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Ferry Sinks off South Korea; Ukraine: Anti Terror Operation Underway; Bluefin-21 Resumes Search

Aired April 16, 2014 - 08:30   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And also this, the desperate effort to find close to 300 people who were on that sunken South Korean ferry. Coming up, the dangers that rescue crews are facing right now.



We're following breaking news this morning. A dramatic search and rescue effort is underway in South Korea after a ferry carrying 459 people abruptly started to sink. Many people on board are high school students. As many as 300, including those students, are still missing, four are confirmed dead, but those estimates are early. We're going to bring inspector general for the department of transportation, Mary Schiavo, but I want to show you some things about how just quickly this happened in a matter of hours.

This was the ferry, immediately listing, and very suggestive that something catastrophic happened on board. This ferry carries cars, as many as 150. It has these big intake doors. Maybe it hit something, they say, onboard. They felt a big bump and a lurching and then the ship started to list to one side. Within a very short order of time, it's all the way on its side. This makes it almost impossible to get out because you have to climb as much as 150 feet, like you were on the side of a mountain. And now, this is all that's left.

But - and now we bring in Mary Schiavo. This last picture, as dramatic as it looks, may be a cause for hope, Mary, because if the bow of that ship is still able to be above water, that means that there could be displacement of air underneath it, yes?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Yes. And the United States Coast Guard has encountered many rescues like this where they've actually cut through the bottom of the ship, the hull of the ship, and found people alive. So it is possible, absolutely.

CUOMO: Now, the concern is that you have darkness and you have cold water, they believe 40 degrees Fahrenheit there, 20 kilometers or so off the mainland, and you have fast-moving currents. What does that do for the ability of divers to go under water and essentially enter a matrix of caves? SCHIAVO: Well, it's tough on the divers but, you know, obviously, not only for people in the water, but people on the ship, where they're - you know, they'll be in the water as well searching for air pockets, of course. It's a tough dive duty and, you know, tough to get in. They have to maneuver their way through the ship. The rescues that I mentioned with the Coast Guard, sometimes they have cut right through the hull. Granted they have been able to send people in and get people out from ships. But it's tough. It's dangerous. They have lost rescuers that way. But, you know, that's the only hope at this point is to go and get them out or go through the hull.

CUOMO: Ferry is a misleading term. This is a 500-foot-long ship. It's like a cruise ship. How does something this big go down so fast, so fast that they have to have people jump off for their lives?

SCHIAVO: Well, because of the speed and because of the sound that had been reported by a couple ear witnesses, it leads me to think, based on previous ferry boat accidents, that it must have had a breach in the hull, that it struck something under water, which means it was probably out of the channel, because those channels are well maintained in major shipping lanes. And that would explain - when you have an engine fire, an engine explosion, you usually don't have that kind of scenario.

You often have, you know, that's probably the second most commonplace thing is to have something explode or a fire in the engine room. But that doesn't usually breach the hull. That causes other problems on the ship. So one would assume, based on prior ferry accidents, that it hit something. And then for the water to come in that quickly, you would suspect - one of my first suspects to go check out would be those big ferry doors through which the vehicles enter the ship.

CUOMO: Now, they have cranes that are coming. They believe they're able to salvage this ship, which is amazing to hear. But they're not going to be there in any amount of time to help with the rescue. So this really comes down to what they're able to perform in those boats through the darkness, right? Time's against them.

SCHIAVO: Right. Right. In the boats through the darkness either divers getting on the ship and going through the various passageways of the ship, or literally going through the hull of the ship. If they're intent on salvaging it and then redeploying the ship, refloating the ship, I don't know if they'll go through the hull or not. That might be a - you know, they may not want that. But to search for survivors, I would certainly think that you'd want to try to do that.

CUOMO: All right, Mary, thank you again.

SCHIAVO: Thank you.

CUOMO: Once again, we have a rescue operation going on where there are hundreds of families waiting for word on loved ones. This time many of them believed to be teenagers.


BOLDUAN: All right, Chris, thank you.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, Ukraine's dissent toward possible war. Is there a peaceful way out at this point? A former U.S. assistant secretary of state joining us next to discuss.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Extreme unrest across eastern Ukraine this morning. Tanks carrying Russian flags have moved through several cities. And elsewhere, separatists seized a mayor's office. All of this happening a day after Ukraine's military launched what it's calling its anti-terrorist operation against Russian sympathizers.

Let's break this down with Jamie Rubin, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state and a visiting scholar at Oxford University.

It's always great to see you, Jamie.

Let's talk about the positioning of where this - where a lot of this conflict and these clashes are happening and put that in the broader context of what this means for everyone going forward. First I want to talk about, this is in the region of Donetsk region, specifically the northeastern part of this region. We've now learned that in the city of Kramatorsk there's this airfield. And this was the area of the first military operation that Ukraine put in place to take on pro- Russian separatists. Why is this area, these cities, this region, so important to the acting government in Kiev?

JAMES RUBIN, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, in the case of Crimea, the Ukrainian government made a decision, and I think it was the right decision, not to resist a Russian essentially invasion and takeover of Crimea. They put their hands up, they allowed their military to be taken over and eventually shipped back to Ukraine itself.

What they're saying now is, if you want to come into Ukraine, the rest of the country, the part that goes attached to Russia that we're looking at and all the way to Kiev, we're going to fight you. We're not going to give up the rest of our country. And so when they take these buildings back, when they send in troops now, they're trying to do it without a lot of loss of life because the Russians tend to exaggerate everything that happens and claim that, you know, hundreds of thousands of Russians are at risk when they're not. But they're trying to do -- take back their territory, make sure the Russians don't take it over, but do it with the minimum loss of life.

BOLDUAN: And there are some successes, but also we're seeing more and more cities taken over by pro-Russian separatists. I mean we've got two cities that we want to - that I want to also put up in another animation, Kharkiv and Luhansk. These two cities are still being maintained right now by pro-Russian separatists. If you had to, and it is impossible to try to get into the mind of Vladimir Putin, why are these cities in this area so important to whatever plans there are? RUBIN: All of this portion of Ukraine, eastern Ukraine tends to have the largest proportion of Russian-speaking citizens, people who would be most likely to agree or accept or believe the phony propaganda that we've seen that Moscow put out and that a former guest just a few minutes ago from Russia today -


RUBIN: They just put out things that are flatly not true to scare these Russians living in this part of Ukraine into believing that they are under some threat, and the only way they can be protected is from Moscow. It's a classic playbook. It's the movie we saw in Crimea. It doesn't have a happy ending. In Crimea we saw Russia take over another part of another country.

And let's remember what we're talking about. This isn't just a little regional conflict.

BOLDUAN: That's exactly right.

RUBIN: This is the basic principle of the international system that countries don't take over other countries by military force.

BOLDUAN: Well, and, Jamie, if you look at where Ukraine is positioned, you can easily understand why what happens here is so critical and being watched so closely elsewhere. Take, for example, the Baltic states right next door. They're not under threat, obviously being part of NATO, part of the EU, but why are they watching the outcome of this so closely?

RUBIN: Well, the Baltic states, fortunately for them, were brought into NATO. That means the United States, Germany, France, Britain, they all are part of an alliance. We would go to war to defend the Baltic states.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

RUBIN: They are also part of the former Soviet Union. If they were not part of NATO would be subjected to the same kind of treatment because there are a lot of Russian speakers in the Baltic States.

BOLDUAN: So a perfect example of why Russia maybe wants to move into Ukraine right now before it goes that route.

RUBIN: They want to get as much territory as they can it looks like, before these countries develop in the west with NATO that would prevent that from happening. But let's not forget the basic principle here. It's crucial that people understand it, Europe is a place we've gone to war twice to defend, World War I, World War II. And they were about the idea that one country doesn't get to take over another country just because it has a stronger military. This is a very big deal that's going on.

BOLDUAN: And Vladimir Putin can call it the beginnings of a civil war all he wants. At the moment everyone is watching closely to see if they're heading toward a proper war, not a civil war -- we can easily argue, or if there is any kind of diplomatic off-ramp.

That's why the four-party talks this week are so critical as we watch this clashes continue play out. Jamie, it's always great to see you.

RUBIN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, the hunt for Flight 370 now relies on a single 16-foot drone that's scanning an enormous search area that could take months. We're taking a look at the challenges of that massive effort ahead.

CUOMO: There is a frantic effort ongoing to find some 300 people who were on that doomed ferry in South Korea -- the latest on the search for survivors.


CUOMO: Welcome back.

Let's do a quick analysis on a frequently asked question. Is everything that can be done being done in the search for Flight 370? The Bluefin-21 back at work -- that's good. But why only Bluefin? And what about using something even better?

Let's bring in David Gallo co-leader in the search for Air France Flight 447, director of special projects at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. You had three Bluefins when you did it.


CUOMO: Now we hear about these other things. The Alvin and this, the Remus -- right. It goes so deep it goes even goes faster than Bluefin. Why aren't we using it?

GALLO: Well, first of all Bluefin is being operated by Phoenix International. They're the team on the spot right now with the U.S. Navy. So they've got their tool which is Bluefin -- very capable of doing the job as well. It's just that a different organization is doing the work.

CUOMO: Does Remus have sonar?

GALLO: Sure. The strip that you see there is sonar. Same kind of idea -- same side-scan sonar as the Bluefin.

CUOMO: But would you argue this would be better? Would it be more effective?

GALLO: No, no, I can't say that. You know, the most important thing is you have the right kind of technology which is this guy. I think that's the best thing to go with these autonomous --

CUOMO: Unmanned -- yes. GALLO: -- unmanned vehicles using side-scan sonar and you've got the right team with the right plan. That's the most important thing, as long as that can get to the depths, so far, so good it looks like that will get the job done.

CUOMO: Tactic and strategy more important than the tool itself?

GALLO: Right now, sure. I mean you have to put your faith in that team. You don't want to have everyone showing up with their own instrument.

CUOMO: How hard is it to use the different ones? Because here you have the Orion -- now, this one is towed --


CUOMO: -- right, which means that they have to have it tethered to whatever vessel that they're using. But it can go to 20,000 feet, it has the side sonar there. I sound like I'm trying to sell the thing but in truth, would it be more effective than what they're using?

GALLO: No, it's again -- what they're going on -- as Captain Matthews said, they're throwing the dart -- a tactical survey. So they believe the TPL got them close with that ping to the spot -- the actual spot. They have one vehicle and they're going to go right at that spot. If it's a broad area search, a strategic survey I think he would call it, Orion would make more sense and even several autonomous vehicles would make more sense.

CUOMO: OK. That last point, several. You used three Bluefin when you were looking for 447.

GALLO: That's right.

CUOMO: Only one here.

GALLO: yes.

CUOMO: Why? Isn't it more suggestive of need that you have a bigger area to cover and less known?

GALLO: Well, our idea was to start much wider than the debris field would be and cover the whole area with incredible detail. If there's aircraft in there, it's going to show up. Their area is we think we know exactly what it is. Their plan is we think we know exactly where it is, let's go right at that spot.

CUOMO: So even though you did it differently there and wound up finding the actual ship, you do not criticize what's being done here --

GALLO: Positively not -- no.

CUOMO: Bluefin's right -- one is OK. You're OK with the strategy.

GALLO: They have the technology, the team, the plan right now. So we have to put our faith in what they're doing and hope for the best.

CUOMO: All right. So then that answers the question.

GALLO: Yes sir.

CUOMO: David Gallo, thank you very much -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next, a Utah man loses his job. That's bad, of course. But what he decided to do with his newly found free time, that's "The Good Stuff". Hear his story straight ahead.


CUOMO: Time for the good stuff. What would you do if you lost your job? Look for another one, take some time off, blame Obama, take to Twitter and mindlessly attack me and the show.

Well, one man in Utah didn't do any of that. Living off his savings, he decided to spend a month committing random acts of kindness.


DANIEL SMITH: I'm Daniel Smith. Today we're at Great Steak in Provo, Utah. And today we're going to be paying for people's lunch.

How is it going ma'am? Good. Here is this. That is actually covered today. Yes. Somebody in here is paying for meals.



CUOMO: Someone, not him. Daniel Smith wasn't identifying himself. He is from Utah. He would go on to give out free gift cards at a Wal- Mart parking lot. Earlier he made and distributed care packages for the homeless. These videos were shot by his wife and it got a lot of attention. So much so that we're happy to say Daniel now has a job giving donations. They were flooded in to him. So now he can continue his work paying it forward and giving donations on his own. He's going to add another month of acts of kindness. We'll let you know how he does with that.


CUOMO: Now important to note. Not a wealthy guy -- OK. Lost his job but still had some means. And he decided to do this. The lunches -- about $150 or so. The gift cards, $15 each. So it wasn't about how much was coming out of his pocket, it was about what was coming out of his heart.

BOLDUAN: And it's so easy to get down on yourself in that situation and to feel like someone needs to help you. He reached out to help other people. I mean that takes a big man.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Definition of optimist. That's what I was going to say. Instead of playing the pity-me game he literally said, you know what; there are people who have it worse than me.

BOLDUAN: And the domino effect -- right.

PETERSONS: Yes, absolutely.

BOLDUAN: The little things he does for someone else, they'll hopefully pass it on -- like paying it forward.

CUOMO: Can you imagine if your job was that you had enough inflow coming in of donations or whatever your revenue that you can spend your time doing good things for people who need it.

PETERSONS: Dream job.

BOLDUAN: Let me know.

CUOMO: Right. What a dream job. What a dream. You have to move to Utah. But that's not so bad either.

All right. That's it for us. A lot of news this morning -- you have the ferry, you have the search for 370, the situation in Ukraine. We have the latest on all of it at the "NEWSROOM" with Miss Carol Costello.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I absolutely have all of that. You have a great day. Thanks so much. "NEWSROOM" starts now.

Happening now in the "NEWSROOM", desperate rescue.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More than 450 people were aboard the ferry, 325 of them high school students.


COSTELLO: The huge ferry sinking into the frigid waters in just hours. Passengers being airlifted.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the actual search area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is one of the search areas.


COSTELLO: Aboard an American supply ship in the hunt for Flight 370. CNN giving you access like no other.