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Ferry Accident; Boston Marathon Security; Teen Hides in Plane's Wheel Well

Aired April 21, 2014 - 08:30   ET

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


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: To a 50 degree angle just a few minutes later. What does that suggest to you in how fast this is going under?

CAPT. JAMES STAPLES, OCEANRIVER LLC, MARITIME CONSULTANTS: Oh, this is quick. She's getting a lot of ingress of water. Something's going on. We don't know if the stern doors were not tight. So we don't know where the water's coming from. But my guess would be that the stern doors were probably taking in quite a bit of water at the time. A large cargo shift with the cargo. So she's now to a point of no return.

BOLDUAN: So, captain, at what point, when you are clearly in an emergency situation like this, should it be suggested to put your lifejackets on and get ready to abandon ship?

STAPLES: Well, initially, when the ship went to about 10 degrees, when she was turning, that's when the concern should have been if she did not come back to an upright position.

BOLDUAN: Just at 10 degrees?

STAPLES: At 10 degrees they should have been very concerned as to why she was not coming back. When she continued to go on, it should have been given immediately to launch those life rafts. The concern for the captain was, the water was called (ph) into a swift current.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

STAPLES: That's true. That's a concern -

BOLDUAN: Is it a valid concern?

STAPLES: It's a very valid concern. But still, it's no reason for not putting the life rafts into the water at that time. And even if people had to go into the water, they would have had something to go to. They would have had the life rafts.

BOLDUAN: There's - and it would have also -- it was also suggested that at some point it got to a point where the life rafts were either under water or they couldn't even get to it to deploy them. Is that - is that possible?

STAPLES: Oh, on that -- on the port side, absolutely. They were probably very close to the water, and maybe even under water. But there's still no reason why the life rafts could not have been deployed when she first started to go. That should have been the first command he gave was to start getting those life rafts ready, get everybody mustered outside so they would not have been trapped inside that vessel. And that's key here, that they were trapped inside.

BOLDUAN: Does that suggest inexperience to you? Does that suggest that there could have been something else at play, that it was just going down much faster than they had anticipated? Does that suggest that protocol wasn't followed?

STAPLES: Well, definitely protocol. It looks like some type of training problem we have here. Whether they were doing evacuation drills, how - when was the last time that they did an abandon ship drill? So these are some of the things that I would be very, very concerned with is the training - the training aspect.

BOLDUAN: One final question, just to wrap up. When they -- who they were speaking to, they made contact with the traffic control at its destination rather than the traffic control where it began, which they were much closer to. Does that pose a problem?

STAPLES: Absolutely. They should have been talking to Jindo traffic control. That was the area they were in. If you can picture an airplane, it would be like an airplane flying around Boston, whether than talking to Boston air traffic control, they would be talking to say LaGuardia.

BOLDUAN: So they have situational awareness, the other place didn't -

STAPLES: Correct. Exactly.

BOLDUAN: And did not and where they're supposed to be.

STAPLES: And that's the important factor here that Jindo traffic should have been in contact with them all the time. You know that's a -- it's mandatory that they check in with that system. So they should have been in contact. That's who they should have been in talk to.

But we've got to also realize that there's a lot of confusion going on here at the same time.

BOLDUAN: Definitely.

STAPLES: There's whistles, bells going off on the bridge. A lot of confusion going on.

BOLDUAN: And first and foremost, they need to continue the rescue and recovery operation and then figure out why they even ended up in this situation to begin with.

STAPLES: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: Captain, thank you so much for your time.

STAPLES: My pleasure.

BOLDUAN: I really appreciate it. STAPLES: My pleasure.

BOLDUAN: Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, coming up on NEW DAY, the Boston Marathon gets underway shortly. We're going to talk with the city's new police commissioner about the increased security measures this year. How are they going to keep all those runners and spectators safe?

Plus, a 16-year-old says -you ready for this -- he survived a five- hour flight hidden in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines jet. First of all, how did he get past security and does his story really hold up?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Right now 36,000 runners are about to start the Boston Marathon. And Boston authorities are getting ready for their own challenge, keeping all those runners safe and some 1 million spectators on top of them. So joining us now is Boston Police Commissioner William Evans.

Commish, you're new to the job of being commissioner, but you're not new to the police force, a 30-year veteran, and you're certainly not new to the marathon. You've ran it 18 times, but not this year so you could focus on the job. What's the plan?

WILLIAM EVANS, BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, the plan is just to have a lot of visibility out there. I know we have a lot of cameras along the route and a lot of undercover officers. But, you know, I'm pretty - you know, I'm confident that we're going to have a great day here in the city. You know, we worked hard on today's - all the logistics, but, you know, our men and women have shown what a great department we were last year and I have all the confidence in the world that the BPD, along with the other agencies, are going to have a very safe day and, you know, and return this marathon to what it's always been, which is a great day, Patriot's Day here in the city of Boston.

CUOMO: Absolutely. There's a lot of optimism. Of course everybody's a little bit on edge I'm sure as well. Any information of credible threats that you have to deal with this morning?

EVANS: No. No. Things have gone well. Over the last week we've had some great activities here. The tribute day. You know we had a 5k race. The atmosphere and the electricity back - is back on Boylston Street at the finish line. But there's no intelligence out there to indicate this is going to be nothing but a great day in the city. And I'm looking forward to it. The weather's great. I just hope the 36,000 runners enjoy the day. Obviously this is the best marathon in the world. And I think we're going to have a super day here today.

CUOMO: What do you think about lessons being learned from the bombing that make it better to secure this year? EVANS: Well, I think with the lessons learned, you know, we're going to put a lot more officers in the crowds. You know, years past we've had them sitting inside the barriers. We never thought that someone would go to the extreme they went last year in destroying, you know, our city and our marathon. So, you know, we've had to adjust some of the logistics and put more cameras out there. But more so, we have a lot of people inside the crowd, walking amongst, you know, the 26.2 miles. So that's the biggest adjustment I want to say.

But, you know, this marathon's run 116 times and, you know, last year was out of the ordinary. I think we're going to have a great day today. And people should come out, enjoy the day and root the runners on and show us - show the city that we're back, we're resilient and we're not going to give in to what happened last year. You know, come out, great day to root the runners on. We expect over a million people here today.

CUOMO: You've said you want a soft approach to the security plan. What does that mean?

EVANS: Well, the soft approach is, I don't want people coming out and seeing officers in their tactical gear. I don't want them coming out seeing snipers on rooftops. You know this is a great day in the city. It's usually a good family day. I don't want people being intimidated and being afraid to come and watch the race.

So, you know, we have those assets available. We have them at strategic locations. And we'll have them out in two seconds. But we're trying to low-key it so we don't want young families being intimidated by a show of force. You know that force is there, but it's behind closed doors and it's ready to be rolled out at any minute.

CUOMO: Commissioner, you were in Watertown when the suspect was apprehended. How important is it that justice be swift and severe there in terms of putting this episode behind the city?

EVANS: Well, again, you know, we were fortunate to get those two suspects within 102 hours. Obviously we're hoping for swift punishment on this one. You know, we all had an emotional week last year, myself from running the race right up to being the person at the boat with my officers. You know, everyone did a great job and hopefully justice will be served for that individual who not only destroyed a marathon that's near and dear to all of us, but also to destroy and bring chaos to our city last year. So, I'm hoping justice will be swift and it will be certain.

CUOMO: Now, on a personal level, as you just pointed out, last year you ran the race and were still one of the first to respond there on scene. You stayed there the whole time. Tireless work as a lot of the force put in. This year you decided not to run it. Was that a tough choice for you?

EVANS: It was a tough choice because a lot of people thought I should run it because symbolically it will show that we're not going to take it, what we did last year. But, you know, since last year, I've been put into this position. I've been here now six months. You know, my job now is more important than my - you know, then my -- me doing the running of the marathon, you know?

It's making sure that the day goes off without any security issues, making sure our men and women do the job that they've always done, which is a great job, and basically, you know, just ensuring that everybody is safe today. Obviously the safety of the city and the safety of the marathon is my primary focus. You know - you know, there's other marathons to be run and hopefully I can be back on the route next year.

CUOMO: You'll get the itch, but that's right, there's always next year. We wish you all the best up there. We know you're prepared. We'll be watching today, along with everybody else. Here's to being Boston strong. Thanks for meeting you. Thanks for coming on NEW DAY this morning, commissioner. Appreciate it.

EVANS: Well, thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

CUOMO: All right. And, it's not just about the marathon, it's about everything that came before it. So, please, tonight, be sure to watch our own special report, "Back to Boston: Moments of Impact." It airs at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, of course, only on CNN.

Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, how did a 16-year-old survive a five-hour flight in a plane's landing gear wheel well? It sounds impossible. And also, what does it say about airport security. Our experts weigh in.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. We want to take a look at this story that seems almost too incredible to believe. The FBI is investigating a teen stowaway they say traveled from San Jose, California all the way to Hawaii, to Maui specifically in the landing gear wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines jet.

The 16-year-old made this despite the lack of oxygen and frigid temperatures at 38,000 feet. We need to get some answers as to how this could have possibly happened. We bring in Michael Kay. He's a retired Lieutenant Colonel with the British military and CNN aviation analyst. Not the way to travel and it's cost people their lives.

LT. COL. MICHAEL KAY, BRITISH MILITARY (RET.): No. It's not first class, yes. You're right.

PEREIRA: This is not first class. There's so many questions. Why don't we break down some of this?

KAY: Sure.

PEREIRA: First of all, how could a human survive 38,000 feet?

KAY: Well, you're going straight -- you're going straight to the end point, Michaela.

PEREIRA: I am. I don't want to go gently.

KAY: You don't want to talk about security breaches and the wells and everything else.

PEREIRA: Sure.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: These are like all of the questions. I mean there are so many questions.

PEREIRA: There are -- yes.

CUOMO: Let's start at the beginning because there's evidence that it happened. There's the evidence right at the beginning, right, which is video of the kid hopping the fence at San Jose Airport.

PEREIRA: You can't argue with the video.

CUOMO: That's the best bet that this actually happened.

KAY: Well, you've got evidence that he breached the security and actually entered. And then you've got evidence at the other end where you see him dazed and confused on the tarmac.

PEREIRA: On the tarmac.

KAY: He's got from A to B somehow.

CUOMO: So how do you jump the fence at San Jose and making it on to a plane without being stopped when you're caught on video?

KAY: Well, clearly there's a security breach. And I mean I just got back from Cairo, my passport and my boarding pass were checked over ten times going through the normal mechanisms of getting into the airport and getting to the gate. So clearly there's a big security breach here which in the post 9/11 world order is a concern.

PEREIRA: We've seen where kids have been able to -- but this is a teenager, 16-year-old. He's got to be an average size kid.

Kay: Yes. I mean look, the whole process of getting across a fence, getting across a tarmac, if the plane is at the gate, you've got all these engineers, you've got all catering, you have all the people you see around the jet, all the baggage people. So I mean to get through all of that is a task in itself.

CUOMO: Sure.

KAY: And then you've got the physical bit of climbing up the undercarriage, into the bay -- we've seen the bay, it's very complex.

PEREIRA: Yes, but look at the bay. It is quite complex.

BOLDUAN: Describe it.

PEREIRA: Yes, describe it.

BOLDUAN: Describe that area of the airplane, how someone would get in there and hide in there and survive in there?

KAY: Well, the bay is effectively where your main undercarriage, as you get airborne, the wheels come up and they sort of rotate and all sorts of funny stuff and then they get locked inside the aircraft to eliminate drag.

CUOMO: There's the bay.

PEREIRA: That's a 737, not the 767 he was on.

KAY: Yes. So this is going to be slightly smaller. A 767 has got a longer undercarriage and therefore it's a bigger bay. But inside that is the hydraulics reservoirs, hydraulics lines, electrics, there's all sorts of equipment and technology going on in there which, if removed or if dislodged in some way could present an air safety risk. So there's that element alone --

PEREIRA: Are there moving pieces and parts in there as well that he could get caught up in.

CUOMO: Mostly pumps.

KAY: Mostly sort of -- mostly contained equipment.

PEREIRA: Right.

CUOMO: What's the temperature going to be?

KAY: Well -- and this goes back to your point, Michaela. You have two real environmental issues. You've got the H's -- Hypoxia and hypothermia. Hypoxia is effectively the starvation of oxygen that anybody receives about 10,000 to 12,000 feet.

PEREIRA: And he was at 38,000.

KAY: He was around 35,000 -- 38,000 feet. He's going to have slipped into some sort of unconsciousness at around 12,000 feet.

PEREIRA: And he said that. He told the officials that he was unconscious.

KAY: So that's the first thing. The second thing is hypothermia. And at around 35,000 feet it's about minus 40 and there's a crossover point where minus 40 degrees here is the same as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit --

PEREIRA: He certainly wouldn't have been dressed for it. He was coming from San Jose.

KAY: Exactly. So we've heard of these stories -- these very unusual stories about people slipping into lakes and being underwater for an hour and then being revived. There might be -- and I say might -- there might be a situation where you get a crossover and a very unusual crossover. He's very young. He's very healthy where he slipped into unconsciousness and the body has been cooled at a rate where the central nervous system is preserved and as he's descended, he's come around and made his way on the tarmac.

However, very unusual, we've already pointed out that in London an Angola man was found crumpled on the street I'm not sure -- (inaudible) into Heathrow --

CUOMO: He fell out.

KAY: Well, yes. I mean that would have been when the undercarriage would have come down and cycled that almost if he were conscious he would have --

BOLDUAN: They kind of assumed he may have been unconscious at that point.

KAY: Yes. I mean the Angolan chap would have been -- who knows? I mean as you come to 10,000 -- I mean I personally don't know. It all depends on your own DNA --

BOLDUAN: Right, sure, sure.

KAY: He was young, he was fit, he was healthy. So I mean there is a slight possibility that he would have survived this five-hour --

PEREIRA: Can we look at the gear again? Because one of the questions our producer -- everybody is skeptical. Is there an opening from there to the cargo hold where he might have been able to crawl and stay warm where the pets and luggage and things are?

KAY: It's a great question. And I don't know the answer to the question. However, what I would say is minus 40 degrees C, human skin freezes pretty much instantaneously.

PEREIRA: Perhaps (inaudible) at the very least.

KAY: So you would think that inside the cockpit, I mean you've got hydraulic lines, it's kind of warmer in there. You have the heat from the tires. There could be a situation where inside the bay is warmer than the external air temperature and therefore you wouldn't necessarily get that instantaneous freezing of the skin.

BOLDUAN: Michael, beyond the fact that it's incredible that he could have survived this, could he have done damage to the landing gear, done damage to the plane that could have threatened the plane itself?

KAY: Yes. I mean that's an absolute possibility. I mean just by having a human body in the way of any traveling moving parts is certainly a possibility.

CUOMO: But he did. And then he wound up coming out the other side. And I assume they know he wasn't on the passenger manifest -- right. So they know, like you know what I mean. It's not like one of those deals where there's some kind of hoax going on.

KAY: Yes, I know. I mean an absolutely fair point.

CUOMO: That's the concern, that it's a hoax, you know. I mean you have --

PEREIRA: But if you have the security video in San Jose --

CUOMO: I know. Assuming it's him that they see jumping over the fence.

BOLDUAN: Right.

CUOMO: I'm skeptical. I'm skeptical.

KAY: I mean you could. There are -- I mean Chris is absolutely right. Like MH370, there is just enough evidence to keep all the cards on the table. And there's not enough evidence --

CUOMO: I like that crawl into the cargo hold.

KAY: I don't know how they just take off.

BOLDUAN: How about a body double?

CUOMO: Doppelganger. I think you taught me that word.

KAY: I mean I've got a doppelganger and I know you've got one. So I mean there's quite a few people --

BOLDUAN: Do you? (inaudible). Have you been sleeping in and sending someone else in?

KAY: I can't disclose that.

CUOMO: I can't believe someone could match the wit and British beauty that you bring to our stage here every day.

BOLDUAN: OK, you two.

PEREIRA: You two.

CUOMO: But I like that crawling into the cargo hold theory or this ambient temperature difference. That gives me some confidence.

BOLDUAN: Regardless, don't try it.

PEREIRA: He's got a story to tell. And that's the other thing. Will we hear -- he's in the custody of the Hawaiian Child and Family Services right now.

CUOMO: That's relevant, also. What motivated the kid to do this? He obviously is dealing with some pain, now he's in some trouble.

KAY: But he's alive.

PEREIRA: He's alive, come on.

KAY: And as everybody points out -- there is definitely a story to tell, here.

PEREIRA: I cut to the chase -- I needed to get there.

CUOMO: You really did. Went right to -- I expected you to.

KAY: You went straight to the why. I mean we know about the where and the what.

CUOMO: Thank you, lieutenant colonel, or whoever you are.

Coming up, a war hero on his way to being honored gets the call again. We're going to tell you how this soldier became a hero times two. That's why he is "The Good Stuff".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: It's time for "The Good Stuff". And James Yates is double stuff. And here is why. He was already a hero. The Purple Heart winner with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan was actually on his way to an Iowa barnstormer's game to be honored.

But heroes never rest. So on his way he happened to pass by Courtney Pearson who was trying to fix a brake fluid leak on her truck. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COURTNEY PEARSON: I've had that jack under the car before, I didn't think it would be too much of an issue. I had my kids out playing, and as soon as the car fell, they heard me scream. I said go find a neighbor, go find a neighbor, somebody, anybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: And the person Courtney's kids found was James Yates. Courtney was pinned under the truck. Lucky she wasn't crushed. That's when James swept into action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES YATES, ARMY: I told her to keep calm, I'm going to call the ambulance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: He jacks up the truck. Courtney escapes, only bruises, James leaves before she can even thank him. Remember he had a date at the barnstormer's game.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YATES: Everybody gave us a standing ovation. You can hear people yelling thank you and saluting us.

PEARSON: He's an amazing person and I just wish I could thank him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: It's easy. They live very close to each other.

BOLDUAN: I love so much about this story.

CUOMO: Isn't that nice?

BOLDUAN: Can't believe that she only got out with only bruises.

PEREIRA: I know.

CUOMO: And you know, once again, what makes the guy special is unusual call to duty in Iraq and Afghanistan protecting our freedoms, but then taking the opportunity on an ordinary occasion to do something extraordinary. That's why he's "The Good Stuff".

PEREIRA: And a Renaissance man, he still went to his date. Love that.

CUOMO: Good.

PEREIRA: Love it.

CUOMO: Respect for that.

All right. A lot of news this morning. So let's get you to the "NEWSROOM" with Miss Pamela Brown. Pamela -- good to see you.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good to see all three of you -- Chris, Kate and Michaela. I'll take it from here.

"NEWSROOM" starts now.