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Bluefin Back In Water For 10th Mission; Ferry Disaster: 108 Dead, 194 Missing; Pro-Russian Groups Seizing Government Buildings; Teen Stowaway In Child Custody; Cyclone Threatening Search in Indian Ocean

Aired April 22, 2014 - 06:00   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: How did this teenager get by security, hide inside a plane's wheel well on a five-hour flight to Hawaii and survive? This morning, an airport is facing serious questions as doctors say it's amazing he's alive.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, April 22nd, now 6:00 in the east. Overnight, a cyclone forcing authorities to call off the air search for Flight 370. But the underwater search is ongoing as the Bluefin-21 now begins its tenth mission. With no sign of the plane, the question is what will happen next? Certainly uncertain right now. CNN's Erin McLaughlin is in Perth with more -- Erin.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Well, four military planes were actually in the air today despite difficult even hazardous conditions. Hope may be fading for this portion of the search, but they're certainly giving it everything they've got and they're already planning for phase two.


MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): No end in sight as investigators are now only days away from completing the search in the targeted area and still, no sign of Flight 370. Back in the water this morning, Bluefin-21, after turning up empty scouring two-thirds of the intended seabed so far. The search in the air drastically scaled back due to rain, poor visibility, and heavy seas from Tropical Cyclone Jack. The targeted area six miles in radius.

It represents the best guess as to where the plane may be. If nothing is found, the search area may widen dramatically with more equipment. Investigators say they're in the early stages of talks on long-term search plans, as far out as July. On Monday, Chinese families of those on board Flight 370 arrived at a Beijing hotel expecting a briefing with technical experts from Malaysia. But that meeting was canceled. The families turned away.

STEVE WANG, FAMILY REPRESENTATIVE: Even a small pieces, they haven't found it. So we really doubt the whether it's in the right place or not. We just want to help them check it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MCLAUGHLIN: Some of the families saying they're not convinced the Bluefin-21 is looking in the right place. They say they have too many lingering questions -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Erin McLaughlin with the very latest from Perth. Thank you so much, Erin.

The death toll rising again overnight in the ferry disaster off the coast of South Korea. At least 108 bodies have now been covered from the sunken ferry as dive teams search the vessel trying to find the nearly 200 that are still unaccounted for.

Let's get to Nic Robertson who has the very latest live in Jindo, South Korea. Nick, have they acknowledged at this point they are moving into just a recovery mission or do they believe that there's still a chance they could rescue some survivors?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, officials here are still calling it a rescue mission. They stand by that. There is a hope that people may be trapped in pockets on air aboard that ship. Today another very tough day for the families, a tough day for the divers down below the waters as well.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): The arrival of each police boat brings some closure to a few families of the missing. For so many more, the uncertainty continues. The scope of this tragedy becoming more evident with each body brought ashore as authorities here say most of the people they find are still wearing life vests.

The company which operated the ferry posted a public apology on their web site saying, in part, "We apologize to all the people who are grieving for the loss of their loved ones. We beg for forgiveness from the victims' families and we pray for the dead." The search for survivors in these waters are dangerous. Low visibility and debris aboard the ship make it nearly impossible to navigate. Divers must first swim down over 100 feet to reach the ship. Then the difficult task of breaching the wall of the vessel.

Rescuers focus their search on the third and fourth levels inside a lounge and cabin area where they believe most of the students are located. So far, seven crew members in all have been detained, including Captain Lee Joon-Seok featured here in this 2010 safety video. Once touted as face of safety, he is now charged with five counts of criminal activity including abandoning ship, which carries a hefty sentence of life in prison.


ROBERTSON: We've been learning more details from some of those arrested crew members outside a courtroom today saying that they were struggling to right the vessel that was listing, that the captain was -- was in the bridge there with them and that they couldn't get to the life boats to release the life boats -- Chris. CUOMO: All right, Nic, thank you. You know, there's also some news -- other news breaking in the region. Overnight, there is concern North Korea is beefing up its nuclear program. South Korea is detecting fresh activity at the North's main nuclear test site so the south is in turn stepping up its military readiness. All of this is happening ahead of President Obama's trip to Asia. Paula Hancocks is in Seoul with the very latest. What do we know, Paula?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, the Ministry of Defense here in South Korea says they have detected increased activity at the sites. This is where the last three nuclear tests have been carried out by North Korea. They're not saying exactly what they know or how they know it. You would assume they know it from increased satellite activity that they have surveillance in the sky.

What they are telling CNN is at this point all that's left is the political decision. It looks as though North Korea is physically ready for a possible fourth nuclear test saying they need to dig the underground tunnel, the entrance of the tunnel, and seal it up. They have done this three times before. They have done it within a month of warning about a nuclear test in the past.

Remember, last month, just 19 days ago, they did warn they may carry out a new kind of nuclear test. So this would be in keeping with previous practice from North Korea. The experts resuming this new kind of nuclear test may be uranium rather than plutonium. It comes a few days before President Obama reaches here and the timing has to be looked at quite closely. North Korea's Foreign Ministry already saying that they believe Obama's trip is a reactionary and dangerous one -- Michaela back to you.

PEREIRA: Now a lot of eyes on North Korea in that testing. Thank you so much, Paula. We appreciate it. Let's look at more of your headlines at this hour. Vice President Joe Biden meeting with Ukraine's top leaders in Kiev. He is offering U.S. support for the interim government as they struggle to hold the eastern part of the country together. Now this amid reports that pro-Russian militants have taken over another police station. Let's go to Fred Pleitgen. He is in Kiev. He has the latest for us -- Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Michaela, and that certainly those events that are going on in the east of the country are on everyone's mind. So far it seems as though those pro-Russian separatists are showing no sign of de-escalating the situation. They took over that building last night. Also a shoot-out that happened here on the weekend. Certainly the U.S. is very concerned about that situation.

The U.S. is also threatened additional sanctions against Moscow if it does not de-escalate it. Vice President Biden, of course, because of all of that, in a very difficult situation here in Ukraine and the capital of Kiev as you just said. He's currently meeting with the leaders of this country. He's set to offer them economic aid, but the main thrust is going to be helping Ukraine achieve energy security because, of course, they are very dependent on Russian gas and the Russians are using that as a weapon in the current standoff -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: Stabilize that area for sure. All right, Fred Pleitgen in Ukraine. Thank you so much.

Officials in Yemen meanwhile conducting DNA testing to determine the identities of at least 65 suspected al Qaeda militants killed since Saturday in a massive and unprecedented operation. The assaults were reportedly carried out with the U.S., which blames al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula for a string of recent plots. Experts say it appears that high level al Qaeda figures were targeted and could have been killed in those attacks.

Violence inside a Salt Lake City courtroom. A U.S. Marshall fatally shot a gang defendant who charged at a witness on the stand who is testifying against him. The victim was being tried for racketeering conspiracy. The witness was describing gang initiation rituals when the defendant grabbed the pen and rushed the witness stand. He was shot several times and died later at the hospital. The federal judge declared a mistrial citing impact of the shooting on jurors.

I think the last couple of posts on the Boston marathon's Facebook page sum it up best. It's our finish line and what a day. The 2014 race is in the books, but obviously a whole lot more -- it was about a whole lot more than just running and personal best, 9,000 runners took part this year over last year.

The 38-year-old member Keflezighi of San Diego is the first American to win the men's race in more than 30 years. We should also point out he is the oldest winner in more than 80 years at 38 years of age. Incredible. Wore the names of the victims on his bib. Overcome with emotion at the end of the race because it was more than just, you know, about finishing -- crossing the finish line. That was a big race yesterday.

CUOMO: Biggest spectator base they believe.

BOLDUAN: Biggest turnout. That's great.

PEREIRA: Fantastic.

CUOMO: Sends the right message. Truly Boston strong. So was Meb (ph).

PEREIRA: Perfect weather for running.

CUOMO: And a good pair of socks on too. I like the high socks.

BOLDUAN: Got to keep the calf warm, says the woman who does not run long distance.

All right, we have some tough questions this morning for the California airport where a teenage stowaway reportedly sneaked into the landing gear of a jumbo jet and survived a five-hour flight to Hawaii. San Jose police say they have no plans to charge the boy. Experts call what happened a major security breach and doctors say it's a medical miracle.

CNN's Akiko Fujita is in Los Angeles with much more. It is hard to believe the more you learn about it.

AKIKO FUJITA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is hard to believe, Kate. Well, the surveillance video reportedly shows this teenager hopping the fence at San Jose Airport the day he boarded that flight. The FBI says there's also video of him walking across the tarmac to that Hawaiian Airlines plane. This morning that teenager remains in the custody of Child Protective Services with one incredible story to tell.


FUJITA (voice-over): Airport crews in Maui were the first to spot the 16-year-old. His arrival here, the end of a nearly five-hour, 2300- mile journey across the Pacific in the wheel well of a Boeing 767.

MARVIN MONIZ, MAUI AIRPORT MANAGER: He was weak. He hung from the wheel well and then he fell to the ground and regained some strength and stood up and started walking to the front of the aircraft.

FUJITA: This morning there are new questions about how the teenager managed to go undetected. Airport officials in San Jose say they aren't filing any criminal charges at this time, even though surveillance video reportedly shows him hopping the fence on to the tarmac and walking to the plane.

ROSEMARY BARNES, SPOKESWOMAN, SAN JOSE MINETA INTL AIRPORT: It is possible to scale an airport perimeter fence line especially under cover of darkness.

FUJITA: That was just the beginning. That teen reportedly hid himself in the landing gear compartment after he ran away from home on Sunday with little oxygen and sub-zero temperatures, he flew to an altitude of 38,000 feet.

ROBERT ELDER, AVIATION INSPECTOR: But the only way I can see he got up is -- climb up here.

FUJITA: Aviation Inspector Robert Elder showed us just how difficult this feat is. Climbing into a wheel well less than ten feet across, just inches wide.

ELDER: Once the gear is up, he's got a little bit of a corner where the tires make the circle. He could actually stand on this door and probably maybe stretch a little bit. Remember, above about 14,000 he's going to pass out because he has no oxygen.

FUJITA: Which is exactly what the teen reportedly says happened. Telling airport officials he blacked out after takeoff and didn't regain consciousness until he landed in Hawaii.


FUJITA: Airport officials in Maui say that teenager only had a comb on him. Crews say they bought him some lunch and a bag of cookies because he was so weak. He was treated at the hospital and released to child protective services who have notified his family that he's safe -- Kate and Chris.

BOLDUAN: It's an amazing tale. One that should not have to be told, but he is one lucky boy. That's for sure. Akiko, thank you so much.

CUOMO: Issues of survival and security. We'll take them both on later in this show.

Right now, we want to get to Chad Myers in for Indra Petersons. You know, Chad, very often we ask Indra for relief and she does not give it to us. I'll ask you. My allergies are killing me, can you help me?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I got it. It's Chad Everett, by the way. Cold front coming by. Air behind it is cleaner, dryer, cooler. I'll take all of the above. I needed windshield wipers just for my eyeballs earlier today. It was just so nasty out there, 77 D.C., 80 in Raleigh, 74 in Atlanta. There's the front. It brings in the relief. It brings in much cooler, dryer, and less pollinated air.

There's another one back in behind it. Two big stories today. More rain in the Pacific Northwest where they do not need it and high wind warnings in the southwest. There will be dust in the air. The visibility may be a quarter mile out in Vegas because of all of this dust that comes through making a slight risk for severe weather tomorrow afternoon.

But still, sunny and nice. High in the 60s for tomorrow. All up and down the east coast. I got it for you. You asked it. I got it. One time, don't blame Indra because she can't do it. I'm just here.

BOLDUAN: That was very kind of you.

PEREIRA: Did you see that? I saw that.

BOLDUAN: Not saying -- I'm not saying Indra can't do it. I'm just saying right man at the right place at the right time. Thanks.

CUOMO: Somewhere Indra is doing push-ups in disgust. But Chad Everett Myers came through.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. Thanks, Chad.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, the Bluefin-21 sub is running out of search area to search fit doesn't see any signs of Flight 370 in the specific dive area they said was the most confident place they could find it. Then what? We're talking to our experts about the next steps.

CUOMO: So we said we're going to take on these issues about the kid in the plane and we meant it. How do you survive five hours in a jet wheel well where there's no oxygen and you're freezing up there. We're bringing in a doctor to understand it because it happened.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

The families of the 239 passengers of Flight 370 have reached a breaking point. They issued a list of 26 questions for Malaysian authorities.

Now, despite multiple meetings the questions have not been answered. They really haven't even been addressed. Instead, the families were pressured on a timeline for, quote, "moving forward", including the issuing of death certificates for their loved ones.

Meanwhile, the search in the south Indian Ocean continues to come up empty, only making matters worse.

We have with us Mary Schiavo, CNN aviation analyst, also represents victims and families after airplane disasters. And Mr. Shawn Pruchnicki, an airline accident investigator, an air safety expert. I know I nailed your name. You can thank me about that later.

Mary, I start with you. Counsel, I give you 26 questions. Many of them we have them here are simple. What's the serial number on the black box? Can we have the manifest so we can look at this? I am starved for information and you don't even address the questions?

How can the investigators justify this callousness?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, they really can't, particularly if you're following the ICAO standards, the International Civil Aviation Organization. And already, they were supposed to have had an initial report issued and then brief the families and provide to the families information as it goes along. As you can see from the list of the families' questions, they really aren't questions that in any way, shape, or form would parallel the criminal investigation that the Malaysian authorities say they have going on.

So, there's really no excuse to keep that to have failed to keep the family advised and try to answer these questions. Some of them they may not know the answers. But, for example, why the emergency locators didn't go off, but they could provide them many of these -- many of these answers.

CUOMO: And yet they didn't, right? And that's going to be one of the continuing problems here.

SCHIAVO: And they did not.

CUOMO: Many of the families, they don't believe that this plane is gone. They don't believe that all is lost and yet they're just losing more and more confidence in the investigation. That can't be good.

All right. So, Shawn, the Bluefin, tenth session. OK?

Now, I have a source on the military intelligence side. He says that he believes that they are being pushed to search too much beyond the capabilities of the area as they understand it. Do you believe that that may be what's going on here is that they're being forced to show progress instead taking the time to think about what to do, Shawn? SHAWN PRUCHNICKI, AIRLINE ACCIDENT INVESTIGATOR: Well, you know, I'm not really sure we have any evidence of that. I think what we have to be very mindful of is that very large area we're searching, right? And there's still some area that is unsearched, about two-thirds of the way through this primary area.

So, you know, until we get every square kilometer of that initial search area examined, you know, I'm not really convinced that all hope is lost. You know, I still, let's finish the search effort that is under way now and then we can talk about plan B.

CUOMO: You know, you can look at it two ways. On one side, we're a little bit past two-thirds now, right? I mean, that was supposedly yesterday. They were combing a new era.

But then you look at Air France 447, Mary, and that was two years, only ten weeks of searching. David Gallo says that's because we took a lot of time in between searches the do the best recognizance we could do before we moved forward.

SCHIAVO: Right. And they had the coordinates where they believe the airplane did enter the water. They had debris and three underwater search vehicles. Even with all the additional assets and information, it took a long time.

So, yes, I'm with Shawn. They have Barry began the search if you compare it to some of the searches in the past. This is still in a preliminary stage. So it's certainly not hopeless at this point.

CUOMO: It's very expensive. At one point -- or at what point does the cost start to impact your decision on continuing the search? Shawn?

PRUCHNICKI: Well, you know, I -- I'm sorry. Was that for me?


PRUCHNICKI: OK. So I think the question is really, you know, what are the -- what are the resources that they're really willing to commit to this. At this point in time, I don't see any indication those discussions have taken place. Of course, we have no idea what's being discussed behind closed doors.

With all the military assets being used I'm not sure they're at that point yet of saying that, OK, we've reached a predetermined limit. Let's go ahead and scale back.

I think there's still a lot more that can be done. I think that really is going to be guiding factor instead of necessarily a numerical value on when we should slowdown or stop.

CUOMO: You know, Mary, one final point. You know, just as informational point. We know the cyclone is going on there. We know why it disrupted the search. Obviously, anything that's on the surface still and that's very unlikely, there's less chance now because the cyclone will blow it around. I mean, that's just a point of information.

So that cyclone is going on. They're going to continue searching. And that really leaves us with this issue that we started with.

They didn't answer the questions of the families but they do put out this useless information about the altitude of the plane. We think it is now 39. They don't know it's at 39 any better than they knew it was at 43, any better than at 4,000.

So why throw that out there yet not address what the families are asking you?

SCHIAVO: Exactly. That is a complete mystery because we have now had at least the third set of altitude data. Remember, at one point they were saying it went to 45,000 and then dipped low and there were theories about why they did that. Then they said it went down to 5,000 and flew across the Malaysian peninsula and that turned out not to be accurate. Now we've got this third set of data.

I think really what's behind it is they don't have good altitude data and I think we will find as the investigation goes on that some of the persons who were supposed to be monitoring the radar were asleep at the switch. I think they simply don't have it and are trying to reconstruct it.

CUOMO: Shawn, quick last word.

PRUCHNICKI: Yes. I agree with Mary 100 percent. Here's the deal. We talked about this three weeks ago. These data points are very, very suspect, right?

So, placing all of our hopes and all of our goals predicated on those data points, as we said weeks ago, is extremely challenging. And really we have to, you know, eye that data very, very carefully and realize the limitations that it really possesses.

CUOMO: You know, the question for investigators, if you're going to stick your neck out and speculate why speculate things that don't help the search when you could at least extend that curiosity to the families' questions and give them comfort.

Shawn Pruchnicki, thank you very much. Mary Schiavo, as always.


BOLDUAN: All right. Coming up next on NEW DAY, he should not have been able to survive but a teenager who hid inside a plane's wheel well did survive hours in subzero temperatures starved of oxygen. We're asking a doctor how this teenager defied death.

Plus, more bodies are pulled from the sunken disaster in South Korea. Is there any chance now at this point that some of the missing are still alive?


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Half past the hour here. Welcome back to NEW DAY. Let's give you a look at your headlines.

The search continues this morning for missing Malaysian Flight 370 as the Bluefin-21 drone makes its tenth underwater mission scanning the ocean floor. Four military aircraft departed for their missions prior to the decision to suspend air search activities because of poor weather, related to tropical cyclone Jack.