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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Search for Flight 370; Officials: Plane May Have Flown 4-5 Hours; Flight 370 Search Expanding To Indian Ocean
Aired March 13, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
There is no other way of saying it. In the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 developments today could change everything.
As we speak U.S. naval assets taking part in the search, ships from the Seventh Fleet and Navy aircraft are redirecting their focus in a totally new direction toward the vast open waters of the Indian Ocean.
Now at the same time investigators are re-examining everything they thought they knew about what could have happened on and off the flight deck and where the Boeing 777 with 239 people on board could be. Experts are even considering the possibility it could be intact on the ground after a hijacking. And if that last scenario seems unlikely, you should know that tonight it is possible.
That's because according to investigators, everything is on the table. In fact, officials now believe the plane might have been sending out electronic signals or pings four to five hours after its radar beacons stops transmitting.
And tonight we've just learned that U.S. officials believe that this radar beacon or transponder was shut down separately from the data stream to the system that continued sending out those empty pings 14 minutes apart. That could be extremely significant. And American investigators telling ABC News that the two modes of communication were, quote, "systematically shut down," which makes for a very big hour ahead starting with our Jim Clancy.
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 2200 nautical miles. That's how much farther U.S. officials say Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 might have flown after losing contact early Saturday morning. Investigators now believe flight information from the Boeing 777's engines continued to broadcast automatically for as many as four hours after it went missing. But Malaysian officials are denying this, at least publicly.
HISHAMMUDDIN BIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN ACTING MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION: Those reports are inaccurate. The last transmission from the aircraft was at 0107, which indicated everything was normal.
CLANCY: In a hint the focus of the search might be shifting west, India has dispatched two ships to the eastern Indian Ocean, and U.S. ships involved with the operation are steaming toward the same area to help with the expanding search area.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's my understanding that based on some new information that's not necessarily conclusive but new information, an additional search area may be opened in the Indian Ocean. And we are consulting with international partners about the appropriate assets to deploy.
CLANCY: The Malaysian military said Wednesday an unidentified plane turned up on their radar about 200 miles northwest of the Island of Penang, adding to the theory Flight 370 made a sharp turn re-crossing the peninsula before disappearing. But Malaysian officials have been careful not to speculate if this blip is in fact the missing jet.
Officials have come under criticism from other countries for giving confusing statements and withholding critical information. Today they pushed back.
HUSSEIN: Malaysia has nothing to hide. We have spared no expense and no effort. We have followed protocols as stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization since the incident began.
CLANCY: Adding to the already growing mystery, aircraft and ships sit to an area where three Chinese satellite images showed what appeared to be large floating objects off the coast of Vietnam. They found nothing. The Chinese government later said those images were released by mistake.
Six days in, 43 ships and 40 aircraft are desperately scouring tens of thousands of miles around the clock. Both on land and at sea, and refuse to quit until this mystery is solved.
COOPER: And we're going to talk to a Navy commander shortly.
Jim Clancy joins us right now from Kuala Lumpur.
So have Malaysian authorities given any comment since early this morning, since this new information has come out that it wasn't actual data being sent to the satellite but rather a series of pings?
CLANCY: Well, they haven't made any direct comment yet this morning. Still very early here. But they're going to be pressed on this again.
CNN reported on Wednesday that a high-level air force source has told us that that radar track showed this plane heading out, making a sharp turn coming back across the coast of -- the peninsula of Malaysia and heading straight toward the Indian Ocean. That's on radar.
I'm not sure about all the talk about the data being sent back, but the radar record is clear, Anderson. And officials here have not disputed that. What they have said is they were waiting for the NTSB and the FAA to look at all of the radar records. They've got multiple radar stations that were tracking an unidentified aircraft on that flight path right after Flight 370 simply vanished into thin air -- Anderson. COOPER: Jim, stay with us because I want to bring more voices to bear on this conversation. Chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto and Barbara Starr broke today's blockbuster news on those data pings.
Jim is with us tonight, so is Richard Quest, who recently spent time on a Malaysia Air 777 flight deck.
Jim, let's start with you. The shift west to searching the Indian Ocean, it's not just one clue, correct? But a compilation of multiple clues, correct?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's my understanding. It is these pings, that's one. And we have some new information on the pings. The idea that they were not sending data about the engines but they were at least giving a location of that plane. And what analysts did is they looked at all the other planes in that area which had transponders on as planes would normally. This one does not.
And they determined that this plane had no corresponding transponder and therefore concluded that this must be the missing plane that had turned its transponder off.
But you talk about other clues. It's my understanding that they've pieced together several clues which makes them turn their direction to the west, to the Indian Ocean. The other one being the key information really that radar track that they've had from the Malaysian Air Force for some days now that showed the plane going north and then taking that southwesterly turn.
And remember, they've had time now over the last couple of days to further analyze that radar data. I've talked to experts. And they say that reading this radar data is more art than science. You got a lot of noise out there. And they analyze the pings from the radar. And they've gotten more confidence that that is tracking this particular plane. They combine that radar data with the pings that we're talking about now, satellite data, as well as a sense of the range that circle you're seeing now on the map based on the fuel in the fuel tanks of that plane. And that's where they get this -- where they get this search area.
You know, it was traveling southwest. It could have turned which would expand the search area. But as you say, exactly right, Anderson, it's a combination of clues that leads them in that direction.
COOPER: Richard, what do you make of these developments?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: This is extraordinary. Nothing ever seen like this before. That search area, it looks horrendous.
QUEST: When you put it as one big circle. But of course, if they have got these pings they are following a series of not so much tracks but they can narrow it down. They are not going to be willy-nilly searching the entire spectrum of the Indian Ocean. They will have a much more defined area within that ocean of where they expect it to be.
And what we're really getting to grips with here is, clearly we are seeing that the U.S. authorities, the NTSB, the FAA, the experts who have now got the raw data and are now bringing to bear enormous experience in interpreting this art not science routine of looking at what is out there. And that's really what we're looking at now.
COOPER: It's not U.S. officials looking really at their own data or their own -- from our understanding is, it's they're finally got their hands on the raw data from Malaysian authorities.
QUEST: We haven't been told exactly whose data but that's a fair assumption we're talking about the data that is there.
QUEST: And also don't forget, a lot of this data is about satellite information is often about but it's not recognized for what it is. And they don't get to grips with it until several days after. What I think is going to be crucial in the hours ahead is how the Malaysians explain the fact that they have been saying until now there's been no data at all. And how they can say as they did this morning that there was no ACARS data that Boeing and the Americans and Rolls Royce haven't said anything.
Clearly there has been an element of information which has not been revealed or been made public.
COOPER: Jim, you're on the ground there. I mean, in terms of officials there who are leading this investigation, is coordination getting any better? Is transparency getting any better?
CLANCY: In all fairness, the Malaysians have said yes, there is a radar track that shows this plane traveling west into the Indian Ocean since early on, on Saturday. They dispatched a C-130 to search that area on the northern end of the -- Strait of Malacca. And the reason is, as they explain it, they did not know for sure whether this was Flight 370.
Now in the middle of the week when we asked them about our source and the way that this plane was headed, they said they had to reconcile that, they had to get all of this data together. They could not be sure and they were not willing to dismiss the search in other areas just based on this once radar track that they had. But clearly early on they were concerned enough to send a plane up and search in that area.
COOPER: Jim Sciutto, let's talk, though, about these new developments. Potentially very significant that the systems were shut down or shut off separately, which makes it -- I mean, it makes it more likely from a lot of people who have spoken on this that the plane was affected by some kind of human action. You've been checking with intelligence sources. What are officials saying about that possibility that they were intentionally shut down, and are they still holding out the possibility that those were just mechanically -- that those were shut down automatically somehow?
SCIUTTO: They're holding out every possibility at this point because they have to, right? They haven't determined anything definitively. They're still gathering the clues. I mean, from the beginning I've had a consistent view read from intelligence officials when it comes to the terror angle them saying we have nothing to indicate terrorism but we haven't ruled it out. But that's not -- that's just one explanation, of course. Mechanical failure or something, a plane suicide -- a pilot suicide, rather, like we saw with the EgyptAir flight.
I brought and I have here the device that shows how easy it is to turn off that transponder in there which would take a human decision but it's very easy. Just flip the switch. Transponder is off. And that -- you know, but that requires a human being to do that. And the idea that it would happen separately, these two systems, you know, obviously adds some -- you know, add some weight to that theory but they haven't concluded that's the explanation.
COOPER: Right. The second system I understand -- we're going to talk to experts about this coming up -- is that there's a circuit breaker that could even be used to turn off the second form of transmission device. But again, minutes apart, it seems, at least some 20 minutes or so.
We're going to talk more about that coming up.
Jim appreciate it, Richard Quest as well.
We should take a quick moment to say that we are exploring a lot of scenarios tonight. We're doing our best to try to delineate which are plausible, which are possible and which are likely.
With that in mind I want to bring in airline pilot Ron Brown, also national security analyst Fran Townsend, former White House homeland security adviser and current member of the DHS and CIA External Advisory Boards. Also aviation journalist and former NTSB member John Goglia.
Appreciate all you being with us.
Ron, you've flown in the region for years. What does this new information tell you?
RON BROWN, AIRLINE PILOT: Well, this new information is kind of going back to what I said to you last night. Remember I said there's three factors -- the airplane, the crew, which is talking about the pilots, and an outside force intervening. And remember I said to you that when you program the FMS, which is the Flight Management System, to make a flight, it's going to fly that flight unless some human being changes that flight pattern. So when you lost the transponder, which last night I told you specifically that somebody turned it off. Who did, that's another story. But it was turned off.
COOPER: You're saying it couldn't be mechanical failure.
BROWN: Now they have knowledge -- exactly. You're 100 percent right. It was not mechanical failure. It was a human being turning it off.
COOPER: And you say you can know that definitively why?
BROWN: Well, because you have two transponders. And if one stops working, you go to the second one. So to have a redundant system and both of them not operating, that means it was done by some human being.
COOPER: John, you also think if this new information pans out that human intervention is involved here.
JOHN GOGLIA, FORMER BOARD MEMBER, NTSB: Certainly the sequence of events leads one to believe that there was somebody sequentially turning things off in that airplane. I mean, there's just no other conclusion. I agree with several of the previous witnesses saying that.
COOPER: John, is there an explanation of why a human would do that that is not malicious, that concern about some sort of a short? Concern -- is there reason why somebody on board that aircraft wouldn't turn off that transponder, shut down the circuit breaker for the other means of communication?
GOGLIA: The only reason that I can think of that anyone would do that would be if there was smoke in the cockpit and it was suspected to be an electrical fire. And they wouldn't make an essentially a left turn. They would make a U turn. And they would go to the nearest field. So very, very unlikely in this scenario.
COOPER: Fran, what do you make of this? I mean --
COOPER: Sorry, go ahead, Ron.
BROWN: What he was talking about is understandable. But the ACARS was still working. And the individual that had the transponders turned off had the knowledge of that machinery in the cockpit but did not have the knowledge of knowing that the ACARS would still be working and how to pull the circuit breakers to stop them from transmitting.
That's the reason for four hours that you got signals. So this is really a point of somebody in the cockpit that had knowledge of how the airplane works but not enough knowledge to know how to stop everything and keep the electricity on. Because you need the electrical system working so the airplane can fly. You can't turn it off like you can smaller old airplanes that were piston-driven where you could actually turn off the electrical. You can't do that in these modern jets.
COOPER: Fran, what do you make of this? I mean, the mind obviously immediately turns to terrorism as a possibility. Just based on if these devices are being shut off, with time apart and shut off according to both these gentlemen, it would probably -- it would be a human being doing that.
FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: That's right, Anderson. And so I think -- we're beginning to get a sense of confidence, if you will, in the ever-changing fact pattern here that it was human intervention, that this was not a catastrophic event. But that doesn't necessarily lead me to believe it was an act of terrorism.
I mean, you know, the director of CIA earlier this week said he hasn't taken that off the table. And I think you just need to know more. And what you want more than anything is the cockpit recorder.
You know, it sounds to me -- it's reminiscent of EgyptAir 990 where the pilot intentionally downs the plane. But in that case when we got the flight data recorder you heard the screaming in the cockpit, you heard the other people trying to stop it. In this instance where the flight -- where these were both turned off, not at the same time but separated by 15 minutes, and the plane remains in the air, you can only imagine -- we don't know but a scenario where one of the -- you know, the copilot had left the cockpit to use the restroom or some other reason.
If an individual had wanted to take control and locked himself behind a reinforced cockpit door, he would have had the time alone in the cockpit to do the sorts of things that we now understand happened and fly that plane for four hours or more. But a terrorist would have had a target. They would have flown it to a place. They would have wanted -- they wouldn't have just taken the plane for the sake of taking it and then downing it.
They would have had a reason and they would have had some target in mind. And certainly with four hours in the air there were plenty of potential targets in the area that they could have flown to.
COOPER: Ron, is it -- is it possible given that there was about seven hours of fuel on board that this plane could have gotten somewhere to actually land? I mean, can you land a plane without large numbers of people knowing it or some sort of ground base radar picking it up?
BROWN: In that part of the world, that is very possible. Now understand this. With the fuel that was on board, it can be anywhere from Sri Lanka, Colombo all the way up to Pakistan and Bangladesh. The whole Indian east side coast, that airplane had quite a range.
And I think in all honesty that a captain that has the responsibility of everybody's lives on board would do his best to make sure that everybody stays alive as long as possible. And if someone was forcing him to fly that airplane, he would do that and he would go anywhere he needed to go to make sure everybody stayed alive as long as possible. Now, me being in that situation, flying an airplane, I'm thinking about the people that are behind me. Because their hearts are in my hand. And that's my responsibility just like a heart surgeon. And you think about those people back there. And you try to make sure that you take care of them the best that you can.
COOPER: Ron Brown, appreciate you being on. Jim Goglia as well, Fran Townsend.
Let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter @Andersoncooper. I'm tweeting about this using #ac360.
Again -- I mean, that's what's so bizarre about this. Usually on day six of the search that the grid is smaller, there's general sense of where to look this. This thing just expanded exponentially. It just got a whole lot larger.
Coming up next, we're going to dig deeper into the electronics behind tonight's breaking news because it is very confusing. There's all different systems that a plane uses to communicate. There's primary radar, there's secondary radar, there's this ADSB system, there's the ACAR system.
We're going to look at all of that and all the different ways a 777 can communicate with the outside world and how, as Jim Sciutto demonstrated, those can be silenced.
Later also what it takes to locate wreckage at sea. Why other searches succeed, why this one could be the most challenging one yet.
COOPER: Breaking news tonight, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 may have kept sending electronic signals for as many as five hours after ground controllers lost contact with it. Then officials tell us two communication systems were turned off 14 or so minutes apart. That said, the 777 is packed with devices for talking, if you will, with the outside world or communicating with the outside world which is not so easy to make them in so many words shut down or shut up.
Tom Foreman's been looking into the electronic angle. He joins us now.
So walk us through this. How could a plane like this not just disappear but also leave no trail of communications?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is not easy, Anderson, because these things, they are flying communication stations. Look inside the cockpit of this plane. It is packed with ways to communicate. We've talked an awful lot about the transponder system that's right down here, the radio down here. There are a lot of ways to communicate. And if I can bring in a model of the plane itself we can talk about where they are on the plane and why these are so effective in normal times.
Start with that radio system we were just talking about there. If you look at the nose of this plane in the cockpit you find the radio. It's a normal radio system used all the time. They used it right before this plane disappeared. And yet not a peep afterward. If you had a big fire, if you had some kind of depressurization, the masks that the pilots would wear up there actually have microphones built in that they can key easily to send a message out. And yet not a peep.
On the underside of the front of the plane, the avionics bay, that's where you'll find the equipment that runs these transponders we're talking about that basically talks in radar terms. A radar hits the plane and says I see a plane. This essentially responds and says yes, you do see a plane and the plane is Malaysian Air and this is where we are and this is where we're going, Anderson.
So right up front you have a lot of systems communicating with the ground.
COOPER: And -- I mean, there's obviously the flight data recorders. But at this point they're not any help, right?
FOREMAN: They're not any help at all right now.
FOREMAN: The flight data recorder is a fantastic piece of equipment.
Let me roll this plane around and show you where that's located because the flight data recorder is in the back of the plane. And you can take a close look at it there. That's the voice recorder located back there as well, the lines run back to it. That system will record virtually everything this plane is doing, every position of every control, every movement it makes, every buffet of wind it feels. But you're correct.
They're no good until you can get to them. That's why you have to look at things likes the ACAR system which is transmitting information from things like the engines, spinning it out so that people can see fuel consumption, all sorts of things like that.
The question, of course, Anderson, as you're asking tonight, is what are you getting from ACARS?
Tom, appreciate that.
I want to dig deeper on that now with John Hansman who's a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. Also former Department of Transportation -- former Department of Transportation inspector general Mary Schiavo, who currently represents transportation accident victims and their families.
Professor, let me start with you. We just heard about the radar which is one of the most obvious ways of communicating. There's also the radio. Then there's also primary radar and secondary radar that transponder that we heard about. Can you just zero in a little bit on the ADSB system and also the ACAR system? And just explain those -- how those work? Because those are the other ways of communicating.
Sure. So what the ADSB system is, is it's another way for air traffic control to know where the airplane is. So the airplane navigates with its GPS or other navigation systems. And once a second it broadcasts out a little e-mail message that says here's my location. Here's my location. Here's my location. And that's being used commonly around both the U.S. and around the world as a backup or a new sort of surveillance system to back up the radar.
JOHN HANSMAN, PROFESSOR OF AERONAUTICS AND ASTRONAUTICS, MIT: What the ACAR system is, is actually an airline internal communication system. Originally was sort of like a simple text message that you could get from the cockpit. But over the past few years it's been automated so things like automatic engine reporting is put onto the ACARS' link.
ACARS can either -- can use one of two frequencies. It can either use the normal voice frequencies when you're line of sight, when you're over land. But it can also if the airplane is equipped link the information up through a satellite link. And it only does it every -- at a low period of (INAUDIBLE) or not very frequently because it costs a fair amount of money to actually get the satellite working.
COOPER: And that system, the ACAR system, that can be turned off manually through a circuit breaker, is that correct?
HANSMAN: Yes. You would pull a circuit breaker. There's not a switch in the cockpit for it because it's on all the time. It's sort of an automatic system. But, you know, if there was a fire or if there was some problem you always have to have a circuit breaker so you can disable the system. So if you knew what you were doing you could pull the circuit breaker on that. But that's a fairly -- you'd have to have a fairly sophisticated understanding of the airplane to be able to do that.
COOPER: So, Mary, at this point, obviously, you like everybody else is not ruling anything out. What at this point are kind of the data points that you're really focusing on?
MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: Well, I think for me -- and looking at it from an investigator's eye, you want to look at what makes sense, what fits together the pieces of evidence. And what do we really have to suggest one thing or another. And from work on the Air France, Rio to Paris flight, and other cases, one of the things that jumps out at me is the possibility of something other than a terrorist act, that it was a catastrophic occurrence in the airplane that would take out the initial communication system, which would explain the turn back, and the garbled communication that the -- one of the other pilots, the -- I guess it was a Japan pilot reported.
And then the spooling down of the systems. One by one losing the systems. So we can't say right now that they were turned off. We can say that they stopped transmitting data. And I think that in terms of evidentiary purposes is what we can say. And so in this case it might actually be, you know, better to hope for a hijacking where the passengers might be somewhere for -- you know, traded for ransom, et cetera. But here another scenario would be a catastrophic event, a --
SCHIAVO: For example a breach of the cabin and loss of pressurization where you'd only have 30 -- literally 30 seconds to get on your oxygen mask if you were the pilots, and that the plane then goes on because this 777 is such a marvelous plane. The 777 will shut down systems if it's losing power, it will shut down systems and try to keep itself flying. It will keep its control surfaces and it will keep its engines.
SCHIAVO: And that's what makes the plane so great.
COOPER: Professor, do you -- do you agree with what Mary just said, or do you focus more on human intervention in this?
HANSMAN: Well, again, we have to keep all hypothesis open. It's hard to find a credible hypothesis where you have the sequence of events that we have here. If there was a problem on the airplane where you had, let's say, a cockpit fire or something like that, or depressurization, it could explain losing the transponder.
It doesn't really make sense to head off in the direction the airplane headed off on. So, you know, they would have either done 180-degree turn and gone back to Kuala Lumpur or perhaps diverted to the closest airport. So now -- but you know, we do have to consider the possibility that yes, you could have had depressurization. The crew could have tried to get the airplane back and then become incapacitated.
The airplane, as Mary says, will continue to fly in whatever heading. So if they had turned their auto pilot into heading mode and tried to turn back around it could continue to go off in that direction. So that's still a possibility. I think -- I think intentional accidental is probably the higher probability.
COOPER: Professor Hansman, appreciate you being on, Mary Schiavo as well.
We are going to get an update from the U.S. Navy commander who says today's news is really a total game changer. Even he says he has never seen anything like this. I mean, it's rare for a search to basically just explode in terms of the size of the search area now this far into the search.
Plus insight on how these searches proceed and what makes them work when they do. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Welcome back. It's important to stress in all this coverage that frankly this is still a mystery of Flight 370. We do not know what has occurred on board this flight. Officials now believe that the flight might have been sending out electronic signals or pings four to five hours after its radar beacon stopped transmitting.
We've seen several new leads in this story fall apart over the past week. There were satellite images yesterday that the Chinese released. They now have come back and said, that wasn't the crash and when planes were sent out nothing was found. This much we know for sure, that six days not one piece of debris. Not one piece of debris has actually been found.
If it did end up in the ocean, what would the debris field even look like? We want to look at that now with Pamela Brown.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was called a miracle because U.S. Airways pilot, Sully Sullenberger pulled off the seemingly impossible, safely crash landing his passenger-packed jet in one piece on the Hudson River. Most of the time, though, the wreckage is not in one piece. Debris scatters, some of it sinking, some of it floating.
STEVE WALLACE, FORMER DIRECTOR, FAA OFFICE OF ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION: Life jackets could be in there. Seat cushions. Anything in the bins that floated. So it's certainly possible that substantial pieces of lightweight debris, not aircraft structure, could be found floating six days if the aircraft struck the water.
BROWN: Air France Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. In this case floating debris led search crews to the wreckage five days after it went down. The debris field was relatively contained. That shows it broke up when it hit the water before some of it sank 2- 1/2 miles to the ocean floor.
In 1996, TWA Flight 800 exploded in the sky near New York. Debris scattered far and wide. Investigators had to map out several debris fields. The cockpit sank, but the fuselage and wings scattered far because of how high up the plane was when it exploded.
WALLACE: Initial pieces of floating debris just give you a clue where to start looking and listening for the pingers, the transmitting devices that make a ping sound that the sonar picks up that are on the recorders.
BROWN: In the case of the 1996 hijacked Ethiopian plane, when the pilot tried ditching the aircraft in shallow waters it broke into three segments with the fuselage floating and the rear section submerged. In the case of the still missing Malaysia Airline Flight 370 investigators are trying to cover all their bases, conducting searches by air, space and sea. Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: We're going to talk to one of the U.S. Navy commanders involved in the search coming up. Joining me right now is David Gallo, the director of special projects at Woods Hall Oceanic Institution. He co-led the search for Air France flight 447. David, put into context for our viewers how staggering this expanded search area is now.
DAVID GALLO, WOODS HALL OCEANIC INSTITUTION: It took me by surprise because now it's akin to me that if you were looking in the waters off New Jersey that all of a sudden now we're going to be looking off the coast of Oregon. So it's really been a game changer to hear that. I watched your graphic when you showed that search circle where the plane could be.
It goes all the way from the Arabian Sea on one side in the west all the way on the east to the deepest parts of the world's oceans, the Marianas Trench where Jim Cameron made his dive. So we're talking about a whole different set of circumstances here.
COOPER: And I've been talking to people on Twitter throughout the day. So many people are saying with all the satellites up there in the sky in this day and age, where you can locate a lost iPhone, how could it be this far into the search and no satellites have spotted this aircraft, particularly if it was flying for additional four to five hours? Is there simply not that much satellite coverage over say the Indian Ocean?
GALLO: It's a horrible situation because you've got to believe that maybe someone knows something. Given all what you just said, someone must know something that they're not talking about. Because it's hard to imagine that that could happen, that a plane could fly so long. But there's still not a shred of evidence that that plane has impacted the water or crash landed any place in that search area.
COOPER: Folks like yourself, oceanographic experts, at this point there's not much you can do in terms of looking for sunken wreckage or debris that's submerged because nobody has any real kind of area to go on.
GALLO: Yes. It's frustrating. In one sense you could say that knowing where the plane isn't is a bit of knowledge, too, so you could begin surveying. But where do you begin surveying when you've got a search area, a haystack that's this big? Where do you begin looking for the needle?
One thing we can be doing, probably should be doing is making sure that we know everything about the currents that we can and the winds for the past week to ten days around the Indian Ocean because any kind of debris, if it's found floating in the water, we're going to have to backtrack that. People can do that with very sophisticated models. Backtrack that to find out the x marks the spot to where that plane should have impacted the sea.
COOPER: And just very briefly, the depths in the Indian Ocean far, far deeper than in the Gulf of Thailand which was like 296 feet or so.
GALLO: Yes. You're talking now in miles, in some places miles. In other places shallow, but most of it miles deep.
COOPER: Incredible. David Gallo, appreciate your expertise. Thank you very much.
Up next, I'll speak with the U.S. Navy commander on board a ship helping in the search heading toward this new area.
Still ahead, we honor the missing on board that flight.
COOPER: The search tonight for Flight 370 is expanding into the Indian Ocean as we've been discussing. U.S. Navy Commander William Marks is on board the USS Blue Ridge, command ship for the United States Seventh Fleet, which is helping in the search. He joins us by phone.
Commander, yesterday, the USS Kidd was sent south. It is now being sent, from what I understand to the northwest, west of Malaysia. Is there a specific location it's going to?
COMMANDER WILLIAM J. MARKS, ABOARD USS BLUE RIDGE (via telephone): We do have a search sector that was coordinated with the government of Malaysia. It's not too far northwest out of the Strait of Malacca. It's right there kind of at the entrance. I should point out that's the USS Kidd. You only can search so much area with a ship.
Now what you have to factor in there are the helicopters. So now you're looking at a couple hundred miles at least. We're bringing in a P8 Poseidon. That's our newest patrol aircraft. That's flying out of Kuala Lumpur. That can fly upwards of 1,000 miles if needed into the Indian Ocean.
COOPER: So that obviously allows you to extend and basically continue working around the clock.
MARKS: Yes, it does. We had a P3 flying throughout the night last night. The P8 which again is our newest and best patrol aircraft is flying into the theater today and that will get a few hours during the daytime. But that's the real game changer with their advanced search radar and extremely long range.
COOPER: I've heard you describe the shift west as like moving from a chess board to a football field. Can you explain that?
MARKS: Yes. I think that's true. You had a relatively defined and relatively small search area in the Gulf of Thailand. We had 40 ships from 12 international countries, 30 to 40 aircraft. And quite frankly if something was in the Gulf of Thailand, we would have found it. We covered every inch, but what do you do? You can't possibly cover the entire Indian Ocean. So you have to be smart about it.
COOPER: This obviously gruelling work for your crew, for all the crews on board. How big a concern is I mean, physical fatigue, mental stress at this point? MARKS: It is. It's always a concern and we're watching out. We have about 700 U.S. Navy sailors there right now. We have flown in a chaplain and grief counselors to make sure they are mentally prepared and have all the support they need. And it's physically demanding. Running a ship, aircraft, that's a 24-hour a day job.
COOPER: One hopes day after day that the search gets to a narrower and narrower place. Obviously the reverse has happened as more conflicting information has come in. It's now wider really than ever before. Have you ever seen a search like this?
MARKS: No, I personally have not. We do have helicopter pilots that have been involved in search and rescue exercises. But even those on the east coast of the U.S. and other worldwide, I like most of the world really have never seen anything like this. It's pretty incredible.
COOPER: Commander Marks, I wish you the best. Thank you.
MARKS: Very welcome. Thank you.
COOPER: Back with us is aviation journalist and former NTSB member, John Goglia. You just heard from the commander major shift westward along with the Indian Navy now being asked to participate in the search. What do you make of that? The commander describing this as shifting the search from the chess board to the football field.
GOGLIA: The search area certainly has gotten wider, but what's frustrating in this whole endeavor, this should have been four days ago. This delayed start into this process is really crazy. You can see now how quickly things are developing since we've included the international community in the efforts to find this airplane. The radar data that's all of a sudden we're getting lots of information off the radar data. We've got lots of things to explore. It may not be the answer. We may not find it. But we have more opportunity and more leads to follow.
COOPER: That could have been done days ago?
GALLO: Yes. It should have been done from the very beginning. The very beginning. It should have mobilized. The international community is always willing to jump in and help. The United States through the NTSB and State Department and all the agencies that we have, the Brits, the French, the Dutch, very experienced in accident investigations. These are people you should call upon. And they're willing to come and help you. But they were slow in requesting and slow in putting them to work.
COOPER: I just want to go back over the ways planes communicate. I think it is confusing for our viewers. I certainly find it confusing. It is normal my understanding now is that when a plane is going over a large body of water it's normal in a way that it drops off radar, that at a certain point controllers are just kind of projecting where the plane should be, correct, as it moves from one radar station to another, correct? GOGLIA: There are huge gaps in the radar coverage around the world and especially over open water. In the North Atlantic just every day there's hundreds of flights that go from New York or Boston to Europe and back. There is a pretty big chunk of the Atlantic Ocean that there is no radar coverage. And we use other means to communicate. That is why Boeing when they built the 777 put satellite communications on board the airplane.
COOPER: That's the ACARS system?
GOGLIA: Right. Well, it's more. ACARS on steroids, actually, because we've had ACARS on domestic airplanes and they don't have the reach, radio reach. So the technology has been moving forward to make sure that we can keep track of our airplanes. Because it's less expensive to have the airplane tell you where it is than it is you try to build radar stations all around the world to spot the airplane.
COOPER: I want to ask you one other question which may be a dumb question, but it's on a lot of people's minds I know because people have been asking me about it all day long. People are asking, you can find a cell phone. You can track down a cell phone through satellites these days. Would it be possible to do that on any of the passengers' cell phones to somehow get a GPS location from any of the passengers' cell phones if they're out there?
GOGLIA: No. What's wrong with that you're not getting the signals from the satellite. The cell phone's getting the signals from towers. In this case the towers can be equated to a radar tower as well. And you need multiple hits on the tower in order to pinpoint where the device is. So we just in the middle of the ocean and there are no ground base signals. It's the airplane has got to tell us where it is. And with the technology, the commander said it right.
We've got some tremendous technology. If the air ship is in the water, if the airplane is in the water, it's likely going to be found. For years the United States and the Soviet Union played a cat and mouse game with submarines. The technology that was developed as a result of that is phenomenal.
COOPER: So if it's in the water it will be found.
COOPER: Let's hope for that find it one way or the other. Certainly those families just want some information. John Goglia, appreciate you being with us and sticking around. Thanks.
As we said the loved ones that vanished. Each day we do learn more about the people, the 239 people on board Flight 370. As so much focus has been on the aircraft we want to focus on the people on that aircraft. Their stories coming up.
Plus an airplane emergency in Philadelphia. What went wrong when 360 continues.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Nearly a week ago 239 people got on board that Malaysian Flight 370. For the families waiting for answers is simply excruciating.
COOPER (voice-over): Six days of searching, six days of waiting, six days of anguish for the families of the missing. In Kuala Lumpur, this father waits for any news of his 29-year-old son. He tells airline officials he doesn't want compensation from them, he just wants answers. This man waits for news in Beijing. His cousin is missing.
We just want them to search quickly and let us know what's going on, he says, dead or alive we want to know as soon as possible. The family of Fermen Shandra Suragar wait for answers. This is his brief stricken mother. The 24-year-old studied electrical engineering in Indonesia and was on his way to Beijing on board Flight 370 to start a new job at an oil company.
The 30-year-old Huang Yi works for a semiconductor company based in Austin, Texas. She was on the flight with 19 other colleagues when it disappeared. Friends describe Yi as kind, lively, a good listener and devoted to her 5-year-old daughter who still waits for her back in China.
Patrick Francis Gomez's family pray for him at their church in Malaysia. He is the in-flight supervisor for the missing plane, a job his daughter says he took very seriously. She also described him as a quiet person but with a sense of humor.
The 76-year-old Luru Shank was one of the oldest passengers on the flight. He was in Malaysia to attend an art exhibition with his wife. Lu is an accomplished c calligrapher. He wrote after having escaped death several times I enjoy and treasure life even more. Two hundred thirty nine treasured lives remembered by loved ones as they continue to wait.
COOPER: The question tonight is where are they? What happened to them? Coming up an emergency evacuation of passengers on a plane at Philadelphia International Airport. We have details on that ahead.
COOPER: Fortunately no one was hurt, passengers aboard a U.S. Airways flight bound for Fort Lauderdale, Florida were evacuated at Philadelphia International Airport. The pilots aborted the takeoff when the Airbus 320 blew a tire and the nose gear collapsed. No one was injured. More on Flight 370. We'll see you at 11:00 Eastern Time tonight for another edition of 360.
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