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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Mystery of the Missing Plane; Passengers' Families Have New Hopes, Fears; Ukraine Takes Away Crimean Parliament's Power; Plane Theories: Mystery of Flight 370; Internet Searchers Look for Plane
Aired March 15, 2014 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRSTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning.
As I said, we have had all kinds of breaking news overnight. A lot of things have changed in the search for Malaysia Airline Flight 370. We want to get you right to that. But I do want to welcome you and wish you and a good morning.
I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: It is good to have you. If you are waking up at this hour, 8:00 here on the east coast, watching NEW DAY SATURDAY. The narrative has shifted dramatically with these new developments in the search for 370. Overnight, the Malaysian prime minister, he confirmed that the Boeing 777 deviated from its flight plan because of a, quote, "deliberate action by someone on the plane."
Now we also learned this morning that the large number of police arrived near a home of one of the pilots, the captain, we believe there. As the prime minister says that the investigation is now focusing on just the crew members and the passengers. That has changed as well.
PAUL: Yes, but let's talk about this new focus on two corridors in terms of where the plane might be. Do you see the red lines there? The plane could be anywhere in that huge expansive area. As far north as Kazakhstan and as far south as the Southern Indian Ocean. That new area is angering Chinese officials as well.
The search in that area. They are demanding that Malaysia give more information. China's foreign minister in fact says the country is now sending its won technical experts to assist in that investigation.
BLACKWELL: So there are big question this morning is who might have been at the controls of the jetliner when it crashed. I'm sorry. Let me correct that before we move on. I don't want to say crash because we do not know where this is. It is still a mystery before it vanished. Let me be clear about that.
PAUL: An official familiar with the investigation, we should point out, tells CNN that the more the U.S. learns about the plane's flight pattern and this is a quote, the more difficult it is to right off the possibility that there was human intervention here. BLACKWELL: So let's go down to CNN's Jim Clancy following the twist and the turns of this investigation now. We are at day eight, Jim has been following this since day one. He is in Kuala Lumpur where the Boeing 777 departed eight days ago.
Jim, satellites picked up signals, these pings, you are calling them handshakes from the plane hours after it lost official contact with civilian and military radar. Tell us about what created this new map we are seeing this morning.
JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a device on board the aircraft that automatically communicates with a MR-Sat, a marine satellite circling in orbit. It does a handshake. It reaches out once an hour, just one time an hour, to pick up any data from me, you want to send me a message or something like that. All of the other systems had been shut down. That little system continued to operate.
It was never meant to be a locator. It is not going to fix a position. The experts who deal with it try to make it do something it has never done. They calculated by the angle of the antennae, where the signal was coming from, and they came up with an arc. It is not a pinpoint position. It is just a point anywhere along that line that the plane would have been at the last ping.
At 8:11 in the morning on March 8th, the day this jetliner vanished into thin air. We thought we would never see it again. We never would know what happened to it. They tracked it on radar and now they used this, even though all of the systems were being disabled. That one little link remained.
You know it is the shutdown of those communication systems that is the strongest evidence that perhaps one of the pilots is involved because one of the communication systems that sends data about the health of the plane was shut down shortly after takeoff.
Before the plane was each over the Malaysian Peninsula headed north to Beijing. It was still over land. It was disabled. When it got further out to the point where it transfers from the control tower to Kuala Lumpur to Ho Chi Ming City. That is when things were going haywire with the aircraft.
That is one of the reason why we are seeing the pilots' homes being attended to by police. They are apparently searching them as this investigation takes a wholly new direction -- Christi and Victor.
BLACKWELL: Focusing now on the crew members and passengers. Jim Clancy, thank you so much, from Kuala Lumpur. The four words we heard over the past few days. All right. Good night. Those were the last words heard from Malaysia Airline Flight 370. After that, the plane flew into the night and then disappeared.
PAUL: The big question, I think a lot of people are wondering is who said the words. Who turned off the transponder that's transmits that vital information to the ground? Rene Marsh is live for us from Washington. Rene, what have you learned or what are they focusing on to try to figure that out and answer those questions? RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we do know this, as far as the FAA and NTSB goes, a U.S officials briefing CNN overnight and they say that right now the focus is on analyzing all of that data. They are trying to look at the radar data as well as the satellite data to get a good feel as to where this plane is because that is the priority here.
So we know that agencies are helping the Malaysian authorities including the NTSB and the FAA. They have analyzed new satellite data. And according to the Malaysian prime minister just this morning, we heard Jim Clancy talk a little bit about it. Based on that satellite data, not radar data, but the satellite data, they've learned some key things.
They can now say coming out of this press conference this morning that with the high degree of certainty that the aircraft systems that essentially communicates how the plane is performing, the engines, the fuel burned. That system was disabled. They also say that was done right as the plane was going over the east coast of the Malaysian Peninsula.
Shortly after that, they say the transponder, which gives details about the speed, altitude, position and even identifies that this is Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, that was switched off. That new data confirms the plane essentially was intact and was flying another seven hours after it vanished from civilian radar.
So we do know this plane had seven hours' worth of fuel left. That would suggest if this satellite data is on point, the plane would have run out of fuel essentially. Here is the issue now. This satellite data can give them a general idea of where this plane may be, but that general idea is still very broad.
Let's just step back for a little bit here because we are talking about day eight and now we see that they have switched their resources. They are no longer focused on the South China Sea. They are now looking at that area. You are looking at that map. It could be anywhere as far north as Kazakhstan and it could be as far south as the Indian Ocean that they are going to be searching.
A very big turn here from what we were talking about last Saturday. So many days later. Now it seems like they are zeroing in on a different area, very different from where they started. Again, it is all based on the new information that both the NTSB and FAA analyze as far as the satellite information that they have this general idea of where the plane may have gone down -- Victor, Christi.
PAUL: Rene Marsh, thank you so much for the update. We appreciate it.
BLACKWELL: So the important question here now as Rene said day eight. Are investigators any closer to solving this mystery? Mystery is the right way to describe this because no one knows. A lot of it is speculation. Let's bring in now, Mary Schiavo, she is the former inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation. PAUL: Mary, you know, we know that we have gotten confirmation here at CNN. We had witnesses from our organization who saw people going into the home of the captain who is piloting this or near that area. What specifically would they be looking for and why would it take so -- why would we be in day eight before that what happened?
MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL, DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION: There is no excuse for it being in day eight before that happens. I can tell you in my experience in working on the 9/11 cases, anyone on the plane was considered a suspect in the beginning. They searched everyone's background. They looked at every single person immediately. Of course, that was the FBI doing it. It's a very experienced organization. All resources of the United States were put on that.
For them to wait this long and looking into the pilots' home is really inexcusable because what they have to look for is not only signs of terrorist organizations, but medical and psychological and personal and financial issues and problems. On the silk air pilot, they analyzed his bank accounts.
In this case, if the data that is coming out now is correct of how the plane was flown after, of course, it turned, it wasn't flown very well. So this, in fact, they might be searching his apartment to rule him out. He had more experience than most U.S. Airliner captains.
If for example it is a situation where the pilot himself diverted the plane, it would not be characteristic of his flying skills. He has 18,000 hours. They have to look for literally anything.
BLACKWELL: You know, day four of this mystery, Ronald Noble, who is the secretary-general of Interpol, the more information we get, the more inclined to conclude it is not a terrorist incident. We have from the Malaysian prime minister with a deliberate act. Now we know it is conclusive of a hijacking. Are we now going to move back to discussing terrorism specifically considering where the northern corridor ends up in that rough neighborhood near Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
SCHIAVO: Well, yes, I think now that the attention is turned to entirely to terrorism. I think that's a mistake because there are still lots of issues concerning the flight. For example, the scenario as of yesterday, the hijacked crew would have had to go into the belly of the plane and disable equipment. They were talking about that would be done in the cockpit. It's not. The door to the belly of the plane is back in the passenger cabin.
We know from 9/11 that the passengers will fight back. There were brave souls on 9/11. You know you have to fight back. If they boarded the plane with knives and pepper spray, et cetera, as in 9/11, and they came to the belly of the plane, they would have had 237 people would be fighting them.
So the crew has to be much larger than what they said if this is their scenario and they went in the belly of the plane and turned stuff off. They have to have one or two in the cockpit. A Boeing engineer was on the hijack team, I don't believe that. So some of the stuff doesn't ring true. If that is a theory, they had a large hijack crew.
PAUL: Let me ask you this because I think a lot of people are also wondering something is askew or nefarious must have happened or perhaps, you know, the pilot or somebody would not have turned off all of these systems and done so in the secession that they did that they were not all done at once. Are you surprised at this point if terrorism is involved that we have not heard from any terrorist group who has claimed responsibility?
SCHIAVO: No, I'm not surprised we have not heard from my group claiming responsibility. I'm very surprised at the United States intelligence community because where the logical places for the groups to be are also where we have the most number of satellites trained and most number of intelligence operations going on and where we have the most number of eyes in the sky is where we say this plane would have to go.
Remember, we can read the license plate on Osama Bin Laden's driver's car from satellite. I am extremely surprised I guess is the right word, if the plane it fly seven hours to where we think it might have gone, United States of America has a lot of explaining to do to the intelligence community.
BLACKWELL: Mary Schiavo, former inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Good to have you as always. Thank you, Mary. The ever changing details and that has been a lot of the frustration about Malaysia airlines investigation. It brings the myriad of emotions, of course, and questions for the families of the passengers.
PAUL: Despite the news of this possible hijacking that we are now hearing that word actually being used from officials today based on reports from the AP, we will hear why some family members say listen, I'm not giving up yet. I have a lot of hope here.
BLACKWELL: Also ahead, President Obama is getting regular briefings on the missing plane's search. We will go live to the White House as well. Stay with us.
BLACKWELL: For the families of those on board the missing plane, the wait for news and as the news changes is torture.
PAUL: You have the fears of what they are going through if it was a hijack or if it went down. CNN's Pauline Chiou is in Beijing. She's got more for us on what some of their concerns are. Pauline, good morning to you. What are you hearing about these families and the information that they are receiving?
PAULINE CHIOU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor. Good evening from Beijing where many of these relatives are staying in the hotel behind me. This has been a week of immense anguish for them, but the latest developments that came out today actually give them a very small dose of optimism. That's because there is no evidence that the plane has actually made impact on land or at sea. Now earlier today, I spoke with a man named Mr. Li. His only son, 31- year-old son, was on the Malaysia Airlines flight coming back from Malaysia after working there for four months. He was on a little stint there. Mr. Li says his tears have run dry because of this whole situation. He was at the press conference earlier today that the prime minister of Malaysia had given.
He was here in Beijing watching a live satellite feed of that press conference. We spoke with him after that. He said this is where he is emotionally and psychologically. Here is his perspective today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MR. LI, FATHER OF PASSENGER (through translator): I hope this is a hijacking because they are of loved ones. I hope that they are alive no matter how small the chance is. I haven't slept for days. We are grateful for the help from so many countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: And there are more than 14 countries involved in this search and rescue effort. Imagine what he said. The best possible case scenario for him right now is that this is a hijacking situation. That shows what kind of emotional and psychological hoops these relatives are going through.
I also asked Mr. Li about what he thinks of the focus of the search. The two new corridors that we have been talking about from the borders of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and from the Indonesia to the southern part of the Indian Ocean. He says all of that is just too technical for him to digest. All he wants now, Christi and Victor are answers.
PAUL: All righty, Pauline Chiou, thank you so much for getting us all that information.
A lot of people are wondering how closely is President Obama following the search for the missing plane. We are going to go live to the White House for the latest on how the administration is responding.
BLACKWELL: And the push for diplomacy in the crisis in Ukraine. That's the other big story this weekend. Find out what the administration is doing on the eve of a crucial vote in the Crimean Peninsula.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
PAUL: We are getting some new developments here in the situation in the Ukraine and the fight for Crimea. If we can call it that here. We are understanding that Ukraine's parliament just pass a resolution, a vote taken in Kiev to take away the powers of the parliament of the autonomous Republic of Crimea. So basically Ukraine is what you are saying as the parliament of Crimea, we are not recognizing it.
BLACKWELL: That comes in the context of tomorrow's vote. The people on the peninsula of Crimea will vote to determine if they will join Russia. Of course, it is a foregone conclusion that that will pass and they want to join Russia. The U.S., of course, and President Obama has said there will be consequences if this moves forward. Let's go to the White House and Erin McPike.
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to Washington, D.C. Later this afternoon. He has had hours of meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The two did not make any real progress. Basically Lavrov told Kerry that he is going to wait and see what Russian President Vladimir Putin does tomorrow after this referendum takes place. How does Putin respond and then the White House and United States will make a decision on how they respond after that.
PAUL: OK. Let's switch gears here if we can quickly to what is happening in the search for the missing aircraft, Malaysia Airline 370. How closely is the president? We know he is paying attention to it, but what updates is he getting and what is he prepared to do if the U.S. steps into this?
MCPIKE: Well, President Obama has gotten briefings on this. Obviously there is intense U.S. interest because the U.S. has been involved in the search. Here is what White House Spokesman Jay Carney told our Jim Acosta yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Any thoughts on what's happening? Has he been watching this?
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He is fully aware of it and has been briefed on it. He knows where things stand. He, too, is very concerned about the suffering of the families have to endure in a situation like this and very concerned about the whereabouts of the plane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCPIKE: And the White House will continue to brief President Obama on this as well --Christi and Victor.
BLACKWELL: Of course, the three Americans on MH-370 as well. Erin McPike, thank you so much.
PAUL: Searchers searching for answers in the disappearance of this flight have really taken the turn this morning because we are hearing from the prime minister of Malaysia saying the flight crew and passengers are the key to this now. He admits hijacking is one possibility. Saying this was, he believes, a deliberate act. We will get back to that and look more at where we go from here. Stay close.
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CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Bottom of the hour right now. Thank you for sharing your time with us. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And as always good to be with you. I'm Victor Blackwell.
Let's get you caught up on this first with this missing flight Malaysia Airline 370 because overnight things have shifted dramatically after the Malaysia's Prime Minister is calling the flight's disappearance both deliberate and suggesting hijacking as a possibility here, and as the Prime Minister says that investigations is now once again focused on the crew members and the passengers.
PAUL: The search area too is focused on look at this new map. This is one you haven't seen. When you went to bed last night it was totally different. But there are two corridors now that they're honing in on. The first look at the red area there that's the circle -- that whole area is what they are looking at. It's so expansive going as far north of Kazakhstan and then as far south as the Indian Ocean.
So with this search in the South China Sea now is called off, this new larger search is not sitting well with Chinese officials because they are demanding that Malaysia provide more specific information at this point.
And you know there have been conspiracy theories about the fate of Flight 370. They are running rampant. These theories if you've gone online and you talked to friends and families about this I know you probably heard some pretty wild ideas.
BLACKWELL: Yes and despite the massive search answering these questions this morning, I mean the answers are few and far between. Of course it just leads to more speculation out there.
So let's get some experts in here to talk about what we know and what we can glean from what we've learned from the Prime Minister. We've got former NTSB member John Goglia and air traffic control consultant Doug Maclean. John first I want to go to you. But we've got this map and I'm sure you've seen it. Let's put the map back up, guys. We look at these two lines here, these two corridors. And the one who is looking at this compared to the large circle we saw yesterday and the search of the South China Sea could say quite simply, just fly along that line and you will find something.
But that would be incorrect because I want you to give us an idea of the breadth of this. This isn't just a flight path one can follow. How broad, how wide? Let's start with you John.
JOHN GOGLIA, FORMER NTSB MEMBER: Well the possible path of that airplane is huge. Many, many thousands of miles and when you are out in an area where there is no radar coverage, you could be anywhere within that circle -- that big 4,000 mile circle.
So it really is -- if they wanted to keep this airplane from being found, that's the section, they head far south. If they wanted this airplane to use it for some other illegal activity, then I would say they would be heading north towards countries where they could take this airplane and use it for something else.
But if that airplane gets on the ground and the U.S. government sees it through satellites or other means, they will take the airplane out.
PAUL: Ok Doug, I want to ask you something. Because I feel like there's a bit of contradictory information out there based on what we've heard. The big -- one of the big pieces of information is that this transponder was deliberately shutoff. We heard from the Malaysian Prime Minister this morning Razak that he said we can confirm the primary radar contact now was MH370. When he comes back to say this was a deliberate action. That they know the pings they were getting from this airplane.
If the transponder is turned off, though and that's you're main ID for the plane how do they know that?
DOUG MACLEAN, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL CONSULTANT: Well what happen is that the information is now being released but some of us may have speculated on before. And I understand why they are doing that the way they are releasing information when they are sure of what they have got. Excuse me.
I think in these circumstances, what the Prime Minister described was a series (ph) of deliberate acts. The -- first of all, the ACARS system, one of the communication systems was switched off. And then we know from early days, that the transponder the second radar system was switched off.
So probably unfortunately, for these people, if they were trying to hide, they did that too early. Because the airplane was still tracked on primary radar, which indicated it was still flying. And then we go to the ping system, this communication system, which is very, very basic from the airplane. Actually it's meant to be a maintenance system. But that is being received or was received by satellites. So going back through all the data that they had, they looked at radar recordings and they now traced where they saw a primary radar return. They've correlated it now with the responses they've had from the satellite from the basic information from the airplane and they've come up now with this theory that the airplane turned back and went West. And it was very probably being deliberately flown and may well have been deliberately flown never to be found.
BLACKWELL: John, I want to get your thoughts on some reporting from CNN's Barbara Starr. She spoke with the U.S. official who told her that there were some erratic changes in elevation on this flight. Climbing to 40,000 feet or 45,000 feet and then dropping to 23,000 feet. Going so high and those changes would render passengers and crew unconscious.
So when you learn about those changes, what does that tell you?
GOGLIA: Well the changes initially would say that whoever is trying to fly that airplane is not doing a very good job of it. I will tell you that the airplane is capable of going up into the 40,000-foot altitude and higher. And absent any hole in the airplane at that altitude, the passengers would not be incapacitated.
The cabin pressure system on modern airlines is meant to maintain an altitude, a cabin altitude not the airplane altitude the cabin altitude of less than 8,000 feet. That is the altitude that most human beings, especially those of us like me that are out of shape, can still breathe normally. You know, we have people in the Himalayas that can go up into 12,000 and 20,000 feet without oxygen.
And so the average is 8,000 feet of a cabin. So if the airplane climbs up into the 40s, it might climb to 10,000 feet or 11,000 feet. That doesn't mean that you have 30 seconds to live, it means you might go to sleep. You might be on your way towards a problem but you've got some time for -- it goes up quickly and comes back down and that's not going to be an issue. And the airplane is going to maintain its integrity.
Except the distance that the 40,000 feet back down and the speed in which the radar indicates he did that, could mean the airplane went supersonic and pieces will start breaking off the airplane.
But it's primary radar data. It tends to be inaccurate especially when you are at great distances from the transmitter. So we have to view that with a very big grain of salt.
BLACKWELL: So even with a grain of salt and let's say that you know we've got something that supports that even further, you would credit that to a novice flying the plane, not a tactic to -- to get greater control and to incapacitate the 239 people on the plane?
GOGLIA: I wouldn't rule that out yet.
GOGLIA: If it was -- if it was a co-pilot, auto-pilot one or the other assuming that he has incapacitated his officer and co-worker in the cockpit and there's an attempt by the passengers to bust through the cockpit door, then you want to -- you may want to take action like that to keep them away from it.
You may remember in the 9/11 attacks on the airplane that crashed in Pennsylvania, that that was a tactic that the hijackers used by purposely (inaudible) the airplane. So people were bouncing around in the back so they couldn't get control.
GOGLIA: So we can't rule any of that out. It's all tactics.
BLACKWELL: And a few things are being -- a few things are being ruled out as we now learn. Day eight and new facts about this investigation. John Goglia and Doug Maclean, thank you so much for joining us this morning.
MACLEAN: Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you gentlemen.
GOGLIA: Thank you for having me.
PAUL: We're going to have so much more on missing flight 370 ahead obviously. Even though the Boeing 777 lost radar contact it still sent pings to an orbiting satellite. And it did that for hours. That is dramatically changing the search this morning.
BLACKWELL: Now there have been so many twists and turns and changes in this search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
PAUL: And some big ones overnight, too.
PAUL: A so-called handshake between the plane and a satellite in orbit may now give us some of the biggest clues as to where this Boeing 777 might have gone and it's dramatically expanding that search area through as far north as Kazakhstan also as far south as the southern Indian Ocean. That's what they are saying now. This is huge.
PAUL: Look at this pattern. We're going to go to CNN's Tom Foreman now he's got more on how this satellite handshake, you know, really works, through him better understand it. Hi, Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christi, hey Victor. How did these officials all working together figure out where this plane went after its communication were lost or at least where they think it went. They essentially reversed a process that's been around for a very long time since people sailed ships and looked at the stars to figure out where they are going. Let me explain that this way, we know where the plane disappeared at the end of this route as it left Kuala Lumpur. We know the initial search area was here and then there were search areas here and search areas here.
And now it's been expanded out here to the Bay of Bengal up there and the Indian Ocean. What was the star that they looked at to figure out that it might be out here? Wasn't a star at all -- it was a manmade star. It was a geostationary satellite. This satellite sails all the time exactly over the same spot on earth. And once an hour, it sends a signal to airplanes down on the earth that it's trying to communicate with asking them "are you there"?
We call this a ping a lot, you could also call it an electronic handshake. It sends a signal, the airplane answers and therefore it has a general idea that the plane is there and what arc of the earth it is traveling along.
It's not really meant to locate the plane, but it repeated this process five times after the plane disappeared. And because the plane answered the handshake, each time, each hour, that's what makes them believe the plane kept flying for five hours. And by piecing all these things together, you get an idea of where it was when it was pinged again or the handshake was offered again and there was no answer.
So with no answer down here, the satellite knows now something has gone wrong. And if you put all that together, and you basically do the simple trigonometry involved it gives you an idea where the plane might have been. That is why U.S. officials are now searching so hard up there and down here -- Christi, Victor.
PAUL: All right. Thank you, Tom Foreman, we appreciate it.
BLACKWELL: Still to come on NEW DAY, there are several searches that are going on right now; of course, the missing plane search by air and by sea in that northern and southern corridor; also the search at the home of the captain who was piloting this plane. Police now confirmed that they were inside that home, but also another search of a group of people who are hard at work using the Internet as their search tool. We will talk about that one, too.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: Good morning, Christi and Victor. Don't you think that we would potentially have more answers about the missing Malaysia flight if there were video records in the cockpit? We will talk to one pilot who thinks that is a bad idea.
Plus the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA are accusing each other of hacking.
And it is where all the stars and Wall Street tycoons reside. A look at one of the most expensive and exclusive towers right here in New York City -- wait until you see this thing.
All of that coming up on my program at 9:00 -- Christi, Victor.
PAUL: Looking forward to it. Michael, thank you so much. "SMERCONISH" coming at you at 9:00 a.m. Eastern -- in just about ten minutes.
BLACKWELL: And if we get more on this developing story, this search for 370. We know the numbers here. Searchers from 14 countries using 43 ships and 58 aircraft still looking for this plane but another group of people, millions of people on the Internet are searching as well.
PAUL: So this is the Web site they're using. It's called Tomnod. They are searching satellite imagery to themselves help locate this missing aircraft.
CNN technology analyst, Brett Larson joining us now; so Brett, how does this work and how helpful is it really?
BRETT LARSON, CNN TECHNOLOGY ANALYST: Christi and Victor, good morning. It works like this. This company digital globe, they're based in Colorado. They have a little less than half a dozen satellites that they've actually pointed towards the area in question which as we know even as of this morning, has grown larger.
So what they have been doing with their satellites is taking photos of all of this area of the vast amounts of ocean -- there's open sea out there. And then they're making those photos public on this Web site. And you can go in as a user and look through them one by one. And you tag things. You can see there's a little circle. You tag things that you think may be of interest to them.
Then what happens on their end is they have an algorithm kind of similar to how a Google web search works where the more you search for something the more important it becomes. So the more these images and the same thing gets tagged the more that photo pops up in terms of importance so they can go back and say this photo has been tagged 100,000 times. Maybe this piece of information that we're seeing in this photo is something that's important.
BLACKWELL: Hey Brett, for a few days, maybe not now on day eight, but for at least the first several days, relatives of those who are passengers on 370, they were saying that the cell phones when they called those numbers, they were ringing.
BLACKWELL: First question, how is that possible? And then second, was there ever a possibility that those cell phones could have been used to track the plane?
LARSON: You know, I'm going to answer the second question first. When the cell phones are over land and they're near a cell phone tower, they can be used to track a plane. You can at least go by based on where the location of the actual cell phone tower. When you pick up your phone to make a call, it's going to ping a couple of different towers to see which one is closest and which one is going to provide the strongest signal.
In less urban areas and more rural areas that may only be one cell tower and it may be hundreds of miles until the next cell tower comes up. But you can still kind of get an idea of where that person might be. They call it triangulation where they try and look and three towers to see where someone is.
The cell phones ringing, it is really a sad story to hear that when you pick up the phone. But when you pick up the phone and call someone, that ring back that you are hearing is actually generated by the cell phone company or the carrier. It is sending that signal back, that ringing sound that we're all very familiar with. And it is doing that while it is actually looking for the cell phone. It does that so you don't just hear this long amount of silence while it tries to connect you to that phone.
It is a sad thing in this situation because it gives a bit of false hope because people are thinking well the phone keeps ringing. They must be there. And a lot of times that ringing can actually lead to a click over and more ringing because it's -- the company said, ok, the phone is in another country, I'm going to hand you off to that cell system and it's going to start trying to find the phone.
BLACKWELL: Yes, just imagine --
PAUL: Right, good point.
BLACKWELL: -- the family members kind of just waiting for someone to pick up.
Brett Larson, thank you for helping us understand all this.
LARSON: Thanks for having me this morning.
BLACKWELL: We'll be back.
PAUL: So good to have you here. I don't know if you know but this month marks the 58th anniversary of Elvis' debut album. His hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, you know his legacy is as lovely. And Elvis tribute artist takes us on this week's "Travel Insider".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM STILES, ELVIS TRIBUTE ARTIST: Hi. I'm William Stiles. I'm an Elvis tribute artist from Memphis, Tennessee and I want to show you my city.
When you think of Memphis, you think of Beale Street and you think of barbecue or you think blues. Most of all you think about Elvis.
This is where it all began -- Sun Studios.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elvis Presley started recording here in 1953. Other than Elvis, artists like Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis.
STILES: Where did the king stand?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He stood right about here. This is one of the original microphones that we used back in the 50s to record.
STILES: This is the exact microphone. Are you lonesome tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The acoustics, the ceiling tiles are all original, the floor tiles are all original, very special because it does have that same quality sound that they would have back in the 50s.
STILES: Sun Studios has really cool old style malts. Want some of this? When I'm in town, Beale Street is where I want to be. Here I am with my all-time favorite place to eat -- Blue City Cafe. It's a hunk of barbecue. Man, that was awesome.
The best place to party that I like is at BB King's. This is BB's first bar. A lot of musicians have rolled through here.
Look man, don't be a fool. You want good music, come to Memphis, Tennessee. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Let's get you caught up on the search for the missing Malaysia Airline Flight 370 this morning. Overnight, a major shift in the story line here -- the prime minister calls this now a deliberate act and suggesting a hijacking is a possibility. Of course, as the prime minister says the investigation is now shifting once again to the crew members and the passengers.
We've also learned that police have searched the home of one of the missing plane's pilots.
PAUL: The search area, this is the other thing that really shifted last night -- focusing on two new corridors here. You see that red line there it shows you how expansive the area is. The first extending as far north as Kazakhstan; the second as far south as the southern Indian Ocean which just opens up this whole thing even wider.
We're going to have so much more for you at 10:00 when we see you back here, Eastern, on this particular issue.
BLACKWELL: Yes, but now we hand it over to Michael Smerconish in New York.