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EARLY START

Search and Rescue Effort Continues around Sunken Ship; Search for Malaysian Flight 370; Boston Strong After A Year; Biden Headed to Kiev

Aired April 21, 2014 - 05:30   ET

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


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: We're live with the late-breaking details.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And Boston Strong and Boston secure. This city locked down for a marathon unlike any other. One year after a terror attack, runners take to the road once again.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman.

I'm live in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, where in just in a few hours, some 36,000 people will start the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. It's a 26.2-mile journey that will take them from right here to the heart of the city, and the finish line where a terror attack struck last year.

Organizers are promising to make this route the safest place on the planet today. And in just a few minutes, I'm going to speak with the race operations director about the security that is in place this year. It is substantial.

First, though, we want to get back to Victor and Alison in New York for last night's breaking news.

KOSIK: OK, John, thanks.

Unacceptable and unforgivable. Harsh words from the president of South Korea. She's describing the actions of the captain and crew from that tragic ferry disaster. She's calling their behavior akin to murder, as officials announce the arrest of four more crew members.

And we're also getting new information this morning about the chaos that unfolded in the moments before the vessel capsized.

Let's get the latest from Will Ripley. He's live off the coast of Jindo, South Korea -- Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Alison. And I believe I'm speaking to you on the phone because we've had some issues with our signal today bouncing off the water out here, but I can tell you, I'm looking at a vast search effort that's under way right now.

I'm hearing the phone ringing. I'm not actually sure if we're still connected. OK. Are we on the phone or on camera, guys? All right, I believe we're -- I believe we're on camera. OK.

It's quite an adventure out here getting a signal to work on the choppy waters, but we are coming to you now. And I want to show you this massive search operation that is unfolding and has been unfolding throughout the day here. We have hundreds of divers who have been working tirelessly. (INAUDIBLE) ferry.

We know today they had one main objective, Alison, which was to get to the third-floor cafeteria. They've been trying for several hours.

KOSIK: All right. Obviously, technical difficulties there. Just shows you how tough it is out there.

BLACKWELL: Yes, reporting live from the Yellow Sea, just off the coast of South Korea. Our thanks to Will for at least the attempt.

Let's go out to another search. Still no sign of Flight 370. Overnight, Bluefin-21, the autonomous underwater vehicle, completed its eighth trip below the ocean surface. Two-thirds of the underwater search area has now been covered without so much as a trace of the missing jet.

Let's get right to Erin McLaughlin. She is in Perth, Australia this morning.

Seventy percent covered now but still hopeful about this final 30 percent.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor. This is an absolutely critical stage of this search effort. Why? Because they believe that this area is the most likely place where they're going to find the black box. That's based on an albeit limited set of information, namely, that second ping that was detected on April 8th. The signal lasted some 13 minutes, but it was the strongest of the four signals that were detected by an American-operated towed pinger locator.

And what they're doing or what they've done is they're searching a six-mile, or 10-kilometer radius around the point of that detection. As you said, they're 70 percent of the way through. They've got another 30 percent to go. An American -- sorry, not American officials, Australian officials and Malaysian officials saying that at the end of that search effort, if still no signs of the missing plane, they're going to have to stop and reassess.

And the other thing I want to talk about -- mention very briefly is the typhoon, Typhoon Jack, which is to the north of the search area. That could have an impact on things. Forecasters saying that we could see some more swells as well as some isolated showers in the area and things potentially getting worse as it makes its way south, and that could impact the visual search for debris that's also under way. The search by plane and the search by sea. But in both efforts so far, not a single sign of missing Malaysian Flight 370 -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's get right to this forecast. Thank you very much, Erin.

KOSIK: Weather also playing a role --

BLACKWELL: Yes.

KOSIK: Role in the investigation as well -- Chad.

BLACKWELL: Talking about this typhoon.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. You know, no question about it, we have now this secondary cyclone here. We had that big one. That was a category 5 earlier, right over where we think now the search area should have been at the earliest now. Here's Jack, 85 miles per hour, and over here running right into the visual search area, not the underwater search area, which is right there.

We talked about this underwater search vehicle, the Ocean Shield still pulling this locator around here, trying to find the bottom, trying to find something here. And we're talking about circling the area that we think it is, only about four miles around that radius. And this ship now, this Ocean Shield, only going one half of a mile per hour looking for that. Obviously, the autonomous vehicle right underneath it.

There's the rain across parts of the country. East coast good shape, lots of sunshine. Boston, New York, D.C., great stuff for today. Planes are already in the air, not any delays at all. Expect a couple of bumps through the middle part of the country and also in the west, but other than that, this is a great forecast for today. I'm not sure East Coast cities could actually get a better Monday, especially for flying.

There will be a chance of some severe weather. It's a small area, but centered right over Dallas. We'll be watching it for you right here in the Weather Center.

BLACKWELL: All right, looking forward to this positive Monday.

KOSIK: It is spring.

BLACKWELL: Especially for the person who will be flying in a couple of hours.

(LAUGHTER)

MYERS: There you go.

BLACKWELL: Thank you very much, Chad.

KOSIK: You're good to go. You're good to go.

BLACKWELL: Yes, good.

KOSIK: Happening today, it's marathon Monday. A year after bombs shattered the finish line at the Boston Marathon.

John Berman is live at the marathon starting line with what's being done today to keep the race safe. That's coming after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. We're just a few hours away now from the start of the Boston Marathon. It will happen right behind me here in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.

I can't tell you how excited I am to be here, how excited everyone is around here. Still, security is extremely tight. Race organizers calling this the safest place on the planet, one year after three people were killed, hundreds more injured by two bombs at the finish line.

I'm joined now by Andy Deschenes. He's the operations director for the Boston Marathon.

Andy, as I said, everyone, including me, so excited for this race today. You've done 19 of these. You do say the security is unprecedented.

ANDY DESCHENES, OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, BOSTON ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION: Yes, absolutely. It's beyond anything we've ever done before, but it's still going to be a family-friendly place and I think that we're still going to get the runners off safely and efficiently, so.

BERMAN: What differences will we see and what are the differences maybe we won't see in terms of security?

DESCHENES: Sure. Well, you're certainly going to see more security personnel, you're going to see more military, state police MPs and National Guard MPs, but, you know, there's a level of security that's draped on all of this as well that you're not really going to see. So just -- you know, additional cameras like you've heard about. So just making sure we can see everything about the race that's happening around here.

BERMAN: And the racers, no backpacks, no camel backs, no costumes.

DESCHENES: Right. Exactly, yes. But we've got plenty of water for them, so nobody should go without. So we should be OK.

BERMAN: And what about the spectators? What are you asking from them?

DESCHENES: Same -- basically, the same rules. You know, obviously, we're going to take some common sense when it comes to baby bags and things like that. So we really want spectators to come. We expect they will. But just the same kind of security precautions as in recent years. BERMAN: Well, in fact, I think you'll have more spectators here this year that you've ever had before. think people are itching to be a part of this.

DESCHENES: Right. Absolutely. I don't know anybody that has -- that has decided to stay away this year. It's been the opposite.

BERMAN: How has it been trying to accommodate the surge of interest, from the media, from the public, from the runners themselves? They had to include 9,000 more runners this year to include many of the runners who didn't finish last year.

DESCHENES: Right. It's been a challenge. I mean, Hopkinton's only so big and it's the only major marathon that starts in a little residential community, so it's been a challenge, but I think we're ready to go.

BERMAN: Just so people understand what he's talking about, we're in a town of what, less than 15,000 people?

DESCHENES: Right, exactly.

BERMAN: I mean, this is a small town. It's 26.2 miles, 26.2 miles from Boston, which is why it starts here, but it's a tiny, little town.

DESCHENES: Absolutely.

BERMAN: There will be 36,000 runners starting from this town of some 15,000 people.

DESCHENES: Yes, you got it, yes. We'll squeeze them out, though. It will work.

BERMAN: When will you know, when will you breathe your first sigh of relief today?

DESCHENES: Well, you know what, honestly, one of my favorite parts of the day is about at 1:00, after everybody is gone and we have almost everything cleaned up and we've left the place cleaner than we found it. That's really one of my favorite parts of the day.

BERMAN: You're going to be on the phone, though, with Boston, talking about the finish line?

DESCHENES: All day long.

BERMAN: We've got 10,000 runners in, 20,000 runners in, 30,000 runners in?

DESCHENES: Yes, that's one of the nice things this year, we've got a better communications system as well, so we got constant contact between Boston and the rest is of course on Hopkinton.

BERMAN: And you were telling me, in about an hour from now, we're going to see a sight here, you know, a bomb squad sweep that's going to, you know, come through the area and head right down the course.

DESCHENES: Yes. So it starts here, and there -- like you said, they're going to go down the course. But yes, we'll see -- we'll see 100 people or so coming through here in a little bit.

BERMAN: And that's a precaution you should be taking. But, Andy, to be clear, you've heard no threats, no reason to worry for any kind?

DESCHENES: Right. Nothing at all.

BERMAN: You know, and in fact, as I was saying, you know, I've talked to a lot of people, a lot of survivors, a lot of family, my own family around here. I have never heard any one so excited for a marathon.

DESCHENES: Absolutely. No, everybody is really determined to come and be here for the day and it's going to be a great day.

BERMAN: All right. Andy Deschenes, good luck today.

DESCHENES: Thanks very much.

BERMAN: Hope you have a great day here in Hopkinton. I know it'll be a great race.

DESCHENES: Thanks a lot.

BERMAN: All right. Chris Cuomo on "NEW DAY," I know you'd be covering this and a lot of other news. I can't tell you how great it is to be here, Chris, truly a day that is Boston Strong.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Oh, boy, I'll tell you, I wish I was up there with you, JB. You know, we were up there together last year and I know you've got family there and that's your home. It's great to see you there and you're telling great stories this morning.

I think the best number I've heard from you all morning, they're expecting more spectators than ever at the marathon and that's the message that needs to be sent. So thanks a lot, pal.

We'll definitely be dealing with that. We're also going to be covering this news from overseas about this unprecedented strike being carried out against al Qaeda. It was done by a team effort, U.S. and Yemen. Yemeni commandos are on the ground, drone strikes above. We know it's happening right now, still ongoing in an area where hundreds of the terrorists had recently gathered. We're going to give you a live report from behind the strike.

We also have the latest on that sinking South Korean ship and what went wrong. That country's president's been lashing out against the captain. They arrested more of the crew. He's calling the actions akin to murder. Well, why? Well, there's a transcript out now and we're going to play part of it for you, and starting to piece together what happened and when. That will be the key. We'll take you through it.

We're also going to talk with some maritime experts about that and we'll be covering all the other morning's news, also.

We've got some new information, Victor and Alison, about the flight path of 370, so we'll take you through that as well.

Good morning, guys.

KOSIK: Good morning, Chris. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Good morning to you, Chris.

KOSIK: And this morning, Vice President Biden is on his way to Ukraine amid new worries that a fragile truce there could be falling apart. We're live with the latest next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KOSIK: Welcome back to EARLY START. Vice President Biden is on his way to Kiev at this hour. He's scheduled to meet today with Ukraine's acting president and prime minister. Violence threatening to boil over in the region this morning after a deadly shoot-out Sunday in eastern Ukraine shattered an Easter truce.

Phil Black joining us live now from Donetsk, Ukraine this morning.

Phil, at this point, can the vice president really do anything to quell or to contain this violence?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: His visit is very much, Alison, a big gesture of support to the government in Kiev, as it is struggling to reassert its authority here in the east of the country, where pro-Russian groups continue to control a great deal of territory. And we've seen just recently how much tension there still is here on the ground.

We're outside a town that is very much under the control of pro- Russian forces. They say one of their checkpoints came under direct attack. They say it was the middle of the night, a bold ambush by people who rolled up in cars, got out and opened fire, and they say that in the shoot-out that followed, six people, three on each side, were killed before the remaining attackers fled after two of their cars were destroyed.

They're blaming a nationalist Ukrainian group called Right Sector. That same group denies any and all involvement in this. So two competing claims. And the Ukrainian Security Services accuse the pro- Russian forces of actually staging this, as some sort of propaganda stunt. Regardless of what happened, it's the consequences that are so potentially serious.

People across the region are now saying there's no way they're going to give up their weapons. They just don't trust the authorities in Kiev, or what they say are nationalists from the west of the country. And indeed, authorities here are now calling for Russians to respond by sending in peace keepers. They want Vladimir Putin to send in soldiers to protect them. So it's one potential act of violence, a murky incident with different versions of precisely what happened, and the details are unclear, but it has the potential to really escalate things here on the ground -- Alison.

KOSIK: And with each side digging its heels in, I guess, where is the line where that truce could actually hold?

BLACK: Well, it is difficult to determine, really. We had an agreement struck in Geneva just last week, still really days ago, where the United States, Europe, Ukraine and Russia all agreed that the pro-Russian forces should put down their weapons, should walk away from the government buildings that they are occupying. But what we haven't seen is anyone responding to that.

Indeed, the pro-Russian groups say they're not following that agreement. And after this alleged attack, they say they're especially not going to be giving up their weapons. But at the same time, we haven't seen them take control of much new territory in recent days either. So, in this sense, and particularly with this incident, you've got two competing stories -- a bold nationalist attack or a propaganda stunt.

It kind of ultimately doesn't really matter which is true because the motivations would be the same, to really escalate this crisis, to increase the tensions here on the ground -- Alison.

KOSIK: OK, Phil Black live from Donetsk, Ukraine. Thank you.

And we're going to be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KOSIK: Breaking overnight, a major security breach at a California airport. A 16-year-old boy apparently stowed away in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines flight. He flew all the way to Maui at 38,000 feet.

Now that has some doubting his story. After all, there is very little oxygen at that altitude, and the air is nearly frozen, but officials are saying that they do have surveillance video, and that video is showing that the teen actually jumped the fence at San Jose's airport, and he winds up crawling away from the plane in Maui.

No clear winner yet in Afghanistan's presidential election, with about half of the ballots counted. Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah is in the lead, but he needs to reach 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff. Growing more likely with other candidates getting 30 percent plus. Final results are expected to be announced on Thursday.

BLACKWELL: So Nepal is now warning that it could cut off expeditions to the top of Mt. Everest for the rest of this year. Of course, this decision could come after this avalanche that killed at least 13 Sherpa guides on the mountain. Three others are still missing. Now a lot of those guides say the work is too dangerous for the small amount they're paid and they're threatening a strike.

An American adventurer, guy's name is Joby Ogwyn, he's now canceled his wing suit jump on the mountain. It was slated for next month.

KOSIK: Officials in Wyoming this morning are saying a landslide threatening the town of Jackson is slowing down again, but it's still threatening to bury homes and businesses in that resort town. The landslide has already destroyed one home. It's advancing at about an inch a day. Still, they say it's unlikely the hillside will suddenly give way, like one did in Washington state, leaving 39 dead.

BLACKWELL: Country music hit maker Kevin Sharp has died. He's famous for his first album, "Measure of a Man," which spurred three hit songs, including the chart-topper "Nobody Knows." Sharp survived cancer as a teenager, which led to his meeting award-winning producer David Foster, and then the start of his singing career. Sharp went on to become a spokesperson for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He was 43 years old.

KOSIK: This morning, remembrances continue for Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a boxer turned -- celebrity who spent 19 years in prison for three murders he didn't commit. His story became fodder for a Bob Dylan song and an Academy Award-nominated movie that starred Denzel Washington. Carter was finally exonerated in 1985. In recent years, Carter lived in Canada, and that's where he died of prostate cancer. Rubin Carter was 76.

BLACKWELL: In Washington today, the assault trial of singer Chris Brown could begin after being delayed by a judge hearing the case against Brown and his bodyguard. And both are accused of hitting a man who tried to photograph the singer outside a Washington, D.C., hotel last October. The judge delayed the start of Brown's trial until she reaches a verdict against the bodyguard. That's expected today.

KOSIK: If you have Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners in your fridge, you want to listen to this. Kraft Foods is recalling some 96,000 pounds of those hot-dogs because the packaging is wrong. The labels say Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners, but inside when you open the package are actually hot-dogs with cheese, and there are concerns that the milk in that cheese could cause an allergic reaction, so consumers are urged to call Kraft if they have any questions.

BLACKWELL: All right, some good news if you're looking to buy your first home. Lenders are starting to loosen their restrictions on mortgage applications, letting those with slightly lower-than-ideal credit scores get a loan, even allowing for smaller down payments in some cases. We've heard this before. Several banks are now accepting a down payment less than 5 percent with conditions, of course. But it gives first-time buyers a better chance of buying a home and that could help the housing market grow this year.

KOSIK: Asian stocks are down after the holiday weekend with many markets around the world closed today for Easter Monday, but, yes, futures in the U.S. looking higher. The markets saw nice gains last week thanks to first-quarter earnings season, and there could be more to come as we head into peak week with 11 companies from the Dow 30 reporting and more than 150 reporting from the S&P 500.

Let me ask you this. Could a like on Facebook take away your right to sue? Probably not any time soon, but General Mills scrapped a change to its fine print over the weekend that many consumers thought did just that. New legal terms posted by the maker of Cheerios last week stated online exchanges like downloading a coupon or entering a contest could waive customers' rights to a lawsuit.

Now General Mills got rid of the language but says the backlash was what it calls a mischaracterization of the terms. Got to think twice before you even click like these days.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely. Good to be with you this morning. "NEW DAY" starts now.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, an unprecedented attack on al Qaeda. The U.S. and Yemeni commandos teaming out to take out dozens of alleged bad guys. The operation is still ongoing and we are live with the latest.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking this morning, arrested. Four more crew members from the doomed South Korean ferry taken into custody as the country's president calls the captain's actions akin to murder. New information on what went wrong.

MICHAEL PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Daring stow away, how on earth did a 16- year-old boy survived hidden in the wheel well of a plane on a five- hour flight. His miracle survival is raising new questions about security this morning. And many wonder if his story holds up.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right not.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.