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Hope Fads for South Korea Ferry Survivors as Criminal Investigation Picks Up Steam; Item of Interest Found in MH-370 Search; What It's Like on a Sinking Ferry; Wrigley Field Turns 100.

Aired April 23, 2014 - 11:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. @ THIS HOUR, hope is fading for finding anyone else alive on the sunken ferry. It's been a week since the disaster in South Korea. Divers are not finding any air pockets where they believed they might be. That's where they hoped they could possibly find survivors. They pulled more bodies from the wreckage, 157, so far. 145 people are missing. Authorities say there are still many rooms left to search.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Back onshore, the criminal investigation is picking up steam. Authorities have arrested more crew members today. That makes 11 total arrests including the captain. Prosecutors say the searched the ferry company offices and even the home of the companies owner.

The people looking through the wreckage are risking their own lives every time they get in the water. The sunken ferry is like a giant obstacle course with danger around them. And divers are navigating all of that in the dark.

BERMAN: We want to talk about that with Captain Rich Habib. He's a maritime recovery and salvage expert. He was in charge of the "Costa Concordia" removal in Italy.

Captain, we know you're following this very closely. We know you have friends and colleagues who are out there involved in this search. Based on your expertise and based on what you hear for them, explain to me what they're doing right now.

CAPT. RICH HABIB, MARITIME RECOVERY & SALVAGE EXPERT: First, it's good to be with you. So there's over 600 divers, I understand, involved in this operation and it's complicated because some of them are government divers. They do have at least one commercial diving company involved. And then they also have volunteers. So they have a mix of diving technologies that they are using out on the site. That makes the operation quite complicated.

The depth of the diving is reasonably deep. So that also means that different technologies are brought to bear at different levels and different depths in the ocean to give them time during the search. But between the depth and the cold, these divers are not spending very much time on the bottom. I don't think people quite realize that. They will go down and, depending on where they're at in the ship, they may only spend 20 or 30 minutes down inside the wreck. So what they do is they establish actual lines, down lines. As they get into the ship, they extend these lines further and further. And remember, they can't see anything inside the ship, or very little. It looks like visibility has improved a bit, but even with their lights on their hats and their lights, they can't see their hand in front of their face. So they are working by feel and they work along these lines and that helps them to know where they have been and where they haven't been before.


PEREIRA: They don't want to put themselves in danger as well obviously, given what's under there and the challenges of working in that kind of wreckage. I'm curious if you can compare for us the "Costa Concordia" experience you have and you have a cruise ship versus a multiuse ferry. It had mixed-use cargo capacity as well. Talk to us about the difference between the two ships and having to dive into that wreckage.

HABIB: I think they are quite different actually. The "Costa Concordia" was not fully submerged. The divers -- there were 32 casualties, which I shouldn't say only, but compared to this incident, fewer casualties. The similarities are that any time a diver goes into a wreck under water, you've got to understand that absolutely everything has come apart, the furniture, the wall coverings, the ceiling panels, the wiring has comes down. It's an absolute choked maze. That's similar between the two.

There's an incident that happened in 2008 in the Philippines. It was also a ferry. It was the "Princess of the Stars. And in that incident, over 800 people were lost, that we were involved in, intimately involved in that incident. In that incident, I will tell you that these divers -- you have to actually be very careful to sort of restrain them because they become so emotionally involved in what they're doing, they're willing to risk themselves to recover these victims.

BERMAN: I'm sure. Deeply committed to their jobs.

Captain, quickly, what's the point when you shift from trying to recover bodies to a salvage operation for the vessel itself? How do you make that decision?

HABIB: That's a tough decision to make. So we're still in the rescue-and-recovery phase. Obviously, the divers are not finding air pockets. Although, this ship is a maze so there still -- people hold out hope until the very end because -- you know, the odds are stacked immensely against these folks, but so much of it depends on a person's individual will to live. There was an incident in Nigeria not too long ago where a cook spent two days in a small air pocket well down below the surface quite deep. So it's not out of the question, but it's very difficult.

So what will happen is the recovery effort will slow down, the number of bodies the guys are able to recover will start to fall off. The government will make a decision that the best way to continue finding victims is actually to start the salvage operation.

BERMAN: Captain Habib, obviously, they are hoping for a miracle but at some point they do have to assume the worse and move on.

Great to have you here, have your expertise with us. Appreciate it.

HABIB: You're welcome.

PEREIRA: We've certainly talked about the ferry captain and crew members that have been arrested. But we want to point out the heroes onboard. One was a 22-year-old crew member, Park Ge Young (ph). The ferry company transferred her to the doomed boat six months ago. Witnesses say she handed out life jackets and helped passengers escape as the ship was going down. She refused to wear a lifejacket herself, putting others first, sacrificing her own life. Without people like her, the death toll would have most certainly been higher.

You can check out her story at You can see also how you can impact your world by helping the Red Cross help the families that are now struggling with this loss.

BERMAN: They need that help.

PEREIRA: Coming up, our Rosa Flores has a look at what it's like on a sinking ship.

BERMAN: Then, we'll answer your questions about the search for flight 370. Is this object of interest that they have in their hands right now from the missing plane or are we back to square one? Your questions and answers ahead, @ THIS HOUR.



STEVE WANG, SON OF FLIGHT 370 PASSENGER: They have searched that area for nearly one month. So we are really suspecting they are searching the right place. That's why we asked for the raw data. They must have covered up something and want to hide something. Some of the questions are totally not confidential. It's just a fact. It is like an excuse. I don't know how it could influence the investigation but they just give the answer that, oh, it's under investigation. It's not an excuse, not an answer.


BERMAN: An excuse, not an answer. The families of flight 370 continue to be cynical. That's one way of putting it. They continue to be furious at Malaysian officials. They're demanding that thse officials release the raw data from their investigation.

PEREIRA: Meanwhile, Australian authorities believe they, or say they have found an object of interest in the search for the plane. They describe it as a sheet of metal with rivets in what appears to be a fiberglass coating.

Let's bring in CNN aviation analysts, Mary Schiavo and Jeff Wise, back with us.

We'll talk about the object in a moment.

Mary, let's start with you.

As a former investigator, we talked about this again but it bears repeating. Would there be any legitimate reason why the Malaysian officials wouldn't release the raw data to the search families? With this object of interest, Australia released the information. They didn't have to, but they did.

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Right. There's no reason because in a criminal investigation, especially since what the Malaysians said they would investigating, if they are investigating and have a criminal investigation going, they were looking at hijack, sabotage or personal issues with the pilots or another -- personnel onboard. None of those have to do with aircraft performance or registration numbers. The questions with things with pingers and performance of pingers under water. Those questions are straightforward and they are things they should know the answer to already. If they are this far into the investigation, they would have been things you would have answered the first week of the investigation.


BERMAN: No, their notion or commitment to transparency is perplexing, to say the least.

Jeff Wise, I want to ask you a question from a viewer. This is right up your alley. I know it's one of your favorites.


One viewer writes, "Face it, they haven't found any debris and they haven't found a plane. They need to go back to the northern arc and look on land. I don't believe the plane is in the water."

I put this to you. We get dozens of tweets like this and posts like this. People are asking that question. Why not go back to the northern area?

JEFF WISE, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Five of the 26 questions that families submitted to the Malaysian authorities were about the Inmarsat data, the northern arc, why aren't we seeing it, please explain this to us. The only evidence we have that it is in the south is the say so of the authorities. The Malaysian authorities said that Inmarsat had done a new kind of mathematical analysis, and on the basis of that, they've concluded it's in the south. We don't know what that mathematical analysis is. Until they release it -- listen, apart from the legal reasons, the legalities of whether or not they're supposed to release this information, I think from a human being perspective, to say to somebody, your loved ones are dead. The reason we believe this is because of this new math formula, but we can't tell you what it is. I find it unbelievable.

PEREIRA: Mary, let's go to the object of interest that the Australians told us they have in their hands that they're examining. It's described as a piece of sheet metal. It has rivets on it. There may be some fiberglass coating. I remember early on -- and John and I were discussing this. Early on, there were voices out of Australia saying, sooner or later, something would wash up onshore. Do you feel confident this could be? Does it sound like debris from an airplane?

SCHIAVO: Well, part of it sounds like debris from an airplane and part of it doesn't. This is what happens after a period of weeks or even sometimes months, the debris starts washing up onshore. This is eventually how they found a plane because parts started washing up on shore. They paid rewards for people to find and turn in parts. They got 192 pieces. But here, we have a piece of metal with rivets. Yes, that sounds like an aircraft. Fiberglass, not so much, because insulation on an aircraft is a special polymer that's water resistant, very acoustic, has acoustic properties to insulate, and this has a thermal barrier. So part of it sounds like it could be a plane. But this is eventually what happens. Pieces turn up onshore.

PEREIRA: They'll be able to quickly determine that it is or isn't, right? That is not a long process?

SCHIAVO: Right. Because the metal part of it would be very obvious. Same with insulation.

BERMAN: We'll show very soon.


Mary Schiavo, Jeff Wise, always a pleasure. Thanks so much.

Two and a half hours is how long investigators say it took for the ferry to sink, the ferry in South Korea. Ahead @ THIS HOUR, a look at the conditions the crew might have faced. Our own Rosa Flores gets a firsthand look at what it's like aboard a sinking ship.


BERMAN: In South Korea, hope of finding more survivors from the sunken ferry dwindles as divers pull more bodies from the wreckage.

PEREIRA: 156 of them, with 146 still missing.

The tragic accident begs the question, could it have been prevented?

Rosa Flores is in a ship's bridge simulator. She's in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Really good to have you taking a look at this. Maybe you can show us, Rosa, what the conditions were like when that ferry capsized.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We'll show you several scenarios. We'll start in Miami, for example. This is what the bridge looks like and what it would be like to be exiting the port of Miami. And then we'll take you out to sea so you can see what it looks like. Then the waves, and then you can add different complications like weather. If there's a storm out there, and the waves are bigger, you can see that as well.

And joining me is Dave Boldt. He's with Resolve Maritime Academy.

So, Dave, first of all, explain what we're seeing here just so we can tell folks what this is.

DAVE BOLDT, RESOLVE MARITIME ACADEMY: It's a full mission bridge simulator. This is everything that you would see on a bridge of a modern ship, radar, control systems, everything else.

FLORES: One thing we can do is list this ship at 60 degrees. Let's do that slowly. We'll take a few perspectives. We'll be able to see not only from the bridge what that perspective looks like. Dave, if you are here and you are at this degree angle, you know that you are in trouble.

BOLDT: Yeah. If you're not rolling back the other way, you would know you have a problem with stability or your ground or something like that.

FLORES: At this point, what would you be communicating to your crew?

BOLDT: Generally, crew members would also know that something is going on and then, depending on whether it is grounding or flooding, you have different procedures and things that you train for during drills. So if everyone is doing what they should be doing, they would go to a certain place on the ship and getting equipment or helping other people and helping passengers.

FLORES: So they would have their duty.


FLORES: We also have another perspective. I want you to look at this. This is from a passenger perspective. We have a second camera, if you can take a look at that. At this degree, you can see the water a lot closer to the actual vessel where people could possibly be. We also got a very rare look as to what could be happening underneath in the hull. This academy also teaches crew members how to stop water from going into a vessel.

And if you look at this video, you can see the first thing they do is assess the situation. They figure out where is the water coming from? Then they use basic tools to plug those holes. And they told me that, in the case of an emergency, if you find a mattress, that's how you can plug the hole, that's what you use.

Coming back to the bridge, Dave we were talking about this. If that's happening, and it is a ferry, and if it is carrying cargo or course, there are other dangers that you were telling me about.

BOLDT: Yeah. There are other concerns with every cargo and particular concern with a car ferry is, if you list far enough, and if cars go to one side, if they break from their lashings and go to one side, that will further compound stability issues. ROSA: John, Michaela, one of the very good things about a simulator like this is it allows cruise lines that use this on a regular basis to come in and train for different scenarios so they are prepared in the case of an emergency.

BERMAN: What a unique perspective to get on that bridge. Really, really appreciate it.

Rosa Flores and Dave Boldt, thanks to you.

PEREIRA: Thanks for that.

BERMAN: Appreciate it.

Want to go now to Ted Rowlands, who will tell us, with a unique view what's coming up.


BERMAN: Hey, Ted.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are in Chicago. Guess where? We are in the scoreboard of Wrigley Field. Wrigley turns 100 today. A huge day of celebrations. We'll have that coming up right after the break. Stay with us.


BERMAN: So, 100 years ago today, a ballpark opened in Chicago. And it's been agony ever since.


No, eventually, it became the home of the Chicago Cubs.

PEREIRA: The second oldest professional sporting venue in the United States. From the ivy covered outfield walls to that great big score board operated manually since 1937, it all made up the charm of what came to be known from the '20s as Wrigley Field.

Our Ted Rowlands is the luckiest man.

You're inside the score board. How'd you score that ticket?

ROWLANDS: Oh, man, this is awesome. Take a look at the view from out here. This is where the guys that operate the score board sit and watch. It's absolutely fascinating how they do it. They get word that a run is scored -- and they do this all the games -- they grab one of these plaques and put it up there, and hopefully it holds up there. This is just one of the features of this great ballpark that is being celebrated today. There are former players that are coming here. Harry Kerry's widow will help to sing the seventh inning stretch "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," which of course is a feature of Wrigley Field. It is going to be a fantastic day here. The entire city of Chicago absolutely excited to celebrate this iconic stadium's birthday.

PEREIRA: 100 years.

BERMAN: A lot of times the Cubs don't have a lot of numbers to put up over the score board. That's been one of the issues over the years. One man who knows that well, all too well, Ted, you got to speak to him today.

ROWLANDS: Yes, it was great. This morning, we talked to the owner of the Cubs who met his wife Cecilia, here 23 years ago in the bleachers. Now he owns the team. Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, take a look at both of them talk about this ball club.


ROWLANDS: You still get a thrill coming here?

ERNIE BANKS, FORMER CHICAGO CUB: Yes, I do, I really do. Standing here at this ballpark is a real thrill. It's like my home. It's my bible. It's my life. It's just being here at this park. It's just wonderful. I turn into a kid when I walk in here. Everything is old begins new again and this ballpark got new to me now.

TOM RICKETTS, CUBS OWNER: The beauty of a 100-year-old ballpark is this is the ballpark that your dad took you to. This is the ballpark that your great grandfather to, so it's got that history.


ROWLANDS: And this is the ballpark that if you've been here, it is something that you never forget. Win or lose, that's the theme. John, you mentioned it. Everybody's sore about that in Chicago. They don't win a lot. It is a great time, a day at Wrigley.

BERMAN: Some of the loyalist fans in the country, some of the most loyal. And we hope, if not this year, soon, it all works out for them.

Ted Rowlands, at historic Wrigley Field. What a perspective. Great to have you today, Ted. Really appreciate it.

PEREIRA: Happy 100th anniversary, Wrigley Field.

Speaking of Chicago, we should point out, the season finale of "Chicagoland" airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern on CNN. You don't want to miss that.

That wraps it up for us @ THIS HOUR. I'm Michaela Pereira.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman.

"LEGAL VIEW" with Ashleigh Banfield starts right now.