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Final Moments Aboard Doomed Flight; Investigators Focus on Co- Pilot's Mental State; Forensic Teams Identify at Least 80 Victims; Iran Nuclear Talks running Out of Time. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired March 30, 2015 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The captain is heard screaming, "For God's sake, open the door."
[05:58:53] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Information apparently leaked from the cockpit voice recorder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounds to me he was hand flying the airplane.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would the co-pilot have been prescribed both an anti-psychotic and anti-depressant?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two more days to reach a deal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Iran is demanding all United Nations sanctions be lifted immediately.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iran has got to take a deep breath and make some tough decisions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George, George, George, George.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a yes or no question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't hate in our state!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't hate in our state!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't hate in our state!
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Alisyn Camerota and Michaela Pereira.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Monday, March 30, 6 a.m. in the East. We have new information explaining how the co-pilot wound up alone in the cockpit of Flight 9525. The final moments as the plane goes down, moments that make clear who was doing what, especially the captain, the attempts to reach the 27-year-old co-pilot as well as a call from air-traffic control about why the plane was descending.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: It's just chilling. And this as newly- uncovered video surfaces of Andreas Lubitz as a teenager, training to fly and seeming happy. So what medical condition or issue could have made this co-pilot crash the plane and kill 149 people?
We have this story covered only the way CNN can. And we begin with senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen, live in Cologne, Germany -- Fred.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And Alisyn, good morning.
One of the things that we're hearing from that transcript is that this flight apparently started off fairly normally. It was about 20 minutes delayed. However, there are early indications from that transcript that perhaps the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, from the very beginning was trying to set his captain up to leave the cockpit as fast as possible.
Let's have a look at this chilling new transcript.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Over the weekend, disturbing new details from Flight 9525's mangled cockpit voice recorder, published by German newspaper "Bild."
BILL WALDOCK, PROFESSOR, EMBRY-RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIVERSITY: The transcript was leaked way too early in an investigation.
PLEITGEN: The leaked transcript, criticized as mere voyeurism by French investigators, captures the steps 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz took to kill all 150 on board.
Around 10 a.m., the plane takes off from Barcelona. The captain then tells Lubitz he didn't go to the bathroom in Barcelona, and Lubitz replies, "Go any time."
Around 10:27, the plane reaches 38,000 feet, cruising altitude. The captain asks Lubitz to prepare for the landing, and after the check, Lubitz repeats, "You can go now."
Then the captain is heard getting up and saying, "You can take over."
Lubitz, now alone with the door locked, reprograms the autopilot from 38,000 feet to 100 feet, sending the jetliner straight towards the Alps, dropping around 3,000 feet a minute.
Air traffic control tries to contact the plane but receives no answer.
An alarm goes off inside the cockpit warning, "Sink rate." Then a loud bang on the door, the captain screaming, "For God's sake, open the door." Passengers are also heard screaming.
Five minutes before impact, more bangs can be heard, metallic noises as if someone was trying to knock the door down.
Ninety seconds later, another alarm goes off, warning, "Terrain, pull up." The captain again screams, "Open the damn door."
Two minutes before impact, the paper reports Lubitz can be heard breathing, the plane now only 13,000 feet from the ground.
10:40 a.m., investigators believe they hear the plane's right wing scrape a mountaintop then screams once more from the 149 on board. Lubitz apparently stays silent.
PLEITGEN: And of course, we have no way of independently verifying this newspaper report. However, the French investigator, the BEA, has come out and voiced its dismay that this information was leaked. It, however, did not deny that the information that was disclosed is, in fact, accurate -- Michaela.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Fred. Thank you.
Meanwhile, troubling details also emerging now about Andreas Lubitz's long struggle with mental health problems. This as new video surfaces of the troubled co-pilot training to fly as a teen.
For this part of the story, we turn to CNN's Pamela Brown. She's live from Dusseldorf, Germany -- Pamela.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning to you. We've been speaking to people who knew Andreas Lubitz. We kept hearing again and again that he'd wanted to be a pilot since childhood. And now, CNN has obtained this brand-new video, showing Lubitz flying as a teenager. This video is from 2007. It shows him smiling, laughing, obviously very enthusiastic to be flying.
This is in stark contrast to what we're learning about him just a couple years later, according to the "Le Parisien" newspaper. In 2009, he started developing severe depression symptoms. He had a generalized anxiety disorder. And in 2010, the newspaper says, he was taking anti-psychotic medical injections. CNN has not been able to independently confirm this reporting.
But in addition to the psychological treatment, he apparently was receiving, we have learned that he was also being treated for some sort of vision problems.
Publicly, officials will not comment on that. But we know from the prosecutor, and I'm standing right outside the prosecutor's office here in Dusseldorf, that there were doctor's notes found inside of his apartment for the day that he apparently crashed the plane into the French Alps. This is doctor's notes excusing him from work for whatever reason. We don't know exactly what that is.
Also, reportedly, there were anti-depressants found inside his apartment. We know investigators have been in and out, taking out boxes of evidence. And "Bild" newspaper here in Germany also interviewed one of his ex-
girlfriends, who said he had two very different sides to his personality. On one hand, he was very sweet, needy of attention. On the other hand, he was very aggressive and worried about losing his job.
We hope to hear more from the prosecutor here in Germany today.
Back to you, Alisyn.
[06:05:03] CAMEROTA: Gosh, Pamela, the more we hear, it seems the mystery just deepens. Thanks so much for all of that.
CAMEROTA: Well, the grim task of recovering the remains of victims and debris continues at the crash site, forensic teams identifying at least 80 victims. Let's get right to CNN's Erin McLaughlin. She is near the crash site -- Erin.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, recovery workers say they've made good progress, though this is still an agonizing wait for the families. According to French media reports, the prosecutor says that human remains from 70 to 80 of the victims have been identified so far using DNA analysis. And I say human remains, because authorities here say not a single whole body from the crash site has been recovered.
The plane was absolutely obliterated on impact, the wreckage strewn across hundreds of meters. In fact, locals are expressing doubts that they'll ever be able to recover all of the remains, that these victims will be forever a part of this landscape.
And so the families have expressed their desire to visit the crash site, right now only accessible by chopper. And so the local mayor says they're in the process of building a road to this site. It will be suitable, he says, for foot traffic within the day, suitable for vehicles within weeks.
Meanwhile, the families have been coming here to this memorial site that you see behind me, currently blocked by police vehicles, to give the families from around the world maximum privacy to be able to lay flowers and to mourn their loved ones, Chris.
CUOMO: All right, Erin, so especially difficult for families. In situations like this, all you want is the ability to bury your loved one, and very many will not get that opportunity. That's what investigators are saying right now. So our thoughts are with those -- prayers -- our thoughts are with those families.
And that sentiment is also what's fuelling the fascination with understanding why this happens, so we can stop it from happening again.
David Soucie, CNN safety analyst, former FAA safety inspector, joins us this morning; as well as Ms. Mary Schiavo, CNN aviation analyst, former inspector general for the U.S. Department of Transportation. Good morning to you both.
Mary, when we understand what is being communicated, is it clear that the plane was doing what it was supposed to do; the pilot was doing what he was supposed to do; and it's all about the co-pilot not doing what he was supposed to do? Is that clear now?
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, that is clear. There were lots of reports, for example, the day before there was some sort of maintenance on the nose gear and all those. Those things are just noise at this point. It's clear the plane was performing exactly as it should.
And then we also know that since they had dialed in the descent rate, it would have been a controlled, steady descent rate; and the pilot going to the restroom and the passengers would not have noticed the start of the descent.
CUOMO: David, do we know whether the pilot, the captain, was trying to punch in the code to get in?
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: We don't know yet, because on this airplane, it may not even be on the flight data recorder, even if we did recover that. So we don't know at this point. There is no way to know that from the CVR.
CUOMO: And just to be clear, even if the captain had been trying to punch in that code, the co-pilot could have defeated his efforts very easily. How?
SOUCIE: All he has to do at that point, once that happens, he puts -- punches in the code. For 30 seconds the beeper is going off, and during that 30 seconds, he can simply lock the door.
CUOMO: All right. So now we are all in agreement that this is about the co-pilot and what was going on in his head and heart that went wrong and led him to do this.
Here's what we know. Let's put up the graphic, because it's all about his condition. All right. Alone in the cockpit. All right. You got that. Treated for psychological condition, sought treatment for vision problem. Doctor's notes excused him from work. Anti- depressants found in the apartment. We don't know enough about the vision stuff for a second. Let's put that to the side. It may have been more fuel to his depression, Mary.
But let me ask you a provocative condition here. Everything that was going on with his treatment and what he had to say and what he didn't have to say, aren't we vulnerable to the exact same event in the United States?
SCHIAVO: Oh, yes. I mean, and it's pretty much worldwide. Pilots are expected to self-report problems. Now, you have your initial physical. But at your physicals -- and here we have different levels of physical. And these, of course, would take the highest level. Commercial airline pilots get the Class I, but you can fly with a Class III medical. And what you have to do is you go through the physical exam, and it can be -- it can be, like, an hour or 90 minutes. But then they ask you questions about your psychological health.
And then, by the way, if something develops after you've gotten your medical license, it's completely up to you to self-disclose. And by the way, we do drug testing in the United States of America but only for certain illegal drugs.
CUOMO: That's right.
SCHIAVO: So drug tests wouldn't have disclosed the psychological treatment.
CUOMO: Now David, we have the two-people-in-the-cockpit rule. But to be fair, you know, if you're this intent on getting something done, somebody else in the cockpit may not be able to stop you. So it goes to early warning systems.
And let's put up the graphic of what we don't know.
[06:10:02] We don't know the exact nature of the psychological or even the vision problems; what anti-depressants he was on; whether he was taking his medication; and whether this crash was premeditated. They don't have any proof that it was premeditated, except that we know he was dealing with a lot of.
Do you think that, given the vulnerability of innocent people to those who are flying the plane, you should change this self-reporting in the industry and make it something more invasive of knowing what's going on with a pilot's mental health?
SOUCIE: Yes, I do. And there already is that mechanism, but it was not exercised in this particular accident. FAR, Federal Aviation Regulation 67 -- I think it's 107, talks about that, in order to have this certificate, you agree to give access to the FAA, if requested, all of your medical records, if necessary.
CUOMO: If requested.
CUOMO: If requested. They have to request it.
SOUCIE: Yes, if requested. And that's the problem.
CUOMO: Right, so that's the problem. How do you know to ask for it...
CUOMO: ... if you don't know what's going on in the first place, right, Mary? You have the HIPAA laws here. That's the big thing. That's what protects all of us. Is it time for re-thinking that and re-thinking what the early warning is and how families can help those who are in distress and loved ones and can communicate it, especially when someone has other people's lives in their hands. SCHIAVO: Yes, it is time to re-think it. And it's been an issue
internationally for some time. The International Civil Aviation Organization -- we often refer to as ICAO -- has said for some time that we need to re-visit this. Because there have been -- not a lot; you can count them on the fingers of a couple hands -- but there have been prior international aviation passenger crashes where the plane has been intentionally downed. So ICAO has been on this for quite some time. And it may be as simple as requiring initial and then periodic psychological exams. Because if this was as severe as it appears, I think an exam would have surfaced it.
CUOMO: Maybe. You hope so. David, final word.
SOUCIE: Yes, the HIPAA doesn't apply here, because they've given up that right when they get their pilot's certificate to the FAA. So that's something we need to make sure of. But yes, absolutely, we need to get this changed.
CUOMO: You are right. But here's why I bring it up. If you didn't have HIPAA in place at all, the doctors could be required to directly report to the employer. And that they're not doing right now. So it requires the employer to ask for the records from the pilot and/or the doctor, but that assumes knowledge that maybe they don't have.
Why am I bringing this up today when this happened in Germany? The same thing could happen here. Our healthcare system does not have early warning for mental illness the way it should. There's a congressman who's trying to change it. He's being fought. Maybe this incident will change things. He's on the show today. We're going to have the discussion.
David Soucie, Mary Schiavo, thank you very much -- Mick.
PEREIRA: All right, Chris.
A potential deal-breaker that could doom nuclear talks with Iran. Iran's lead negotiator says the country is not willing to ship a large stockpile of atomic fuel to Russia. That is a key demand of the P5 plus 1. All this with the deadline of a framework of a deal just a day away. The State Department is pushing back against the comments from Iran.
CAMEROTA: We have some breaking news out of Florida. At least eight people are dead and ten others hurt after a church van they were riding in crashed into a canal. This happened shortly before midnight in the town of Moore Haven. We're told the van drove through a stop sign before that crash.
CUOMO: Guess what? We now know the Final Four. A heart-stopping weekend of NCAA tournament basketball. You've got No. 1 seeded Duke advancing to their 16th Final Four, 66-52 victory over Gonzaga. Zags were tough, though. They're going to face the 7th seeded Michigan State Spartans. They outlasted Louisville in overtime, basically, 76- 70.
The other Final Four matchup, Kentucky-Wisconsin. That's a big game. A lot of horse power on those teams. That's Saturday night. And in a clear indication that picking brackets has nothing to do with understanding basketball, CNN's least sporty couple atop the leaderboard..
Alisyn "I Picked Based on Uniform Color" Camerota...
CUOMO: ... tied with Dr. Sanjay "I Look at Team Cholesterol Grouping" Gupta atop the CNN anchor bracket competition.
PEREIRA: It is really devastating. It's devastating. You're two for two in our wagers here.
CAMEROTA: Maybe -- maybe I'm a secret sports savant that nobody knew, including myself.
PEREIRA: Maybe, or I need to meet your husband.
CAMEROTA: You actually need to meet Jennifer Rivera's brother.
PEREIRA: Oh, really?
CAMEROTA: He's the one -- my beloved producer, Jennifer Rivera, her brother, Abdiel (ph), picked my bracket; and it is working.
CUOMO: Clear -- two things. Clear violation.
CUOMO: You're supposed to pick it yourself.
CUOMO: She didn't. Two, no shame.
CUOMO: She admits she didn't pick her bracket, but she's winning.
CAMEROTA: What do I win? Just out of curiosity.
CUOMO: Spirit of the game. Spankings, they say. Fifty. Across the top of the head, back of the shoulders.
CAMEROTA: That's too bad.
PEREIRA: I did not pick these.
CUOMO: You didn't read that part, did you? (UNINTELLIGIBLE) will get you.
CAMEROTA: Darn it.
All right. Let us know how your brackets are doing. Meanwhile, one of our top stories. Time is running out in the nuclear
talks with Iran. As we've been telling you, there is a sudden snag with one day left to get an agreement. Are the talks on the verge of falling apart?
CUOMO: All right. The Indiana religious freedom law. Everybody's talking about it. Is it really anti-gay? Indiana's governor says no and insists he's not backing down. We'll take you through it. You decide.
[06:19:07] CAMEROTA: Significant road blocks at the 11th hour of the Iran nuclear negotiations, all sides still trying to hammer out a framework ahead of tomorrow's deadline. So what will it take to secure a deal, and what happens if there is no deal?
Hillary Mann Leverett has negotiated with Iran as a former member of the National Security Council under presidents Clinton and George W. Bush. She's also, though, the co-author of "Going to Tehran: Why America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran." Also with us is Peter Beinart. He is a CNN political commentator and contributing editor with Atlantic Media. Great to see both of you.
Peter, let me start with you. Let's talk about what the "New York Times" is reporting this morning. They say that, at this late hour, Iran is reneging on part of a deal, and that is to ship their that atomic fuel out of the country to Russia so they would not -- it would not be accessible any longer to Iran. But Iran no longer wants to do that. What do you make of this development?
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there might be some who would say that they could keep the oil in Iran but turn it into a form that would be unusable or very, very difficult to use to make a nuclear weapon. But regardless of that, I think this makes it harder. If this is really the Iranians' position, I think it puts the Obama administration and its European allies in a difficult position.
Already, this deal was going to be controversial enough. But if they are perceived as taking a step backwards and accepting something that they have not accepted in the past, I think it makes the politics that much harder.
CAMEROTA: That is key to this issue. Hillary, let me bring you in, because what our own CNN global affairs analyst, Elise Labott, says it is different reporting than the "New York Times" does. She says that they hadn't yet decided anything about that fuel being shipped to another country. So they're not reneging.
HILLARY MANN LEVERETT, FORMER MEMBER OF NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Right.
CAMEROTA: They just hadn't gotten to that part of the negotiation yet. Either way, let me play -- let me read to you what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said about this deal yesterday. He says, "This deal as it appears to be emerging, bears out all of our fears, and even more than that." What do you make of where we are with this deal?
MANN LEVERETT: Well, you know, it is very interesting. There have been senior U.S. administration officials and European diplomats backgrounding other members of the press, aside from "The New York Times," I think for the past 24 hours, trying to push back that story. That they have actually gotten to this issue about the fuel, but that there are many different ways to handle it, and there never had been an agreement. So it's not an issue of the Iranians reneging. U.S. administration officials are saying that, I think, as clearly as they can.
The issue here, I think, is in terms of political will, particularly on the American side. And here I'm not specifically talking about -- though it's an important issue -- sanctions, really, for the Iranians.
I'm talking about President Obama's real failure to articulate to the American people and to our allies, what is at stake here for the United States. Why having a fundamentally different relationship, constructive relationship with Iran is fundamentally in U.S. interests?
So far President Obama has portrayed it as essentially Americans are wary. We don't want to pursue a course of policy anymore, because we're tired. And this would be -- this would actually be good for the Iranians, bring them back into the international community.
That's not a sell. That's not a sell here in the United States, and it's certainly not going to sell to our allies.
In that atmosphere, you have, I think, Prime Minister Netanyahu talking about this as an extreme disaster for humanity. He's hosted the Senate Republican leader, the majority leader, Mitch McConnell; the speaker of the House, Speaker Boehner, there to really plot with the Republicans in Congress how to stop this deal or to punish the Obama administration if they go forward.
CAMEROTA: Peter, let's talk about what Hillary just raised. Because basically, she's saying that President Obama hasn't done a good job of selling this deal to the American people. But if you just polled an average American out on the street and said, "Should Iran have nuclear weapons," it would say no. What more does the American public need to know about the deal?
BEINART: Well, the debate is really would this deal make it impossible for them to get nuclear weapons, or, as Benjamin Netanyahu has said, would it pave the way for them to get nuclear weapons?
I agree with Hillary. I don't think the Obama administration has done a particularly good job of selling this. On the other hand, Netanyahu's efforts to destroy the deal made it such a partisan issue that it may make it easier for President Obama to keep Democrats on board as this fight goes to Congress.
CAMEROTA: Hillary, if this deal does not happen in the next 24 hours, then what? MANN LEVERETT: Well, it would be, I think, a significant problem for
the United States. Our policies in the Middle East are in freefall. You see us spiraling out of control in Iraq, Syria, Libya now Yemen. There's no way the United States can re-capture its strategic position, can recover from this dysfunction and incoherence in our policy without a better relationship with eastern. Then the beneficiaries are going to be Russia and china, who are already making strategic inroads with Iran.
CAMEROTA: There is always a question about sanctions, what level of sanctions should they be from the U.S.? Should they be from the U.N.? Here is what House Speaker John Boehner told our Dana Bash this weekend about sanctions. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If there is no agreement, how quickly will you move to further sanctions against Iran in the House?
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Very.
BASH: Like days, minutes? Hours?
BOEHNER: Very quickly.
The sanctions were working. They would have never come to the table. In fact they should have kept the sanctions in place so that we could have gotten a real agreement. The sanctions are going to come, and they're going to come quick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Peter, what do you think happens next?
BEINART: I think that imposing new sanctions would be a disaster.
BEINART: What I think Speaker Boehner gets wrong is that the Iranian regime is divided. Rouhani was elected to bring sanctions relief to improve the Iranian economy. And he is someone who has been interested in a
[06:25:03] If you make him a failure by imposing new sanctions, you don't make it more likely that Iran comes to the table. You destroy his wing of the Iranian regime, and you strengthen those in the Iranian regime -- and there are legions -- who don't want any deal at all.
So I think sanctions at this point actually put us closer to the path to war. They don't create an environment where Iran is going to make more concessions.
CAMEROTA: Hillary, 10 seconds, is this going to happen tomorrow? Are we going to have a deal? MANN LEVERETT: You know, we -- I think it will go down to the wire,
and I think the focus will be on U.N. sanctions, on international guarantees, because the United States' position here is pretty wobbly.
CAMEROTA: Hillary Mann Leverett, Peter Beinart, thanks so much...
BEINART: Thank you.
MANN LEVERETT: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: ... for all the content. Let's get over to Chris.
CUOMO: All right, Alisyn.
Indiana's governor claims his state's new religious freedom law is not about discrimination. But some major corporations and a lot of other people disagree. And now that measure is costing the state millions of dollars as a result. Will the governor back down?
PEREIRA: And in the wake of the French Alps crash, mental health examinations of pilots are coming under scrutiny. Should doctors be required to report potential problems?
CUOMO: We have new information about what happened in the cockpit of Flight 9525. Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz is heard on the cockpit voice recorder, urging the pilot to use the bathroom.