Return to Transcripts main page


Search for Survivor from Ferry Disaster; Search for Flight 370; Flight 370 Families Hold Vigil; Crisis in Ukraine; Families Angry at Airline Investigators

Aired April 18, 2014 - 05:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this morning. The frantic rescue to save any possible survivors on board a sunken ferry two days later. Is there any hope the hundreds believed trapped on board could still be alive?

We are live with the very latest.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, a slow, underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The Bluefin submarine combing the ocean floor for any sign of wreckage this morning. New word that more help could soon be on the way. We've got those details.

BERMAN: And a diplomatic deal reached to stop at least part of the crisis in Ukraine. Russia calling on protesters to stand down and stop their demonstrations in the street. This, though, comes as a new, disturbing twist presents itself, an anti-Semitic flier calling on Jews in eastern Ukraine to register. Who is behind this?

We're live with the latest developments.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. A lot going on this morning. Great to see you. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It's 32 minutes past the hour, 5:32 a.m. in the east.

It is a race against time, searching for survivors of the sunken ferry off the coast of South Korea. Now the confirmed death toll is 28. That is expected to rise dramatically, because nearly 300 people are still unaccounted for. The ship's captain could face charges. The prosecutors say he wasn't at the helm when it capsized. The 3rd officer was in command.

The ferry now submerged. Coast Guard officials say 17 divers have been in the water today. Two were able to enter the wrecked ferry, but no bodies have been located so far.

CNN's Pauline Chiou is following developments. She's live for us in South Korea.

Bring us up to speed -- Pauline.

PAULINE CHIOU, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, the promising news is that those two divers were able to enter the ship. The bad news is that they came across a lot of challenges. They said that there were a lot of obstacles in the water and there were rough current.

Now here's what happened during this dive operation. The two divers were able to put a guideline in place. This is a line that attaches the divers to the rescue vessel. This line was intended for those other 17 divers to be able to get into the ship, but because of the rough currents and some of the challenges in the water, that rope actually got cut off, so the divers had to come back up to surface.

There are also four cranes at the site right now. We've been talking about those for about a day. Now, they are on site, but they're sitting idle because they want -- the operators want the divers to actually get into the ship just in case there are survivors before the cranes actually move the ship and displace the water into different parts of the ship.

Now let me bring you to the gymnasium, where many of the families are still waiting for word. This is a gym in Jindo, where there's a lot of emotion today as officials are updating the families on the search- and-rescue operation. They got some very bad news this afternoon when the death toll rose to 28. Relatives started crying and screaming, wailing. Two women collapsed and were taken out on stretchers, and other relatives were later whisked away to identify bodies.

In the backdrop of all of this devastation and disappointment, of suffering, there are stories of survivors. We have a story of a 6- year-old girl named Kwon Ji-Yon. Now on Wednesday she came to the emergency room at this hospital behind me here in Mokpo. I spoke with the doctor who looked her. He said physically, she was fine. He also gave me more details of what she went through. She was with her younger brother and parents.

Her brother put a life jacket on her, and somehow, the little girl got to the top of the deck and other passengers saw her crying and passed her on to rescuers. That's how she survived. Her doctor says, however, he's very worried about her. Listen why.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through Translator): My biggest concern is after going through this kind of disaster, she may experience post-traumatic stress syndrome, especially when she finds out her parents and brother have died. How she deals with this would be the biggest challenge. In my opinion, recovering from this kind of psychological shock would be the biggest concern.


CHIOU: This little girl is now under the care of her two aunts from her father's side and an uncle.

And, Christine, you see the ambulance behind me. I can update you on some of the government's reaction to this. They have just sent in the past hour and 15 minutes, 30 new ambulances, just to be on standby to this hospital because they do expect that death toll to increase.

ROMANS: Oh, my. Pauline Chiou, thank you so much. The story of that little girl, so glad she survived, but so much heartache.

BERMAN: You know, it's a miracle. It's a shame there's no more.

You know, we've been talking about this. It may soon become a salvage operation, but what are the chances that passengers could still be alive in the hull of that South Korean ferry two days after it went under? Just last year, you'll remember there was this remarkable case of a Nigerian man who survived for three days trapped in the air pocket of a capsized tugboat before he was rescued.

The survivability question was raised on "CNN PRIMETIME."


DR. HAKEEM OLUSEYI, PROFESSOR OF PHYSICS, FLORIDA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: The best chance you have for survival in a situation like this is having a well-trained and professional and competent crew, and it seems that in this case, there are some questions about that crew and it seems that in this case there are some questions about that crew and led by that captain. And you know, a ship is -- has many compartments with hatches that are watertight and airtight.

And so decisive quick action, correct action when things went wrong is what would have saved many lives, right? Leading to a proper evacuation. But also making sure these compartments are airtight and watertight. And to the extent that that occurred, then there could very well be air pockets, and people have been known to survive for quite some time in very deep water in these air pockets.

People that survive the actual capsizing of the ship, three dangers that they face. One is the temperature, right? If you're in the cold water, you're not going to last for very long. Another now is, as you're in that air pocket, you're going to use up oxygen. And the act of breathing is going to create a lot of carbon dioxide. And carbon dioxide toxicity is your main threat. So for that Nigerian chef, given the size of his air pocket, he could have survived for about 70 hours. And lucky for him, he was saved after 60.


BERMAN: Stay with us for continuing coverage of the search for survivors in this ferry disaster. We'll have more here on EARLY START, later also on "NEW DAY."

ROMANS: Now to the search for Flight 370. The Bluefin-21 back in action this morning, its fifth descent to the depths of the Indian Ocean. Analysis of the drone's fourth mission yielded nothing. The Bluefin has covered 110 square miles so far. Officials say it won't be retracing areas of the ocean floor it has already scanned.

CNN's Erin McLaughlin live in Perth, Australia, for us.

Erin, bring us up to speed here. Are they going to send more submarines, more resources? What's the plan here?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine. Well, that is a possibility, according to a tweet from the acting transportation minister of Malaysia this morning, saying it is possible that they could put more submarines in the water, more submarines, of course, meaning that they could cover potentially more area in a shorter period of time.

Overnight during that fourth dive, the Bluefin-21 reaching new depths, some 4.7 kilometers beneath the water instead of the original thought depth capacity of 4.5, and that's significant, because it had to cut its first trip, first journey into the water short because it reached waters too deep. Now it's been reprogrammed and able to travel a greater distance. It means it could reach some of those areas that officials believe is most likely place that they could find, potentially find the black box.

But again, this morning, Bluefin-21 coming up empty. We understand it's currently engaged in a fifth dive now. Just a couple of days ago, the Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, was quoted as saying that it will take the about -- take the Bluefin about a week to exhaust their most probable leads, and then officials here are going to have to assess things from there -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Erin McLaughlin. Thank you, Erin.

You know, the Flight 370 families are still demanding answers from investigators. They held a prayer service in Beijing.

CNN's Ivan Watson will be live with details on that and what the families are asking for. We'll go to him in a few minutes.

BERMAN: Other big news this morning, diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine appear to have worked at least in one case. However, it remains to be seen how this deal will be implemented. Will pro-Russian militants in the eastern part of that country disarm and disband, getting out of government buildings that they've occupied?

In the meantime, there's another troubling development, someone trying to inject anti-Semitism into the already volatile situation on the ground.

CNN's Phil Black live in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Phil, explain to us exactly what's going on.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, some masked men have been seen here in Donetsk outside a synagogue, handing out leaflets that have really shocked the Jewish community, because these leaflets demand that all Jewish people over the age of 16 register their identities, the property they own, and all of this is said to be a response to the fact, the allegation, really, that Jewish people here supported the protesters in the capital that earlier this year overthrew, effectively drove out the former president of the country. These leaflets were being distributed in the name of the pro-Russian separatists that are still occupying buildings here, still trying to encourage people to break away from Ukraine, become independent, or perhaps join the Russian federation. And they say that they have denied this, because we've spoken to the man whose name is at the bottom of this flier. He's the leader of that pro-Russian movement. He said he had nothing to do with it whatsoever.

And indeed, the Jewish community here believes very strongly that they have been caught up in an ongoing political plan, really. They say that someone, perhaps, is trying to sew fear or perhaps even trigger some violence, but they think that this is a wider political game that is still ongoing very much between those who believe in Ukrainian unity and those who are trying to encourage some form of separatism, but it is an ugly card to play in a country where millions of people lost their lives during the Nazi occupation of World War II -- John.

BERMAN: Political game, an ugly game with Jews caught in the middle. Again, historically loaded in that area.

Phil Black in Donetsk, thanks very much.

ROMANS: All right. Dramatic emotional 911 calls after a bus full of high school students crashed. You're going to hear from a survivor as she ran away from the fiery wreckage. We have that next.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. The New York terror trial of Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri is now under way. In opening statements, prosecutors described a man who trained terrorists while hiding behind a cloak of religion. Al-Masri faces 11 terror- related counts, including conspiring to kidnap Americans in Yemen and planning to build a jihad training camp in Oregon. He is expected to testify.

ROMANS: People in Kansas City breathing a sigh of relief this morning after police arrested a man in connection with as many as 20 highway shootings in that area. Police say the suspect was arrested Thursday after a raid at a suburban house. Charges have not yet been filed. Now the shootings, they began in early March, injured three people, put drivers on edge for weeks.

BERMAN: Chilling 911 calls released in the horrific California bus crash that injured dozens and left 10 people, including five students dead last week. A FedEx tractor-trailer reportedly smashing into the tour bus carrying 44 high school students. One student who escaped moments before the bus exploded into flames struggled to describe the scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your name? Are you still on the bus or are you off the bus at this point?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone got off the bus. The bus is on fire. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand that, but are you away from it or are you still on it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we're getting away from the bus, actually.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, just go as far as away as you can safely get, OK?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And what did the bus hit?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did the bus hit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It hit on -- on the -- I guess the left, the left side? It hit the --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you just with one or two words, tell me what the bus hit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bus hit a FedEx truck. The FedEx truck hit into us.


BERMAN: You can really hear the confusion and the fear there. Investigators have returned to the scene north of Sacramento to reconstruct parts of this deadly collision.

All right, guys, we'll let take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Kate Bolduan joins us now.

Good morning, Kate.

ROMANS: Hey, Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Good morning, guys. Happy Friday. As you guys have been covering, we're going to be keeping a very close eye and watch on the search for survivors from that ferry in South Korea that has capsized. Nearly 300 people are still missing today, and there is a new focus this morning on what the crew did in those very critical moments when it was just listing and beginning to sink before and after all of this happened.

Apparently, ordering passengers to stay put when they should have been starting to evacuate as quickly as possible, because that went down in about 2 and a half hours, very quickly. We're also going to talk about the challenges that the rescue divers are facing this morning as they continue to search for survivors. Also this morning, the Bluefin-21 back in the Indian Ocean hunting for debris from Flight 370 as Malaysian officials are beginning to explore the idea of bringing in more equipment for the search. Our experts are going to walk us through all of the developments that happened overnight. Forty-two days, guys, now after the jet went missing.

ROMANS: All right, thanks, Kate.

BERMAN: All right. Happening right now, families of people on board Flight 370 gathering this morning for an emotional prayer service. We're live with that part of the story, coming up next.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START. The Bluefin-21 may be the last best hope for locating Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, missing now for 42 days. The drone is now on its fifth mission to the floor of the Indian Ocean. So far it has found nothing. So, the nightmare continues for the Flight 370 families. They held an emotional prayer service in Beijing.

That's where CNN's Ivan Watson is this morning.

Good morning, Ivan.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Heartbreaking scenes here, as around 30 husbands and wives of Chinese passengers who were aboard that missing flight gathered for this prayer service. Tears and weeping and sobbing. It was really, really quite sad.

Many of these spouses, some of them still believe that their loved ones are out there somewhere still alive, more than 40 days after the plane disappeared, John, and there is no closure whatsoever for these people. They have been demanding answers.

Now the prayer service was initially planned to be held in a park not too far from the hotel where many of these families are staying and that's behind me. But apparently, Chinese authorities did not allow them to do that. And when they did, after kind of drying up their tears, after the prayer service was over, when they did walk out to that park, they were closely followed by uniformed and plain-clothed Chinese police, which gives you a sense of how closely people are being monitored here by the Chinese authorities.

The Chinese families -- there were 153 Chinese nationals aboard that missing plane. They have been demanding more answers, more transparency from the Malaysian authorities. The Malaysian government has announced that it will send a technical team to meet face to face with the Chinese families on Monday of next week, but they have also said they're not going to share some details that have been requested, such as the serial number of the black box aboard that plane.

The Chinese families want to cross-reference that to make sure that whenever it is found, it is indeed the original black box that was on board that plane, and that highlights the skepticism, the suspicion, and really, the lack of trust that many of these families feel towards the Malaysian authorities. They clearly believe that the only way they can put pressure on the Malaysian government is by staying here in large numbers in Beijing. This is their only way of leverage on the Malaysian investigation -- John.

BERMAN: It really is a complete absence of trust at this point.

Our Ivan Watson in Beijing. Thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right, we'll be right back.


ROMANS: All right, stocks in Asia closed slightly higher today, but, you know, markets in the U.S. and Europe are closed for Good Friday, so the week is over for your money, investments this week, at least.

The big money story right now, though, Internet security. We've got new information on the data breach at Michael's. The store says three million customers were affected by a hack uncovered in January.

I talked to cyber security expert Brian Krebs, who discovered that breach. I asked him about who is protecting our information these days.


BRIAN KREBS, BLOGGER AND CYBERSECURITY, EXPERT: Hopefully, the consumer's protecting the consumer. You know, when it comes to credit card information, not such a big deal, right? I mean, at the end of the day, here in America, as long as you're keeping a relatively close eye on this stuff and there's fraud, you're going to get that money back.


ROMANS: Krebs recommends putting a fraud alert on your credit report. You can do that right now.

We're going to have more on how you can protect yourself from hackers on "YOUR MONEY" this Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

BERMAN: Protect yourself, advice from Christine --

ROMANS: Fraud alert, fraud alert, fraud alert.

BERMAN: Have a great weekend, everyone. Happy Easter. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Divers are down there taking great risks trying to find those people and using every tool they have to try to locate them.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. Rescue divers finally make their way into the sunken ship. The conditions making the search for survivors nearly impossible. We're going to take you to the scene. And we have new information about the captain and what happened.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now. The underwater search for Flight 370 back on this morning after its fourth mission comes up empty. Is it time to regroup? New questions this morning.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Baby on board. Chelsea Clinton announcing that she is pregnant. Of course no Clinton development lacks political intrigue. So what does this mean for a Hillary presidential run?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.