Return to Transcripts main page


Malaysian Officials Holding News Conference; Airport Security Gaps?; "Object Of Interest" Spotted On Australian Coast; Families Want Flight 370 Data

Aired April 23, 2014 - 06:30   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We're going to dip back into the press conference. They're taking questions now.

The Malaysian authorities are up there, the interim minister of transportation and others. So far no mention of this object of interest that was reported found on the coast of Australia. Most of the discussion has been about this new investigative team that's been set up, appointments to follow. But let's hear what the questions are.

HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN INTERIM TRANSPORT MINISTER: At the beginning of our search there was speculation about the plane landing and landing which is not true. So basically we stick to our word. Any leads will be followed up. But only announce it if it is verified and also corroborated.


HUSSEIN: More speculation again and I will not answer unless it has been verified and corroborated. As far as the understanding with the Joint Agency Coordination Center, I do get reports on a daily basis and the MOU or understanding really refers to the timeline and the original ping and also the re-strategizing. It doesn't talk about stopping search at all, but focusing on, for example, the visual air surface search where they are still relevant relative to the debris that you mentioned earlier or the under water search.

I'm not in the position yet to announce it, but on discussion that Angus Houston, we will do so jointly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Yes, please.



QUEST: I want you to comment to the (INAUDIBLE) procedures and protocols, familiar with (INAUDIBLE) your report and section seven. Has such a report been compiled (INAUDIBLE)? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we have issued the report and sent it to ICAO (INAUDIBLE)

QUEST: Follow up. It's quite unusual not to release a report. I can't remember too many places --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) We have sent it in. No, not publicly yet.


CUOMO: In case you recognize it, that's the voice of our Richard Quest who is at the press conference asking about the disclosure practice of Malaysian authorities and he was getting push back that while they have a preliminary report, they haven't decided whether to make it public report or to release it to the media. That's been frustrating to the families.

Let's bring in Mary Schiavo.

Mary, I am flummoxed. Why is no one asking about this object of interest, is that they don't know or are we somehow confused about its significance?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: No. I mean, perhaps they don't know. I mean, it came over the wires early this morning. Maybe they were already sequestered in the room waiting for the press conference to start.

But, yes, I mean, certainly the rest of the world is very much interested in this piece of -- this possible piece of wreckage or whatever it was that washed up on the shore. Perhaps they just haven't heard about it.

CUOMO: And, you know, the only headline coming out of this presser right now is that they're all about the organization of this new investigative team. And you were experience with these types of investigations. To be this far in and be setting up your investigative team, what does that suggest?

SCHIAVO: Well, they're really behind. I mean, they're really behind the 8-ball. The three committees that they do have the airworthiness, which will look at things like the maintenance on the plane and the condition of the plane, et cetera, human factors was, you know, what was the human condition, was it survivable. Obviously not. And then the operations, was there anything about the operation of the airline.

Those are pretty typical committees. But usually you have many more set up. So I'm going assume that they're going to set up subcommittees.

Example, in one recent crash -- well, let's use the black boxes t from the Boeing 787 fires. Between the time of the fire on the Dreamliner and the time when the NTSB had set up the committees and had the data downloaded was exactly four days and they had set up the group, done the download, et cetera. So, sometimes you have move a lot faster. Here they are pulling in a number of countries and that's good. Number of expertise. But it is a little surprising that we're in, you know, approaching the end of two months and they're setting up the committees.

But same token, they didn't have the black boxes yet to work with or any wreckage.

CUOMO: That's true. I think there's an overriding issue here of culture of disclosure. I had a Malaysian journalist say to me you are over-estimating the Malaysian authority's openness and that's not part of the culture of government there. So, maybe there is a little bit of unreasonable expectation here.

Mary, thank you very much.

We're going to keep monitoring this presser to hear when they ask about what should be the most obvious issue this morning, this object of interest that authorities are saying they found on the coast of Australia. We'll follow that and we'll get you the information as soon as we hear it.

BOLDUAN: We'll follow that press conference and we're also going to be following the new details of that 15-year-old boy that is believed to be a stowaway who surpassed layers and layers of airport security to hop a flight and then survive five hours in subzero temperatures and 38,000 feet in the air.

We'll have more on that coming up.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back. We're going to continue to monitor that live news conference out of Malaysia with Malaysian officials about the updates on the search for flight 370.

But we do want to turn now to new details about the 15-year-old stowaway who apparently survived a 5 1/2 hour flight in the wheel well of a Boeing 767. The California boy remains in a Hawaii hospital this morning after hiding on the plane to supposedly get to Somalia to visit his mother.

CNN's Dan Simon is live in San Jose with much more. San Jose, of course, is where the flight began.

We know he survived, Dan. Do we know how he's doing though?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Kate.

He is said to be doing OK. He's in a Maui hospital. At some point California authorities or child welfare officials are going to bring him back to California. But it sounds like this is a child who is homesick who acted out in a very irrational way but it does give you insight into his state of mind.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SIMON (voice-over): He wound up in Hawaii but the 15-year-old stowaway apparently wanted to get to Africa. A law enforcement source tells CNN the teenager told FBI investigators that he was trying to get to Somalia to see his mother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wanted to kind of go back home, like he wanted to -- originally he's from Africa.

SIMON: The boy who now lives in Santa Clara, California, told classmates he missed his home country. Why did he choose an airliner? The FBI believes it was the first plane he saw.

(on camera): Describe his personality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quiet kid. You wouldn't see him doing this. Probably the last person you would expect.

SIMON (voice-over): Students also say he was new to the to this public high school. Only a few weeks.

(on camera): What can you tell us about him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, from what I know of, he was a really shy person, you know, he didn't really talk a lot. He mostly kept to himself.

SIMON (voice-over): We're also learning more about the timeline. The boy jumped the airport fence at approximately 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning. The plane didn't leave until 8:00 a.m., which means he would have been on the tarmac or in that wheel well for approximately seven hours before it even took off. The flight itself was five hours.

In San Jose, passengers expressing disbelief over how the teenager could go undetected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're supposed to have all the security. We're spending billions of dollars in tax dollars since 9/11, kind of scary sometimes.


SIMON: Well, authorities are using their discretion and not charging the juvenile with any crimes because they believe there was no intention to cause any harm.

We'll send it back to Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Dan. I mean, the only clear infraction here is one of our security protocol. Hours spent on the tarmac in and around this airplane. How is that acceptable? And, by the way, this kid isn't the first to breach security this way at a major airport. So, certainly something to discuss there.

We want to bring you up to date on what was going on at that presser in Flight 370. The Malaysian interim minister of transportation was asked about this object of interest that was reportedly found on the coast of Australia. He says that he is not yet received any photos from Australia and that, so far, all of the objects found in the search have not been related to the missing plane.

So, he doesn't have the pictures yet so I don't know how you can make a determination about this object but that's why we haven't heard any more about it. When we get information, we will give it to you.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Chris, thanks so much.

Let's get to Chad Myers in for Indra Petersons. He's keeping track of the weather forecast for us.

And looking at your map, it is apparent that spring is here, my friend.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Spring has sprung, so has all the pollen. Although a little bit better in the Northeast today than yesterday. The cooler air took some of the pollen offshore -- 59 in D.C. today, 61 in New York.

We will see later on today in D.C. and all of the way up into Boston is a wind event. The winds are going to be blowing 30 miles per hour. That could slow down some airplanes. Look at this gust. New York City, later on today, 25, 27, 31, all of the way to 34 miles per hour.

So just ripping through the buildings in downtown and midtown for sure. A slight risk of severe weather. That means tornadoes possible. Likely more hail and wind damage. Still it's there and that spring, cold one side, warm on the other. It's going to clash. We'll even have a chance of weather here in the northeast, on Friday night as you may be making your way home from work. Other than, we're in good shape the next two days here across the northeast. Guys, back to you.

CUOMO: Boy, you couldn't be more right about that pollen.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Can you hear it?

CUOMO: It's hitting me all over. I felt like I had stuff on my eyes yesterday.

BOLDUAN: When you walk out and you see your car and it's like the wrong color.

CUOMO: All three kids wanted to go to the park for separate reasons yesterday. Three different trips. Terrible. Terrible. It's tough being a parent. You'll see. You'll see. Don't be nice to mommy.

Coming up on NEW DAY, as we learn more about this possible object of interest, every time we hear something very frustrating for the families that they don't get a complete answer. That goes directly to their relationship with Malaysian authorities who won't answer their simple questions, who won't give them information about the data, why not? We're going to talk to the son of one of the plane's passengers about what they plan to do next to get information.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Malaysian authorities just wrapped up a news conference on Flight 370. Every word they say causes frustration for the families. The families say Malaysian officials keep giving opinions, not data, about what happened to the plane. On Tuesday NEW DAY spoke with Sarah Bajc, she is the partner of Philip Wood, an American on the missing plane. She says the families are tired of the guesswork and want an independent look at the data. Take a listen.


SARAH BAJC, PARTNER OF PHILIP WOOD: It's absolutely astounding to me that they haven't been willing to release that data. I mean, what's so confidential about those data sets that a third party set of people couldn't come in and make some new calculations on them because, clearly, the calculations they've been making so far are wrong. They're obviously wrong because the plane has not been found there. So, you know, once bitten, twice shy. We want to go back and have a little more control put into the situation.


CUOMO: Sarah Bajc is not alone. Joining us now is Steve Wang, his mother was a passenger on Flight 370. Steve, thank you for joining us this morning. You heard what Sarah Bajc was saying. Why do you want the data from Inmarsat and other satellite data the investigators have. Do you accept the explanation that it's really complicated stuff, you wouldn't understand it?

STEVE WANG, SON OF FLIGHT 370 PASSENGER: Yes, of course. We are together not only for Sarah, but also for the relatives in Malaysia, India, and Australia. We are united. What we are asking is quite simple because they have searched that area for more than -- for nearly one month, but given us -- no debris has been found. We doubt or suspect that whether they are searching the right place. That's why we ask for the raw data.

CUOMO: And it's not about whether or not you understand it. It's that you want it opened up to people who may be able to crunch these numbers a different way. You just want to expand the possibilities, is that true?

WANG: Yes, of course. Because we really suspect that do they really understand the calculation -- can they confirm the calculation, is it correct? They cannot. So we want others to help us.

CUOMO: Why do you think they're not giving you the information?

WANG: I am not sure. Maybe they -- they just don't know. They cannot understand the calculation from Inmarsat. So that they are afraid that when something was found, something wrong was found and they make such a huge mistake. CUOMO: You also had a list of 26 questions. Many of them were basic about serial numbers, cargo manifests, and things of that nature. The Malaysian authorities to our understanding have answered none of them. Why do you think that is?

WANG: Yes, well that is a question. They must have covered up something or want to hide something. You know, some of the questions are totally not confidential. It is just a fact. It is -- like the -- I don't know how it could influence the investigation, but they just give the answer that, it is still under investigation. It's just like excuse, not an answer.

CUOMO: How are you holding up? I've read that you said, you know, being in the hotel is like being in a huge cage, that every day is exhausting. How are you and the other family members holding up?

WANG: Well, you know, we are still keeping the faith that we must do something for finding our family members, our loved ones. You know, we are just common people. None of us majored in aircraft or in other things, but we have organized a technical group studying all the materials from the internet we could find, learn about ELT, learn about Inmarsat, learn about the Doppler. We simply want to find the plane. That is what we are holding on.

CUOMO: Is it true that you are considering legal action to compel information from the airline and the Malaysian authorities?

WANG: I am not sure whether lawsuit could bring us the truth. They could bring us the conversation. What we need first is the conversation it is not the money but our loved ones. That is the most important thing. If it could help, we will turn to it, but it cannot, we will put it later.

CUOMO: What is your message to the Malaysian authorities? They just had a press conference. You were listening to some of it. What do you want them to know through the media that the families still want?

WANG: Well, we just want to tell them stop lying. They are telling to the whole world that they have good communication with the relatives, but do you know for Sunday in Kuala Lumpur and for Monday in Beijing they're supposed to be and they promised there will be a technical delegation come to Beijing and talk to us about the technical questions we are concerned about, but they break the promise and they just said, stop asking the questions and face the fact. What is the fact? What kind of fact they want us to face? Do they have the fact? So they are lying to the whole world again.

CUOMO: They literally said to you stop asking the questions and just face facts?

WANG: Yes, in Kuala Lumpur they said stop asking technical questions and we should move on to the next step and face the fact. That is what they say.

CUOMO: And the next fact is what, accepting that your family members are lost forever and deal with how you want to remember them? WANG: Well, they didn't mention too much detail about it, but the most important thing about is it what kind of fact they want us to face.

CUOMO: You don't know what the facts are so how do you know what to face. You're stuck in limbo and that's the problem and it's weighing on your head and your heart very heavily. Is that true?

WANG: Yes. Yes, yes. Even more a small debris hasn't been found, how can you say that -- it is just the plane is missing, but how can you just move on to the next step? You should focus all your -- all your energy on searching investigating, not talking about the next step or some other things like that.

CUOMO: Steve, look, I know this is hard for you. I can hear it in your voice. And many family members are experiencing the same thing. We will continue to press for answers. We will keep attention on this situation and get any information we can and you know you can reach out to us whenever you need to and whenever you want to make a statement. Thank you for joining us, Steve. Give our best to the rest of the families.

WANG: OK. Thanks for you were help.

CUOMO: Obviously very frustrated as you can imagine you would be as well. We're going to bring you the latest on this object of interest in Flight 370 that search we're hearing reports they found something, not much mentioned at the press conference. There's also breaking news in the search for bodies and survivors in the South Korean ferry disaster. So, let's get to it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A crew this morning, international investigation team to investigate the incident.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Western Australian police have attended to a report of material washed ashore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They found no pockets on the third and fourth level of the ship.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have a young schoolchild make a phone call to an emergency place. The captain was very indecisive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 15-year-old boy who smuggled himself to Hawaii told investigators he was trying to reach his mother in Somalia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just wanted to go back home.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. We do have breaking news in the search for Flight 370. An object of interest has been found on the west coast of Australia nearly 200 miles south of Perth. It is reportedly a torn piece of metal, roughly rectangular with rivets and a fiberglass coating on one side. Erin McLaughlin is live from Perth, Australia, with the latest. Erin, what do we know?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. That's right, Martin Dolan, the head of Australia's Transportation and Safety Bureau telling CNN this object of interest washed up on the coast of western Australia about 190 miles to the south of here. He said it was sufficiently interesting. Once they analyzed the photographs but saying the more we look at it the less excited we get. That's a direct quote. He described the object as sheet metal attached to rivets. Source inside the Australian defense force saying that it was a riveted-sided metal coated with fiberglass.

Now, Dolan went on to say that they have provided Malaysian authorities with a photographs of the object currently in police custody but Malaysian acting transportation minister in a press conference a short while ago Hussein saying they have yet to receive the photographs but they have received a report of the object from Australian authorities.

He also updated -- provided an update on the activities of that underwater drone, the Bluefin-21. He said that it has completed the tenth mission, surveying more than 80 percent of the very important critical underwater area where they believe they are most likely to find the black box. He says no objects of interest found so far. We're still trying to get you more information on that object of interest washed ashore -- Chris.

BOLDUAN: We'll be following that. Big development this morning. Erin, thank you very much. Erin McLaughlin, live from Perth, Australia for us.