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No Air Pockets Found; Object of Interest; Sherpas on Strike

Aired April 23, 2014 - 08:30   ET



FLORES FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of the other things that we were able to do, actually, is this company trains crew members as to how to deal with very stressful situations. And so we actually have video of this model ship haul. And so take a look at this video because you're able to see water starting -- rushing in to this ship. And they train crew members to first of all assess the situation, to figure out where the water is coming from, and then to use some basic tools to try to plug in the holes.

And I was talking to these guys and they tell me, you know, we've even used mattresses because they try to use anything around them to figure out how to stop that tragedy. Now, from talking to Dave here, so when that's happening, Dave, on the bridge, what are you communicating to your crew members? How important is it for you to communicate with your crew members as to what they should be doing at that point in time?

DAVE BOLDT, SIMULATOR OPERATOR, RESOLVE MARITIME ACADEMY: Yes, it's vital and on ships you drill for that every month. You drill for fires. You drill for disembarking on life boats. So, all the crew members need to know exactly what their job is, where they need to be in any different situation.

FLORES: And what about the training for everyone that's on the bridge. We've got the captain, the first mate, second mate, third mate. Is everyone trained to do the same thing?

BOLDT: Yes, basically. I mean there's going to be a difference in experience and things like that. You've got different ages of people. But, really, everybody on the bridge needs to be able to, you know, navigate the ship and do generally the same thing when they're up here. The captain's not going to be up here at all times. So if he's not here, whoever's here is his representative. And when they're here, they're in charge of the vessel.

FLORES: Now, Kate, we can take -

BOLDUAN: Rosa, let me jump in for one second.

FLORES: Sure. BOLDUAN: Dave, one of the questions that a lot of folks have right now is, when do you make the distress call? We're learning this morning that the first emergency call from that ferry they believe may have come from a boy who called 911, a passenger on the ship. That was some three minutes before the crew made their first distress call. Is that surprising to you?

BOLDT: You know, I don't know what happened exactly there. And depending on the case, the passenger may think there's a large problem that's not a problem. So, in this case, it seems like, you know, they were late making that decision. Every situation is different. I don't know how to answer that. It's the captain's call and you hope the captain makes the right call.

BOLDUAN: And I'm looking at -- as we're continuing to watch your image of where you guys are -- what you're standing in and it's listing dramatically to the side. At what point -- what's going on in - what's going on right where you are when you know that you're not going to be able to correct? That something has gone wrong. The ship, yes, goes back and forth, as ships do, but what is going - what are the conditions when you know this is not going right and this potentially could be a disaster?

BOLDT: Well, again, it definitely depends on the exact situation. It depends where you are. If it's warm water, cold water. If it's cold water, you've got to think twice about evacuating. You need to be sure that you really have to do that. So, it depends. You know, it all comes down to training and experience.

FLORES: And, Kate, we really want to show you another perspective because we've got a second camera that can give you what passengers would be looking at, at this particular degree. So take a look at the camera and you can really see how close those life boats are to the water. Kind of -- it gives you a more passenger perspective that perhaps people who were on a balcony. So it's just a different perspective other than what the perspective that you would get on a bridge, but what passengers perhaps would be seeing.

BOLDUAN: Yes, it really does show you, time is of the essence in these disasters and how difficult it could have been for the crew. And, of course, then the passengers trying to maneuver their way to the ship when it had made this dramatic list to the side and started to sink.

Dave Boldt, Rosa Flores, thank you both so much.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Kate. Coming up on NEW DAY, the object of interest in the search for Flight 370. Officials won't comment, not even the Australian authorities who have it. The question is, why not? We're live in the Australian town where the torn chunk of metal is headed.

Plus, closing Mount Everest. Sherpa guides go on strike after that deadly avalanche, stranding climbers ready to go up. One of them who was actually saved by a Sherpa and witnessed the avalanche joins us straight ahead. He has a harrowing tale.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

We're following a potential new lead in the search for Flight 370. An object of interest, it's being described as, was found on the western coast of Australia south of Perth. The object described as a long piece of metal with rivets on one side. It's believed to be en route to the town of Bunbury. CNN's Miguel Marquez is there and he's joining us by phone right now.

Miguel, what are you hearing? What more do you know and why is it heading to this town?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, it's -- as we understand it, it's in - right now in the town of Buzzalton (ph), where we're headed down to. We just stopped in Bunbury and clearly the police there and across this area are very, very aware of the possible significance of this piece of material. They are referring all discussion of it to federal authorities. It was found east of a town called Augusta, which is even further south of Perth and where we are right now.

And the part that's interesting about that is that this is a south- facing part of the Australian continent. So it would be extraordinarily difficult for a piece from that plane from so far away with the currents it's facing to end up on this south-facing beach, but it is possible. And the authorities here treating it with every amount of urgency that they can to get photos, to have the piece in police custody and then perhaps move it to a lab at some point in order to test it to see whether or not it actually came from MH370.

Kate, Chris, back to you.

CUOMO: All right, Miguel, thanks for being there for us.

Let's see if we can move from possible to probable here. We'll bring in CNN aviation analyst Michael Kay.

Michael, great to have you, as always.


CUOMO: So, possible? Anything is possible. Probable? Let's figure out how we get there. The yellow is the ping area where they targeted the search zone. The red is just marking where Perth is. The purple is where this thing, this object of interest, showed up. So how do you get from here, assuming here is relevant, real and worth being searchable, to there, if you're an object for the plane?

KAY: Well, I think it's the unpredictability of the ocean currents. But let's just rewind a second. This investigation is split down to three phases, the where, the what and the why. And that time span, Chris, could potentially be years, five years, 10 years. But the real critical piece of all this is the where. Why? Because of the families. We need to give the families closure.

And we can give the families closure potentially three ways, by identifying debris on the surface, on the ocean floor, or by getting the black boxes. But we all know, historically, the probability is we're going to find something on the surface. So this is key.

Now, let's rewind back to day one. Do you remember on day one we had those satellite images and then we saw the Australian prime minister come out and there was this false storm (ph) about the possibility of debris being linked to MH370. And then we saw a number of those, didn't we, from satellite images. And then we saw some more pictures from P-3 Orions and (INAUDIBLE). That's all dried up. And it's dried up because of this false storm (ph). I think they realized -- Angus Houston realized it was very important to have something unequivocal and conclusive rather than keep giving these pictures and these satellite images.

So the thing for me is, this is a piece of evidence that is over and above what they have found over the last two weeks. Because we've not heard anything for the last two weeks. And I think that is critical.

CUOMO: Metal and rivets sounds like an airplane, but metal and rivets you find them on container, you find them on a lot of different ship hulls.

KAY: Yes.

CUOMO: You know, could be different things that would find their way into navigable waters.

KAY: Yes. I think that's absolutely right, Chris. One of the things that we've learned - and we're all learning through this investigation, it's unprecedented. I think that's important to point out. Every day is an education day. Every day is a school day. And we've know that this part of the world here is just full of ocean debris. As you've pointed out -

CUOMO: Flotsam and jetsam.

KAY: Exactly. So I think that we're learning every day and it's important to note that there is a lot of debris in this area.

Now, what I would say is, is that we know that there are cyclones coming through this area at the moment.

CUOMO: Right. And they spin things into the coastline (INAUDIBLE).

KAY: Exactly. They mix it all up. But the one thing with the inclement weather and cyclones is, is that you can't conduct an air search. There's 12 aircraft out there, the P-3s, the P-8s. And let's point out, these guys have been doing -- and girls have been doing an incredible job since day one. They've been searching throughout the whole period. But they can't fly in these conditions. So why don't we start looking maybe a little bit towards the coastal region? It's been 47 days.

CUOMO: How would you rationalize doing that?

KAY: Well, all I'd say is, is the aircraft that can't fly over this area, you're maybe 100 or 200 miles off the coast. You're a lot closer in. The transit times are going to be a lot shorter. And that (INAUDIBLE) more easier (ph).

CUOMO: Right. But why would you think that you have any chance of finding it here when you think it's here? I mean that wreckage, if it's on the bottom, wouldn't move that far, right? Maybe something floating on top.

KAY: Yes, but we know because of the weather conditions, Chris, because of the way the currents move in this part of the world, it's an almost impossible search just to locate in one area because the ocean, unlike land, is constantly moving.

Now, if there's something that's turned up down here and we've been informed of it, then as we said earlier, it's got to be something over and above the ocean debris and it would make sense - it would make sense that after 47 days, and with the unpredictability of ocean currents and cyclones and what not, that this could actually be something. But is it going to be something on its own, or is it going to be linked? To me, there has to be more evidence, more debris, more something to corroborate that piece of debris.

CUOMO: It also sounds like you're saying, even if this object of interest winds up being not an identifiable part of anything connected to this flight, you still think they should start considering moving in their search range and closer to the coast because of practicality both of what it takes to fly and where the waters seem to take things?

KAY: It's an impossible judgment call. Angus Houston, you know, what he will be thinking about when he goes to bed at night is, how does he find something that links it to MH370 so he can approach the families and say, this is the final resting place of the jet. And that's what's on his mind.

Now, it's an impossible task because the oceans move. You can go to a search area and look at a square kilometer one day and you can go back and it will be replaced with a different body of water the next day. So it's an impossible task.

I would like to split the two. They're going to be coming on this arc. We all know about the arc from the Inmarsat. We all know about the distance. The problem with the arc, Chris, is the assumptions. We don't know what assumptions of speed -- remember we talked about the aircraft coming down, Banda Aceh, down south. We don't know what height it flew at. We don't know what speed it flew at. We don't know what the fuel burn was. And, therefore, we don't know what the endurance was and therefore we don't know what the distance was. So anything along this arc is fair game at the moment.

The thing that's drawn us into this location is the pings.

CUOMO: Right.

KAY: And once we clear that area out, it's back to the arc and potentially other areas like this on the coast.

CUOMO: One more reason people would argue that you should open up the Inmarsat data and let the best minds available get at it and see if they can build in other assumptions and help in the search so that they get answers sooner rather than later. But I appreciate the analysis, Mikey. Always a pleasure.

KAY: Chris, thank you.

CUOMO: Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, guides tasked with leading climbers on the dangerous ascent up Mount Everest are going on strike after a deadly avalanche there. We're going to speak with a man who survived that avalanche when his Sherpa pushed him to safety.


CUOMO: Welcome back.

Sherpa guides have begun to leave the Mount Everest base camp in a walkout meant to honor 13 Sherpas killed during last Friday's avalanche. The protest could have a huge impact on whether or not climbers -- many of whom training for years -- will be able to go on up with their expedition this year.

Jon Rider is an American who was climbing Everest. He says a Sherpa saved his life getting him out of the way of that deadly avalanche. He's now at the Mount Everest base camp in Nepal and joining us by phone.

Jon are you hearing us OK?

JON RIDER, MOUNT EVEREST CLIMBER (via telephone): I am, yes.

CUOMO: So tell us, first, what are the current conditions up there and the situation with the Sherpas?

RIDER: Well, we've been in turmoil over the last few days and everyone trying to figure out how to handle and how to treat this unprecedented situation. So Everest will close this year.

CUOMO: Do you feel it is the right decision?

RIDER: I do. I do.

CUOMO: You said it was a rough last couple days. Tell us about it.

RIDER: Just bringing the deceased down from the ice fall and bringing them in to base camp was -- it was a tough scene for everybody to take. And these are the fathers and brothers of a lot of these people here.

And I think it was the right thing to do. Everyone is pretty upset. It's hard to gather the momentum we need to get up this mountain at this point. CUOMO: When you were there in the avalanche, describe what it was like trying to deal with it and what your Sherpa did to help save your life.

RIDER: When the avalanche came down, it was a bit overwhelming. And a lot of thoughts go through your head quickly. But the Sherpa is so used to this situation, they've been up through that ice fall so many times, he quickly -- he just quickly started yelling "get down, get down" and just kind pushed me behind a large block of ice.

CUOMO: What would have happened if you didn't have the Sherpa with you?

RIDER: I don't know, you know. I don't know. It was a big avalanche. And I'm just -- we're really grateful to have them. They're -- we can't climb this mountain without them.

CUOMO: How is he doing?

RIDER: He's doing OK. He's an amazing man, you know. He's been climbing Everest for 24 years. And when a lot of the Sherpa walked out of here, he came back. He came up here today and he and I talked about it. He really wants to stand by my side and get to the mountain. But he said, Jon, I just can't -- I can't go back up this hill.

CUOMO: The walkout, what is it about as far you understand?

RIDER: Well, they want the government of Nepal to improve their conditions, to provide life insurance for them and to take care of the families of the deceased. And they're right. It's overdue. They're going to get the government's attention and the world's attention.

Everest is closed. There's a lot of people here. We're all going to start moving downhill tomorrow.

CUOMO: When we hear the word "avalanche", when we see it on video, that's one thing. But to be in it, I'm sure it's a much more massive and awesome experience to have to try to suffer through. What is it like to feel and see and hear what's coming at you when you're on that mountain?

RIDER: You know, it was shocking actually. When the avalanche came down, it's hard to describe everything that goes through your head. You're not sure how close it is, you don't know who is under it. You don't know if you're going to get swept off. You don't know if you should film it. All these thoughts within a split second go through your mind.

But when the clouds started -- after impact and the burst came down through the valley, it was exciting. It definitely will get your attention. So you just want to hunker down and just let it blow past you and hope for the best.

CUOMO: Jon, you're an experienced climber. After something like this that was so deadly and came so close to taking you as well, any reservations about whether or not to continue this type of climbing?

RIDER: Sure. Everybody up here has reservations. When you see that helicopter flying from Camp Two or Camp One -- you know, kind of climbing down the base camp and has a cable underneath it and dangling from the cable is a body. Over and over throughout the afternoon, you can't help but think that could be me.

You know, I have a 12-year-old little boy at home. We all have reservations.

CUOMO: Well Jon, it's horrible to hear about the loss of the Sherpas and all they mean to each other and their families and to you who they guide up and the other climbers as well. Thank God you weren't one of them this time.

Thank you very much for joining us on NEW DAY and telling us the story. I wish you safe passage back down the mountain and back to your family.

RIDER: All right. Thanks for your time.

CUOMO: All right. Jon, be well -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up, we all have something to be thankful for after the successful Boston Marathon. But one runner decided to put that thanks on paper, hundreds of pieces of paper, in fact. The makes her "The Good Stuff" -- coming up.


CUOMO: It's time for "The Good Stuff". In today's edition, the Boston Marathon went on without a hitch and that was great -- but not without a few surprises. One of the sweetest came from runner, Chrissy Yamada. Now last year Chrissy he was halted at Mile 25 by the bombings. She knew she was going back. This time she was bringing a message.


CHRISSY YAMADA, BOSTON MARATHON PARTICIPANT: In the summer, I started to think about after the registration, what will I do to go back and be thankful and grateful? That's all I could think of is everyone is hurt. How do I help heal somehow, some way?


CUOMO: First of all, she's awesome. Second of all, she decides to write out hundreds of thank you notes for the true keepers of Boston Strong -- Bostonites, themselves. She then handed them out during the race to spectators all along the route. The note reads in part, quote, "You have choices of how you spend your time. It means a lot to us that you are out here cheering us on. Without your support, racing does not mean anything." Many spectators unsurprisingly were surprised to get the notes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) YAMADA: I got so many nice reactions from it. People -- lots of hugs and people saying, "Are you kidding me? Thank you guys for running." But I really wanted to thank them. I said "No, thank you, this is about you today." That's what I said.


CUOMO: I mean talk about a grand gesture from somebody who is running 26.2 miles.

BOLDUAN: Not only is she running over 26 miles.

PEREIRA: Trying to breathe, trying to stay on my feet.

BOLDUAN: That's way more than a run.

PEREIRA: I love that message of like deciding to take gratitude, to counteract fear, apprehension, anxiety, you know, trauma -- whatever. But to just take gratitude -- I love that.

BOLDUAN: Saying the thing I say every time, it's the simple things.

CUOMO: It is.



CUOMO: Acceptance of what happened. Gratitude that you made it through if you did and then turning that into compassion for everybody else. What happened up there was special in a terrible way and then in a beautiful way.

PEREIRA: That's the truth.

CUOMO: We see that. Human nature always steps up.

All right. A lot of news this morning to get to here. So we're going to take you to the newsroom and Ms. Carol Costello.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, have a great day. "NEWSROOM" starts now.

Happening now in the "NEWSROOM" object of interest -- a tantalizing bit of debris washes up on the Australian shore.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He described the object as a sheet metal attached to something with rivets.