the progress of the search operations, trying to locate that missing airliner.

And I think that even though Tony Abbott was cautious in what he said he went a little further than any Australian official has so far done in terms of describing the progress. Take a listen.


TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: We are confident that we know the position of the black box flight recorder to within some kilometers. Our confidence in the approximate position of the black box is not the same as recovering wreckage from almost 4-1/2 kilometers beneath the sea or finally determining all that happened on that flight.


CHANCE: But what Angus Houston, who is the man in charge with overseeing and coordinating the multinational search effort, he moved to kind of down played the prime minister's remarks saying over the course of the past 24 hours, essentially there's been no major breakthrough. However, he said that the search area has significantly narrowed down to about 18,000 square miles, which is still a big patch of ocean, of course. But it's much smaller, much more manageable than the 80,000 square miles that were being searched for pings over the course of last week. Much, much more manageable area. Also on the downside, I suppose, you may remember yesterday there was a fifth ping identified by an Australian aircraft flying over the area where the search operations were under way. That's been now ruled out as not linked to the missing Malaysian airliner. Chris, back to you.

CUOMO: Matthew, thank you very much for the latest. Let's break it down with our experts, David Soucie, CNN safety analyst and the author of "Why Planes Crash," Mary Schiavo, CNN aviation analyst, former inspector general for the Department of Transportation. Good to have you both.

The sonobuoy ping, the fifth ping turned to not be related to the black box. My question to you, David Soucie, does that mean we should question, the other pings that they thought were related to the black box. Maybe if the sonobuoys had been in use there, they would have made those not related also. Should we have lack of confidence now?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: No, I don't think so. I think it's a different signal. They distinctively said that. It was the first ping we got on the sonobuoy. Everything else had been detected by the --

CUOMO: So our confidence is intact that what they think they found in the others ones are good?

SOUCIE: Mine is.

CUOMO: OK, so Mary, how many pings do you need before you have enough to start searching for wreckage?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, it's not just the number of pings. You need a number of pings in a compact enough area so you can calculate where the location of the black box most likely is. We've seen the diagrams that almost looks like a star, if you will, where they've made various targets across the ocean to try to zero in not necessarily triangulate, but evaluate the different pings and get the strongest point and then send down the Bluefin. Whether they need, you know, five or ten, what they need is to be able to figure out where in the midst of all the pings, they're going to send down the Bluefin.

CUOMO: The Australian PM, Tony Abbott, said that they are confident they know the position within some kilometers. Then send down the Bluefin.

SCHIAVO: Well, one would think but they want to take every last little bit of juice out of the batteries to get as many as possible. Because remember, there have been air crashes where they have sent down the side scan sonar and found the black boxes within a day or two and there have been some where it has been months. There was one in the Java Sea where the plane crashed in January and they got the black boxes in August. So that's why they're trying to get every last little ping. At this point, the black boxes will be fine if they have to wait a day or two more or a week or two more. The black boxes will be OK even though the battery is gone.

CUOMO: Right. David, that's obviously your concern is that we're going to lose battery life. We seem to be in the extended time period anyway, over time for the batteries. So you search as long as you can, I guess, until the batteries gone?

SOUCIE: Well, we talked to Commander Marks the other day and he said he expected from the time they stop receiving the signals, the assumption that the battery is gone, they would continue to search for at least two more days after that just to be certain that they've gotten, as Mary said, all the juice out of the batteries that are available.

CUOMO: I still don't get the proximity related to the ping pickup. The prime minister said within a few kilometers and now you tell me the search area is the size of New Jersey and New Hampshire together. I don't get it.

SOUCIE: Well, I think there's two things. The search area, still looking for debris. When they talk about large search areas they're talking about debris. They are not necessarily talking about where the black boxes are. The search for the black box is much smaller than that. In fact, if you included all the pings you would still be within about 500 or so square miles is the area for the black boxes.

Now, if you then exclude the extraneous pings, refracted pings or the small short ones that are 5 minutes and 7 minutes and say let's focus on just the ones that we know are within the broadcast area of that box, now, the only one that's really credible as far as that to get distinguishing information is the two-hour ping they got at first. That would indicate that TPL had been towed through the broadcast range of where the pinger is.

CUOMO: That gives you your best idea?

SOUCIE: Absolutely.

CUOMO: So you are buying the prime minister's confidence? You believe he has legitimate reason --

SOUCIE: If we didn't have the 2-hour ping, I would be less confident because you don't know if you're just getting a refractive signal or a past signal that started from different location. But because of that I'm confident.

CUOMO: His reliability has been pretty good. Mary Schiavo, you've been making this reference, 1987, Indian Ocean, another crash there. So we do have a model of comparison in terms of how difficult this is and how long it can take. Just give us a sense of that.

SCHIAVO: Well, in that crash the black box was picked up from 16,000 feet under the Indian Ocean, and that accident was South African Airways. It was a long time ago. It was '87 but they didn't find any wreckage at first either. They were looking to the east of the crash zone and, in fact, the currents took it to the west. And so they had a mystery there on their hands as well.

And in that case they didn't get any pings. They had a very good idea where it went into the water, however, and with two days with the submersibles, within two days they had a black box. But they had a really good idea of where it went in. They just didn't have any wreckage because they looked the wrong place. So there are many similarities.

The black box was fine from 16,000 feet under water and they were indeed at the right place when they sent the submersibles in. Maybe that's the scenario here. That holds the record, by the way, deepest undersea recovery of a black box was from the Indian Ocean.

CUOMO: Hopefully that record stands and this one is more shallow water so it's more easily found. But thank you for the perspective. David, thanks for explaining the difference in the search zone for the debris versus for the black box. That is confusing -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Now let's turn to a really horrible scene on a California interstate. At least ten people, half of them high school seniors, killed in a fiery crash. The students were on their way to visit a college together in Northern California when a semi-truck collided head-on with their charter bus. Both buses, both vehicles erupted in flames.

CNN Stephanie Elam is live in Northern California with more on this horrible story. Good morning, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. It is a devastating accident and every parent's worst nightmare. We can tell you besides those five high school students that have died, the three were adult chaperones that have died and both drivers of the vehicle, but still at this point no one knows what was the cause to start this accident in the first place.


ELAM (voice-over): The images are horrifying. A bus full of high school students burst into flames on the side of a California highway after a head-on collision with a FedEx truck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything was in flames already. It was a couple of explosions after that.

ELAM: The truck slamming into the bus full of high school seniors after police say it crossed over the median and into oncoming traffic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of a sudden I heard a sonic boom. When I got there everything was engulfed and it was still spewing up black smoke.

ELAM: The collision leaving both drivers and multiple passengers dead. Eyewitnesses helpless as flames consumed the bus. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people screaming and begging for help with all the flames and all the smoke. It was just cover your eyes.

ELAM: Emergency crews raced to the scene to help the injured students.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many of them had cuts, contusions, bumps, minor burns. The ones I saw I know that there was one person when we arrived on scene that was unfortunately on fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Screaming for help, don't let me die, just help me.

ELAM: At least 34 people were rushed to local hospitals. Helicopter airlifted survivors. Others were taken by school bus and ambulances to local care centers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw one gentleman on a board and his clothes were gone pretty much. I couldn't tell if his injuries were significant. I just kept praying.

ELAM: The high school students were on their way to visit Humboldt State University this weekend. Just hours after tweeting a picture from inside the bus, crash survivor, Jonathan Gutierrez, posted this picture of the crash scene writing, "I can't believe what just happened. I was asleep and next thing you know I was jumping out for my life."


ELAM: Absolutely terrifying to have to go through that. We know that nine of the people that died, died here on scene while another died from their wounds at a local hospital. At this point, though, they do not expect any more people to die from the wounds. It seems like either you were killed or you got away with some bumps and bruises. Just a very terrifying, very scary, and very random scene here -- Chris.

CUOMO: Stephanie, thank you so much. It is amazing looking at those pictures that anybody walked away. Amazing to think it actually could have been worse.

All right, let's take you down to Washington now. After months of taking heat for the botched of rollout of, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is calling it quits. An official announcement is expected later this morning.

Let's figure out what's going on here. Let's bring in CNN's Jim Acosta live at the White House. Is Sebelius a casualty, has she had enough, is this job completed? What are they saying?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, what they are saying over here at the White House, Chris, is that Kathleen Sebelius went to the president in early March and said that she felt that the Affordable Care Act was heading in good shape and that enrollment would be doing just fine by the end of open enrollment, at the end of March, which just occurred last week and then she would step down then.

And the president accepted that and so we are going to see this transition happen over the next couple of months over at health and human services. But no question Kathleen Sebelius was the public face of one of the worst failures in the Obama presidency, the botched rollout of, which was failing not only for consumers, but also for Kathleen Sebelius. It did it to her when she was testifying up on Capitol Hill. was right there behind her and it crashed right in front of lawmakers. And so it's been a difficult tenure for Kathleen Sebelius, but she gets to go out on a somewhat high note. She got to announced yesterday up on Capitol Hill, that 7.5 million people have signed up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

And as you mentioned, Chris, the president will announce her replacement, Sylvia Burwell, the president and budget director, in an event here at the White House later on this morning -- Chris.

CUOMO: So tell us about this Burwell, Jim Acosta, do you think she's going to get confirmed? Is the other side going to try to push on her as a metaphor for their resistance for the overall Obamacare scream?

ACOSTA: Well, you know, no question when Sylvia Burwell goes up to Capitol Hill this will be an opportunity for Republicans to go after the affordable care act, to go after the Obamacare. We can hear a full hearing of all of their grievances during that time. But White House officials are confident that she will be confirmed. She's been through this process before.

And note, Chris, she does not come out of the world of Health and Human Services. She does not come out of the world of Obamacare. She is the president's budget director. The White House feels pretty good about her management skills. She was part of the budget deal that was hammered out last fall after the government shutdown.

So they feel pretty good about her hands-on skills when it comes to dealing with bureaucracy. But no question about it, you know, there will be some flash points I would expect during her hearing, but at the same time White House officials do expect this transition to happen from Kathleen Sebelius to Sylvia Burwell to happen sometime in May. That all of course depends on the confirmation process. One that they hope to go smoothly -- Chris.

CUOMO: That means Congress is going to actually have to let a confirmation process happen.

BOLDUAN: That has been tough and go over the last session plus.

ACOSTA: They've been starting to say positive things. John McCain just last night tweeted that he thinks Sylvia Burwell will be fine over health and services. So perhaps a glimmer of hope for this one nominee.

CUOMO: Thanks, Jim. A friend of her should buy her a sign if she gets confirmed to put on her desk that says, wasn't me, for all the people who are going to come in complaining.

BOLDUAN: I don't think it's going to show up at her desk.



CUOMO: Maybe I will get it for her.

BOLDUAN: Maybe you shall.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, sources tell CNN, Flight 370 dropped dramatically in altitude. Does this confirm what the investigators have said, that someone deliberately made the turn and also does this mean that someone deliberately tried to avoid radar detection or is there another explanation? We'll take a look.

CUOMO: Also, the Oscar Pistorius trial is at its crucial point. Why did he break down this time? You're going to want to see it and hear it because the prosecutor is finally questioning about what happened that night. What Oscar Pistorius says he did versus the prosecutor's version events when we come back.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

It is day three of Oscar Pistorius' cross-examination but the real test has now begun. The prosecution is going through what happened the night Reeva Steenkamp was killed, continually accusing Pistorius of tailoring his testimony. Pistorius lost it, once again grinding court to a halt.

Robyn Curnow joins us from Pretoria, South Africa, with the latest.

What is it like to be in that courtroom and watch this phase, this is what it all comes down to?

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. It's so crucial how Oscar Pistorius bears up under this pressure and, of course, the state has been goading him. They've been chipping away at his version of events, challenging his credibility.


GERRIE NEL, PROSECUTOR: You felt it was safe enough to leave your cars outside.

CURNOW (voice-over): On day three of cross-examination, the prosecution questioning Oscar Pistorius' fear of burglary in his gated community.

NEL: You thought that it was safe enough not to immediately fix a broken window downstairs.

OSCAR PISTORIUS, OLYMPIC RUNNER: I bought the glass for the broken window and it was in the process of getting repaired.

CURNOW: The prosecutor accusing Pistorius of tailoring evidence.

NEL: You are covering up, you're tailoring your evidence.

CURNOW: The athlete questioned about whether or not the alarm in his home was activated on the night he shot Steenkamp. Pistorius said he must have turned off the alarm because it didn't go off which the prosecutor described as a vague response. The Pistorius blaming any slip-ups on his answers on being tired.

JUDGE: Mr. Pistorius, it's important that you should be all here when you're in that witness box. You understand that?

PISTORIUS: I do, my lady.

CURNOW: The prosecution asking the athlete a crucial question. If you thought a burglar was climbing through the bathroom window, why didn't he discuss the noise with Steenkamp when he knew she was awake?

NEL: She's awake. Did you not say, Reeva, did you hear that?

PISTORIUS: I would -- there was no thoughts in my mind that I heard what I heard, my lady. I didn't need confirmation.

CURNOW: On Thursday, the prosecution laid out its case the night Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp.

NEL: I built my case to say that when you got up, you had an argument, that's why she ran away screaming.

CURNOW: The state's theory, the Olympian and his girlfriend had a heated argument in the bedroom and she fled to the bathroom trying to escape an angry Pistorius. But the Olympian said he feared there was a burglar in his home.

PISTORIUS: I didn't intend to shoot. I was pointing -- my firearm was pointed at the door because that's where I remember that somebody was. When I heard a noise, I didn't have time to think and I fired my weapon. It was an accident.

CURNOW: The prosecutor unwilling to believe the shooting was anything less than murder.

NEL: Your version is so improbable that nobody would ever think it's reasonably possible true. It's so improbable.


CURNOW: That prosecutor constantly provoking Oscar Pistorius. In the past two days while he's been on the stand, he said, it never happened. Your version is a lie. You're adopting your version, over and over again. So much so the judge actually interjected this morning, telling the prosecutor to mind his language, that he can't call the witness a liar while he's on the stand.

Back to you.

BOLDUAN: Adversarial role in the courtroom going to a whole new level, it appears.

All right. Robyn, thank you very much following the Pistorius trial for us.

Let's get over to meteorologist Indra Petersons now for a look at the weekend forecast. I'm already smiling, I already got to say weekend.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: See, that's the important part. The second most important part are the temperatures, Kate.

Look at this. We're finally talking about almost -- been so close -- near 70 degrees out towards in New York City, even talking about mid- 70s, even 80s in D.C. even to Florida, everyone looks good, but keep in mind that doesn't mean we're not seeing the rain.

Yes, there are some chances for showers but not light. These are not big systems as we go through the weekend. Maybe about -- OK, just under an inch over towards Minneapolis. Half an inch near Chicago. New York City, half an inch.

So, it's not a big deal. All we want to focus on are those temperatures. But nonetheless, yes, the showers are making their way through the Ohio Valley right now, spreading into the Northeast for your Friday night plans. Not great, but it does clears out by Saturday. But if you're, of course, out towards the Midwest, keep in mind another system will start to make its way through.

And this one a little stronger. This is the guy that does have a threat for severe weather. Kind of minimal out towards Saturday around Omaha. By Sunday, spreading through Kansas City all the way back down to Dallas. So, keep that in mind if you're flying on Sunday. We could see some delays in that region.

But here's something that came out. Hurricane season, keep in mind there's a threat now for an El Nino. So, look at this -- we're expecting a below average hurricane season. Only one major hurricane expected. Just keep in mind that we had Andrew, it was also below average season but at the time it was the costliest season for a hurricane at the time.

If you want to know the names, there you go. We're talking about some names, kind of -- potentially that are coming up this season. Hopefully we do not have to get too familiar with them.

BOLDUAN: That's what I'm saying. I don't want to know any of these names.

PETERSONS: I'm going to go with zero.

BOLDUAN: Back to the weekend focus of the forecast.

PETERSONS: Beautiful.

CUOMO: I have images in my mind of Berman and I tied to separate stop signs screaming the word Gonzalo --


CUOMO: Gonzalo is upon us.

PETERSONS: My fear is Nana, is that Nana?

BOLDUAN: What's after Hannah?

PETERSONS: Where is Hannah? Isaias?


PETERSONS: I for Isaias.


CUOMO: Tell us of this Isaias.

BOLDUAN: Tell us about -- thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, 5,000 feet or less. That's how low Flight 370 flew in its final hours. Question is, why would anyone fly that way? Is this proof of foul play? Expert analysis ahead.

BOLDUAN: And a close call for Hillary Clinton. If you can believe it, watch out. The secretary of state forced to duck during a speech when a woman -- didn't try, she threw a shoe at her. Now, organizers are trying to explain how that woman got past security.

CUOMO: She was late. Bush was much earlier.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone.

More confidence than ever this morning coming from Australia's prime minister, saying they know roughly where Flight 370's black box is.

Meantime, CNN is learning more about the final hours of Flight 370. Sources saying the jet's altitude dropped abruptly, down to between 4,000 and 5,000 feet.

Joining me now at the map to discuss, CNN safety analyst David Soucie, the author of "Why Planes Crash".

So, David, I really want to get your take on this because this altitude dip is really compounding to me.

Let's take a look at our -- let's take a look at our animation which will show the flight path with this big dip, generally in the area where it would happen. So you have the assent. You have the left turn. Then you have this dramatic drop. Then, at some point, it comes back up to cruising altitude.

SOUCIE: Right. BOLDUAN: When you first hear that, what does that tell you?

SOUCIE: Well, the dramatic drop would be consistent with something happened on the aircraft, losing pressurization, a fire on board, smoke on board because you have to get to a lower altitude to people could breath without supplemental oxygen.

BOLDUAN: Could it suggest something else? An emergency maneuver, I understand that. Can it suggest something else? Is there another scenario?

SOUCIE: Well, the talk now is that it was avoiding radar. So, there's credibility to that in that trying to get below that radar. There is discussion as to whether radar can even catch the airplane down below 5,000 feet.