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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Latest on Germanwings Airbus Crash; Details of Pilot Medical Exam; Airlines Change Policies in Wake of Crash; German Investigators Continue To Search Germanwings Co-Pilot's Apartment. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 27, 2015 - 20:00 ET
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ANDERSON COOPER 360 starts now.
[20:00:14] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
A lot of new information in the Germanwings tragedy. It began today with word that the co-pilot had been declared medically unfit to fly was hiding it from the airline. It ends tonight with new reporting in the "New York Times" and "the Wall Street Journal" on the nature of the illness in question.
The Times citing unnamed authorities reporting he had a mental illness. The journal citing a person familiar with the investigation going a bit further saying it was depression.
Now additionally, the German newspaper "Build" is reporting that the co-pilot had suffered a quote "serious depressive episode" around from the time he took a break from pilot training that was back in 2009. Now, it is plain to see that investigators have been figuring this out this 27-year-old pilot's state of mind, a major part of their efforts so far because maybe, maybe it speaks to motive.
More now on the investigation that says other major developments from justice correspondent Pamela Brown.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, German investigators again search the co-pilot's apartment bringing out more boxes of evidence. They left without saying a word to reporters. We know inside 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz's apartment, investigators discovered Thursday torn up medical leave notes in his trash can, including one for the exact day authorities say Lubitz deliberately crashed flight 9525 into the French alps.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a letter that indicated that he was declared by a medical doctor, unfit to work. BROWN: Tonight, Germanwings said it never received a sick note for
Lubitz for the day of the flight. The German prosecutors office said it appears Lubitz was trying to keep his condition a secret.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have reason to believe that he hid this illness from the company he was working for.
BROWN: Authorities have not said publicly whether Lubitz's illness was physical or related to mental health issues. But according to a report in the "Wall Street Journal," Lubitz was being treated for depression and was excused from work by a neuropsychologist for a period of time including the day of the crash.
This is Dusseldorf University medical clinic. We know Andreas Lubitz came to be here for treatment for a condition back in February of this year and most recently march 10th. The clinic wouldn't say what that condition was, but made it clear it wasn't for depression.
Those who knew Lubitz seen here running a marathon in 2013 tell CNN he didn't lend on anything was wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was for me very healthy guy. (INAUDIBLE). I can't imagine that he was mentally ill, depressed, and sad. He doesn't seem like it. So I was shocked when I hear that.
BROWN: Lubitz's medical history and what Germanwings and parent company, Lufthansa, knew about it now will play an important role in the investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Every pilot learns during his training and I always say as an aviation doctor, there's anything wrong with you, please contact me. Please do not hide physical or psychological illnesses.
COOPER: And Pamela joins us now from Dusseldorf.
I mean, it does seems like there's still a lot we don't know.
BROWN: Absolutely, Anderson. A lot of unanswered questions. And publicly, officials are only saying so much. And as we say in the report, they're not specifying what this illness is, as we know, there are reports out there that he was battling a depression, but we don't know if there was something else, if that is true, that was the impetus for that and there is about the question mark, Anderson, about his training back in 2008. Why did he take a few months off from training and then go back and as we know, complete it. Was something going on there?
Lufthansa will not say why his training was interrupted. It will only say that he was 100 percent fit to fly, had no reason to think otherwise -- Anderson?
COOPER: Pamela, thanks very much. Obviously, this new reporting solidifies what was until now merely
educated guesses. Let's get some perspective now from chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta who joins us.
So "the New York Times," "the Wall Street Journal" all reported the co-pilot is being treated for depression of some time and then you have this build report back in 2009 when he left training that there was a major depressive episode.
Could depression alone result in someone doing something like this? I mean, could there's certainly a huge number of people out there who struggle with depression, have struggled with depression and don't end up taking their own life or killing others. DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is unlikely
that depression alone would lead to this sort of behavior, to answer your question directly, Anderson. I mean, you know, look. People who have major depressive episodes, if they are going to be violent in any way, if they're going to hurt somebody in any way, it's usually hurting themselves. And if there's loss of life, it is usually because of suicide, not homicide. That's what we know from depression alone.
If there was a personality disorder that was superimposed on top of this, you really have to think that there was something else sort of going on here. So we just don't know and as Pamela was just saying, you know, what sort of precipitated all this over the days and weeks before this event as well, those are very, very important details to try and figure out what may have happened.
But, you know, caution and I've talked to some folks who do this sort of work. They say, look, at the end of the day, there may not be a satisfactory answer. There's a real desire to say, hey, this is the cause, this is what happened. But it may not be that neat and tidy when all is said and done, Anderson.
[20:05:43] COOPER: Lufthansa says that all of his pilots are examined at least once a year. And that this co-pilot was, in their words, 100 percent flight worthy without any limitations. Obviously, that is not the case. I mean, they maybe have believed he was 100 percent flight worthy. They may not have the information, they may have been hiding it from them, but could it have completely gone unnoticed?
GUPTA: I think it could have gone unnoticed. I mean, even, you know, some of the video recording in the cockpit prior to earlier on, it sounded like there were conversations that were pretty par for the course that were taking place. So even within the immediate time period before this all happened, it didn't seemed like there weren't clues that were certainly out there or certainly clues that anybody picked up on.
I would be curious what the weeks, days and weeks like were beforehand. How was he sleeping? Was he caring for himself? What was the nature of his relationships at that time? Those are all obviously questions the investigators are trying to figure out now. But there may have been some clues in that time period. But even then, it's hard to know. How many times, Anderson, have we
talked about these sorts of things and the aftermath of some mass homicide? And people always say, well, were there clues? Perhaps. Maybe not. It just sometimes is very difficult, even when you look back in hindsight.
COOPER: Right. I mean, was there some sort of precipitating event, a break-up of some sort, some sort of major life change that would have sort of plunged him into a deeper depression or made him suicidal. But again, making that leap between suicidal and homicidal, particularly mass murder at this scale, this is a huge leap indeed.
Sanjay, appreciate the update. Thanks.
GUPTA: Thank you.
COOPER: Once again tonight, a lot to talk about and try to make sense of. Joining is CNN Safety analysis and former FAA crash investigator David Soucie who is author of the new book, "Malaysia Airlines flight 370, why it disappeared and why it's only a matter of time before this happens again." As always, aviation correspondent Richard Quest, and aviation attorney Justin Greene. He is a private pilot and a former military pilot as well.
So Richard, this reporting that the co-pilot hid his medical condition and we don't know the details on what it is from his employer, it still does not indicate motive.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: No. It doesn't. I mean, if you're looking for a cast iron, motive, and you are looking the put to a jury, not that you would, but you can say open and shut case. No, it doesn't. Because we don't know what the medical situation was.
We can extrapolate. We can speculate. The notes were ripped up. He was meant to be flying on that very day. But he had a note saying he was unfit to fly.
I think it doesn't go to motive but it does take him as a very good idea of the state of mind that this person was in who was knowingly going into a highly stressed job where he'd been told he was unfit to fly.
COOPER: And it does seem it is only matter of time before we learn exactly what the medical condition was.
QUEST: There are so many rumors concerning whether it's physical, whether it's mental. If it was a psychological condition. How serious or severe. In what way? We don't know. But yes, we will find out.
COOPER: David, Lufthansa policy requires employees to disclose if they do have a condition that would affect their ability to fly. But there is a real incentive for pilots to hide it. I mean, essentially, if you are grounded for a year because of depression or because of, you know, medicine you're taking because of depression, that can destroy a pilot's career. DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: And that's the rub. There's
another thing that can take their career down. And that's making a severe error in their flight pattern and then reporting it on their voluntary reporting, putting it in front of a board and they have to decide, are we going to ruin this guy's career permanently? Because that's a permanent record of the fact that he made a mistake and it's on his record.
So there's a lot of things the pilot faces in this realm. If you have this record, it goes directly in the face of safety. It has to be open and voluntary information.
[20:09:48] COOPER: Well, Justin, I mean, there's so much stigma in this country around the world not only for any kind of illness but mental illness in particular. And we don't know if that's what this co-pilot had, a mental health issue but it's understandable. I mean, it's a difficult situation. It's understandable of employees, hide all the time, you know, if they are suffering from depression. They don't want their employer knowing those kind of detail. And yet, the same time, pilots have this incredible responsibility. The lives of so many passengers in their hands.
JUSTIN GREEN, AVIATION ATTORNEY: You know, pilots are almost like athletes in a way. Their physical well being and their mental well being is directly connected to their job. Lots of people with severe psychological issues are practicing lawyers, I could guaranty that. But pilot is not a one if they -- if it comes out that they have that condition.
COOPER: And to get back, once you've been off for a year, I mean, to get back in the cockpit, to convince your employer and also, your fellow colleagues, I imagine. That's an uphill battle.
GREEN: I had a whole, a lot of friends whose practice is devoted to representing pilots who have their tickets, their licenses pulled and are fighting to get back in the cockpit. It's a major hurdle to get back in the cockpit, if you have a medical issue that has pulled you out.
QUEST: We can't really fully understand the magnitude because most of us are not in jobs that frankly, if we did have a medical condition, a physical condition or a mental psychological condition that would be absolutely devastating to the future of our careers, that would grind it to a halt.
I've had cases where I've known of somebody who has been diagnosed with something and the doctor has said, you stop flying now, today. If you don't, I will report you. And your entire career comes to an end or potentially comes to an end.
COOPER: David, how well do pilots know each other? And just pilots, I mean, cabin crew members, does word get around that this person, you know, is struggling with an issue, this person has an issue? Is it a small community in that way?
SOUCIE: It's a small community. And to complicate that or make it worse is that fact that you are flying, you might fly with your pilot for a month. After that month, you come in with someone else. Probably not even that often. It might just be a day or two. So each time you do that, you spend this five or six hours, eight hours together in a close area. You get to know each other really well. There's a lot of dialogue because there's waiting in between the auto pilot on. Then that goes - and that person goes to the next one and to the next one. So in some respects, it's less than you might assume. In other respects, it's more communication line.
COOPER: Justin, the liability issue, we know obviously Lufthansa is also giving some money to families, which is common in this kind of a situation, help families through this emergency period. But in terms of liability, there's really two distinct kind of regions. Either an airline is found at fault or not at fault. If the airline is not at fault, what's the liability?
GREEN: If it's not at fault, the airline has a very limited liability to passengers. They have to offer them about $160,000.
COOPER: This is under international conventions.
GREEN: International law. And it is provable damages. So if they have $3 million worth of damages based on earnings, they get $160,000.
COOPER: But if it is at fault and there is a strong argument to be made here against Lufthansa, in this case, if you know, if one of their employees was hiding something or if they knew something then it's unlimited damages, potentially based on the what kind of career the person has, the emotional distress?
GREEN: It's unlimited provable damages under the law. However, it is important to know that Lufthansa has to come in and prove that it was without fault. It is not the plaintiffs don't go into court and say you're negligent. You did this wrong. You did that wrong. The airline has to come in and prove that -- That's right.
COOPER: Justin, thank you very much for being with us. David Soucie as well and Richard Quest.
A lot more to talk about. Coming up next, an up close look at just how daunting conditions are at the crash site high in the French alps.
And later, an idea that is getting more traction putting cameras in the cockpit. We are going to look at the vantages and why some pilots are fighting tooth and nail against that.
[20:17:42] COOPER: With all the reporting, all the official interest in the co-pilot's mental state, we do want to focus now on the enormous mental anguish that he caused. Germanwings has set up a counseling center in Marce which sessions to start tomorrow.
Meantime, more families arrived today at the crash site. Nic Robertson is there. He joins us now. What's the latest, Nic? NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there
were some -- in all of this, it's hard to say good information, Anderson. But at least it's a help for the families. We understand from the recovery teams now that they've identified 16 of the victims as being done in DNA labs. The lights you maybe see behind me, at that police headquarters, they're working through the night here. Behind that, the labs where the recovery teams are processing the bodies as they bring them up (INAUDIBLE).
We also understand that they're bringing in biometric equipment as well to help in the process of identifying the bodies. This will include fingerprinting equipment. We also understand that when the families come here, the French authorities as we know given the opportunity to go as close as they can to the crash site, but they're also taking DNA samples from the families as well. And again, all of this to sort of speed the process by which they can make these very difficult identifications, Anderson. COOPER: Horrific process. It is clearly, it seems communication is
much better with family members than we have seen in prior mysterious plane crashes over the last year or so. Are investigators updating the families as the news comes in?
ROBERTSON: We believe that they are. This isn't being done publicly. The families have been given a lot of space degree and a lot of support from the authorities. I mean, you have Lufthansa bringing them into the country and the French authorities sort of picking them up and helping them after that.
What we have seen, and this was - this I think, was exemplified when we saw soon after this crash, you know, German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Francois Hollande, the Spanish Prime Minister coming here as well, they came together. It was a message of how well they work together and that seems to be the case continuing now.
The German Lufthansa, the French authorities getting people and the briefings do seem to be happening. So there's a lot behind the scenes that we don't get the details on, Anderson.
[20:20:04] COOPER: Nic Robertson reporting from staging ground. Nic, thanks.
More now just on how challenging it is to be in those mountains on this mission, harsh conditions for recovery worker.
Karl Penhaul found out firsthand today.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Swinging on the wire, they recover the remains. Hundreds of feet below, emergency crews clean to the mountainside. Just so they don't fall. Investigators say the speed of the crash pulverized plane and passengers. The recovery operation they say is bit by bit, bag by bag. You can just pick out the small red flags, rescuers dig into the earth when they discover new fragments. And that looks like a scorch mark. The French prosecutors said the plane hit the mountain, bounced off and then disintegrated.
It's a tough hike through steep valleys. A while before dawn but we're going to a trail here. In order to understand why some rescuers describe this as their biggest ever challenge, we try to get closer to the crash zone.
There's a little bit of frost this morning and now the sun coming down. Certainly no sign of snow just yet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
PENHAUL: Few people except shepherds live here. Conditions are too inhospitable.
Getting (INAUDIBLE) through hang on to trees and grass. You can see why they are going to have to fly anything out. The crash site by helicopter. The wore (ph) for (INAUDIBLE) helps pinpoint the site from our vantage point high. We see forensic teams working with expert mountaineers to keep them safe.
High winds may fly stretches (ph). Saying farewell is never easy, but perhaps those grieving could find a little consolation amid these crags. Piece of the running water. Piece of snow capped peaks. Peace to loved ones lost.
Karl Penhaul, CNN, the French alps.
COOPER: Just ahead, what it took to take 9525 down. Kyung Lah takes us inside a flight simulator, show us what it looks like and sounds like inside the cockpit during those final minutes.
[20:26:32] COOPER: Authorities say the co-pilot did crashing the commercial plane on purpose killing everyone onboard, it defies comprehension, especially among other pilots. It goes against every instinct in their DNA.
Tonight, we are going to show you what it took for this co-pilot to take this plane down, directing the airbus A320 to descend as low as it can go, what it looks like with the mountains looming for the plane's windshield, the alarms that would triggered.
Kyung Lah shows us firsthand inside a flight simulator.
BUCK ROGERS, COMMERCIAL AIRLINES PILOT: Lock the physical lock on the door. Take this to lock and this going to totally lock out that door.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So begins what is the likely descent and the Germanwings flight or an A320 simulator with pilot Buck Roger who currently flies with the commercial airline.
ROGERS: Just dialed in an altitude here. You got the airplane going down.
LAH: That motion of hitting 100 in this situation is unthinkable for you?
ROGERS: Absolutely. Why would I do that? It goes against every grain in my body. There's no reason why I would do that.
LAH: You know the consequences of that action.
LAH: If you had to step in this young man's mind, do you think he understood?
ROGERS: It's a very difficult subject for a pilot because we are, again, here, to keep our passengers safe. To keep the airplane safe, to keep our crews safe, so to go where this young man went is hard for me to go there. And by saying I'm fit to fly, that means I'm good to go. I'm ready to take on this airplane.
LAH: And all the lives in the back.
ROGERS: That's right.
LAH: Approximately nine minutes later --
ROGERS: Up. So now we would terrain, terrain, pull up and react.
Pull up. Pull up. Pull up.
This the worst situation I've been in.
LAH: What happens to your hands after that crash?
ROGERS: They're sweaty. And you can see it. In all the years I've been flying a simulator, I have never seen an airplane hit the ground. We recover the airplane before that happens.
LAH: So that was unthinkable. For you.
ROGERS: Yes. Hard to see.
LAH: Roger takes us through a manual scenario explaining the Germanwings pilot likely did not do this based on the control descent.
ROGERS: Pull up.
LAH: It's uncomfortable.
ROGERS: Pull up.
Let's just come out of this. Get out of this.
No need to take it. LAH: Even in the simulator in a scenario we've asked him to do for
the purposes of this story, this pilot cannot stand it.
Does it exceed pilot instinct? Is it human instinct to pull up the stick at that point?
ROGERS: Yes, I'm thinking about the safety of my passengers, my crew, and the plane. That's what I do as a pilot.
LAH: Is that why this incident has so disturbed the people in your profession?
ROGERS: That's unthinkable that a pilot would take an airplane and drive it into the ground. It's not something we would ever think about.
LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Las Vegas.
COOPER: Joining me again, CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest. Also with us, Ron Stock, an airbus A320 captain.
Ron, it's really interesting to see that pilot in the simulator couldn't even bring himself to get that close to simulate crashing an aircraft. Just against every instinct pilots have.
RON STOCK, AIRBUS A230 CAPTAIN: Even in the simulator, I can assure you that there isn't a pilot out there that wants - allow that to happen, allow the airplane to hit the ground. We practice those maneuvers. It is called control flight into terrain. We practice that maneuver in the airplane purposely so that if we do get a warning like that, terrain, terrain, pull up, we know what to do immediately. And nobody, even though we know this is a simulator, we just don't allow that to happen.
COOPER: Richard, you and I were watching that. You had the same experience in simulators.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In many simulators and I've had exactly that experience where the instructor will not even countenance the idea. You know it's going to make a bit of a fumble, whatever it's going to do if it does, but they don't even want to think about it. They don't want to try it. And not only that, there have been times in the simulator where, you know, I got into trouble, you know, and the instructor won't just switch it back. He'll take the controls. He'll take the controls and they'll fly it out. It's a mental blockage. They dare not go to the idea that this isn't real.
COOPER: Ron, it's interesting. Is it possible once the flight data recorder is found, I mean, if this co-pilot in the last seconds attempted to pull the plane back, to pull the plane up, would that record in the flight data recorder?
STOCK: Absolutely. That should record control surface, control input, control surface movement, numerous parameters. Yes, I would say that that would be -- that data would be there.
COOPER: And you know, again, there's a lot we don't know about this co-pilot exactly what the illness he was facing is, that he was trying to hide. If a pilot is intent on hiding something, on hiding thoughts they're having or hiding an illness that they're having, if they don't self-disclose, if they're not getting treatment, if they don't want their employer the know, there's no guarantee that I suppose something like this couldn't happen again. I mean there's no structure in place, at least in Lufthansa that unless they self-report, that it's going to be discovered.
STOCK: I think this situation is so remote. I have known numerous pilots over 30 plus years that have relinquished their medical certificate for medical reasons. We take our medical certificate or medical license very, very seriously. Every time we fill out the Form 8500, which is the FAA form, to get a medical, you have to self- disclose 20 some items on there, mental as well as physical. And actually, in the bottom of the form, it states that if you falsify this document, you can be imprisoned for up to, I believe, it's five years and fined $250,000. You have to report if you go visit a doctor for any reason on that form.
COOPER: Wow, really, I didn't realize that. That's incredible. Ron, I appreciate you being on, Ron Stock. Thank you very much, Richard Quest as well. Just ahead, the deliberate crash of Flight 9525 has reignited the debate over cameras in cockpits. Why aren't they required and what difference might they make to safety even if they don't stop the crash as they wouldn't have been able to stop what happened on 9525, but wouldn't they make a difference for the investigation afterwards? Details ahead.
[20:37:29] COOPER: The crash of Flight 9525 which French authorities say was deliberate is already prompting changes in airline policy. For the first time, Europe's aviation agency recommending two people always be in the cockpit during flight and some European airlines including Lufthansa have already begun implementing that guidance. The crash has also reignited debate over something else many believe should be in airline cockpits at all times. We're talking about cameras. Randi Kaye has that angle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A 3,000 foot tumble from the sky, that's what happened to the Cessna plane carrying 9 people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very obvious the aircraft path was near vertical.
KAYE: Why this plane dropped straight down killing everyone on board back in 1997 baffled the NTSB. No black boxes were recovered prompting investigators to call for cockpit video cameras. Now, nearly two decades later, we may be closer than ever to putting cameras on commercial airplanes. This is what they might capture in the cockpit. California-based Physical Optics Corporation delivered dozens of cameras though none to major airlines.
ROSS MOHR, PHYSICAL OPTICS CORPORATION: They could a camera facing to the door behind the pilots. You can have a camera behind the pilots. Depending on the type of lens chosen for the camera, you could have wide field of view or narrow field of view.
KAYE: The cameras are designed to focus on the instruments, on the pilot's hands, even their feet, not necessarily on the pilot's faces. They can record up to 32 hours and the company said they can survive a crash. Withstanding heat, up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
MOHR: It will stand a 5,000-pound static crush load.
KAYE: Just like black boxes, the cameras have a beacon that lasts up to 90 days allowing time to locate them.
RON NIELSEN, RETIRED AIRLINE PILOT: You can actually see when people took actions and what switches they took, what the settings were, you know, where you can -- you can read that through the flight data recorder to some degree.
KAYE: But still, not everyone is sold.
JIM TILMON, RETIRED AIRLINE PILOT: I'm very much against it. I just feel like we have pretty much the situation covered between a cockpit voice recorder, which records every sound of any kind.
[20:39:45] KAYE: Concerned pilots argue it's an invasion of privacy, suggesting conversation about a supervisor or an argument with a spouse could end up on YouTube.
Still, the NTSB argues cockpit cameras could show investigators what happened in those critical moments before a crash. Did a pilot have a heart attack? Was there smoke in the cockpit or did a dangerous passenger managed to get inside?
The Airline Pilot's Association rejects the idea of cameras, which could cost up to $100,000 each. The group told us resources should be focused on enhancing current systems, as opposed to video images which are subject to misinterpretation and may lead investigators away from accurate conclusions. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining me now, aviation attorney and former military pilot Justin Green, also a CNN aviation analyst and pilot, Miles O'Brien. Justin, I think most, you know, non-pilots, when they hear about the idea of putting cameras in cockpits say, "Well, look, that's a no brainer." Whether it's data that's stored in a third kind of black box or whether it's streamed to ground control. It just seems like a sensible idea now.
JUSTIN GREEN, AVIATION ATTORNEY, FORMER MILITARY PILOT: It is a sensible idea. And I think a lot of the kind of reluctance of pilots to embrace the idea is based on a mistrust of how the information will be used. Pilots... COOPER: Distrust of management.
GREEN: Distrust of management prying on their privacy, those sorts of things. Pilots are as, you know, invested in safety as anybody perhaps more so because their lives are on the line as well as the passengers. So I think there is a real mistrust and that's the basis of the pushback.
COOPER: Miles, I mean, there's obviously the cost associated with this kind of thing. The Pilot's Association said the video footage could actually lead investigators away from accurate conclusions. To me, that seems counterintuitive. I mean if you have the technology where you're able to stream video and whether it's actually watched in real time or just record it somewhere on the ground, if you have a crash, that's one piece of data that you can immediately go to before you even find the voice data pit -- the voice data recorder and you find the other data recorder.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: This is all in the realm of common sense, Anderson Of course, it's better. Of course, it is. There's no need to debate this. It's not really a matter of cost. It's an inconsequential cost in the grand scheme of things and parenthetically, a couple of generations ago when they were talking about putting the voice recorders in cockpits, it was the same argument. This won't do us any good they said. Well, of course, it does good and it will do good if there is a camera there. The idea that somehow these video pilots meeting their demise will end up on television is a complete red herring because we don't even listen to the cockpit voice recordings. We just see the transcripts. So I think pilots are making a mistake here, but I understand why. There is this idea of mistrust and has got to go away. The airline management and pilots have been at odds for years. Management trying getting givebacks, changing work rules, taking away pensions, on it goes. And there is this huge climate, adversarial climate which is absolutely runs against safety in every shape and form.
COOPER: Justin, I mean it does seem like there would be ways to address some of the pilot concerns with having video out there. I mean just as Miles was saying, access to this voice data -- you know, the voice recorder is limited. You were saying when we were off air that in a lawsuit against an airline, you have to -- you know, you got to go through court for attorneys to even get access to it. So you would think there would be ways to address the concerns of pilots and still have video streaming.
GREEN: And I think the experience they've had with the cockpit voice recorder and how the cockpit voice recordings have been protected would probably made pilots live a little easier with video taping. And as I also said off the air, pilots are taped from the moment they drive up to the parking lot through the terminal and I think they're used to being on video surveillance now a days or all of us are than we used to be.
COOPER: You know, Miles, obviously, improvements are made on airplanes often after a crash. Do you see Flight 9525 as the catalyst to get cameras finally in the cockpits? I mean do you think this is the turning point?
O'BRIEN: Well, you know, I don't know the camera would have changed the events unfortunately.
O'BRIEN: But put it in the context of the bigger picture of putting the cockpit in the cloud, if you will. The camera, having the capability of streaming data to a satellite when something goes awry in a plane and then turning it around, having a two-way capability of communication. Why shouldn't someone on the ground when they realize there's trouble like this at the very least be able to open the door for a pilot who's locked out or why shouldn't there be remote capability to take control of an aircraft. All of these are possible. They're technically capable. And the only reason the airlines would do it is that I know that NASA is looking at early studies for single pilot operations and you would need this kind of connection to the ground in order to make single pilot operations work. The airlines do that because it saves them money.
[20:45:10] COOPER: Miles O'Brien, good to have you on, Justin Green as well. Thank you very much.
The voice data recorder offered crucial clues on the crash. This is where investigators heard the pilot banging on the cockpit door. Investigators are still trying to find the flight data recorders. We said in hope it will answer more questions, but keep in mind, sometimes so-called black boxes don't actually help. We'll have that story coming up.
COOPER: Well, the crash site of Germanwings Flight 9525, the hunt is on for that second black box, the flight data recorder. Now, it could hold critical clues about what exactly the co-pilot was doing during those final moments before the plane crashed or it may not. Sometimes the recorders don't provide all the answer. Families and investigators, everyone are left to wonder what exactly did happened. Once again, here's Randi Kaye.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: this is the sound of a pilot in trouble.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Swissair 111 declaring (inaudible). We have to land immediately.
[20:49:58] KAYE: That was the pilot of Swissair Flight 111 talking to air traffic control just minutes before he crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 1998. Everyone on board was killed. When crash investigators found the plane's black boxes at the bottom of the ocean, they were stunned.
LARRY VANCE, DEPUTY CRASH INVESTIGATOR: Both the recorders stopped recording about six minutes before the aircraft actually hit the water. KAYE: Leaving investigators to wonder why they suddenly lost control of the plane. It was a fire they later found in the jet's entertainment system which also caused the black boxes to fail. But it took putting the plane back together, all 2 million pieces of it, to figure that out. Bottom line, the so-called black boxes aren't perfect and they're not black either. They're usually orange. On an airplane, they're tucked inside an insulated case and surrounded by stainless steel. They're built to withstand temperatures high as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and catastrophic impact. After TWA Flight 800 went down in 1996, just 12 minutes after takeoff from New York's JFK airport, the plane's black boxes were recovered, but they offered little.
PETER GOELZ, FORMER NTSB MANAGING DIRECTOR: Both the voice recorder and the data recorder terminated their operation within a nanosecond of each other when the explosion took place.
KAYE: Still, despite all the conspiracy theories, investigators say, they figured out an explosion in the fuel tank caused the crash and shut down the recorders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) can you hold them back to 77 by chance?
KAYE: On 09/11, 64 people died on board American Airlines flight 77 when it slammed into the Pentagon. Fire crews spent days trying to put out the flames. The two black boxes were found in the wreckage, but the cockpit voice recorder was too charred to offer anything of value.
GOELZ: It flew in with such force and the fire was so intense that nothing could have survived that impact.
KAYE: But the cockpit voice recorder on board Germanwings Flight 9525 is already yielding clues that the co-pilot intentionally brought the plane down. The hope is now the second black box, the flight data recorder, will be recovered. So investigators can learn even more about this doomed flight. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Up next, we're going to take a look at the other aviation mystery. Where is Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? It's been one year and the search is on. Still no sign of the plane or the 239 people who were on board. Our safety analyst, David Soucie, warns this could happen again but crucial says crucial changes are already in place due to that disappearance. His insight into the mystery coming up.
[20:56:44] COOPER: Some perspective now. Even as we're getting a flood of answers and potential answers in this latest tragedy, there's still so many unanswered questions in the disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370. One full year later and there is no sign of the Boeing 777 and no sign of the 239 people on board. Imagine what it's like for those families. Despite an extensive search in the South Indian Ocean, no sign. The plane simply vanished during the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. CNN safety analyst, David Soucie, joins us. Again, he has made the mystery a big part of his work and he's just written a book about it called, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 - Why it disappeared and why it's only a matter of time before this happens again. You analyzed an awful lot of the information out there. You really kind of went back and went through it all, all the data. At this point, do you have a theory about what happened to the plane?
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: I do have a theory, but it's just what I would call the most prominent theory. There's several theories. What I did is I used an algorithm I've used for about 20 years in aircraft investigations. And in that theorem, what we do is take all the validated assumptions, which seems contradictory, but validate the assumptions that we made and put them against each other to see which ones are true, which ones are most true and which aren't. We've only had 125 facts or validated assumptions. Typically in an accident, we'll have 2,000 or 3,000.
COOPER: Really? That's interesting.
SOUCIE: So while it was conclusive in my mind the delta between an in- flight fire or mechanical failure and someone taking over in the cockpit or abducting the aircraft and overtaking the pilot, the delta between those two was not significant enough for me to say conclusively this is what happened. But nonetheless, one of them came out ahead of the other.
COOPER: So many people had different theories. You go through all the predominant ones and the ones there's a likelihood of.
SOUCIE: Right. And they're ultimately, the actual reader can go to the Web site and say, "This is what I think about this data," and come up with their own conclusion based on their own assumption about things. So it's intended to be something a working tool moving forward in the search and rescue, and once we find it, I think we will find at least some debris from it.
COOPER: You do think something will turn up?
SOUCIE: I certainly do. I certainly do. Think of it this way. We have one of two choices. Either it's an entire aircraft sitting somewhere. In which case, it it's On land, it's going to be found eventually because who knows if they will come back at us.
SOUCIE: On the other hand, if it broke to as many pieces, we look at this accident this week and all those pieces, they're in the water somewhere.
COOPER: Have lesson been learned from Malaysia Air Flight 370?
SOUCIE: This is the most important thing to me. For the first time, the airline industry and now even EASA is taking actions on their own to improve things without waiting for the accident investigation report. So in a way, the fact that the airplane craft hasn't been found has motivated action in a speedy fashion where all of a sudden now we have regulations that we wouldn't...
[20:59:42] COOPER: Right. Well, congratulations on the new book. David Soucie, thanks.
SOUCIE: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Authorities investigating the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 have one undeniable if sad advantage. They have a crash site. They have the wreckage. And soon, they hope information from the second black box. So much more to work with than they do with MH 370, which is still, as I said, a mystery.
Up next, much more on what happened a year ago and what's been happening ever since. The CNN special report, "Vanished: the Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370," starts now.