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The Search for Flight 370; Mystery Far From Being Solved; U.S. Expands Sanctions on Russia, Russia Responds in Kind; Starbucks to Expand Alcohol and Small Bites Evening Menu

Aired March 21, 2014 - 07:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The search intensifying overnight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's about the most inaccessible spot on the face of the earth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Talking 50 foot swells. This is as bad as it gets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All around the world there's satellites looking for the signal for this thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there's any wreckage on the surface of the ocean I'm confident we'll be able to find it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A container from a ship.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Possible the wing broke off, remained intact to float.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: You still believe your son is alive?



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Friday, March 21. Now 7:00 in the east, and we begin with breaking news in the search for flight 370. No debris off the coast of Australia. Five planes have made their way to the search field so far. One is back, two more expected back in minutes. We're monitoring that, and two are still scanning wears. For more on the current situation lets get to Kate Bolduan in Malaysia. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Good morning, Chris. Good morning, everyone. The weather was better for search plans west of Australia, but it still hasn't proven successful. No luck so far for the planes combing the Indian Ocean, that vast area that they're trying to cover. We're monitoring progress of several others -- on several fronts as the sun starts to set.

This morning we learned China and Japan are sending resources to help and Malaysia is still asking for international help to scan underwater. And now Australia's prime minister who has suggested the debris could be from the plane seems to be backtracking a bit, saying it may not have anything to do with the missing jetliner, a lot of caution being offered this morning. For more on the search, let's get straight over to Perth, Australia. CNN's Andrew Stevens is there. So Andrew, it does seem a bit like some of the hope we saw yesterday has faded.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's fair to say, Kate, that there's a sense of disappointment on Perth air base. And 24 hours ago there was a buzz there could be a breakthrough in this mystery. The Australian prime minister saying there was credible information suggested two objects had been found which could be linked to the flight. And 24 hours later we've got several flights returning both yesterday and today, and nothing.

The worrying thing today, the first plane landed three hours ago, the pilot reported great conditions, clear visibility, clear air, and still nothing. The second plane landed a few minutes ago, we're waiting if the pilot is going to make a statement there to get an idea. But it's likely he'll say the same thing -- good condition, no result.

And like you say, the Australian prime minister is back-peddling a little. He was asked specifically could this be a container. And he said it could be a container floating in the sea. And he was at pains to stress that we don't have any linkage here. And given that 24 hours ago they did give a sense I won't say optimism but a sense maybe things were going to get that divisive breakthrough. It hasn't happened and people are -- well, they are disappointed.

BOLDUAN: Yes, but they are definitely loading assets in that southern area. They are giving it all they got. So they do still call it a credible lead. They are going to continue to follow it. All it takes is one plane, we know that. We'll continue to follow that closely. Andrew, thank you very much. Long night down in Perth right now.

A lot of attention this morning is on a U.S. search plane, the P8 Poseidon, a huge surveillance plane, flying right now over the search zone. I spoke earlier this morning with the officer in charge in Perth, Lieutenant Commander Adam Chance.


BOLDUAN: We know weather was a big problem yesterday for search efforts. Today we're told conditions were quite a bit better. How would you describe how the search is going?

LT. COMMANDER ANDREW CHANCE: The search is going good. Crews are out on station doing exactly what they are supposed to do, like you said. We were challenged by the weather yesterday with a low cloud ceiling. Today we had much better conditions out there. So today is going good. We're covering a lot of area today and getting a lot of searching done.

BOLDUAN: So I think a lot of people wonder just exactly how you conduct a search. We know it takes four hours to get out there and you have two hours to search the area. What exactly do you look for?

CHANCE: We look for anything out of the ordinary. Most generally we're looking at the ocean. It's rather monotonous and pretty much the same, looks the same. Anything not supposed to be out there generally stands out. We're looking for any kind of debris, anything that's not manmade -- not natural, that's manmade is something that could be a clue.

BOLDUAN: If this is the plane that is out there, are you confident you'll be able to find it?

CHANCE: If there's any wreckage on the surface of the ocean and it's out there, yes, I'm confident we'll be able to find it.


BOLDUAN: Day 14 here in Kuala Lumpur, everyone waiting and watching this mystery. Chris, as you well know, the more time that ticks away in terms of days, the more time and folks are getting concerned about the battery life of the black box that everyone so desperately wants to find. Chris?

CUOMO: No question, Kate. That's one of the hard realities here is the limited time of the battery. And also time makes people more expectant for answers, and that can fuel speculation and disappointment, and that is a real set of issues as we start to see what is going to happen with this search for debris.

So let's dig in deeper with David Funk and David Soucie. David Funk is a pilot and former international captain for Northwest Airlines. David Soucie is a CNN safety analyst. He's a former FAA inspector and author of "Why Planes Crash."

I am seeming skeptical this morning as I have been from the beginning, and I think we should test this idea. I'll start with you, Mr. Soucie. Satellite images, five days old, not great resolution, not really sure what you saw in them, not really sure where they are now. In the roaring 40s, the most remote place on the planet in terms of distance between land and sea, why do we have a basis of confidence they are even searching for something that is recoverable and relevant to this airplane?

DAVID SOUCIE, AUTHOR, "WHY PLANES CRASH": Unfortunately I think the reason is because that's the best lead they have, and that's their words. This is the best lead we have at this time. In addition to the things you mentioned about the debris, it sinks over time. If that's a wing being held up because there's air inside of it, severe waves have been going through there and it's very easy that that could have filled with water and sunk at that point.

CUOMO: Everything seems to play both ways in this situation. If, give yourself the word if any time things are tested here, if it's a wing, if it had flown so far it lost fuel, so now there's a pocket and maybe it will float, now there's a possibility it could fill up with water and sink. So everything goes both way. David Funk, looking at this, why would we believe the plane would fly as far down west as they're saying? Why isn't it more reasonable to be searching areas in the Strait of Malacca where it was last seen?

DAVID FUNK, ASSOCIATE, LAIRD AND ASSOCIATES: I think because of search radars. You've got your military radars in those areas. And they didn't pick up tracks, but yet we have those pings from the aircraft that were back up to the satellite. So really it's a process of elimination. If we know the airline wasn't in a certain spot, then we can go look into a different area.

And I think that's why Australians and the Malaysians have gone out this far, because no one picked anything up across that part of the world with their military radars. And they would have forensic tapes, I'm sure, like we do, that they can go back and double-check data to make sure things are there. So it's really a process of elimination. We know it wasn't on the Indian coast, the coast of India. We know it wasn't on this Australian coast. That pushes you further out to sea. Then you take the arc from the satellite as the airplane flew along and did that electronic handshake that really kind of pushes you out into this really remote area.

CUOMO: All right, so all of what you're saying is help for people who want to believe one of two things, one, that this airplane went north and landed somewhere or in that realm. That's helpful and less likely. The other thing people seem to want to believe is something very far flung, which is that there's espionage involved, that the plane landed somewhere and that country, that sovereign, that group just isn't saying anything about it, very unusual, highly improbable given the overlap of everybody's surveillance of airspace. So it's helpful in that regard.

However, and I'll bring it back to you, Mr. Soucie, it is not helpful on the issue of what handshake, ping, or any other vernacular you want to use that puts it in the area where they're searching right now other than this one satellite image that's five days old. There's no handshake or ping that puts you where you are right now.

SOUCIE: No. That handshake or ping happened somewhere in that circle. All we know is that one satellite picked it up. The reason we discarded these other areas which make those arcs is the satellite to the left and right did not receive the ping. So you can overlay those on top of each other and say we know it wasn't here because if it was here this satellite would have picked it up, and here this satellite would have picked up. So the middle satellite is the one we're keying on. Luckily we can at least eliminate those arcs on this side.

I want to talk about the arcs for a second. I've gotten a lot of tweets and questions about this. The arcs are not in the path where the airplane is expected to fly. The arcs are the outer corridor as far as you would have expected, because if that airplane was past the arc on the lower section, there are low earth satellites down here that also did not pick up a ping. So these 14 or 16 satellites that go around the middle of the earth looking for these pings and connecting to them, we know what signal came at what time. This is the only satellite that received it. the lower satellite on the poles didn't receive it. So that's why that arc is there. It couldn't be beyond it because the ping would have been picked up here. It can't be over here because the ping would have been picked up here.

CUOMO: We're doing this in every regard the hard way, including looking in areas where we don't know that it wasn't. Instead of saying we know where it was. We're going we don't know that it wasn't here, which makes it confusing. Let me ask you something -- five planes went out today, China sending five more aircraft, a few ships. Is there enough? Why not 50 planes out there? You have 26 countries cooperating. Why isn't there more?

FUNK: I think the key to that is the P8 Poseidon. The P8 Poseidon has capability of weaving together the information from drones. We didn't have that on flight 447. This is something that the U.S. government system invested in in the last few years. These are $250 million each. The government spent over $32 billion just in the last few years implementing this Poseidon program. And it's very valuable, because it's looking for submarines. That's what it's designed for, among other things. But when you're looking for a submarine, you need as much spread as you can. So you're almost like taking this airplane and expanding the width to as far as the drones can fly, coordinating that information and back to see what the results of the drone search is.

CUOMO: It's more of an argument for more assets. The more you have doing it, the better you can be.

FUNK: The last thing you want in this grid is to have another airplane flying over and confusing things. Have you to have a centralized location. As David pointed out, you're clearing an area. Clearing is we know it's not here. So as this progress --

CUOMO: Less in each area actually helps the search. More is not necessarily better.

FUNK: That's correct.

CUOMO: David Funk, thank you very much for joining us. David Soucie, always appreciate the perspective. We'll keep testing everything that comes out of this investigation to figure out what makes sense and what is feeling more like fiction at this point.

There's other news as well for us to follow on NEW DAY, so let's get to J.B. with that. John?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we're going to start with the breaking news this morning in Crimea. Russia's takeover of Crimea now essentially a done deal, the upper house of parliament voting unanimously to approve a treaty to annex Crimea. The vote in a lower was 443 to 1 to ratify. Meantime, President Obama citing concerns about new Russian aggression in Ukraine slapped nearly two dozen members of Vladimir Putin's inner circle with sanctions. Moscow hit back banning nine American officials from Russia. They include House Speaker John Boehner and Senator John McCain. Nine people killed in an attack in a popular luxury hotel in Kabul. The dead are said to be a mix of Afghan and foreigners including some children. Police say four teenagers entered the hotel Thursday and started shooting randomly. Investigators say they smuggled small pistols in their shoes. They were killed by Afghan security forces.

GM's CEO is heading to Washington. Mary Barra will testify next moment before a congressional committee investigating the automaker's handling of faulty ignition switches. The problem is linked to at least 31 accidents and 12 deaths. GM admits it knew about the problem back in 2004 but only announced a recall last month. Barra, who was made CEO in January, admits the company has mishandled the situation.

Michelle Obama is in Beijing where she paid a visit to a high school to kick off a week-long trip where she will focus on education and cultural exchange. Her mother is there along with daughters Sasha and Malia are also on the tour. The women will visit the famed terracotta warriors museum on Monday followed by a visit with pandas at a breeding facility in southwestern China. Chris?

CUOMO: All right, John, thank you very much. Let's take a quick break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, search planes, including one from the U.S. so far empty. We're going to talk with two experts about the investigation and the chances that this flight will be found.

BOLDUAN: And ahead, inside politics, a follow-up for some Americans now that Vladimir Putin sanctioned them. Our John King takes a look at which Americans made the Russian sanctions list.


PEREIRA: So, as of this morning, no word on any sign of Malaysia Airlines flight 370. A U.S. Navy jet is over the search zone right now looking for debris. That debris spotted rather initially by satellites. We're now 14 days into the search. Experts say even if parts of the jet are located the mystery is far from being solved.

Joining us this morning from Washington, CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes and in Los Angeles CNN national security analyst Bob Baer. Great to have you here. Want to ask you a question right off the bat, Bob, we'll start with you. We understand Malaysian Air has said they are aware media reports the captain made a cell phone call eight minutes before the flight departed. Give me your gut instinct on that. What does it say? What's the significance?

BOB BAER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think that's going to be a key phone call. The pilot is suspected now of being involved, as he should be. What was his mood? Who did he call? Did he have any contact? So far no terrorism connections and there's no explanation for motivation either. This is key information.

PEREIRA: Another piece of the puzzle, correct?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right, I agree with Bob on that. Want to know who he called and why. Interview and do extensive backgrounds. Could be a member of the family saying good-bye. Could be somebody in China that he's going to meet with when he lands. It will depend who he's calling and why he called them.

PEREIRA: Any number of things. Lets go back to satellite imagery. We've been looking this for the past few days. I want to ask you, Tom, when you look at that, does your instinct say to you this is the plane? What does it say?

FUENTES: Says maybe, just like from the beginning. It could be, might be, we hope it is. It also says when you find out that the photograph was taken four or five days before the search even began that it's going to be tough even to just find the debris.

PEREIRA: Sure. Not only could it have sunk, it could have moved because of the current. Bob, lets talk about the fact we know Malaysia talking today press conference with Malaysian officials saying they need more help, more sophisticated equipment. David Soucie just a few minutes ago talking about the use of drones. Seems like a great implementation of drone technology.

BAER: I think it's good, too. But it's a big sea. I think what we're forgetting here is that both drones and satellites are meant to follow targets from a certain origin to another point. These came up in the Cold War, follow something from Russia to Cuba. We always knew where it started, following day by day. They are not geocentric, not meant to find debris in the ocean. I think at this point if we do find anything it's going to be a matter of luck. This is really hard. The search could go on for months. Even then stuff may sink by then. So as time goes along, the chances of finding this airplane diminishes by the day.

PEREIRA: There are certainly questions, Tom, about the Malaysian officials handling of the investigation. There's questions about their capability. Even in the press conference today, one reporter asked, if Malaysia would ask -- Chuck Hagel as we know is expected to speak, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel a few hours away now additional support. When they were asked about adding fueling tankers, it's sort of as though the thought hadn't occurred to this minister of transportation. There are people who are going to wonder is Malaysia equipped to handle this kind of investigation.

FUENTES: There's multi-facets to this investigation. The law enforcement cooperation has been outstanding. The FBI was invited into the command post the first night. It immediately began doing inquiries back into U.S. databases immediately with the pilot, crew, passengers, people on the ground.

The problem is from the minister of transport and other government components, which are civil and defense, and then you have the prime minister, they are obviously completely overwhelmed, completely caught off-guard on this.

And I think either their own national pride or something prevented them from admitting from early on, at least on the aviation aspect, they needed technical help the first day also. They should have invited it in the first day and immediately given full access to experts from not just our NTSB and FAA who are the best in the world but you have British experts and French experts that have been through these crash investigations and disappearing airplane investigations many times in the past and they would have gotten a great deal of guidance. The second part would be just how to create a command post, manage a command post, manage a crisis and then disseminate information to the victims, the victim families.


FUENTRES: And the public. That part of that has been on-the-job training.

PEREIRA: Sadly in the United States we have a fair amount of practice from that, certainly from a logistical standpoint. Bob, geopolitical concerns at play here too, do you think, in finding -- impacting the investigation?

BAER: I think so absolutely. I agree with Tom. The FBI is used to this. They have teams that can roll in, take over command center. The problem with Malaysia, of course, is politics. They are terrified, Malaysians, this could have been terrorism related. There was some al Qaeda network. So far I've seen none, there probably isn't. They were embarrassed by this right from the beginning and reluctant to open up their files as well completely on the passengers and pilots. I think they are coming around now. In the meantime we lost two weeks while they are coming to grips with this tragedy.

PEREIRA: If it's terrorism, it's one thing. A lot of people afraid of that. If it's mechanical a completely other thing and we need to look at that to prevent this from happening again. Tom Fuentes, Bob Baer, always a pleasure to have you on NEW DAY with us. Thank you for that. Chris.

CUOMO: All right, so we have from the questions of terrorism to terrifying things searchers have to deal with in the Indian Ocean. When we come back on NEW DAY, the roaring 40s, the furious 50s, these are areas searched right now. What these terms mean and why they are a concern to searchers. We're going to tell you as well as questions about what cargo flight 370 was carrying and how it was being carried. New information from investigators.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. We're live in Malaysia this morning. Planes are heading back to Australia after scouring the Indian Ocean for debris possibly linked to Malaysia flight 370. One plane is back and others are on the way with no signs of debris. Now the Australian prime minister who has suggested the suggested debris may be from the plane is backing off a bit offering some caution, saying it may not be from the plane, that flight at all.

Malaysian authorities confirming some CNN reporting this morning that the jet was carrying some lithium ion batteries in its cargo, but they were packed in accordance with transportation guidelines according to the airline. That's important and noteworthy because these batteries are known to overheat and sometimes catch fire. No word, though, on how big that shipment was. Something we'll be looking further into.

Now, two weeks into the mystery, Malaysia needs more equipment to locate voice recorders presumably under water and they are asking for assistance there. We'll continue to track the developments on the search there. Back to John for breaking news.

BERMAN: Thanks so much, Kate. We do have breaking news, Russia's upper house of parliament rubber stamping the treaty to bring Crimea into the Russian federation. The vote there was unanimous unlike lower house of the Russuan parliament which voted 443-1 to ratify.

Meantime President Obama is targeting senior the Russian officials in a new round of sanctions over the annexation of Crimea. In response, Moscow has banned nine Americans from entering the country. Among them House Speaker John Boehner and Arizona senator John McCain who say they are proud to be on Vladimir Putin's so-called "naughty list."

Federal investigators are hoping newly obtained surveillance video of the Seattle news chopper's takeoff will help them figure out why it went down. Nearby businesses including Space Needle and McDonald's captured the video. Investigators are said to be reviewing a number of scenarios including engine trouble, and pilot fatigue. The crash killed pilot Gary Pfitzner (ph) and KOMO photographer Bill Strothman.

Senator Harry Reid is turning up the heat on the CIA, launching an examination of intelligence committee computer network allegedly hacked by the spy agency. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chair, says the CIA secretly removed hundreds of documents. The CIA, in turn, says the committee improperly copied some of those files and the FBI is now looking into that claim as well.

All right. Want some liquor with your coffee? Starbucks announcing it plans to expand its alcohol and small bites evening menu to thousands of stores over the next few years. They are in just 40 stores now. Starbucks trying to double its market value to $100 billion by selling more non-coffee items. Venti, grande, mocha beer- chino.

PEREIRA: I think it will make inevitable screen plays written at Starbucks across the globe infinitely more interesting.

CUOMO: If one were to invite you on a date for an alcoholic coffee beverage and small bite, is that a good date or does it seem like you're going cheap.

PEREIRA: I think it's good initial.

BERMAN: First date?


BERMAN: I just want to know if the liquor is going to have the same burnt taste as Starbucks coffee.



CUOMO: Strong words. Speaking of strong words, a strong man known for strong words, John King, taking us inside politics.