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NEW DAY

Search Continues for Missing Malaysian Airplane; Truck Hits Bus Filled with High School Students; Man who Rear-Ended Car into Daycare Center Turns Himself In; Australian PM Confident Search Has Located Black Box; For Families, Wait Drags On; Redebating Obamacare

Aired April 11, 2014 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


MILES O'BRIEN, SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT, PBS NEWS HOUR: That's just a very laborious process. This will stretch on for quite some time. So it's easy to look at this and say let's just get the sonar going on this area, but it's still a pretty big area and lit take some time. It's not insurmountable, it's just the matter of the equation of time.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It takes some six times -- it takes the Bluefin six times longer to cover the same area the TPL can cover in one day. Mary, on this fifth ping that authorities are saying is not connected to the black box, was the ping a fluke, do you think? What do you think that -- do we take anything from that for this investigation?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well that ping came from different technology. That ping came from the sono-buoy and I think once they analyze it, once they get the ping information, they apply their algorithms to figure out signal strength, directions, I guess they can to estimate which one is a strong one, a good one, where it is location-wise. And that didn't fit the algorithm either. Different source just playing different signal, so that one was ruled out.

BOLDUAN: When we're looking at this search area, despite, I guess we could say, the disappointing news that this fifth ping didn't turn out to be anything, Miles, do you think that -- do you think that the search area, when we're looking at the search area, is there any way to narrow it down further without the pings? Because I wonder at this point, how much longer can we expect them to be, as you say, the energizer bunny and keep working past their life?

O'BRIEN: I think give it a few more days, and with no pings in a few days I think that there will be tremendous pressure to shift gears and go into the UAV, the unmanned autonomous vehicle. I think that's going to happen.

You know, a couple of thoughts on those sono-buoys. They're designed to chase soviet submarines. They were either ideally suited for much lower frequency, sort of the mechanical noise of the submarines. So the fact that they were even able to tweak them in such a way to detect this higher we frequency of 37.5 kilohertz is, you know, a technological accomplishment, and we should give them credit for it. But I think that's why we got to be careful about the data that comes out of it.

The other thing is, any time you hear a politician talking about an accident and the technicalities of it, I would make sure you have a certain degree -- keep the grain of salt handy. Put it that way.

BOLDUAN: I think that's a good point. Almost as soon as you said that Angus Houston said we have had no breakthrough. Just so everyone is clear on some level.

I want to get your takes on the lack of debris field still. From your experience, Mary, the fact that we still have not -- we've now narrowed the search area for the ping, the black box down significantly, we still have had no detection of any debris. Realistically, how far away can this debris field be from your experience that we have not yet seen it?

SCHIAVO: Well, at this point it can be hundreds of miles away. And there are a few accidents, not many, but there are a few aviation accidents in history in which no debris was found. They later found, in some cases, that they were just looking the wrong place. They expected the debris to go west and they went east or vice versa, looked east and it was west. There are a few accidents in which that is the case. Most of the time what they find out is it's a scattered debris field under the ocean if they do find the wreckage and not that there wasn't any, that it just got carried away by currents. In modern aviation history they haven't found the airliner intact at the bottom of the ocean. It's just they never found the deb debris.

BOLDUAN: Do you think there's a chance, Miles, that this plane impacted the water in such a fashion that it remained largely intact?

O'BRIEN: I think there's a chance. It's kind of a long shot chance. If it happened it certainly would imply somebody at the controls who had some great skill to do that because ditching in the ocean, it's not a Sully Sullenberger scenario. The swells in the ocean require a lot of technique. There is a technique that we're trained as pilots to do if you have to ditch in the ocean, and it has to do with timing, the swells, you know, coming in on the backside of a swell or coming in parallel to the swells. It's hard to imagine it but it's not inconceivable, either.

BOLDUAN: But you agree, Mary, very unlikely?

SCHIAVO: Well, in flight school you're trained for water ditching just because. It's never successful, but on the ocean you're supposed to land between the swells. You're supposed to land with the white caps, in the same direction of the white caps but between the swells. And it wasn't a full moon that night, so if you're having a probable with the airplane it would be awfully difficult to illuminate with your landing lights in the ocean. Really tough job at night, not a full Monday on the Indian Ocean, it's a pretty remote possibility that would have been successful, but, you know, there's always a chance for a first time.

BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right. That's all without even knowing what's going on in the cockpit at that very time. We still have yet to know exactly what was going on in that cockpit. Mary Schiavo, Miles O'Brien, great to see you guys. Thank you so very much. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: It's very important, Kate, that they're parsing the information because we are finding out more now about the final hours of flight 370. Sources are telling CNN the Malaysian government dispatched aircraft after the plane went missing, something Malaysian officials are now calling false.

Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson who broke that news live is still with us and he's in Kuala Lumpur trying to figure all this out. Nic, not unusual for the investigation to officially deny things that come out from other sources. What's the latest part of this?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what Malaysian officials are saying and we have this from the chief of the royal Malaysian air force, they're quoting our reporting that the Malaysian air force search aircraft was scrambled around 8:00 a.m. soon after Malaysian airlines reported that the plane was missing on Monday the 8th, that the aircraft was scrambled before authorities corroborated data indicating the plane had turned backward, a senior Malaysian government official told us.

But the air force did not inform civil aviation of the search and operation until three days later. That's what the statement here that we have from the head of the Malaysian air force who is saying that is not true.

We have it from two sources here, one who has been very credible over a strong period, over a long period of time, through the beginning of the investigation. This we remember is the source who originally told us that the plane made that left turn back. It took three days for the government back then to admit, even longer actually, for the government to admit, the prime minister to come out and admit that the plane made that left-hand turn back. So this is one of the sources here who has been b right all along.

What we have here is pushed back from Malaysian air force about this issue. We have from two sources who told us the aircraft were dispatched about 8:00 a.m. in the morning. One of the sources described saying that it wasn't until three days later that the air force informed civil aviation. One of the sources couldn't confirm that, didn't believe that was the case. So it's not quite clear precisely what the Malaysian air forces pushed back.

But I've been back to look at government press releases around about that time. And what we can see on the 12th of March, that's several days later, it says when "The prime minister ordered a search area expanded Saturday after they found no trace, we examined our military radar records. We then dispatched ships and aircraft to the search area." So we have here on record on another government statement, on the same headed paper we're looking at today, saying actually they did deploy ships and aircraft into the same search areas on the Saturday. So I'm a little confused precisely what they're pushing back on at the moment. Is it the time of day, is it the language used? All of that is not clear at the moment. It's very contradictory, Chris. CUOMO: Or is it consistent with they're being very controlling about the flow of information? We've seen that as well, that things have been denied until they're ready to say it in their own way. Maybe that's what's going on here as well. Do us a favor, let us know what you figure out on this. Appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: We're also following more breaking news this morning. At least 10 killed and dozens more injured after a truck crossed over a highway median in California and collided head-on with a bus full of high school students. CNN's Stephanie Elam is live in California with the latest. The images are just horrific, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They really are, Kate. And if you take a look at the bus which is still here on the highway, on Interstate 5, you can take a look at it. It's almost impossible to believe that anyone survived. We do know that a lot of people did survive. But at the same time, the loss of life is very huge. We lost 10 people here. There were nine that died on scene, one that died at the hospital. Of those people, five were high school students and three were adult chaperones on the bus. And then the driver of the FedEx truck that hopped over the median also dying and driver of the bus.

They do not know what went wrong or why they would have had this accident in the first place. They're investigating that. In fact the NTSB is going to make their way from D.C. out here to investigate that. But they are saying as far as the other passengers on the bus, they are actually expected to be OK. They do not think the number of deaths will go beyond 10. But still a very tragic and a very scary accident that was a very fiery accident that people could see very far away from here. It's a very rural area so they could see it far and wide. But still a lot of people taken to hospitals and some have been discharged at this point, Kate.

CUOMO: Stephanie, thank you very much. If you get any more information on the victims or what they're doing with the investigation, let us know.

A lot of other news for you this morning as well, so let's get to John Berman in for Michaela.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much, Chris.

Kathleen Sebelius guided the rocky rollout of the Obamacare website and she took plenty of heat for that. Now she is resigning as health and human services secretary. President Obama will make that announcement today and he will nominate her replacement, Sylvia Burwell, who is currently the White House budget chief. We'll have much on the Sebelius resignation on "INSIDE POLITICS" later this hour.

A relentless day of cross-examination for Oscar Pistorius. The track star sparring with the prosecutor, each side accusing the other of changing their stories as the prosecution methodically asked questions about what happened the night that Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Now, court grinding to a halt again at one point when Pistorius broke down. A statewide Florida manhunt is over this morning with the suspect in a deadly hit and run accident now in custody. Robert Corchado turned himself in a day after police say he rear-ended a car and sent it crashing into a day care center. This is a terrible story. A four- year-old girl was killed, 13 other children and one adult were injured. Four children remain hospitalized this morning, one in critical condition. Chris?

CUOMO: That is just terrible. At least now they know who they're dealing with and what it is. John, appreciate you giving us the news.

Let's take a little break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, with every fresh lead there's fresh hope and anguish for the families of flight 370. How are they handling this rollercoaster? We're going to speak with the partner of one of the flight's American passengers and why she believes the jet is being intentionally hidden, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Australia's prime minister is convinced teams search for flight 370 are just within a few miles. But the man heading up the search says no breakthrough is imminent. And that means an excruciating wait for the families is going to drag on. And the information being inconsistent makes it even worse.

Now, Philip Wood was an American IBM executive who was on that flight. His partner is Sarah Bajc, and she's joining us now from Beijing. Sarah, thank you for joining us. It's good to have you back on the show, but as always, not under these circumstances. How are you holding up?

SARA BAJC, PARTER OF FLIGHT 370 PASSENGER: I stabilized from this morning. You know, every time some official gives one of those absolute statements of, "We're sure it's the pings from the black box", or "we're sure it's in the ocean", we all crash.

You know, our family -- the family members, our feet get knocked out from underneath us, but then it always ends up reversing itself and then they step back from it. So I guess I stabilized from this morning.

CUOMO: What do you tell yourself? Do you say this is because a very complex situation? Do you say this is because this is an sophisticated group dealing with it? Or do you believe it's because of some worse motivation?

BAJC: Well, I'd like to think that the average person, including the average person in this investigation, is doing their best. But when nothing is making sense, even smart people can't make sense of it, then, you know, we're all just kind of guessing and grasping at straws.

And, you know, one of the negative parts of our constant communication is that we all feel the need to move things ahead. So I think sometimes what's happening is officials are feeling like they need to make some statement before they actually have any proof. And honestly, that's not helping anything.

CUOMO: False progress. I agree with you. And that's why we try here on NEW DAY. We're constantly testing the information as opposed to fueling speculation. It sounds like it could be the same thing, but it winds up being very different because what we're trying to do is make sure that everything -- every step that's taken is a sure one. And I know that you're asking questions as well. What are the questions that you have?

BAJC: Well, most of the questions that I and -- and -- and the other family members have is the why not question. So, you know, everybody is convinced it's in the water. Well, why is it -- why could it not be in the water, right? They've made a set of conclusions, foregone conclusions that it's in the water, but there's no evidence to support that per se.

And, you know, why have they not investigated other chains (ph)? And -- and why do they keep, you know, making pronouncements when they really don't have evidence? Are they trying to close this case out earlier than is due?

One of the -- the real challenges in looking at this is that the fox is very much in charge of the hen house here. We've got a country leading the investigation who also has the primary liability in the case. And it makes us question every step that's taken.

CUOMO: It's understandable in your position. Do you believe that the information about all these new terms that we hear, pings and handshakes and different coordinates that are leading this cooperative team of investigators down to the southern route, do you believe they're just wrong about those?

BAJC: I don't know if they're wrong. I just think that they're awfully certain without evidence. And so, you know, if it's -- if they've got some proof that tells them that they're supposed to be there, then I'd just like them to share that with us because so far the only thing that we as families have been given is purely circumstantial evidence with kind of analysis put on top of it. But nobody has ever done this kind of analysis, so there's no confidence that it's correct.

CUOMO: There is something inside of you, whether it's sentiment or it's some type of intuition that you feel that Philip is still alive somewhere.

BAJC: Well, you know, since the beginning I've been having dreams, and I hesitate to talk about it because it makes me feel like perhaps other people will think I'm going crazy. And sometimes I think myself I'm going crazy.

But then I have friends come out of the wood work, people who have known Philip for, you know, 30, 40 years or have just met him in the last year or two, and they're starting to share those same kinds of feelings with me.

And at a certain point, you have to start listening to that because none of the experts and facts are getting us anywhere. So maybe people's feelings, maybe their connections between humans are telling us something that our eyes and ears can't tell us.

CUOMO: Well, look, one thing we know for sure is nobody has any right to judge someone in your position no matter what they feel. So whatever is going inside of your head and your heart, whatever works for you, works for you. And until we have sure answers, there's no proper course to be following. There's no better thing that you could be doing than what you're doing right now. So

if we can help by passing questions along and getting information that the families want, you let us know. You know you have an open channel here. And we wish you well until we get some answers.

BAJC: Thank you very much. Keep investigating this, please.

CUOMO: We will, Sarah. Take care. Kate?

BOLDUAN: All right. Coming up next on NEW DAY, Australian officials say they're getting closer to finding flight 370. How are they figuring out exactly where it is? What is triangulation? A former FAA inspector is going to join us to explain it all.

And we're also going to go inside politics. Take a look at this. A woman threw a shoe at Hillary Clinton in Las Vegas. Clinton's reaction, priceless, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Hope your Friday's going all right. I know yours is. I hope yours is. We have John Berman here in for Michaela with more of the morning's headlines.

BERMAN: Very pretty presumptuous just to say, "I know yours is."

CUOMO: Oh, look at the look on her face.

BERMAN: If they're sitting next to you, is enough to make her day good.

CUOMO: She looks great.

BOLDUAN: He reads my mind.

CUOMO: I thought it would be your presence.

BERMAN: Well, my day's going great just because I'm sitting next to you.

In any case, taking a look at the headlines now.

Australia's prime minister says search teams are within a few miles of pinpointing the location of flight 370's black box. And they're very confident the signals they have detected over the last week are coming from the missing plane, but the man heading up the search says there is no breakthrough imminent. Ten people are dead. Dozens more injured in a head-on crash between a FedEx truck and charter bus on interstate five in Orlando -- sorry, in Orland, California, about 100 miles from Sacramento. The bus was full of high school seniors from the Los Angeles area on their way to visit a college campus in northern California. Five of them were killed. Police say the truck crossed over the freeway median into oncoming traffic and just rammed into the bus.

Ukraine's acting president says pro-Russia separatists occupying government buildings in the east will not be prosecuted if they leave. The U.S. accuses Russia of inciting tensions in those areas as a pre- text for military action while placing thousands of troops on the border.

Meantime, the U.S. military has moved a ship into the area. The USS Donald Cook, a guided missile destroyer, has arrived in the Black Sea. The U.S. says it is there as a show of support for U.S. allies. Chris?

CUOMO: That's an interesting development.

BERMAN: It is.

CUOMO: Thank you, J.B.

It's time to get inside politics on NEW DAY with John King, a man who once caught a bullet in his open hand.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If only that were true. I want you guys -- I get the reference. I want you guys to be prepared for your shoe tossing skills. I'll get back to you on that in just a few minutes.

But let's go inside politics with some dramatic news in Washington. First, and with me this morning to share their reporting and their insights, Malika Henderson of the "Washington Post," Margaret Talev of Bloomberg News.

Let's start with the surprise resignation -- or ate least I think it's a surprise. You tell me if not, of Kathleen Sebelius. She was testifying on Capitol Hill just yesterday. And then after nightfall in the evening we get word she has resigned, and the president today will quickly announce her replacement. We'll get to the replacement in a minute. Not surprised that she wanted to get to the door.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

KING: But I am surprised to some degree that they did this before the election because now they have a confirmation progress which gives Republicans a Senate platform to redebate Obamacare.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, "WASHINGTON POST": Exactly, you know, they wanted to turn the page with this, right? If you had gone to the AFP's (ph) website a couple weeks ago Sebelius was on that website. She was becoming the face of Obamacare, a very negative public face. She had some poor outings in congressional hearings on the "Daily Show". But I do think if she were a basketball coach, right, she would probably be coach of the year because she was able to turn this thing around, had good news yesterday, that 7.5 million people, you know, signed up for this thing. But I think she was just becoming toxic because the politics of it just weren't good.

MARGARET TALEV, "BLOOMBERG NEWS': It's more like a coach who was never going to get their contract extended, but at least they got to go out on sort of a high note. I mean, like the surprise announcement two years coming, right? There were other problems even before Obamacare with her handling of the contraception controversy. She (inaudible) her feet in a tense political situation. She's glad to have hit that sort of 7.5 million mark. But --

KING: And so the politician, former governor of Kansas steps aside and a career inside person, a partisan but someone who doesn't play so politician, Sylvia Matthews -- she was when I covered the Clinton White House, Sylvia Matthews Burwell now. She's been running the Office of Management and Budget. She was just confirmed with 96 votes not all that long ago, so she could say, hey, I have a lot of Republican support.

Has this become now about Sylvia who is known as task master, a doer, a good manager? Or is this almost like, thanks for being here, so we can debate rising premiums and can you keep your doctor?

HENDERSON: Yeah, I think that's right. And you know, I mean, she has been getting lovely write-ups in the "Times" and the "Post." She's a wonk (ph). Apparently, she, you know, will be better at this because she understands some of the digital side of it more than Sebelius because she's younger. And that does really necessarily make sense. But, you know, it could be that she runs into the same problems, right? This is --

TALEV: It's also part that she's very much part of the inside the White House team. The White House wants to control and manage everything anyway. It would be easy this way.

KING: She becomes a proxy in this debate. And if you need any indication that the Republicans are not going to back off just because Kathleen Sebelius has stepped aside, listen to the former Florida governor Jeb Bush. He's in Connecticut last night at a dinner honoring his grandfather, and he's thinking about running for president in 2016. And no matter who runs for the Republicans, Jeb Bush thinks this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: We must repeal Obamacare and replace it with a consumer directed market oriented policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The last part of that is significant. He doesn't say just repeal and stop. He does get, because he's the former governor, that you better tell the American people, especially because this thing will be on the books like it or not for years by the time we elect the next president -- you gotta change something.

HENDERSON: You gotta change something, and you gotta change the subject from talking about immigration and (ph) an act of love, right?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Is that what that is? You know, he said it's an act of love. You shouldn't think of it as a felony if you're an undocumented who came across the border. Is that what he's doing there, saying conservatives, you may not like immigration, but I'll repeal Obamacare?

HENDERSON: But I'm for (inaudible) repeals.