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Divers Facing Difficult Conditions in Search for South Korean Ferry; Easter Mass in Vatican; Search for Flight 370 Employs Bluefin 21; Baby George at Australian Zoo

Aired April 20, 2014 - 06:30   ET


KAYE: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye in this morning for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Here are five things you need to know for your new day. Number one, 58 bodies have now been recovered in the South Korean ferry disaster. 244 people are still missing and more than 500 divers, 34 planes, 204 ships are still searching for them in the wreckage today. 174 people were rescued when the boat sank Wednesday on its way to a resort island. We'll have more details for you in just a moment.

KAYE: And number two, the vehicle scanning for any trace of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is in the water now for the eighth time. The Bluefin 21 has covered about half of the intended search area so far. 11 military planes and 12 ships are in on the search today. The weather certainly not helping. And nearby cyclone is making for windy, rainy conditions.

BLACKWELL: Three now, police have identified the body of a Massachusetts boy missing since September. Authorities say the remains of five-year-old Jeremiah Oliver were discovered in a duffel bag off a central Massachusetts highway that was on Friday. The boy's mother and her boyfriend were indicted last month in connection with the child's disappearance. Police are still investigating that cause of death.

KAYE: Number four, tens of thousands of people packed the streets of downtown Denver yesterday to celebrate the state's legalization of marijuana. The festivities were a part of the annual 420 Convention as it's called, according to affiliate KBDR. Denver police issued at least 25 citations and arrests. Police are warning those who attend today's events to be mindful of the state's laws surrounding public consumption of marijuana.

BLACKWELL: And number five, Pope Francis and about 100,000 Christians are in Vatican City to celebrate Easter this morning. He delivered the Easter mass just a short time ago, and now he's giving his twice- yearly blessing and a message known as the Urbi et Orbi. Once at Easter, once at Christmas. Easter marks one of the holiest periods for Christians around the world. It's the day they celebrate the resurrection of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We're learning more this morning about what hundreds of passengers on that doomed ferry endured as it began to sink off the South Korean coast.

KAYE: According to a just released radio transcript, a crew member said passengers could not get on lifeboats because the vessel had already tilted much too much. The death toll from Wednesday's disaster continues to rise. It's now at 58. The search crews brought more than a dozen bodies to shore today as family members watched and wept.

BLACKWELL: Now, that toll could go much higher because 244 people are still missing. The captain and two crew members are in custody. Investigators reportedly say the third mate was steering the ship through that difficult route for the first time when the vessel capsized.

KAYE: Hundreds of divers have been back out in the water. They've been able to get into more parts of that sunken ferry.

BLACKWELL: But so far they've been finding only bodies, no more survivors. We want to bring in Bobbie Scholley, retired Navy captain and diver. Bobby, good to have you back on this story, and, you know, the scenes thus far have been heartbreaking. We know that there are more divers going in, bringing bodies to shore. Hopefully they're going to find some survivors still in air pockets of the ship, but psychologically, how are these divers trained? Because many of the bodies that they're bringing in are teenagers.

CAPTAIN BOBBIE SCHOLLEY (RET.), U.S. NAVY: It's a very difficult job psychologically. It really is very reminiscent of the TWA Flight 800 job where we were recovering the victims first and you have to stay focused on the mission. The mission is to go in there, look for survivors, first of all, and bring back the victims, if you can't find survivors. You stay focused on the fact that you are doing a mission and you are helping to recover the family members, the victims for those families, and you focus on the safety requirements of your mission. You're going in there, you're doing the job. You don't think about the personal aspects while you're doing that job because you're doing, you're thinking about what you have to do to safely get in and get out and accomplish the mission and you try not to think about those personal aspects until later. I got to tell you, guys, that personal aspect hits you later, and I know that the Korean navy is probably doing the same thing that the U.S. Navy does. We make sure that we have the people in place to help those divers afterwards, because it does, it hits you later.

KAYE: Yeah.

SCHOLLEY: But you go in and you do the job because you know that you have to do it for those families.

KAYE: Right, you have to stay focused for the families for sure. But as a retired Navy captain, Bobby, and a diver, help us understand a little bit more about what the divers are facing in this search operation. I mean they have -- they have horrible conditions, including even oil from that ferry there.

SCHOLLEY: Yes. There are now -- they're diving in what we call hazardous waters, and they have fuel oil, lube oil, all sorts of things in the water. It's contaminated water at this point. They have a lot of divers on scene, but they cannot get all of those divers inside the ship at this point. The divers that they're using inside the ship are going to be the surface supply divers, those are the ones with the hard hats, the yellow helmets and the air hoses. The divers, the scuba divers, the ones that you normally think of with the tanks on their backs, those are going to be the divers that are on the outside of the ship, and quite honestly, if there's contaminated water, the lube oil and fuel oil on the outside, they're probably not using those scuba divers in the contaminated water unless they have special equipment on to do that.

The hard-hat divers are the ones that are going inside the ship. As the ship slowly sinks down to depth, there are depth limitations for the scuba divers. They cannot go, under normal circumstances, scuba divers cannot go down below 120 feet. Now, there are special procedures and special equipment to go deeper than that, but normal scuba divers cannot. The hard-hat divers can go down to 165 feet in regular air breathing rigs. They can go deeper than that with special mix gases. But the hard-hat divers can go inside the skin of the ship for a limited amount of time, depending on how deep the ship has settled, if it's down to 100 feet, they can go in for roughly two hours and then they have to decompress for roughly an hour. You know, we're looking at those kind of considerations in addition to the heavy currents. So it's a very complicated situation.

SCHOLLEY: Yeah, it certainly sounds that way. Bobbie Scholley, thank you so much for your expertise on this. Nice to see you.

We are next headed to Vatican City where 100,000 people have joined Pope Francis to celebrate Easter, his second Easter mass as pope, and the royal family steps out in style. They have got Prince George with them, they're going to the zoo, but, you know, for the royal family goes to the zoo ...

KAYE: Look at that picture ...

BLACKWELL: It's not like when you and I go to the zoo.

KAYE: Do you think they get some royal access?

BLACKWELL: Oh, they certainly do. We'll show you some more pictures from the trip.



KAYE: Happy Easter to our viewers celebrating today, nearly 100,000 Christians have gathered in Vatican City this morning to celebrate Easter with Pope Francis.

BLACKWELL: Now, Easter marks the day -- they remember the resurrection of their lord and savior Jesus Christ. It is the second Easter season with Pope Francis at the helm of the church. And CNN Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher is live in Rome with more. And so, what did the pope say this morning in his special Easter blessing?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, the pope gives the Urbi et Orbi address, which means to the city and to the world. He gives it after the Easter mass. He only does it twice a year, at Easter and at Christmas. He goes up to that central balcony on St. Peter's Square, where he was when he was elected pope, he came out that evening and his message today was quite simple. It was go out and be near the needy. Leave yourselves behind, he said, and go out and be with the ill, with the elderly, with the homeless, and this is a message that we've seen the pope himself do. On Thursday he went to a home for the disabled where he washed and kissed the feet of 12 people there, and on Friday, when he was at the Coliseum for the Stations of the Cross in that beautiful candlelit ceremony, we know that he instructed one of his priests who is involved with a discretionary fund of the pope, the pope has some money that he can give at his discretion and he told this priest to go to the train stations in Rome and hand out envelopes to the homeless and inside those envelopes was a card with a special message from the pope and bills, 20 or 50 euro bills. So, this is his main message to people today. Don't wait for people to come and ask you for help. Go out and help them yourselves. Of course, there was also a message of peace in countries that are in conflict throughout the world. The pope mentioned in particular Syria, Ukraine, he mentioned Venezuela, special prayer for peaceful negotiations between Israel and Palestine and countries in Africa who are suffering from disease and poverty. Victor?

BLACKWELL: And Delia, we know this pope is certainly a bit unpredictable. I mean he's certainly known for going off script as well. Anything out of the ordinary today?

GALLAGHER: Today, Randi, was fairly scripted. It's a formal Easter mass and it's also the culmination of quite a long week for this pope. So he did follow the script today, also because he had to keep him within certain time limits but we're all anticipating next week, which is the canonization of two popes. John Paul II who was already on the schedule, but again, sort of off script for Pope Francis, he wanted to put in John XXIII. So he fast tracked him without the second miracle and said let's make him a saint as well. So that's the next big event, next Sunday, anticipating upwards of a million people coming to Rome for that.

BLACKWELL: All right. Very important week there in Vatican City. Delia Gallagher, thank you very much.

KAYE: Another day, another dive for the underwater vehicle looking for any sign of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. A look at how much ground it's covered so far and what's next if the Bluefin 21 continues to come up empty.


BLACKWELL: The drone searching for any sign of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is in the water right now, this is the eighth dive and so far a fruitless mission. The Bluefin 21 has scanned about half of the area where pings were detected, that could be from the black boxes of the missing Boeing 777. KAYE: CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo joins us now. Mary, good morning to you. So, we know that there is a cyclone near the search area. I'm wondering how much of an effect is the weather going to have, do you think, on today's search?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, it will affect the ability to search. It won't affect the Bluefin underwater, but deploying other assets or once they get the Bluefin out, putting it back down again it could affect that because it may not be safe for the ships. But once underwater the Bluefin can perform just fine. It shouldn't affect it too much. More likely what it will affect is the plans for searches after this mission and after the Bluefin completes its search underwater today.

BLACKWELL: So Mary, we know that the pinger batteries are likely long dead. There's been no debris that's been reportedly seen. However, the transportation minister, Malaysian transportation minister called this weekend a critical juncture. Why is this weekend so critical?

SCHIAVO: Well, because they anticipate the Bluefin, the underwater autonomous vehicle finishing its initial assignment, its initial job of mapping the floor of the immediate area around the four pings, from believed to be from the black boxes. And then once that's done, which it should finish up within the week, then both the Australian joint taskforce and the Malaysians have said they need to get together and decide what they're going to do next. Most likely it will involve deploying a lot more assets, towed sonar, and perhaps other vehicles to search a wider area than one is originally thought necessary. You know, they were hoping to find it right around the area of the four pings, if that doesn't turn out to be the case, then they're going to need much more.

KAYE: Well, and speaking of much more, I mean we know that the Malaysian transportation minister says that the search won't end if the Bluefin comes up empty. You mentioned these towed pinger locator which is what they used before to even help narrow down the search area. What else could they actually send down?

SCHIAVO: Well, it was towed sonar, and they could use additional sonar vehicles. They can use other vehicles that can go deeper than the Bluefin 21, and that may be necessary. There are also vehicles that can be manned that they can send down and there is even talk again about using submarines, I mean the submarine, not just unmanned little submarines. But I think the next step would be the towed sonar and perhaps underwater vehicles that was -- like those that were used on the Air France search and recovery.

BLACKWELL: But considering the lack of any debris, I mean as much as a carry-on, or a floating seat, or any more of these pings and finding the black boxes, when you look at the calculations using Inmarsat, do you believe that they're searching in the right area?

SCHIAVO: Well, I believe they're searching in the only area right now they know in which to search. Whether this is going to turn out to be the right one or if they have to expand it, time will tell. But the lack of a wreckage material in that area doesn't surprise me because it was so long before they got to that area. I mean wreckage floats away, and I won't say in a hurry, but with the currents it can move, you know, 50 miles a day. And they didn't get there for several weeks. But there were lots of false starts, first it was in the South China Sea and then they were searching for where it went next. So, that doesn't concerns me. What concerns me more is the fact that the Bluefin is now down on its eighth mission, and it hasn't seen a thing and it's searching in the area of the pings that were located with the towed ping locator. So with those being the most promising leads and those search areas quickly coming to an end, the next step is, I would say the critical part because they're going to have to decide where to look next, expand the current area or go further south or north.

KAYE: Yeah, well, we certainly -- I mean we saw what happened with the Air France 47. Two years later they found the wreckage. So, I guess we'll remain hopeful on this one. Mary Schiavo thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: Thanks, Mary.

SCHIAVO: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: You know, there's this other massive search operation that's happening right now, this one off South Korea's coast. Divers are combing through a sunken ferry and this morning we're getting more answers about why more lifeboats were not used.


KAYE: And good morning, Boston. There is a lovely shot of the city there on the river. The big day tomorrow, the Boston Marathon race. It's going to be a lovely day there, I think, something like 40 or 50 degrees, so maybe in the mid-50s apparently.

BLACKWELL: So, from what I hear it's good weather for running.

KAYE: Yeah. Well, you would know.

BLACKWELL: Runners tell me. Because I don't run.

KAYE: I admit, I would not know either, but I know a lot of folks are psyched to show off their Boston strong ...


KAYE: And good luck to everyone in that race tomorrow.

BLACKWELL: So, Prince George is becoming quite the world traveler. He's what -- almost nine months old, almost.

Royal family celebrating Easter down under in Australia today.

KAYE: Of course, the trip to Sydney wouldn't be complete without a visit to the city's world famous zoo and Prince George was front and center to see it there for all the action.

BLACKWELL: CNN royal correspondent Max Foster joins us live from Sydney and it appears that this is so well orchestrated, this introduction of Prince George to the world, at least that's how it appears. You tell us, Max.

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, I mean. We've had to come half way around the world to get his first official engagements. One of them was a playdate in New Zealand, and then we had the other one today in Australia. It was a glorious day. I mean this Taronga Zoo is just stunning, it's not -- on the hillside overlooking the whole harbor and Prince George went along. I mean on the facade these pictures look like, you know, a family on a zoo outing. But, of course, it's not an ordinary family. Prince George goes into an enclosure to meet a bilby called George. No coincidence, named after Prince George. The enclosure was even named after Prince George. It was engagement that lasted less than half an hour but it plays into, you know, centuries worth of history. These are the early stages of his royal career. He might be only eight months old, but these pictures we'll see again and again and again and he seemed to really enjoy his little moment in the limelight. He was given a little public tour as well in the building and he got very excited and threw it away. So, he's a normal eight months old as well in that sense.

KAYE: I bet. So, what else does the royal family actually have lined up for the trip?

FOSTER: Well, after that, actually the day is finished today and then they're going on to other route (ph), they've been to the Opera House. This iconic settings. Every time, when we see them, this is partly due to the fact that Kate hasn't been to Australia before so she wants to see them, but it's also about building up these library of iconic moments, and, you know, they are the future king and queen of Australia, so it plays into that -- part of that visual history. And after Prince George was handed over to his nanny, they carried on and they got involved in this display of animals in this lovely setting up at the zoo and they met a koala bear, it sounds like a small thing, but you know, you see him, the couple stroking this koala bear and it's, you know, a classic Australian image. So, it all plays into that. You know, this is all part of little moments in history. Roll history (ph).


KAYE: He looks pretty happy, though. I've got to say, meeting that koala bear up close and personal.

FOSTER: Even, you know, future kings like trips to the zoo.

KAYE: There you go. Max Foster, thank you very much. That was quite entertaining and thank you for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: We have got much more ahead on the next hour of your "NEW DAY." It starts right now.