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@THISHOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Are MH-370 Searchers on Wild Goose Chase; MH-370 Families Angry at Malaysian Officials; Did Renovation Doom South Korea Ferry; Principal Works in Chicago to Help Youth.

Aired April 24, 2014 - 11:30   ET

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


SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Malaysian authorities, meanwhile, say they don't have the answers themselves and that they are being as transparent as possible because Malaysia has nothing to hide.

John and Michaela?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of the families would doubt that. You know, they wonder if they have something to hide.

It's certainly a tough question, but what if all of those resources that are being used are being used for a wild goose chase? A deep sea explorer, Fabian Cousteau, raised that question earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FABIAN COUSTEAU, DEEP SEA EXPLORER: The area they're searching may not be the right area.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Wow.

CNN analyst, Rob McCallum, an ocean search specialist, joins us.

So, Rob, that's the question. Could they be in the wrong place?

ROB MCCALLUM, CNN ANALYST & OCEAN SEARCH SPECIALIST: It's entirely possible that we're in the wrong place. But I don't think that is the case. You know, we're not here by chance. We're here because we followed a trial, a set of clues, if you like, to get us into this region. And then we were very lucky with what the controller believes were the pingers, and although the Bluefin has almost completed searching that first pinger location, there are others still to go. But, you know, we didn't hit it lucky on the fine-scale search. Now we need to broaden it up and cover more ground.

PEREIRA: We know that's something they had to do with the search for flight 447, Air France, they had to move the search area. We know that that's reasonable. Here's the question. Do they change the pings they search around? Do they expand? Do they redo their math? Their calculations?

MCCALLUM: I think all three things, really. I think there needs to be a wider search of the pinger location area. You know, to actually take that part of the sea floor and sonify -- deploy sonar to search that whole area. And if that doesn't yield anything, accept the fact that it's not going to be a quick search, but start working our way back up the aircraft's flight path from south to north. But at the same time in the background, reevaluating all the data that's come in to make sure that we actually are searching in the right place. There's nowhere better to consider.

BERMAN: Rob, I know you think they are probably honing in on the right general area, but if those pings turned out to be a false lead, really, I mean, how much of a problem is it? Are they just nowhere, then? Do they have to reexamine everything from the very beginning?

MCCALLUM: Well, you know, when we first heard that the pinger had been located or it had had been heard and the controllers had a great deal of confidence in those signals, I mean, it was almost too good to be true. And if it is too good to be true and it doesn't pan out, then the next logical thing to do is to follow the aircraft's flight path. And I'd do it in reverse. I'd start from the south and work my way north, both because the south is more likely, but also because as winter approaches, it's better to work your way north to better weather.

BERMAN: That is an awfully big area that they would have to search pretty much from scratch there.

Rob McCallum, great to have you with us.

PEREIRA: I was talking to Chad Myers earlier today. It's just so stupefying that there's no trace, no debris floating on the water, anything.

BERMAN: If you have any questions about flight 370, please send them our way. There are so many great questions out there. Tweet us or send it to our Facebook page, which is @this hour.

Plus, this ongoing search and how it's affecting victims' families. How they were in a conference for hours hoping for answers. This was a dramatic, tragic moment. We'll have the latest just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEREIRA: Today we learned Malaysian officials will not release a preliminary report on the plane investigation to the public or to the families of flight 370 passengers. You can imagine that's adding to the immense frustration and anger the families are feeling.

BERMAN: Yeah, and this comes just days after the families had a standoff with airline officials in a Beijing conference room.

Our senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson, has these details from Beijing.

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Angry relatives of the Chinese passengers of the Malaysia Airlines flight, they held a long standoff in a busy Beijing hotel in a conference room, refusing to allow several representatives of Malaysia Airlines to leave that room for more than four hours while demanding a representative come from the Malaysian embassy and meet them face to face. The Chinese relatives have heaped criticism on the Malaysian government that they have been left out of the information loop when it comes to the investigation into the disappearance of the plane as well as the search of that plane which is believed to be somewhere in the Indian Ocean.

Back to you, John and Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right, Ivan, thanks so much.

I want to bring in psychologist, Dr. Gail Saltz. She joins us now.

Gail, we were talking about the frustration the families are experiencing day to day. It seems to get worse. There was a false lead yesterday when they found this piece of metal that potentially could have been linked to the missing jetliner. Only it turned out not to be the case. And then, of course, sadness at no answers. That sadness turns to anger. It's like this emotional roller coaster.

DR. GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, I think what people have to realize is that when you abruptly, for an unexplained reason, lose someone close to you, there's going to be, of course, terrible sadness and grief, but there also usually is anger. And people look for a place to attach that anger. And I think that obviously the airline, the government and so on are logical places to shoot it. Whether there's anything in that report that will in any way make them feel better or have an answer is probably not even very likely because it's certainly not going to bring back their relative. But it is really understandable that one's fantasies and a defense mechanism against this terrible grief would be anger and blame and a wish that there would be an answer.

BERMAN: There's the anger. There's the blame. But, Gail, we're 48 days into this. And you still see some family members voicing not just their hope but their actual belief that their loved ones are still alive. Now, this is 48 days.

SALTZ: Yes. I know.

BERMAN: How healthy is that at this point?

SALTZ: You know, denial is incredibly powerful. I think people often don't realize how, you know, grief can drive you to a place where you just need to believe something else because you're completely overwhelmed by the feeling. So it's not shocking to me, but the longer that that goes on, the more potential --

(CROSSTALK)

PEREIRA: I just keep thinking about the fact that it could take a while for them to get answers. And some people are saying is this going to be one of those mysteries that is ongoing forever? I can't imagine that for the families, having no closure.

SALTZ: Exactly. Exactly. And sadly, it could be. And you think of people who have, for instance, a missing child, that they never find. It leaves you with this terrible, terrible, unresolved grief. For those who lost children on that flight, I would be very concerned about them. I hope that people are stepping in and realizing that those are people that need a lot of support and careful watching because unresolved grief can lead to terrible depression and even suicide in certain cases.

BERMAN: All right.

PEREIRA: It may not manifest right away, too, that's the thing.

BERMAN: Gail, thank you so much.

That's a very powerful and sad comparison. I hadn't thought of that before. But somewhat similar to those that have missing children that have never been found. Not to mention the anger and frustration over the investigation.

There are so many questions. And we do want to hear yours. We will stay on the story throughout the hour. Tweet us at #mh370qs.

PEREIRA: Great sadness in South Korea. Almost an entire sophomore class is gone. Consider that for a moment. The South Korean ferry essentially their tomb, and we still do not know why. But an investigation could help solve this mystery. What we know coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEREIRA: @ THIS HOUR, some possible answers why a ferry filled with high school children sank to the bottom of the yellow sea. A lawmaker in South Korea says the boat was renovated last year so that it could carry about 120 more passengers. The suggestion is that the expansion made the ferry top heavy, throwing off its center of gravity and making it fu vulnerable to sinking.

BERMAN: Prosecutors have not yet verified that theory but they are investigating the company that inspected the vessel.

Klaus is a master deep ocean ship captain and a maritime attorney.

So, Klaus Lunta, do you think that this renovation may have played a role?

KLAUS LUNTA, MASTER DEEP OCEAN SHIP CAPTAIN & MARITIME ATTORNEY: Well, it's possible that it played a role. These super-structure modifications definitely affect the outcome of the stability of the vessel. But they are typically conducted under the auspices of a classification society, naval architects and the like. So they're closely monitored, and it's likely that it didn't have a direct impact on the outcome of this incident. However, as a ship's master or a chief officer when you're loading the ship, considering that perhaps it's a little bit more top heavy, you have to somehow counteract that. And the easiest solution would be to load water into the lower ballast tanks. Now, when you do that, it increases the depth of the vessel, the draft of the ship. And considering that this ferry was potentially overloaded, there have been some theories about that. It hasn't been verified yet. But with an increased draft, you would have to release some of that ballast. And it would decrease the stability of the ship, particularly in that narrow channel.

PEREIRA: So let's talk about the weight. As you mentioned, there's no evidence that the boat was too heavy, but even if a boat is under its load capacity, a shift in the weight of the cargo really could be a problem still, could it not?

LUNTA: Yeah, it could be a complete disaster. You have to ensure that anything that's loaded on board that vessel is secured down to the deck properly. There has been some anecdotal evidence that perhaps some of the cargo aboard this ferry wasn't secured properly. And as soon as you encounter a compromised stability, the ship lists over, that cargo will immediately slide, not to mention some of the water in the ballast tanks, and it's like a pendulum swinging to one side.

BERMAN: Yeah, and that makes it very dangerous. Like a rocking chair. I've heard you use that analogy. It probably goes over too far one last time, and this is what happens. You also think there could be a mechanical issue at play here.

LUNTA: Well, it's been submitted that the master of the vessel two weeks prior to the incident had requested that a repair be conducted on the steering gear of the ship. And that's a critical repair that needs to be immediately addressed. Now, the word out there is that it wasn't addressed. The company did not do anything about it. And I can tell you as a deck officer, traveling this part of the world frequently, it's critical that the steering functions properly. And the company should have addressed that immediately.

PEREIRA: Obviously, there's lessons that can be learned the world over. Here in the United States says, we certainly have our share of ferries operating out of various ports around the states. What can be learned for us here?

LUNTA: Well, what can be learned is that these types of incidents can occur anywhere in the world at any time. And the advantage we have here is that we have very highly trained American officers aboard many of these vessels. The cruise ships that ply our coasts don't necessarily do that. We have American cruise ship companies that use the benefit of cheaper foreign labor so that if an incident like this does occur, we're not assured that there's an American officer aboard managing the incident and making sure people reach safety. So that could be a concern. But overall, it's a possibility anywhere.

BERMAN: Lessons important to be learned, of course.

Klaus Lunta, thank you so much. We, of course, will be following this story throughout the day and throughout the week here at CNN. We really appreciate you being here.

Now to this. A daring jump lands these two guys you're about to see in the record books!

PEREIRA: I can't even watch. BERMAN: Where they jumped and why, why. That's coming up.

PEREIRA: What you don't know is that's actually John and I last weekend.

BERMAN: Then, building a stronger Chicago. How a principal in the city is working to keep children safe and in school. We take a look at the terrific CNN series "Chicagoland" next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Just to get beat up. And walk back, now I've got to get chased back.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Every day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEREIRA: We certainly know the violence seems to be an ongoing problem in Chicago schools.

BERMAN: And in CNN's series, "Chicagoland," we visit high schools where students and teachers are literally wrestling to find and end to the bloodshed. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's wrestling day by rock star Billy Corrigan.

BILLY CORRIGAN, WRESTLER: Hi. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cool. Nice to meet you.

CORRIGAN: Thanks for having us. It will be really good.

(CHEERING)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The kids love wrestling day. I was shocked. I didn't think I wanted wrestling there.

(CHEERING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This wrestling exhibition may seem counter intuitive but four of these wrestlers are teachers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These days you can't go outside like it was in the past. You're afraid to go down to the streets of the park. Some kids will grow up angry. When they can find something like boxing or professional wrestling you start to see like a change, now they're not so aggressive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PEREIRA: I want to bring in Robert Spicer, culture and climate specialist at Fenger High School in Chicago.

Robert, thank you so much for joining us.

So many people are eager to find a solution to some of the challenges going on in Chicago. We know the principal is working hard, struggling hard to save this school. Is it working?

ROBERT SPICER, CULTURE & CLIMATE SPECIALIST, FENGER HIGH SCHOOL: Yes, it is. As you saw from we have to think outside the box literally how to engage our young people. We integrated a variety of different programs. Because of budget cuts it's been very difficult. We are still working to manage our school. Our principal is still fighting the good fight and she's put together an incredible team at Fenger. We still need support and still need help. Bringing in the wrestlers and all these different innovative ways see how we can interact with our young people is really key how we will save our young people.

BERMAN: Robert, I love me some pro wrestling. I'm a Super Fly guy.

SPICER: Me, too.

BERMAN: He was the best. Super Fly jumped off the top rope. What's the reaction in that high school when that's going on?

SPICER: It's incredible. The young people see, you know, violence, right? But they've never seen something like that up close and controlled. Then, to have them to be actual teachers, to speak to them and talk to them and say, yes, I'm in the classroom and I know how important it is to have physical education and to have opportunities to be able to relieve some of that stress using physical interactions. It's a great way to open up an opportunity for young people to see a different side oppose to wrestling when it happens in terms of violence

PEREIRA: Let me play on the other side. I hear you, I really do. Let's play devil's advocate, and what do you say to people that say it's teaching kids the wrong message using aggression to work out their problems instead of sitting down and having a conversation. What do you say to them?

SPICER: I know the culture and that is definitely key in bringing together young people and adults alike to seek justice as a form of healing instead of punishment. We have to find ways to hook young people into a conversation. As you saw from the clip, after they did wrestling, they talked to the young people and engaged in a conversation. They told them this process we learned is something that's helping us and maybe it may help you. I know those watching "Chicagoland" saw the young lady doing the boxing league out of the church. There's so many ways we can hook our young people into positive things. In Chicago we have a war going on and violence running rampant in many communities. It's important to get a hook to bring the young people closer so we can have that conversation.

BERMAN: You hooked me at Super Fly.

Robert Spicer, great to have you here.

PEREIRA: Thank you, Robert.

BERMAN: Appreciate your time.

You can impact your world with five ways to make Chicago safer. Go to CNN/com.

PEREIRA: Tune in to "Chicagoland" tonight on CNN. Be sure to check it out.

BERMAN: I want to take a minute now to give you a little "Cable Outrage."

PEREIRA: I missed it.

BERMAN: Last night, a pitcher was thrown out of the game. He had pine tar on his neck, smeared on his neck he used to put on his hands to throw a baseball you're not supposed to do in baseball. A lot of people are upset at him for cheating.

PEREIRA: Sure.

BERMAN: No me. I'm frankly impressed, make that astounded. I am astounded any could cheat so badly. This is a large man. He's 6'7". He could have hid that pine tar in a couple dozen places.

PEREIRA: Where?

BERMAN: In his hat, his leg, his foot. No. He puts it on the part of his body where 35,000 bystanders are watching and talking all week about the fact that Michael Pineda had been using pine tar. This takes incredible effort what he's done, incredible enterprise to do so little to pretend you were not cheating. He clearly went to the Gary Hart school of not cheating.

PEREIRA: You did not.

BERMAN: Several hundred thousand of you in the demo too young to remember this, that is not Mrs. Hart and that is a T-shirt that actually says monkey business. Michael Pineda, not only did you make Michael Hart look like a deft cheater but Alex Rodriguez, when he allegedly went to great ends to cover up his use of performance enhancing drugs. Not you, Mike Pineda. You are too good for that. Too good of a bad cheater. Michael Pineda, we take our hats off to you.

PEREIRA: No.

BERMAN: We do. We take out hats off to you, especially because we know you would never think you would never think to hide your pine tar there.

PEREIRA: I need time to recover.

BERMAN: It's all yours? PEREIRA: Now, I get to follow up. No pine tar abuse here.

Check out something bananas. Two skydivers jumped off the world's tallest building in Dubai. They get a record for base jumping from a building 2700 feet, people. That's a half mile straight down. They practiced. Where did they do that? Jumping off a Swiss mountain.

BERMAN: I like the way they hold hands, so polite as you're plummeting.

PEREIRA: Jumping off a building in Dubai.

I guess that will wrap it up for us. I'm Michaela Pereira.

BERMAN: We're back at 8:00, "360." Don't miss that.

PEREIRA: You need a nap.

BERMAN: We're going to talk to a couple of family members from the people onboard flight 370. Interesting discussion, 8:00 p.m. eastern

"LEGAL VIEW" with Ashleigh Banfield starts right now.