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Search Area for Flight 370 Expanding Again; Boston Strong Photo Shoot by "Sports Illustrated"; Sonar Technology Used in Water Search

Aired April 13, 2014 - 06:30   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Number two, witnesses to that deadly crash in California have now told the NTSB a FedEx truck was already in flames when it slammed into that bus. Ten people, including five students, were killed. Investigators say the truck did not brake as it crossed the median but that tire marks indicate the bus driver did try to avoid the crash.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Three now, the standoff between the Feds and the ranchers supported by militia members is over. Citing the potential for violence, the Bureau of Land Management called off a round of rancher Cliven Bundy's cattle and they returned to Bundy some 300 head it seized, rather, in a grazing rights dispute. The government says it will try to settle with Bundy some other way.

PAUL: Number four police in Kansas City, Missouri, reportedly have linked at least a dozen recent shootings along area roadways now, but they aren't saying, which of the roughly 20 cases under review they've connected. "The Kansas City Star" reports police also still aren't releasing any suspect or vehicle information. But it's been a week now since any related incidents were reported.

BLACKWELL: Number five likelihood to be headed out on vacation soon, the summer starts, well, the CDC is investigating three possible outbreaks of norovirus on two different cruise ships. At least 300 passengers have fallen ill. One cruise ship belongs to Royal Caribbean, the other is Princess Cruise. Royal Caribbean says passengers may reschedule their vacation if they're books on the ship's upcoming voyage.

Returning now to the search for Flight 370. It's been five days now, five days since these crews last detected what may have been a ping from the airliner's black boxes and, you know, a lot of people are fearing that the batteries in those pingers are dead.

PAUL: And today the search area expanded yet again and we just got some new numbers here I want to share with you. By 39 percent now they're saying to more than 22,000 square miles. Now, just yesterday, remember, that area had shrunk to 16,000 square miles, which was the smallest area thus far.

BLACKWELL: Today, 12 planes, 14 ships are scouring the southern Indian Ocean. This as you know is a dire attempt to find any sign of the black boxes, any part of this plane.

PAUL: Joining us to discuss the latest, Simon Boxall. He is an oceanographer with the National Oceanographic Center.

BLACKWELL: And we've got Mary Ellen O'Toole, a former FBI special agent and senior profiler. Simon, we are starting with you. What do you make of this expanded search area?

SIMON BOXALL, NATIONAL OCEANOGRAPHIC CENTER: Please be careful, the expanded search area as I understand it is the search area at the surface and as time has gone on, things have spread out to a great wide area. They got a fairly good handle on the currents in this region, but if we're looking for surface debris than that area will expand with time. But the search area is based on the pings that they've picked up a few days ago. That search area is still very, very small because those pingers can only transmit two or three miles at most. So that search area is very focused. You've got to be careful you don't confuse the two.

PAUL: Mary O'Toole, the suspects have been - there have been a lot of made of the fact that they haven't honed in on anyone in particular and we've had some information coming in that has just been so contradictory, one minute everybody on the plane is a suspect, the next minute all the passengers are cleared, the next minute everybody's still a suspect. Would you have suspected by now that they would have at least had a more narrow list of who they were looking at or do you think they're just not sharing with us?

MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: They may not be sharing it with us, but I would expect that they would have a much smaller group of people that they're looking at, and this is something that law enforcement does on a regular basis throughout the world. We're used to looking at large groups of people and vetting out those who could be suspects and those who aren't. So, this is really standard operating procedure for any law enforcement agency. I would expect that they have narrowed down their lists, but in fact they may not be releasing that to the media.

BLACKWELL: Neil, Mary, I want to stay with you on this one. I read this, this morning and I thought of you first. Because I want to get your thought on it. The acting transportation minister, he said of the inspector general of police in Malaysia that they found nothing suspicious of the passenger manifest. However, "He did not say that they had all been cleared" speaking of passengers" on the four issues that the police are still investigating, possible hijacking, issues of terrorism, psychological and personal problems." Without the black boxes being retrieved how does one clear these people of those four? How do you do it?

O'TOOLE: Well, again, it's something that law enforcement does all the time. We take an individual or a group of people and we have a standardized questionnaire that's been designed specifically for that case, and there are specific questions that we would want to ask about everyone on that plane, passengers and crew, and we would then make sure that we do that because there are different levels of interviewing skill that are involved. Once we get those questionnaires back, that information would come say, for example, to my unit, the behavioral analysis unit and we would vet those responses, because we would not be looking for phrases like, well, he was a god guy or she was really a good mother. We'd be really going much deeper into the person's personality, their lifestyle, their political beliefs, their religious beliefs and so forth.

So it would be a very standard procedure that we would use and I know that most agencies throughout the country would follow that particular routine as well.

PAUL: Simon, being that we haven't heard any pings lately, would you advise that they now stand that Bluefin underwater drone in, is it time?

BOXALL: I think so. I think the design life of the batteries on the pingers were 30 days. We're now 100 percent over that, and that's a reasonable sort of over (INAUDIBLE). The most, you know, the most one could ever hope for, is 50 percent more. So, that could be a little bit (INAUDIBLE) pings, but to be honest with you, I think it's about time to put the Bluefin 21 and the AUV to start searching the seabed.

BLACKWELL: All right. Simon, one last one to you. I know that in the past there have been these efforts to reassemble planes after crashes in lieu of finding the black box. If they find the black box, do you think there is a need to bring the plane to the surface? Or would they leave it there at the bottom of the ocean?

BOXALL: I think they need to find the black box first to find out whether they can learn anything from the black box. To raise the plane from the seabed would be very difficult. The chances are, in fact, (INAUDIBLE) when it hit the water. So, the chances everything being there on the seabed nice and neatly is fairly thin. Until they find anything on the seabed. You know, the big problem so far is they found nothing. There is no, not one piece of a 777 has turned up. So until they find something, it's hard to say what they will do next. Finding the black box may or may not, even if they find it, it may not answer the questions. You know, it's we're assuming that the black box will be the panacea, it will tell us what happened. It may not and which case you know, looking at the profiles, the passengers, the big question is, was this some form of freak mechanical accident or was it human intervention? Black box may tell us that. It may not.

BLACKWELL: Hopefully the answers are there in that black box thus far. No answers at all. Oceanographer Simon Boxall, former senior FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole thank you both.

O'TOOLE: You are welcome.

PAUL: Thank you.

All right, we're going to get a live report for you out of Malaysia coming up here because CNN really tried hard to get answers out of this man, recently Malaysian defense and acting transport minister. It is not an easy job. We're going to show you what happened.


?P: Welcome back. Malaysia's defense minister says that until the missing plane's black boxes are found, he can't clear the passengers and crew from the shadow of suspicion.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, that's what he told CNN's Nic Robertson who is now trying to iron out new inconsistencies in what Malaysia officials are saying. I will talk to Nic right out on this report.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, good morning, Nic Robertson from CNN, how are you?

HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN ACTING TRANSPORT MINISTER: I'm having a meeting later. I'm just doing my walkabout ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've requested an interview many times ...

ROBERTSON: With that, the man heading Malaysia's hunt for missing Flight 370 is off. Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's defense minister and acting transport minister is hosting an international arms fair, from helicopters to tanks to guns. Reporters invited along. Some questions apparently not so welcomed.

(on camera): It's when precisely were the civilian - you don't have to push.

(voice over): As his tour continues, his aides advise us to wait for his press conference. That's good, because the question he just refused to answer, when the military told civilians here they picked up Flight 370 on their radar, is an increasingly contested question.

(on camera): Precisely when did the military inform the Department of Civil Aviation about what they saw on the radar?

HUSSEIN: I said earlier on this (INAUDIBLE). Next.

ROBERTSON (voice over): No answer then. He doesn't want Flight 370 questions. But as the conference continues, it turns out some Flight 370 questions are OK.

(on camera): So, are you any closer to deciding who will extract the data from the black box?

HUSSEIN: Yes, we are getting closer to that issue. The attorney general is in the U.K. right now. They are discussing exactly that.

ROBERTSON: Two days ago you said that even the passengers were still under investigation, but a week ago the IGF police said passengers cleared from investigation. Which is it?

HUSSEIN: That has been clarified. Unless we find more information specifically on data in the black box, I don't think any chief of police would be in a position to say that they'd be cleared.

ROBERTSON: Are you in a position to rule out terrorism, sir?

HUSSEIN: We can have a separate session with CNN later.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Questions still to be answered.


PAUL: All right, so Nic's live with us now. Nic, what are some of the questions for all of you there, that you think need to be answered that they're avoiding?

ROBERTSON: For sure one of them is the question we were asking there. We have a source that has said that it would take three days for the military to inform the civilian authorities that they didn't tell them about what the military have picked up on their radar systems, but - and that's becoming an internal issue here. We're also do not yet have a clear time line of which official knew precisely what and when, when was the prime minister informed about it, when was the defense minister informed about it, when precisely did the military put up their search aircraft, all these questions that by now after five weeks, must be quite apparent to officials, but yet no one has put on the record here, and that obviously later and all of this will count towards potentially lost time in getting to locate where the plane is. So there's a lot at stake and still very key questions, not being answered here. Christi?

BLACKWELL: Yeah, a lot of questions still out there. Nic Robertson in Kuala Lumpur for us, thank you.

PAUL: Thank you, Nic.

I realize it's nearly a year after the Boston bombings here, and look at runners here. They are getting ready for another marathon. It's going to be pretty emotional this year as we all think about those folks there. We're going to have a report from the finish line for you.

BLACKWELL: Also, which technology are the searchers using underwater to find the black boxes, maybe some wreckage? How does it work? We'll show you.


PAUL: You're looking at photos here from a special "Sports Illustrated" Boston Strong photo shoot. The magazine invited fans to the finish line in light of Tuesday's first anniversary of the marathon bombings and ahead of next week's big race. Now, attendees include Mayor Marty Walsh, the city's police commissioner and, of course, marathon participants. The magazine is going to select one of the photos for the cover of next week's issue. After the shoot the Boston police department tweeted this "Thanks to all who turned out for today's "Sports Illustrated" cover shoot. We are all #Bostonstrong!"

BLACKWELL: Boston Strong indeed! And next Monday, a week from tomorrow, thousands of runners will lace up their sneakers and run the race they never got to finish.

PAUL: For so many people, in this year's marathon is about a whole lot more than just crossing the finish line, it's about moving on from that attack that left three people dead and injured hundreds. Well, CNN's Alexandra Field has more for us. Good morning, Alexandra.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, Victor, the approaching anniversary of the attacks on Boston is already bringing back a flood of painful memories for so many people. At the same time, it is inspiring others to lace up their shoes and get back out there for reasons that are varied and deeply personal.


FIELD: A freshly painted finish line and with it a new beginning for 36,000 runners ready to cross it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: April 15th last year was the hardest day I've had since, you know, the fall of 2001, the emotions and feelings came crashing back.

FIELD: When the bombs went off at last year's marathon, Sally Duvall (ph) husband, a runner, had just reached mile 25. He was unharmed but she quickly became determined.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew pretty much right away after last year's bombings that I was going to run no matter what and there was nothing that could stop me from being a part of it. It was such an emotional, crazy time.

FIELD: For Duvall, it was all too similar to that September day almost 12 years before. Her brother, Teddy Maloney, who worked at the World Trade Center, never came home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that I feel very strongly that they can't keep us down, and these kind of events, these terrorist acts that keep happening, you know, we need to rise above them.

FIELD: This year, running the Boston marathon will still be a feat for the elite, but also a job for runners with unfinished business and an opportunity for anyone who saw the devastation and wants to help heal the heartbreak.

JOANNE POMODORO: This being my first marathon, I'm really thinking I'm overwhelmed at times, but then I say I have to practice what I preach so I'm healing myself.

FIELD: Joanne Pomodoro is a clinical social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital and a first time marathoner. She's busy training, but also coaching other athletes for the mental hurdles they could face this year at every mile.

POMODORO: PTSD doesn't come up until probably three months to six months after an event and many times if people don't work on what the issue is, then they may re-experience it, so not being at the course, not training again on the course, and then all of that might become a flooding experience, with too many emotions.

FIELD: Putting one foot in front of the other, Duvall has spent years learning how to move forward in the face of devastating loss. This year, she may help show others the way. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that you just have to stick with your routine and breathe in and breathe out every day, and the anniversary will come and be very, very emotional, but you move through it and you feel a sense of relief as you get past that day.

(END VIDEOTAPE) FIELD: Sally Duval says she will be running the Boston marathon alongside her husband who has run the marathon for the last ten years and she tells us, later this year, she plans to run a 100-mile race. Plenty of inspiration right there. Christi, Victor.

PAUL: No doubt. Alexandra Field thank you so much and certainly our thoughts are going to with all those folks.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely. And next on "NEW DAY," a demonstration of these AUVs, the autonomous underwater vehicles. What is the technology like? How does it work? You'll only see it here.


PAUL: You know that searchers have had some success in locating possible pings from black boxes aboard Flight 370. That the investigation is really going to kick into high gear once confirmed debris is found. That's what we are waiting for.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And that's when the underwater vehicles like the Bluefin 21 we've talked so much about, that's when those will be launched. Rosa Flores joins us with a look at how the technology works. Rosa, good morning.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, Victor, I'm in a lab that belongs to a company that manufacturers AUVs. It's the company called OceanServer. Take a look around me. These AUVs have thousands of little pieces, but they've got one main purpose, and that is to map the ocean floor.


FLORES: This probe is the latest technology that could be used to find Flight MH-370. Using sight scan sonar it searches for things that don't belong beneath the sea.

(on camera): What is side scan sonar?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, side scan sonar is an acoustic technology based. It's based on reflections of sound rather than reflections of light.

FLORES (voice over): The autonomous underwater vehicle, an AUV, is gathering information to create a map of the sea floor. This time it's the bottom of a Massachusetts reservoir, but it could be the depths of the Indian Ocean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The side scan consist of an electronics package, which is inside the vehicle, it's basically a computer that processes the data to make the pulse and to bring back the pulse and configure it into an image.

FLORES: It moves back and forth along the surface, but some AUVs can dive deep into the ocean. Sonar helps identify and find debris like this submerged car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once we identify the target we did this cross pattern, and we zoom in here, so we pulled in that sonar file, went to that location and then got a better high def image of that - the car.

FLORES: In the case of Flight 370, an AUV would face a number of obstacles that could stretch this entire process out for months or years. To get a real time close-up image, this remotely operated vehicle, or ROV, uses the map to visit the location.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's pretty choppy out here today. So the visibility is quite reduced.

FLORES: (on camera): And the depths of the Indian Ocean you would probably use sonar at first, I imagine, if the water is very deep and very dark.


FLORES: And then perhaps the camera?


FLORES (voice over): Once it's there, it uses a camera and claws to pick up debris. Bringing critical evidence and hopefully answers to the surface.


FLORES: Here's what's fascinating about this technology, whether it's this AUV, which is for shallow water or a deep water AUV like the one in the Indian Ocean, the technology is the same, it uses side scan sonar, that information is processed and it creates a map of the ocean floor. Christi, Victor?

PAUL: Rosa Flores, thank you so much.