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Search Underway for Missing Air Algerie Flight; FAA Lifts Ban on U.S. Flights to Tel Aviv; Execution Malfunction

Aired July 24, 2014 - 08:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. Another passenger plane off the radar. A flight to Algeria is missing, the fate of 116 lives unknown, the search under way. We have the latest.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And breaking overnight, ban lifted. The FAA now clearing U.S. airlines to fly in and out of Israel. Flights set to resume this afternoon. So, why is it safe today if it wasn't yesterday? What makes it safe now?

Wolf Blitzer is live in Jerusalem.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Execution malfunction. An Arizona inmate is put to death, but the procedure took nearly two hours. Witnesses described him gasping and struggling. This happened already elsewhere this year.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, July 24th, now 8:00 in the East. Kate is on assignment.

We welcome Ms. Alisyn Camerota. Thank you for joining us.

PEREIRA: Good morning.

CAMEROTA: My pleasure. Thanks for having me. Great to be with you, guys.

CUOMO: All right. And we do have, up first, breaking news: a search underway for an Air Algerie flight reported missing over Africa, 116 people on board, including crew members. Fate is unclear at this point.

Let's go to right to CNN's Al Goodman. He's live with more in Madrid -- Al.


We're getting more details about who was aboard this plane. We've been reporting that it appeared that the majority of passengers were French nationals. Now, there's a report now there may have been up to 20 nationals from Lebanon as well, and the six crew members, the two pilots and the four crew members, because this was a Spanish plane from a Spanish company right here in Madrid that was leased or chartered to Air Algerie, the national carrier of Algeria.

What we have is the foreign ministries in Paris -- the French foreign ministry in Paris, the Spanish foreign ministry right here in Madrid, and other embassies and diplomatic institutions across America have been mobilized, trying to find out what happened to this plane.

What is know that is it left the capital of Burkina-Faso at about 1:30 in the morning local time for what was supposed to be about a four- hour flight straight north in West Africa to the capital of Algeria. But contact was lost.

Now, "Reuters" is reporting citing a diplomat in West Africa there may have been a severe storm in the area and the plane may have tried to make a diversionary tactic. That's about the time the contact was lost with this MD-83. That's a single aisle plane with two engines that was operated by this company Swiftair here in Madrid.

Back to you, Michaela.

PEREIRA: Thank you so much, Al Goodman. We appreciate that.

We want to bring in our CNN safety analyst, David Soucie, former FAA safety inspector, and author of "Why Planes Crash".

You're the guy to talk to about this. Al telling us about the fact that there were some weather advisories possibly in the area.

What else are the people that are in the search protocol phase of this, what else are they keying into?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well, right now, there's also the concern they did fly over some restricted airspace. Again, we talked about that with MH17. So, there's some areas there we're looking into whether or not they were above or below that. We don't really know that yet.

But we do know they did have to divert because of this weather. And that's the last we heard about it. So, I suspect that it's either a weather related accident or it may have been gone over another military area.

CAMEROTA: So, after MH17, after what happened in Taiwan with a storm, they think, bringing down that flight, now, this one has lost radar contact. I know these aren't connected, but it feels like something bad is happening with air travel.

SOUCIE: Yes, Chris asked me again this morning, he said, is there -- does this means there's something more happening or are we just paying close attention to it? And I've been following aircraft accidents my whole life. This is an increase in aircraft accidents, no question in my mind.


SOUCIE: They're unrelated. They're -- I think there's a couple common elements with this. And what the common elements are is the information-sharing. We're in the information age. There's much more information. Our technology has grown so vastly over the last 10 to 20 years in aviation, yet the information sharing, there's so many barriers, intellectual sharing between companies, for example.

You don't want to give many your competitive edge. However, if you're talking safety, why wouldn't you not give up your competitive edge? We need to be safe. And so, a lot of that information that should be being shared isn't.

PEREIRA: Well, let's talk about that, because I noticed something that you certainly pointed out to us when you're talking about the disappearance of MH370, are the safety standards. In terms of this, the investigators and the people that are looking at the plane, what do we know? We know it's an MD-83. What does that tell you?

SOUCIE: Well, MD-83, the McDonnell Douglas Company was obtained by the Boeing company. So, now, these aircraft are part of Boeing and have been for many, many years, but the MD-80 is an older design, an older aircraft. It doesn't necessarily imply that this aircraft may have had some mechanical failure.

However, it's a very reliable aircraft. MD-80 has been around for a long time.

CUOMO: They said it just had a safety check.

SOUCIE: Yes, they did. They did say that. No reason to suspect there any mechanical --

CAMEROTA: How big is that, though?

SOUCIE: The size of a 737 -- between a 737 and 727, about that size.

PEREIRA: And again, there's differences. We were talking in the greenroom a little bit about the certification of aircraft here in the United States. The FAA has certain standards that our airplanes have to meet, not necessarily the same in other parts of the world.

SOUCIE: Well, that's true. We have interchange agreement with each country that the FAA negotiates and they work together, to make sure that there's an aircraft that flies from a country into our country, that they meet those same standards. Now, if there's inter-country or within the same country travel --

PEREIRA: Burkina-Faso to Algiers or something like that.

SOUCIE: -- exactly like this, that aircraft only has to meet the standards of that particular country, which Africa has been through a lot of turmoil with civil aviation, because the Congo is not quite in line with some of the other countries. And those countries have recently started to work -- I worked on that a long time, of about 10, 12 years ago. And it was very difficult to get those countries to agree, but now, they are working very well together. I don't think that's related in this.

CUOMO: All right. So, you did a good job of telling us what it may not be. So, what do we know? Either somebody shot it down, OK? And if that happened, somebody would take credit for it or there will be an obvious sign, because it's over land.

SOUCIE: Which we've had not yet.

PEREIRA: Again, we haven't heard that.

CUOMO: If it's a mechanical issue, you usually hear.


CUOMO: The other major variable on the ground right now is --


CUOMO: Storm, weather.


CUOMO: So, we have Indra.

Are you up and ready to understand? What's the chance this is in any way weather? What do you see up there?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: There's some area that we kind of call an intertropical convergence zone. If you actually notice right here where it lost contact, you can see this very large cell developing.

Now, this is key, because this is typically where you see hurricanes form. You see this very strong tropical waves that strengthen over time. You can actually see right where it lost contact, we see some of those large cells developing. We're not getting the latest details just yet on how strong the system is from radar, from the sky, very easy to see here that we do have a very strong system there capable of producing very strong winds.

Of course, poor visibility and even a heavy thunderstorm. That's what we're going to be monitoring. We're still waiting for the latest details to come in. But from what you can see, clearly, there was something directly in its path that have caused the disappearance of this plane.

PEREIRA: All right, Indra. Thank you so much.

So, David, we see that there was severe weather in the area. Give us an idea of that, because I think any of us could have flown, we're nervous when we hear about severe weather. How is it going to impact the flight?

SOUCIE: Well, typically, they avoid. They completely avoid it.

Now, here is where it might come into play with a restrictive airspace. If you're trying to avoid this thunderstorm or cloud, or whatever, severe weather that's ahead of you, you have a choice. You can abort the flight, go home, if it's too big, but they're not going to do that. They're going to look for a way around it. So, they can either go to the left or the right.

If they go to the left, maybe there's restricted airspace. I haven't found that out yet, because we don't know which path it took at this point. But if there's restricted air space there, you say, well, I don't want to go there, because we just heard about MH17.

So, do we go to the right? It's really far around. We may not have enough fuel to get there, that's the biggest concern. Not -- we talked about cost being the issue, but it's really more a matter of -- is there enough fuel to go around these areas. So, you're kind of limited on what can do to go around it.

But as far as safety, and I'm not familiar exactly with how that air traffic pattern goes in that particular area, but these are the things I'll be looking at throughout the day is, what choices did they have? That will help us narrow down exactly what may have happened here.

PEREIRA: All right. David Soucie, thanks so much.

Again, Flight 5017 from Burkina-Faso to Algiers. It's missing at this hour, 110 passengers, six crew members on board. We don't what's happened and we'll keep following it.

Thanks so much.

CAMEROTA: Unreal. Thanks, David.

All right. We do have some other breaking news to get to on the flights to and from Tel Aviv.

So, let's get to CNN's Wolf Blitzer right now in Jerusalem for the latest.

Hi, Wolf.


A lot of aviation news going on around the world right now.

That ban has been lifted overnight, the ban involving U.S. carriers flying to and from Israel. It lasted about 36 hours. It's now up to the three domestic carriers that fly to Israel , that would be Delta, United and U.S. Airways -- to decide when they will resume their flights.

The FAA giving the green-light reassessing security concerns in Israeli airspace around Ben Gurion Airport after a Hamas rocket from Gaza struck close to the airport on Tuesday, about a mile or so outside of the airport.

So, will the U.S. and other foreign carriers follow suit?

CNN's Martin Savidge is joining us now live from Ben-Gurion Airport with the latest.

What are they saying over there, Martin?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, very interesting. You know, only a couple hours after the FAA announced that it was lifting that ban on U.S. carriers, there was the sound of sirens, and then you could hear the explosions, which would indicate that Israel's defensive program known as the Iron Dome was in action. Sure enough, you could see the clouds that indicated several rockets had been intercepted in central Israel near Tel Aviv, and well within sight and earshot of Ben-Gurion airport.

So, the FAA may say it's OK for them to come. The question is, will U.S. carriers show up?


SAVIDGE (voice-over): Overnight, the FAA reversing its controversial travel ban, removing restrictions on U.S. passenger planes flying to and from Tel Aviv in the face of mounting criticism.

The decision coming 1 1/2 days after flights were suspended due to security concerns when a rocket destroyed a home a mile from Ben- Gurion airport.

Warning sirens prompting this frantic scene later in the day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole airport rushed into the bomb shelters, and it was terrifying.

SAVIDGE: According to a statement, the FAA said it worked with the U.S. government to assess the security situation in Israel, and review both significant and new information and measures the government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation. Since the ban was enacted, Israeli officials have lobbied the U.S. government to reverse its decision, insisting that the airport is safe.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We protect this airport. There's no reason whatsoever for the mistaken FAA decision to instruct American planes not to come here.

SAVIDGE: While Hamas continued to tout the decision as a great achievement, saying, "Isolating Israel from the world is a great victory for the resistance and a destruction of the enemy's dignity."

Earlier Wednesday, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the ban a mistake in a conversation with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, after traveling to Israel in a show of support.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: We have to take reasonable precautions, but you cannot shut down everything just because one terrorist someplace on the other side of the world says, I'm going to be a threat.

SAVIDGE: Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to the region on a military jet Wednesday pressed ahead with cease-fire talks with both sides -- as the death toll on both sides of the conflict continues to grow.


SAVIDGE: Even though the U.S. planes can decide to come if they choose to, the question will be if they do show up here, how many people will actually be on board. This is the peak of what is the traditional tourist season, July and August, but, of course, many tourists are staying away. They simply don't believe it's the right time to come to Israel, Wolf.

BLITZER: Well, heard from Giora Romm, the head of the Israel aviation authority, in the last hour here on NEW DAY, he said that US Airways, which flies between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv, and United, which flies between Newark, New Jersey and Tel Aviv, they're about to resume their service. United which flies between JFK in New York and Tel Aviv, still up in the air. We're going to get official confirmation from the three airlines, we'll see what they're doing, but that's what Israel aviation authority executive director, Giora Romm, told us in the last hour. We'll check with the airlines and see what's going on.

Martin, thanks very much to you.

Let's go back to New York and Alyson.

CAMEROTA: Wolf, thanks so much.

Let's talk about this story. The execution of a convicted murderer in Arizona should have been over in 15 minutes. Instead, it took almost two hours to put Joseph Wood to death. Witnesses say he was, quote, "gasping for breath," and this has triggered new debate about the death penalty.

CNN's Poppy Harlow is following all of these developments.

What happened?


This happened yesterday afternoon. And as you said, it took almost two hours, an hour and 57 minutes to be exact, despite calling for a review of the process, Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer is standing by the execution. She's calling it lawful. She said that, quote, "justice was carried out".

But she also noted in her statement the excruciating suffering that Wood's two victims endured when he killed them. The latest execution as you said, Alisyn, is really putting this in focus, the debate over lethal injections.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You hear a deep snoring sucking air sound.

HARLOW (voice-over): That's how some witnesses are describing the execution of convicted murderer Joseph Wood. Wood was convicted of a double murder in 1989 for killing his estranged girlfriend and her father.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Wood is dead, but it took him two hours to die.

HARLOW: Woods attorney field an emergency appeal and reportedly called Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in an attempt to stop the execution, and stating that the process violated Wood's constitutional right to be executed without cruel and unusual punishment.

DALE BAICH, ATTORNEY FOR JOSEPH WOOD: If the execution isn't bungled, there's no need to go in and ask the courts to intervene.

HARLOW: But there was a very different account of what happened from the woman whose father and sister were murdered by wood.

JEANNE BROWN, DAUGHTER AND SISTER OF WOOD'S VICTIMS: I don't believe he was gasping for air, I don't believe he was suffering. It sounded to me as though he was snoring. You don't know what excruciating is.

What's excruciating is, seeing your dad lying there in a pool of blood, seeing your sister lying there in a pool of blood. That's excruciating. This man deserved it.

HARLOW: Earlier this year, Oklahoma halted all executions after what some called the botched execution of convicted murderer and rapist Clayton Lockett. One of the drugs used in that execution was also used in Wood's.

The Arizona Department of Corrections denies any claims of wrongdoing saying in a statement that the department, quote, "followed the execution protocol," but adding that the department would conduct a full preview.

But for the family of Wood's victims, the debate over drugs stirs up deep feelings.

RICHARD BROWN, SON AND BROTHER-IN-LAW OF WOOD'S VICTIMS: I saw the life go out of my sister in-law's eyes right in front of me, as he shot her to death. I'm so sick and tired of you guys blowing this drugs stuff out of proportion, because to me, that's B.S.


HARLOW: A really heated debate. You know, states are left scrambling for alternatives to a key drug in lethal injection that has been used for a long time because the sole U.S. manufacturer of that drug stopped producing it in recent years, and other countries abroad where it is produced have also banned importing it to the United States over their objections to the death penalty, guys. So, this brings it into focus. But as you heard from the family members, their pain and suffering and the fact that they're saying you shouldn't be focusing on this.

CAMEROTA: Right. On the guilty -- on the convict suffering, they're saying, what about our suffering? They don't care if he suffered. And we certainly can understand and appreciate that. All victims' families would feel that way.

But the stated purpose of the death penalty is not to inflict suffering. It's supposed to be a deterrent.

CUOMO: That's always been the inherent contradiction. You're killing somebody.



CUOMO: That's why we used to -- right. And we used hanging, we used things that were very quick, guaranteed, but the image of those wound up seeming too brutal and the Eighth Amendment wound up getting us into a direction where now, you're dealing with the application of medicines and timing.

HARLOW: And this is a relatively new drug mix that they're using, so the state of Arizona -- though it's standing by this is investigating. They're drawing blood from him and they're going to investigate what may have happened here.

Poppy Harlow, thanks so much.

HARLOW: You're welcome.

CUOMO: All right. A lot of news this morning. Let's get right to Michaela.

PEREIRA: Certainly is, Chris. Thanks so much, Alisyn.

Good morning to all of you at home. Let's look at your headlines.

White House officials are telling CNN that the president is considering whether to deploy National Guard troops to the U.S./Mexico border in order to deal with the surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America. The president is set to meet tomorrow with the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Heavy rain and even hail helped slow the largest wildfire in the history of Washington state. The Carlton complex fire is now more than 50 percent contained after burning more than 400 square miles. Firefighters on the fire's northern edge had to be pulled off because of the severe storms. President Obama has declared a federal state of emergency for the affected areas, now, of course, flooding is a gigantic concern in that area, folks there dealing with power outages as well. A new video has surfaced, appearing to show another New York City

police officer using a chokehold. This clip is from July 14th, showing the officer punching a man as he restrains him. This incident happened just days before Eric Garner died when police placed him in a similar chokehold. Eric Garner was laid to rest today after a service in Brooklyn.

Obviously, the practices of the NYPD coming into focus, and obviously, they'll have to take a look at it.

CUOMO: All right. Let's take a little break here.

Coming up on NEW DAY, fighting not letting up across eastern Ukraine. An international force is trying to secure the Flight 17 crash site. So, we're going to go live to one of the most dangerous places in the world right now, Ukraine, as more bodies make the journey home.


CAMEROTA: Welcome back.

It's another sad day in the Netherlands as 74 more coffins with MH17 victims are being flown by military plane from the Ukraine. International monitors are back at the wreckage site, but they may be in harm's way. We are receiving reports of more fire coming from the Russian side of the border.

Our Nick Paton Walsh is tracking the very latest from Ukraine.

Nick, what's the latest?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know now that the second of the two cargo planes that are leaving Kharkiv airport bound from the Netherlands are in the air, probably about two hours away from landing on those Dutch C-130, and Australian C-17, 74 coffins. The difficulty of explaining this is so extraordinarily gruesome and painful for relatives to hearing, but they are trying to take body bags from this train, and put sometimes more than one body bag in a coffin and then begin that journey back home.

They hope that eventually they will tomorrow finish that process tomorrow unloading the train, four refrigerated wagons there, and the last flight will head off to the Netherlands, and only then does the full process begin of identifying exactly who was in the train sent from the crash site by separatist rebels. The concern now, though, is further access to the site feasible in a properly controlled sealed- off fashion where international inspectors can get there, could the 50 Australian police now in London perhaps headed this way, get proper access.

The special representative to the prime minister is trying to get there this afternoon. As you mentioned, there's a live war zone around there. A lot of heavy weaponry being used, a lot of concerns about the safety of anyone who might try to comb through that site, and then, of course, the likelihood, saying many investigators that the results will be conclusive, because of the tampering that's already happened, because how long it's been since they've had access, that's going to make the lives of relatives hard in the weeks ahead.

Back to you, Chris.

CUOMO: It's to say the least, Nick. Thank you. Be safe over there.

All right. Let's get some perspective on what's going on in the situation from a military perspective. We'll bring in Major General James "Spider" Marks, CNN military analyst, who's retired from the U.S. Army, is now executive dean at the University of Phoenix.

General Dean, I'm going to have to call you now. So --

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: A combination of the two. That will work, Chris.

CUOMO: I'll take whatever you want, sir. That's for sure.

General, you have an interesting perspective. For you, the question is not whether or not Russia is training the militants. You are concerned that Russia is not training them well enough.

What does that mean?

MARKS: Well, this is a classic example. If the appropriate training, if the personnel that were manning that piece of equipment had been appropriately trained and had been networked with the enterprise, the capability of all of those transporter erector launchers, those BUK missiles are part of a grouping, an enterprise, if they've been trained, they would have identified this aircraft as a commercial aircraft and they wouldn't have fired.

So, this is an example of where bad training, certainly bad intentions, bad training, ends up with an absolutely horrible egregious event. So, that's where we're looking at right now.

CAMEROTA: General, can't that play into Putin's argument that they're not trained by him, he's not their puppet master? If you're saying they're not trained well enough to be able to identify which aircraft is, maybe Putin isn't behind them?

MARKS: Well, Alisyn, you know, clearly that's a discussion we can have. At the end of the day, this is Russian kit. This did not belong to the Ukrainian. This came from Russia. We have that evidence this took place, so the intelligence is very clear that Russia's hand is all over this. Then at the Russian separatists have been in place conducting their operations, let's be frank, for a brief amount of time since the annexation of Crimea. So the capability to give these Russian separatists this capability and then to get them trained to a level where they could use it appropriately simply just was not there.

CUOMO: $23 million so far in nonmilitary support -- not military -- non-weapons support from the U.S. Do you think the U.S. has to get into the munitions game with Ukraine in order to help them fight off this militant threat?

MARKS: I think the United States in combination with European partners need to certainly do that. Look, Putin gains and historically Russia has always either wanted security on their borders or they wanted to have instability on their borders. That way, they're protected.

The United States has to get involved in Ukraine, because Putin sees this as kind of a state of normalcy. This is all fine to him.

It's a different perspective. We have a hard time, because we come at this discussion from two entirely different places, sanctity of human life, the individual, which is the Western type of perspective, and you have Russia, which is all about mother Russia, and protecting the base.

So, the United States and its partners must get involved in some way. This is not going to sort itself out. It doesn't look like any effort to decrease the capability on either side. Ukraine certainly had been gaining some advantage, but with this event and with Russia's focus and continued support, this thing is not going away any time soon. There needs to be a degree of involvement.

And there were other elements of power which we certainly know, economic as well as military, diplomatic and those have to have a full-court press.

CAMEROTA: Spider, let's talk about Israel, overnight, the FAA lifted the ban on flights into Tel Aviv. Why were those flights dangerous yesterday, but not dangerous today?

MARKS: Alison, that's very, very true. Clearly, Israel must be able to establish and sustain a kind of a sense of normalcy in the state of Israel. They've been -- they're the aggrieved party and have been for 4,000 years.

So the fact that somebody is trying to lob -- is lobbing rockets at them, trying to terrorize the population, Israel says, look, that's our constant state, it's been that way forever, we want El-Al, the airlines of Israel, to continue to travel. And we want everybody to come to Israel. We want you to spend your money here. We want you to come to the holy land.

The challenge is the FAA looks at it and says, look, we have an issue with rockets being able to reach Ben-Gurion, that exists. The Iron Dome that Israel has frankly is exceptionally effective, and works. So, initially, the FAA looks at this and says we don't want to run this risk. That was a legitimate question.

What you see is as a result of diplomatic efforts on everybody's part to try to lower the specter of this, try to regain some normalcy, not let terrorists from Gaza try to completely disrupt normal activities in Israel. So, I think what we're really seeing is just real strong efforts across the board at multiple levels, but behind the scenes to establish or at least try to reestablish some degree of normalcy.

CAMEROTA: All right. Return to normalcy. All right. Major General Spider Marks, thanks so much for your insight.

MARKS: Thanks to you both.

CAMEROTA: Up next on NEW DAY, a flight is missing. An Air Algerie flight is missing. This is breaking news. It fell off the radar about an hour after takeoff. Could bad weather have played a factor? So, we'll have the latest for you on that.

We'll be right back.