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CNN SPECIAL REPORTS
New Update In Search For Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Aired April 6, 2014 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: New hope and new mystery. Day 31 in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370. As time runs out on the batteries in the black box, a Chinese ship again hears signals deep in the ocean.
And did the plane intentionally try to avoid radar?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It appears essentially they're saying that whoever was flying the plane was trying to essentially disappear off the radar map.
LEMON: And cautious new optimism from families about the passengers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe this is a time, maybe for the next couple of days, next couple of months, next couple of years, we will find the enemy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Hello, everyone, and welcome to a CNN Special Report, "mystery of flight 370." I'm Don Lemon.
Right now searchers are racing to confirm two pulse signals detected by a Chinese ship. They were heard outside the search zone, but followed the same arc that has been guiding searchers. Adding to the intrigue, they match the same frequency as a black box pinger.
Another acoustic event was also detected by the Australian ship ocean shield about 300 miles away. Searchers are now working on borrowed time, with the black box pingers quickly rung out of juice. That's if they're not dead already.
And as the search continues, so does the speculation about what happened inside the cockpit. A senior source inside the Malaysian military say the plane may have steered a mysterious course around Indonesian air space. The source said that move may have been deliberate act to avoid radar detection.
And for the very latest on the search, we're going to go to Perth now, the hub of the search operation and CNN's international correspondent Matthew Chance.
Matthew, the British ship navy ship HMS Echo now on the scene, but it won't be joined by the HMS tireless submarine. Tell us what is happening right now.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, that's because there are a number of different search areas, four search areas in fact, according to the British ministry of defense that are the focus of the ongoing multinational search operation at the moment.
In two of those locations, they've got actual acoustic events that they're investigating. One of those is where the HMS Echo is and where the Chinese vessels that detected apparent pings or some kind of pulses coming out on the same frequency, the beacon on top of the black box flight recorder would use. And that's one area of focus of this multinational search.
Another area is about 300 nautical miles away where the Australian vessel the Ocean Shield is using its high-tech equipment to investigate another acoustic event. So we shouldn't discount that either.
But we may get some clarification in the coming hours, because within the past few minutes, it's been announced by the joint agency coordination center, the Australian-led search teams, that there will be another press conference to be given in the Australian city of Perth within the next two hours. In fact, two hours from now. And so hopefully, at that press conference, there will be some clarity on the latest situation, the latest status of this hunt for the missing Malaysian airliner -- Don.
LEMON: All right. I'm glad you told us about that. Do we know how many assets are being focused on the location of these two pulse signals and that one acoustic event, Matthew?
CHANCE: They're not giving us a breakdown like that. We know that there are about a dozen aircraft in the skies over the very large still search areas and that are scouring the ocean for any more debris. And we know that there are at least 13 ships. Plus the nuclear submarine as well that are in the search zone engaged in surface searches and subsurface searches as well. A bit of a tongue twister, that.
But yes, so a very intensive search. And it seems to be intensifying as this kind of time pressure increases, because we have spoken such a lot about the battery life on those pingers, on the black box flight recorder and the cockpit voice recorder. Time is rung out. But there is still a window of opportunity for them to get some kind of handle on where this airliner might be, Don.
LEMON: All right. Thank you very much, Matthew Chance. Appreciate that.
Let's go now to our panel this hour. CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest, CNN aviation analyst Michael Kay, and audio expert Paul Ginsberg, CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo, Collin Keller, an integral player in the search for air France 447, and Geoffrey Thomas, managing director of airlineratings.com. Richard, let's start with you. Malaysian authorities now believe the plane may have deliberately flown to skirt radar detection. What do you know about this?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, before we get -- if we may, here we have the --
LEMON: Yes, I know, but first answer the question, and then we'll get to that. Because they're waiting to confirm that. So, what do you know about this?
QUEST: OK. What I know about it is that we've known for a long time that the plane went north then turned to a u-turn, then went down into the strait of Malacca, out to the west, and then across down into the Indian Ocean. You're watching it here.
Now we believe it's been confirmed or at least sources say that turn at the top was designed to in some shape avoid crossing Malaysian airspace, at least crossing the land mass. It probably would have been caught on radar, but they do believe that that's why it was done.
LEMON: Go ahead.
MICHAEL KAY, FORMER ADVISOR TO THE UK MILITARY OF DEFENSE: Yes, I mean, just following from what Richard is saying, primary radar goes out to about 125 miles around that. And the point here is that there is no definitive line which you cross, which goes from being traced on a radar scope to suddenly disappearing off a radar scope. So it's incredibly difficult for anyone on that airplane trying to avoid radar to know whether they've avoided radar or not. And if you were going to do that, you would go the full extent and go 500, 700 miles off the coast to make absolutely sure and descend to make absolutely sure.
We look at the track at the moment, and it looks fairly close to Indonesia. So to me, if you're trying to avoid radar, you would have gone the other way and gone well out to about 500 to 700 miles. I'm a little bit dubious as to whether it would have been trying to avoid on purpose. If there were me, there is no RWR, radar warning receiver, on this airplane. So no one on the airplane knows whether they've been traced by a radar or not. So dubious.
LEMON: Before we get to that, I just want to make sure we can report it. It is confirmed. Richard has new information.
QUEST: I was going to talk we're in this for the long haul. I have the press release from the JACC.
LEMON: Go ahead.
QUEST: So we're in this for the long haul tonight by the look of it. It's 10:00 in Perth. It's 10:00 on the eastern seaboard. Media alert, the chief coordinator of the joint coordination center, air chief Marshall Angus Houston will hold a press conference today Monday 7th.
LEMON: In two hours. That's what Matthew Chance just reported that. I thought you were going with other information we're working to confirm.
LEMON: Regarding something else. But Matthew Chance reported in two hours.
QUEST: Two hours.
LEMON: And last night we had a press conference, as you know, Richard.
QUEST: But it's interesting. What he said last night was I'll come back to you in a few days' time.
QUEST: Or when there is something else to tell you. So within 24 hours to come back means we're going to hear something tonight, I would imagine.
LEMON: Yes. OK. Let's move on.
Stand by gentlemen here. I want to go to Colleen now. Let's talk about the underwater search for the plane, Colleen. A high-tech British ship at the scene where the two pings were detected, could those pings be anything other than the plane?
COLLEEN KELLER. SENIOR ANALYST, METRON INCORPORATED: Actually, I'm sorry to say they could be just about anything. I mean, I know that the box is designed to ping at a certain frequency. That's pretty unnatural in nature, but that doesn't mean they could be picking upside tones from something else or anything in the environment. And without having any other parameters in addition to the frequency, there is other characteristics to the signal that would identify uniquely as coming from the box, it's really difficult to say exactly what they heard. And unfortunately, from what I gather, they did not record it.
PAUL GINSBERG, AUDIO EXPERT: Yes. Exactly. This is what we've been talking about earlier. The water, the medium through which the wave is transmitted can distort the signal such that even if the frequency is correct at the receiver, there may be some doubt as to what it is that they're receiving.
LEMON: And Mary Schiavo, you've been keeping abreast of the latest information here. You heard what Matthew Chance reported, that Angus Houston is going to give a press conference in about two hours. Richard Quest also reporting the same information. Could you think we're any closer here?
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, possibly. I mean, the Echo has been on-site now for the better part of a day. Presumably, they went right to work. I'm hoping that at the press conference he gives us news of what the Echo has been doing up there where the Chinese ship found or heard with the hydrophone the pings. I'm hoping that the update, and surely Mr. Houston knows that the whole world is kind of hanging on a thread to hear what happened there. So that would be my hope. Maybe he is just going give us a count on which ships are where. But I think not. I think he is going to tell us what is going on up there.
LEMON: All right. Stand by, everyone. Next we're going to go to Malaysia. We'll hear what investigators there are saying about news that the plane nay have intentionally tried to avoid radar detection.
LEMON: An all-out search is back under way right now for the black boxes from the missing Malaysian airliner. It's imperative those recorders are found to help determine what happened to flight 370, especially now that Malaysian authorities believe the plane may have intentionally taken a route to avoid radar detection.
CNN's Jim Clancy live in Kuala Lumpur now.
Jim, you have been there since day one of this investigation. What do you make of authorities coming out now with their belief that the plane deliberately skirted Indonesian airspace?
JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they have said in the past they saw deliberate movements by the pilot in all of this. It adds detail to the record that this plane was trying to avoid perhaps not radar, it knew it would have to go, as your guest said, 500 miles to do that. But it's avoiding the airspace. It's avoiding a reaction. It's avoiding an alert that would scramble jets or draw attention to itself.
But there is a second thing that is important here. It more or less confirms what the Inmarsat calculations say about the course that this plane took. Why is that important? Well, you know, those Inmarsat calculations are based on something that was never meant to be a locator. Still, it's given us an accurate record. And I think when you see that it's mapping the same course that we have here on the much more reliable military radar, you can say there is much more confidence in where they've mapped out the search zone in the south Indian Ocean today. That's what is really significant in my view -- Don.
LEMON: And, Jim, as we've been saying, you've been there for weeks now in Kuala Lumpur. How are people there reacting a month later? Still very few answer.
CLANCY: Very few answer. But, you know, CNN assembled a team here. None of your competitors have anything close to the team that CNN has had on the ground on this story. And I'm not just talking about the numbers of people. Yes, there have been more of them. But they've got a much greater depth of experience that has shown throughout the course of this story.
If you remember all the way back to week one when two illegal -- two stolen passports were used, everybody else scrambled to say this must be terrorism. The CNN team knew well that 100-1, stolen passports are used to smuggle people, not used in hijacks, not used in terrorist acts. It's that kind of experience that has brought perspective. Keeping reporting focused on what the facts are on the story.
You know, you explore a lot of theories. And that's the discussion of the story. But as we're reporting it, our job is to give people the facts that we know and how they could affect the story. That's what we have pursued. Calling for patience the entire time. Not trying to leap to conclusions to embrace theories. You know, that's been really the story here. Because we've got a situation where an abundance of theories are colliding with a total absence of evidence on the ground -- Don.
LEMON: Jim Clancy thank you very much for that.
Up next, trouble in searching the ocean floor. It's three miles deep there we'll explore what investigators are up against, next.
LEMON: Welcome back, everyone. Breaking news here on CNN. The man in charge of this investigation we're hearing about to hold a press conference. Last we heard of him, he said he would be back in consume of days. And now?
QUEST: Yes. Angus Houston, last night he gave a very full press conference in which he did discuss the Chinese. He discussed ocean shield. And he basically said he would return when there was more to report.
The fact he is coming back within 24 hours, it could be nothing. It could be another update. But I'm guessing he is going to want to update us not only on the Chinese pings, but also on Ocean Shield and the assets now being moved around. It will be a leap, Don, to say at this point they're going to announce something significant.
LEMON: But we shall see.
QUEST: We shall. I isn't moving anywhere.
LEMON: Stand by, everyone. You know, the Indian Ocean is nearly three miles deep in the search area. The distance between where the possible audio contacts were heard 350 miles. Not to mention waves, winds, and other objects in the hour. My panel is back. And I want them to listen to this.
This is from David Gallo with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. He told "the Washington Post" this. The oceans can do a lot of things with sound. For instance, if you know how to use thermal layers in the ocean, you can hide a nuclear submarine from some of the most powerful sonar.
So for my panel, should we believe that the Chinese reports of these possible audio contacts? That's perfect for you, Mr. Audio expert Paul Ginsberg. GINSBERG: Well, it's true that we have many different levels of distortion that can result from different depth, pressures, currents, obstructs, topography. And so I don't know that it would hide completely the pinging, but it certainly would make it easier, more difficult to pinpoint, that's for sure.
LEMON: But Colleen Keller, you said it could be anything. In the last segment you said I hate to say it, don, but it could be anything. But at least it's something right now. And we've had nothing for so long.
KELLER: No, I agree. I'm thrilled that we're getting some detections. And I'm hoping one of them pans out. I mean, it could be that the crew of the ship that makes this detection needs to go straight to Vegas and put their money down, because they're lucky men.
But hey, if they get it, they get it. We -- the problem is, though, that we have two detections separated by 300 miles. One of them has to be wrong, but both of them may be wrong. But they can't both be right. So it may be that this announcement coming out is just simply to explain the detections that have been made and explain that they're being investigated.
LEMON: Go ahead, Mike.
KAY: I was just going to say, Don, we know it's a pretty unsophisticated piece of equipment that detected this acoustic event. It was held on top of the ocean that was 4,500 meters deep.
LEMON: What do you mean, the microphone we see going in there?
LEMON: I think Tim, though, I think Tim Taylor made a good report. That's the video we see being released from the Chinese of someone putting a hydrophone in the water. But we don't know if it's the apparatus made to detect the ping.
KAY: It's a point well made. If that was the case, should it be fairly easy to corroborate by putting passer sonar buoys from a P-8 or P-3 maritime surveillance aircraft into that area and then they would get a good sense whether there were ping there's or not if indeed they were hearing them from this unsophisticated piece of equipment on the surface.
LEMON: Even from that very rudimentary piece of equipment, can you pick up ping from those depths?
GINSBERG: It's my understanding that the manufacturer says that we can. Of course, another consideration is that we haven't heard about one piece of debris in any of these areas, although they could have floated or you know, be caught in the currents, but not one. So it's very difficult.
LEMON: Colleen, what are the odds? I mean, to get the black boxes before you even see one piece of debris, I mean, that is truly, truly out of the ordinary. That almost never happens. But what is ordinary about this particular case?
KELLER: Well, I'm not going calculate any odds, but it is very extraordinary. But I give them credit. They're trying, you know. You can't find anything if you don't have your stuff in the water. So I'm praying that maybe we get a hit here.
Up next, one source says the plane may have tried to avoid d detection on radar. Can a plane hide in the sky? We're going to talk about it straight ahead.
LEMON: New information just into CNN. The joint task force in Perth set to hold a news conference at midnight eastern. We're going bring that to you live right here on CNN.
Meanwhile, a fresh mystery surfaced today. A senior Malaysian government source said that the aircraft may have deliberately skirted Indonesian airspace in an effort to avoid Indonesian radar. Good weather is expected in the search area. And a few of the nine military planes are helping in the search are now in the air.
Three civil aircraft and 14 ships will assist in today's search. The race is on to find the pings coming from the black boxes before the batteries fail, if they haven't failed already. Three reports of possible audio contact have been reported now. Still, no confirmation that they are connected to flight 370.
So let's head back now to our flight simulator. CNN's Martin Savidge and Mitchell Casado.
How was this plane circumvent Indonesia and why would they do it, guys?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The how is easier to explain than why in this particular buoy. I mean, you know, Mitchell has been working through the various way points. Keep in mind we only know roughly the route he would have flown. We don't know the way points in order to make it happen.
But Mitchell, I'll let you explain because that's more your thing.
MITCHELL CASADO, COMMERCIAL PILOT INSTRUCTOR: Yes, I mean, how would it have avoided radar? I mean, it's a matter of looking at the charts, the maps, and seeing where the boundaries are for the airspace, the radar, and flying around it.
SAVIDGE: OK. So for your particular scenario, though, you actually plotted a course that takes it originally from what it was to Beijing and came in a different way. What was it?
CASADO: Yes. So this is basically our route here. This magenta line, this pink line if we were going to Beijing. And what they did is a whole matter of turning the other way. So this is the line here. This is their course point opposite the direction they should have. And you can see -- you can see it here on the screen.
SAVIDGE: You can see how the pink line deviates and deviates dramatically.
CASADO: Exactly. So this would be Indonesia down here on the left. Our bottom line circumvents it. Just gives it a little bit of a wide berth around and then down toward the south.
SAVIDGE: We should point out that Mitchell did this by, you know, reprogramming the flight management system. It isn't the only way that this could have been done. You could also have done by altering the heading, right?
CASADO: That's exactly right, Martin. So this knob here alternates or takes the airplane on to a different heading and it's on currently. So all you have to do is turn this knob to whatever heading I want, press that button, and the airplane deviates.
SAVIDGE: You can already see the plane is turning. I mean, that's the how you could do it. But, again, you raised the real question, which is why did this aircraft, if it's true, circumvent or go around Indonesian airspace? It certainly would imply somebody is in control. And if they're in control, then why would they do it? And it may hint at some sort of criminal act.
LEMON: All right. We're sitting here, as you guys are talking, and I have to tell you, I'm joined by my panel of experts. Les Abend, who is a 777 pilot is always wanting to weigh in on this. And he is like no way points, no way points. Why did you say that?
LES ABEND, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: No. I think it's great what Mitchell did. But what I was trying to get Don's attention about was that do you guys think it's possible that by using heading select, it may have just very well gone by coincidence over the way points that are on the en route chart and not necessarily been programmed?
CASADO: Absolutely, Les. I think it's very possible. It's not -- there are so many way points around this place. It's not like it's hard to find a way point. So it's very likely they could have accidentally hit them.
SAVIDGE: Yes. I think always you can work in the fact that this could have been some sort of either human error, or just as Mitchell points out, coincidence. It doesn't necessarily mean it was clandestine.
LEMON: Hang on, guys. Everyone-- a lot of people have questions for you. The panel here, Richard Quest, Paul Ginsberg, an audio expert, Mary Schiavo, of course a CNN aviation analyst, Colleen Keller, integral player in the search for flight 447.
OK. I've introduced everyone. Go ahead with your question. Go ahead.
QUEST: No. I was just about to say, this idea of the way points, no one has ever said it did. This is the fascinating part about the way. It's taken on a life of its own. Once we knew that the route had changed and they had come back over Malaysia into the straits, everybody then look at the map. And I think it was some journalist or newspaper article who basically said oh, look, it appears to be following way points and then names the way points. And it's never been denied except the Malaysians have said there is no extra way points programmed into the flight management system. It only showed route up to Beijing.
LEMON: Martin and Mitchell, you want to weigh in on that?
SAVIDGE: Well, I mean, as far as what we've done, yes, we programmed in way points, and we followed way points. And Richard is absolutely right. It is possible that way points had nothing to do with the rerouting of the aircraft. We use those because they're common means of navigation for aviation.
CASADO: Yes, it just makes sense in a big airline like this, you don't navigate with heading select. Everything is you get a flight plan and you have way points. It never just having some active so it does makes sense. It's just counterintuitive to think heading select in an aircraft like this.
SAVIDGE: I will say, you know, the Malaysians have always at least early on in the investigation implied that this was a crime in their mind. And looking at something like this, you could interpret it to say oh, I see where they might be coming from. But as we already pointed out, it doesn't mean there really was crime.
LEMON: Right. And that's exactly what they do. They go through different scenarios.
Mary Schiavo, you want to discuss more of this -- this flight path of avoiding Indonesian airspace? What can this tell us if they were in fact doing that?
SCHIAVO: Well, again, it's the same information that we had on day one, but now someone's put a different explanation on it. And the explanation helps fill in some of the holes, but like we have often said, no matter how we explain things, there are always holes.
But what this new explanation for the old data does is that it explains why there was no Indonesian data -- radar returns. You know, initially we said, well, Thailand, they didn't go through Thai airspace. So OK, they dipped down around Thailand. And then there was no report of any radar from Indonesia. And at first we said well Indonesia didn't cooperate and give it. And now we learn that Indonesia said they don't have any radar points.
So, you know, this hypothesis explains why there may be nothing, no radar from Thailand and no radar from Indonesia. But, you know, then somebody has to have put a motive on it. So we don't know the motive. The motive might have been skirting radar, or the motive might have been they were just flying in a certain direction. And we don't have the radar to clearly plot it around Indonesia.
However, if that's what the Chinese were thinking, and that's how they re-plotted the plan as to where to search, it would be very interesting to see if these pings turn out and if they use this skirting the radar idea to find their place to search. That would give it more credence to me.
LEMON: Colleen Keller, does this -- the intention here would seem that someone -- by saying that they skirted Indonesian radar, what have you, some sort of criminal intent. That's the implication.
KELLER: Well, what we're doing is we're looking at empirical data. We're looking at where the aircraft flew, and we're trying to guess what the intention is from that. And that's always dangerous territory. I mean, you really just go back to the data. We know where it flew, but we don't have any other evidence that suggests they're trying to skirt radar. So I'm not willing to draw any conclusions from that.
LEMON: Yes. And as an audio expert, none of this says anything until you want to get the empirical evidence, which is if the plane is on the bottom of the ocean with the plane on the bottom on the ocean.
GINSBERG: Show me the ping. Show me the ping. That's when everything changes.
GINSBERG: And by the way, as an aside, I'm sure the viewer has noticed that each time we go to the simulator with Martin and Mitchell, there is quite a bit amount of noise. And that's because, I guess, that the -- they're making the simulator realistic with the cockpit noise, whereas in an actual flight, both pilot and copilot would be wearing noise cancelling microphones and full headphones.
GINSBERG: So they would be able to hear each other as well as the tower very clearly. And it would block out most of that noise.
LEMON: But the noise that you're hearing would still be part of the recordings that you would retrieve from the airplane and could give you information as to what happened to this airplane.
GINSBERG: Exactly. That would come through what we call the cockpit area microphone, the CAM. That's another channel that is recorded on the CVR or cockpit voice recorder in addition to the pilot and copilot channels.
LEMON: Right. So we were trying to figure out, Les, you were saying by just listening to the tower recordings, right, it would be hard to distinguish the pilot from the copilot. Even your own wife can't tell your voice when she is listening.
LEMON: And sometimes when you're listening to cockpit voice recordings, it would be the same thing. But you said they're on different channels. GINSBERG: Correct. There is a lot more information recorded on the cockpit voice recorder than can be gleaned from listening to the single challenge received radio signal to the tower.
Do we have, producers, if we can, the sound of the pings and the chirp and the tone that Paul Ginsburg supplied for us earlier? Because I think our viewers would like to hear that. Because we're trying to figure out, as we have been trying to figure out throughout this whole thing, if in fact what the Chinese ships and the Australian ships have picked up if it is in fact cockpit voice recordings or the black boxes that are presumably on the bottom of the ocean. And you're saying these aren't the exact sounds, but these are sounds that they would be looking for, similar sounds. First let's listen to the pulse tone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the pure tone.
LEMON: And you said that one is, Paul?
GINSBERG: That's the pure pulse example. A single frequency for a burst of time, two-tenths of a second repeated every second. This is just a demonstration.
LEMON: And then you said there is another one that is a chip it can be programmed as well?
GINSBERG: Yes, This is a chirp where we have increased the frequency during the transmission. And you can see that it has a different wave shape.
GINSBERG: And sound.
LEMON: So they're listening for anything that is similar to those two sounds. And if they had the same characteristics of either of those two sounds, depending on how the voice recorders and the cockpit recorder, depending on how they were programmed.
LEMON: Then you would know if it's a signature of that and not just some -- something that happens to be on a similar frequency.
GINSBERG: That's correct, exactly, exactly.
LEMON: No questions?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
LEMON: Everyone agree?
ABEND: My question to Paul would be what is the receiver -- they're getting this on receiver. So you wouldn't actually hear this -- would this be something to the human ear?
LEMON: That's interesting. You said you can hear it, but it also has a visible --
GINSBERG: Well, you can hear my example. My example was one thousand cycles, well within hearing range. But in actuality, we're looking for something that is about double the human's highest limit of hearing when you're a baby. And it decreases after that. So you would not hear it. But you would see the wave form on a specialized receiver. And if you incorporate filters to mask or minimize any frequencies that are outside a certain band centered on what you're looking for, it will enhance your reception.
LEMON: That's why he says, Les, here is a thing that says shape of the pulses. Because if you can't hear it, then there is a certain shape whatever the instrument that is picking it up.
ABEND: I wanted to get a visual picture what these folks are doing with all this instrumentation. They're not actually hearing something. They're more than likely looking at a visual.
GINSBERG: They're watching it. That's right.
LEMON: And you put together, there is another -- I don't know if you have another graphic that you put together. And it's got the one with the green lines. What was that one? What is that all about?
GINSBERG: The two wave forms.
LEMON: Yes. Well, that's a wave form that we saw.
GINSBERG: This is actually --
LEMON: I don't know if we'll be able to pick that up because it's so faint.
GINSBERG: It's going to be difficult. There is a graphic.
LEMON: The top one is a sort of wavier.
GINSBERG: This is a single frequency.
GINSBERG: And then this one you can see that the period or the distance between each successive cycle gets shorter and shorter and shorter as the frequency increases.
GINSBERG: And that's the difference between a pure tone and a chirp.
LEMON: But the thing here is the longer this goes on, the weaker all of this gets. And the chances of hearing it grow slimmer and slimmer with every single second.
GINSBERG: Sadly, yes.
LEMON: Yes. We'll be right back right after this. Don't go anywhere.
LEMON: Thirty one days and still not a piece of missing Malaysia airlines flight 370 has been found. Not a wing, not a piece of luggage. And certainly, not either of the planes critical black boxes. Many of the passengers' families are returning home to Beijing, frustrated at the pace of this investigation.
CNN's David McKenzie joins me now from Beijing.
David, what are the families saying?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, 31 days, you're right. And I've been here from the very first hours from that initial shock of those families. Now the shock has sort of turned into frustration, as you say, and also, just exhaustion.
On this latest set of news that could provide a promising lead, the opinions are varied. But most people we've spoken to want more information.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE WANG, PASSENGER'S SON: Maybe this is the time. Maybe for the next couple days, the next couple of months, the next couple of years we will find the ending. But there will be a time that it will end. So to me, I don't want that it -- but if I have to phase it.
YE LUN, BROTHER IN-LAW OF PASSENGER (through translator): It could be true, because the area is where the plane should be. It's so strange that there was no emergency beacon signal. I think the plane glided on to the water and sank so the beacons weren't activated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: Well, you can see that people are stealing themselves for what is a very long process. And the family member, many hundreds of them in fact stuck here in Beijing and around the region are hanging on to every bit of information. But really, they want some concrete answers so they can get on with their lives. Because at this point they're in this limbo, Don, that they just cannot get out of -- Don.
LEMON: Yes. I know, David, everything now is a maybe, a possibly. We've heard this. We've got to check it out. We can't confirm. But are they -- are they at least encouraged by the arrival of the British ship that can map the ocean floor?
MCKENZIE: Well, certainly they want to have no effort spared on figuring out this mystery. Because it has very real consequences for them and their families. There is a variety of reasons they want. One is emotional, of course, because anybody, it's human nature to hold out hope. I think at this point, 31 days after day, they obviously fear the worse. But they want to start the grieving process and get on with their lives there is also very real consequences. Because if they can find the data recorders, the black boxes, then they can start establishing why this happened there could be multimillion-dollar lawsuits involved here. And they're already lawyers here in Beijing talking to family members on a daily basis. If they cannot find any evidence on that plane, then those lawsuits are out of the question and certainly the families have fewer options.
But, again, right now they want to take that first step. We haven't even reached that first step that they want to actually get some closure. There are so many steps after that. But just taking that first step has to happen -- Don.
LEMON: David McKenzie. David, thank you very much. I appreciate you.
Next, our experts answer your questions about the disappearance and the search for flight 370.
LEMON: As Richard Quest said, we're in it for the long haul because at midnight eastern time here in the United States, the man heading this investigation will hold a news briefing. Not sure exactly what he is going to say, but every time he speaks, it is something of importance. So we will carry that for you live.
We're following new developments in the search for Malaysia flight 370. Right now a British ship headed to the area where the Chinese say they heard pulse signals on two consecutive days.
So let's bring in our panel now. There is Richard Quest. Bill wants to know. I'm going to start with you. This is a viewer question. Bill wants to know, are you sure the Chinese pings were detected with that hand-held unit? Surely they have better tech than that.
QUEST: Bill, an excellent question. And the short answer is. No we are not sure in any shape or form. Those pictures came from Chinese television, CCTV. The experts say it would be difficult. I think they're being polite. Privately they'll tell you it's just about impossible to use a hand-held device to get it. And if you look at the still photographs, look that. They're using iPod and headphones which I'm sure has given people like yourself a conniption at the mere thought that you would use those to actually listen.
LEMON: I think we should let the expert weigh. In Paul is an audio expert.
QUEST: Well, Paul, weigh in by all means.
GINSBERG: Well, I agree. Obviously, if we're trying to listen to something, we want to be as close as possible to it. And from the surface, knowing that the depth is three miles or more.
LEMON: Yes, about three miles. Right.
GINSBERG: Then it's silly to think that that's the best that we can do.
QUEST: Would you use those sort of headphones, little in-ear headphones?
GINSBERG: No, no, no. Of course not.
LEMON: And you heard them earlier say chances are they're looking at signals rather than hearing them, right? They're looking at waves.
GINSBERG: Well, they may be able to convert a received signal to an audible signal. And so, what they're listening to is derived from a signal. But under any circumstances, you would want something with quality. And that would mask the ambient sounds of a moving ship.
QUEST: Just to make the point though, to Bill, what I'm not saying is that the Chinese don't have extremely sophisticated technology. They do.
LEMON: We just don't know.
QUEST: I have no doubt they've got it up the Wazoo (ph). We just don't know what it is.
GINSBERG: They're not showing it.
LEMON: Right. Those are the pictures that we're seeing. But is that what they're using to pick up the pings? We don't know. Probably not.
All right, Les, let's have you answer this one. This is from Jojo wants to know. Can ocean shield also deploy men in small boats with portable pinger detectors like the Chinese did? Well, we're not sure the Chinese did anyway. But go ahead.
ABEND: Listen, that's not my sorry of expertise. I'm not going to touch that one. Ask me some pilot stuff and I'll try to answer that.
LEMON: Mary Schiavo, Mary, you answer this from Joe? Can ocean shield also deploy men in small boats with portable pinger detectors like the Chinese did?
Hang on. We can't hear Mary. Did we get Mary yet? Nope. No audio from Mary. Sorry, Mary. So anyway, you choose not to answer that question.
ABEND: Yes, sir.
LEMON: You stick with whatever. So as I said, we don't really even know if that's how they're picking it up by deploying the men in those boats.
Lastly, why was the Chinese vessel searching in an unplanned search area? That's the question that everyone has.
QUEST: Last night, Angus Houston addressed that. He addressed it, and he basically said it was part of the search area in terms of the general search area. He skirted it. And then he went on because a journalist specifically asked the question, not to put too fine a point of this, are you and the Chinese at disagreement? And he said again and again, no, happy with the cooperation, happy with the information. Had dinner with the ambassador. Everybody is getting on very nicely. And we're bringing in an extra Chinese speaker.
LEMON: Mary Schiavo is no longer at a loss for words. I understand that we have her now.
Mary, you want to answer that question for us?
SCHIAVO: Sure. The ship has the towed pinger locator. So it has the proverbial big gun. It also has small boats, you know, launchables zodiacs or probably some rigid hulls. But because it has the towed pinger locator on the Ocean Shield that wouldn't have to put the small boat in but it also does have small boats.
LEMON: And Mary, I thought this was another question too. Because in the press conference last night, I'm sure you heard some of the press conference. Why was the Chinese vessel searching in an unplanned search area. It was kind of in the search area, but it wasn't. And as Richard said, Angus Houston addressed it and kind of didn't last night. Do we know what is going on here?
SCHIAVO: No. We can only have hunches. For the information to come out about they think it was skirting the radar, the plane was skirting the Indonesian radar, one can only assume that perhaps the Chinese were coming to their own conclusions about where it might have been. And who knows what else they have in terms of coverage of the area.
But I just thought it seemed highly unusual that you would kind of guess, put your finger in the air and say I will search here and you get pings. So I'm a little suspicious that it was just a lucky break. I think there is science behind it.
LEMON: There you go. From the professional, the woman who knows who has investigated many of these.
I think you said something very interesting here, Paul, and Mary did. At I think you said, there is the big gun, you know, that has got the big towed one and then are there are smaller units out there. Even if you have those small units, Richard raised the question. Would you be using the little headphones and sticking the thing right there?
GINSBERG: I would think I would want to use the most powerful, most sensitive, most selective.
GINSBERG: Receiver they could get my hands on.
GINSBERG: And then track back and forth. Make a chart of the received signal. The problem is we don't have that luxury given the batteries about to be depleted. LEMON: Yes. We're getting close to the top of the hour. I'm going to have to reset here in a second. But you are right and we are going to be here for a long a time this evening because a lot can happen between now and at midnight. A lot may happen after that once we do hear from the man in-charge of this investigation. We don't know what he is going to say, but he has called a news briefing to be held in just about one hour probably now.