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Aussie PM: "Very Confident" Pings from Plane; 10 Killed in Bus- Truck Collision; Pistorius: Day 3 of Cross-Examination Ends; Woman Throws Shoe at Hillary Clinton

Aired April 11, 2014 - 08:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Australia's prime minister saying they are, quote/unquote, "very confident" those signals picked up over the last week are from the plane. And a senior government official providing critical information about Flight 370's final minutes in the air.

Let's bring in Matthew Chance live from Perth, Australia, the heart of the search zone for an update -- Matthew.


That's right. The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is on an official visit at the moment in China. China, of course, is where most of the passengers on board the missing Malaysian airliner were front, 138 of them, in fact. So, obviously, there's a great deal of interest there in the status of the search. And I think Tony Abbott went to the country and went further I think than any other Australian official has done in characterizing the progress so far.

Take a listen to what he had to say.


TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: We are confident that we know the position of the black box flight recorder to within some kilometers. But confidence in the approximate position of the black box is not the same as wreckage from almost 4 1/2 kilometers beneath the sea or finally determining all that happened on that flight.


MATTHEWS: So, the prime minister also said that he was very confident that the signals that had been monitored over the past week or so, that coming from underneath the Indian Ocean were from the black box flight recorders from the missing Malaysian airliner. That's not something the search investigators have gone so far as to say. In fact, Angus Houston, who's heading up the multinational effort here, has been saying over the course of the past few hours that there's been no stick any can't breakthrough in the search.

CUOMO: Well, it does get confusing, doesn't it, Matthew? Let's dig in our experts, Mary Schiavo, CNN aviation analyst and former inspector general for the Department of Transportation, and Mr. Miles O'Brien, CNN aviation analyst and the science correspondent for PBS "NewsHour."

Mary, is it unfair to say that there seems to be a real disconnect of narrative when it comes to these investigations? The prime minister says he's really confident they're within miles and then he says there's no break through. The Malaysian military says they scrambled jets. The Ministry of Transportation denies the report.

I mean, is this unusual coordination or is this novel in terms of its awkwardness?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, it's novel -- well, I won't say novel in terms of awkwardness. It has put the awkwardness at a level much higher than we're used to in aircraft investigations. But the Malaysian authorities have had the most disconnects. I think the prime minister was doing what politicians and prime ministers, I guess, do. But Angus Houston has been fairly positive in his briefings as well. The head of the task force, the search task force.

So, I don't really see the prime minister's message as too very different than Angus Houston's.

CUOMO: So, we'll give the nod to the Australians for now. They seem to be more on the up and up when things are said, and whether we can rely on them.

Miles, looking at the other side of the investigation, the Malaysian military says we scrambled jets, did it five hours later. Why would they lie about that when it doesn't look good for them to be five hours behind whatever it was they were chasing, right?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: If that's their definition of a scramble, that's not a good definition of scramble. That's over easy, you know, five hours later? What kind of a scramble is that? I - I don't even understand what that means.

There clearly was a disconnect between the military on the civilian side which was a fundamental problem. I can tell you this, if there was a primary target like that anywhere across the United States of America, there would be jets on them so quickly you wouldn't even -- think of Payne Stewart, even before 9/11, there were fighter jets that escorted that jet all across the country. So, you know, to call that a scramble, I'm not buying it.

CUOMO: You're not buying it -- meaning you don't think it happened or they did something different than what they're saying?

O'BRIEN: They might have gone up and bored some holes in the sky, but they weren't anywhere near the aircraft. So, I don't know. What's their point in saying five hours later we lit the fires on some fighter jets? What does that mean?

CUOMO: What do you think, Mary? SCHIAVO: Well, I think it's covering up holes in the radar. I think it's clear that we have two sets of radar that have made this investigation very difficult and fraught with disconnects. One, of course, the Indonesian radar reports and we find Indonesian radar is basically under construction.

And now, the Malaysian authorities say they saw it and we scrambled people. The alternative is to say they didn't notice, they didn't pay attention, they didn't do anything. And there's a disconnect between civilian radar and military radar anyway. So, I think a lot of these reports are to cover up problems in their radar coverage and holes in their surveillance.

CUOMO: So, if it's a cover story, how do we recognize that with the early reports of the investigation team from Malaysian following the direction of what they were told by the military and moving the search towards the west and the theory they had about the left turn? That all wound up being consistent with where we are now. So, they got it from somewhere.

SCHIAVO: Well, for that, they actually had radar coordinates and they had points. I mean, they had communication with air traffic control and they know this plane turned -- made the left-hand turn and turned to the west. And then, of course, we got the Inmarsat data. I mean, we do have some hard points here. We have very hard points for some of that.

But what they did internally in Malaysia, you know, who saw what and who scrambled whom, I think that's all very suspect. The fact that the plane turned west I think is based on pretty reliable information and then it was corroborated by the Inmarsat pings to basically carve out the search area.

So, I think anything that isn't hard data or hard evidence at this point is suspect.

CUOMO: I mean, look, Miles, you're a seasoned journalist, it's not unusual for a government to give us a cover story to hide something they don't want out there. The problem is here, you've got these 239 families, this network of loved ones all hanging on every word of this. It's one thing to play with the media. It's another thing to play with these families, though.

Fair criticism?

O'BRIEN: It's nothing less than torture for these families, this inconsistent cover-up type of stuff comes out, and then you get politicians getting ahead of the technicalities of the search, giving false hope potentially.

It's -- really, everybody should step back, the only voice of reason in this is Mr. Houston in my view. He's the only one just sticking to the facts. He's the only one doing a Jack Webb here. He's hoping against hope that there's some news to share.

And so, like I say, this is for the families, when a politician tells you something, I would assume to the contrary until you hear otherwise.

CUOMO: Mary, final point?

SCHIAVO: Well, you know, Miles is just absolutely right. There's so much suspect here. You've often asked me, is there anything like this in history. So, I hit my aviation history books and there actually was one.

There was a flight from Tokyo to Rio back in 1979. It completely disappeared. No wreckage, not a trace. No black boxes, nothing was ever found, 1979. It was (INAUDIBLE) flight.

There are all sorts of conspiracy theories and the government had all kind of coverage and the Russians were blamed as they frequently were. In the end, it was a decompression, but nothing was ever found.

So, it is possible that the various stories and the mysteries will go on. But we can disregard that because now we have points. We have a place to search in the Indian Ocean and they think they've got to black boxes. That's what I would focus on.

CUOMO: How do you know the one in '78 --

SCHIAVO: Just about time to send down the submersibles.

CUOMO: How do you know the '78 was a decompression if nothing was ever found?

SCHIAVO: They looked at various problems with the plane and likely scenarios based on the plane's performance. They never had a final report.

CUOMO: Mary Schiavo, thank you very much. Miles, always a pleasure. Thanks for being with us this morning.


BOLDUAN: We're also following breaking news out of northern California where a fiery wreck claimed 10 lives, half of them high school students. They were on their way to visit a college campus when their bus was hit head on by a semi-truck.

CNN's Stephanie Elam is live at the crash site in Orland, California, with much more -- Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, it's completely devastating. When you take a look at the bus and see its charred remains that are still here on the highway, it's hard to imagine that anyone got out of there. But we do know that about 34 people were taken to the hospital. Nine people were declared dead on the scene, another person died at the hospital. But still no one knows at this point why this accident happened in the first place.


ELAM (voice-over): The images are horrifying. A bus full of high school students burst into flames on the side of a California highway after a head-on collision with a FedEx truck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I went outside and everything was in flames already. It was a couple of explosions after that.

ELAM: The truck slamming into the bus full of high school seniors after police say it crossed over the median and into oncoming traffic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of a sudden, I heard a sonic boom. When I got there everything was engulfed and it was still spewing up black smoke.

ELAM: The collision leaving both drivers and multiple passengers dead. Eyewitnesses helpless as flames consumed the bus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people screaming and begging for help with all the flames and all the smoke. It was just cover your eyes.

ELAM: Emergency crews raced to the scene to help the injured students.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many of them had cuts, contusions, bumps, minor burns. The ones I saw I know that there was one person when we arrived on scene that was unfortunately on fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Screaming for help, don't let me die, just help me.

ELAM: At least 34 people were rushed to local hospitals. Helicopter airlifted survivors. Others were taken by school bus and ambulances to local care centers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw one gentleman on a board and his clothes were gone pretty much. I couldn't tell if his injuries were significant. I just kept praying.

ELAM: The high school students were on their way to visit Humboldt State University this weekend. Just hours after tweeting a picture from inside the bus, crash survivor, Jonathan Gutierrez, posted this picture of the crash scene writing, "I can't believe what just happened. I was asleep and next thing you know I was jumping out for my life."


ELAM: And those students were a long way from home, most of them coming from schools in the Los Angeles area, making their way up here. We also can tell you now that the NSTB is making their way from D.C. and they are going to come out to investigate. And it may be month before we actually know what went wrong and what caused that FedEx truck driver to veer off the road into on coming traffic on the other side -- Chris.

CUOMO: A lot of families are going to hang on that information. Stephanie, thanks for staying on it for us.

Let's get to John Berman, in for Michaela for some of today's top stories.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Chris. Thanks so much.

Breaking news out of the Vatican this morning. Pope Francis made his strongest statement to debt on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. In an interview with Vatican radio, he asked for forgiveness for the damage caused by priests who abused children. He committed to moving forward with a stronger position on that issue.

A contentious third day of cross examination for Oscar Pistorius is now over. The murder trial adjourned until Monday. Today, the prosecution methodically questioned the track star about what happened the night that he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The prosecutor accused Pistorius of tailoring his story.

The suspect in Wednesday's deadly hit-and-run accident in Florida is in custody. Robert Corchado turned himself in after police say his SUV hit a car and sent it careening into a day-care center. The crash left a 4-year-old girl and 13 other children and an adult injured. Four children remain hospitalized this morning. One in critical condition.

And normally, a political dodge normally looks much different than this. But check out what happened to Hillary Clinton. She had a shoe thrown at her during a speech in Las Vegas. She had to shift out of the way.

But despite the incident, Mrs. Clinton had a terrific response to the crowd. She was talking about waste management at the time, and she said she didn't realize the topic was so controversial.

And, finally, crossing just moments ago on, I want you to take a look at this. CNN currently working to confirm this story. By that I mean Kate Bolduan, tell us everything.


BOLDUAN: What is there to tell? My husband and I are expecting our first child and we finally are at a place where we are very excited to share you the news and very thankful, because you without even knowing it have probably put up with pretty gnarly morning sickness.

CUOMO: We're painfully aware. It's worth it. Congratulations, Michael.

BERMAN: Congratulations.

CUOMO: We're so happy.

BOLDUAN: We'll have someone else in my household which share our hours.

BERMAN: You'll have to deal with another baby.

BOLDUAN: I've already got one.

CUOMO: Kill the mood. Kill the mood. Uncle Moe is ready to go. This is going to be great.

Few times in your life you can say this is the greatest thing that ever happened. The greatest thing that happens. You're a family now, you and Michael.

BOLDUAN: We're zoo excited. And we have an Uncle Moe. I've always wanted one.

CUOMO: Every kid needs one. This is so great. I haven't been this excited since we had our three own little angels. It's going to be great, can't wait. You're not going to change a bit.


CUOMO: Speaking of change. The search area for Flight 370 has been dramatically reduced. Officials say they're just a few miles away from the back box. So, why aren't they going after it? We'll find out.

BOLDUAN: And the face of Obamacare. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is stepping down of facing brutal scrutiny. Why resign now? We've got much more ahead.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Australia's prime minister saying they are confident the signals they received are from Flight 370's black box, and even more, they know its location within some kilometers, he said.

Let's bring in Bill Nye, the Science Guy, the former avionics engineer who worked at Boeing and a black box manufacturing company.

Perfect to have you on today, Bill. Thanks so much for coming in.

I want to get your take on what the Australian prime minister said. He said they are confident, not only that it is the black box, but that they are within a few kilometers to finding it. Everything you've seen in this investigation, how confident can they be with where they've placed those pings?

BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY: I think it's very good, very likely. We're just all speculating.


NYE: Right? But that frequency is so distinctive that when you hear it, that's got to be what it is.

And just think about everybody just appreciate how extraordinary finding the thing at all is. You get these faint signals on the satellite, not intended to track airplanes doing this crazy maneuver and then you go out looking in the ocean and then you hear those pings. I can tell you from a little bit of time on submarines, you record -- people record the audio, the sound in the motion. The ocean is very noisy. All kind of things making sounds, waves make sounds.

You record it for hours and hours, and then you go back and analyze was that really the ping? Do you think it was really there? So I think these people wouldn't be claiming that they heard it unless they really did.

BOLDUAN: And they believed that the signal is weakening on the black box.

NYE: Yes. That's (INAUDIBLE)

BOLDUAN: What -- but it's already past its projected battery life.

NYE: It shows how well engineered these things are.

BOLDUAN: Exactly what I wanted to ask you about. Let's talk about the engineering of the black box. What's the effect of such a long time, relative live you could say, that the blocks box is at such a depth in the ocean dealing with the elements? What's the impact not only on the box itself but on the signal it was giving out?

NYE: On the pinger. Apparently this is documented. As the pinger gets crushed and its battery gets old, the signal will change frequency a little bit, will get a little lower. That's what's happened. So, it makes it even more reasonable that that's what you're listening. That's the sound that was heard.

So, as everybody says, the sooner you get to it the better. It's a very, very difficult thing. The thing is kilometers -- it's miles straight down.

BOLDUAN: Do you have any concerns of being at this depth for this long?

NYE: No. The black box will be intact. It's a very difficult thing to find. We all take for granted, like let's go out there and find it.

BOLDUAN: With everything you've seen, can you say you are confident they will find it? Do you think they're going to get it?

NYE: Yes. But I don't know they'll find it in the next two weeks. That would be great because at, say, 20 nautical miles a day, 250 miles, within the next couple weeks you would find it. But it's just a big problem.

BOLDUAN: So, they've been using the towed ping locaters, there's a lot probably we aren't being told that they're using the figure out where it is. We know submarines are in the area, we don't know exactly what they're doing. We've got the towed ping locater. We've got the sonobuoys that they put in.

Would you throw anything else at it? Is there another technique, is there another technology, is there another approach to try to narrow it on the search field and locate the pinger that you would suggest? NYE: Well, when you throw out the expression submarine, that's what I would do. Underwater microphones, hydrophones that are well-tuned to this and then I would -- I can imagine somebody writing an algorithm or software that would listen for it especially, that would analyze signals that have already been heard especially well. I can imagine getting people to do that.

But my experience with the navy and with airplane accident investigators, they're so good at it. There's just -- I'm telling you, we all have our own hypotheses about what happened. We can all speculate all day. These people really are experts.

Just think about, they found this place in the ocean to look, thousands of nautical miles from where you would expect the plane to be. I was on your air when we had this piece of debris seen by a Chinese satellite and everybody shrugged their shoulders. Well, that's done. It turns out to be a long way from where you're really looking.

BOLDUAN: Well, I can attest I went up with the New Zealand air force in a search flight and seeing with your own eyes, it shows how amazing it is that they've narrowed it down.

NYE: And while we're throwing out hypotheses, I just want to point out that it's very -- in my experience with accident investigation, this is a long time ago, but it was never one thing. It was one thing that led to another thing. Too bad that also happened. It's too bad that wasn't set up properly, also.

So, it's very reasonable to me that they had bad cockpit disciplines, if I can use that term. Then something went wrong and then the plane just flew until it ran out of gas and it was not a conspiracy, it was not evil doers. It's possible that just a series of bad luck.

BOLDUAN: What's your big lingering questioning right now as the investigation -- as they search and try to locate and narrow in on the black box? What's your big question that you want answered?

NYE: What started it all? That's my lingering question. Why did the plane start to turn around? Why did it take this big, long arc? What was the motivation?

I mean, if you have -- I mean, there's families that are heartbroken and it's really bad. But there's such a mystery. It just drives us all. It's so compelling, right? What started it? What was the beginning of this long series of unfortunate events and the days and days of speculation on, if I may, our part. Everybody in the world is following this story -- a lot of people in the world are following this story closely.

What started it? If you have a 777, you can't just sell parts, you know what I mean? Where did you get that actuator, Dave? Well, I know a guy. That's like --

BOLDUAN: That's why it's so amazing that they've begun to locate any of the debris field. The answer to that question that you have is something that's going to come we assume long after they locate and we can confirm that it is the black box.

NYE: And the ocean is a hard thing to explore. You're in a plane. It's cold, it's corrosive, saltwater, it's corrosive, and it's crushing. I mean, you get at those depths -- as we say, much easier to explore the surface of the moon than the bottom of the ocean. It really is.

BOLDUAN: The search continues. Bill Nye, it's great to see you.

NYE: Thanks. Good morning.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much. Good morning.


CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, she was the face of the failed Obama care roll out, now, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stepping down. Who will replace her? We've got the answer.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone.

Time now for the five things you need to know for your new day.

Number one, according to Australia's prime minister, search teams are within a few miles of pinpointing the exact location of the wreckage of Flight 370.

Ten people were killed when a bus full of high school students collided head on with a truck in an interstate in California. The students were making a college trip to northern California at the time.

A third day of blistering, grueling cross examination for Oscar Pistorius is now over. His murder trial resumes Monday. The prosecution portraying Pistorius as a self-obsessed bully who is now tailoring his story.

The suspect in a deadly hit-and-run crash is due in court this morning. Police say Robert Corchado hit a car and sent it crashing into a day-care center. A 4-year-old girl was killed and several others injured.

A brief scare for Hillary Clinton. She had a shoe thrown at her in a speech in Los Vegas. She took it in stride, joking with the audience about the incident.

Also, Kate Bolduan is pregnant.

We're always updating the five things you need to know for your NEW DAY. So, go to for the latest -- guys.

CUOMO: The bonus six.

BOLDUAN: An extra six for you. BERMAN: Seven.

CUOMO: We're going to keep saying it. We're very proud. We're very happy for you.

BOLDUAN: Still has barely sunk in.