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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
A Barrage Of Explosions Over Gaza Tonight; Intensified Fighting around the Crash Site in Ukraine; Aviation Experts on What Passengers Must Have Went Through Before Crash; Outbreak of Ebola in Liberia; Malaysian Airlines in Need of Serious Changes in Corporate Culture
Aired July 28, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next, breaking news, explosions and gunfire in Gaza at this hour. A deadly day in the Middle East overnight continuing. We are live in Gaza City in Jerusalem tonight.
Plus new details from Malaysian Flight 17's black box recorders, officials say they now know what happened to the plane before it crashed.
And two Americans infected with the deadly Ebola virus, we will hear what happened and talk to their friends tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news in the war between Israel and Gaza, explosions and intense new fighting tonight. This was the scene over the skies of Gaza City just moments ago. This is actually the shot from the camera where our Karl was standing. He moved out of shot so you could see what is happening at this instance right now in Gaza.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preparing for the long haul, telling his citizens to be prepared for a quote, "Protracted campaign in Gaza." Israel says five of its soldiers were killed today while officials in Gaza say 10 Palestinians, eight of them children were killed by an explosion in a refugee camp.
We have reports tonight from both sides of this conflict tonight. We are going to go to Jerusalem in just a moment, but I want to bring with Karl Penhaul in Gaza City.
Karl, I know you made the decision to stand next to your camera. These are live pictures of what you are seeing explode over the skies in Gaza right now.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Absolutely, Erin. I think both you and our viewers will be much better off looking at the action going off over Gaza City tonight and across much of the Gaza Strip. The picture you are looking at there is illumination flares that have been fired by the Israeli military drifting slowly down onto Gaza City.
This is something that is now been going on for the last hour and a half. Big artillery guns across Gaza's eastern border with Israel, firing these illumination rounds and trying to light up some kind of target. Also perhaps just shedding light on the area so that surveillance apparatus, such as Israeli drones can take a look at what is going down on the ground.
Tonight, there is no moon whatsoever and that is why these illumination rounds are needed if those drones have a good look of what is going on down in this part of Gaza. The worrying thing, of course, is that these rounds, these illumination flares are dropping down on very densely populated areas, if the drones do see anything, start to call in artillery strikes in this area.
There are going to be absolutely huge problems. We've also -- I'm going to let you listen to the sounds here. Want to let you know we are still OK from our vantage point. That was, as you heard, a very loud explosion. The smaller pops, those are the illumination flares exploding. That very large explosion that sent even the building where we are rocking.
That was from some kind of artillery that it has been sent in. Drones overhead quite clearly. Spotting some target beneath and sending in missiles or bombs perhaps. You are seeing more illumination rounds dropping down around Gaza City.
In the last few moments as well, overhead, we have heard and seen F- 16s, fighter bombers, heading down towards the south of Gaza. It is a dark night, but you can spot those F-16 fighter bombers because as they go, they pump out again flares, decoy flares, to stop any militant surface-to-air missiles locking on to them.
We have seen those F-16s heading down to the south of Gaza and seen twin airstrikes going in down there, sending up huge fire balls. Let me be quiet for just one moment and I'll let you look at the scene.
BURNETT: Karl, can I ask you and when we are looking right now and you see these flares, you just talk about the explosion that we all just heard live, you said it rocked the building where you were. Did you have any -- can you tell at all where that explosion landed?
PENHAUL: From my vantage point, we can't tell where that explosion was. It was towards the west of our position. That would put the explosion in Gaza City towards the coastal area, towards the beach area. But again from our vantage point, we can't see where that explosion occurred. But what it does seem quite clear, is that with this amount of illumination flairs going up over Gaza.
It is quite clear that the Israeli military is looking for something. They are trying to shine with these flares, a bright light on to Gaza City to spot the targets below using their drones. And we can hear intent drone activity overhead. It is difficult to say how many drones, but certainly, a lot of movement overhead with these drones and we have seen the F-16s fighters in action.
BURNETT: Karl, please stay with us. You are looking at a live picture from the camera. Karl is standing right next to it reporting on the phone and what you are seeing here over a very densely populated part of Gaza City with these flares and an explosion we just heard, a very loud explosion from Israeli artillery. Sara Sidner is also with us and Sara has been reporting on the Israeli
side of this. Sara, when we are looking at these pictures and you are hearing Karl Penhaul talk about the flares, lights illuminating such a densely populated area, it goes right to the heart of the entire issue, which is whether killing civilians is justified and the only way in this crisis. What is the Israeli side of the story, of what we're looking at here, a moonless night with these flares and explosions?
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): I think what you have been hearing from Israel is number one they try and make sure that civilians on the grounds know that there is going to be a bombing campaign. Those flares often part of that where they illuminate the sky. They have told several neighborhoods to leave their neighborhoods today and go into certain parts of Gaza City in order to be safer.
We know that sometimes they drop pamphlets down. The Israelis line has always been that they believe that Hamas uses people as human shields, and they said that time and again. And as you know, inside of Gaza, which is densely populated by any measure, Palestinians say we have very few places we can go to get out of the way of these bombardments and military strikes.
Now, we do know that we have heard of one of the deadliest strikes today, that hit the Al Shippa Hospital as well as a refugee camp. Hamas blaming Israel for that, but Israel saying they have radar proof that shows that there were four rockets sent by Hamas or other groups inside of Gaza, that actually ended up, two of them landing one on the hospital clinic and the other inside the refugee camp.
And they say that is what ended up creating ten deaths and killing of these ten eight children. So Israel blaming Hamas and the militants inside of Gaza for that. So there's is a lot of back and forth, Erin. But right now, I think right now I think what you're seeing is this fight that is going to be protracted. We heard that from Benjamin Netanyahu today. Cease-fire doesn't look like it is happening any time soon.
BURNETT: And Karl, certainly now where you are standing again right next to this picture, that are looking at live from the flares, you felt where you were standing Karl and you know any more about that explosion now?
PENHAUL: Yes, we are just getting word from our CNN colleagues here in Gaza City that that explosion appears to have taken place right on the mosque. That is a Hamas-run mosque. Interestingly enough, as well, it is opposite the Gaza house that belongs to Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. But it seems that the airstrike was targeting the mosque near his house.
That is the largest explosion we've heard in Gaza City for several hours. Also, worrying as Sara was quite clearly saying the Israeli military has in the past dropped pamphlets on certain areas of Gaza or even sent SMS text messages telling people to clear out of their homes. But the worrying thing tonight is that the Israeli military sent text messages to residents of Northern Gaza telling them to flee to Gaza City. But right now, these illumination rounds and those explosives are going off in Gaza City, right in the area that the Israeli military told Gazans in the north of the strip to flee too.
In a sense they are fleeing from the north to Gaza City, putting themselves once again in the line of fire. That really does illustrate that the Palestinians here who on Gaza Strip have no place to flee. They have no place to run and tonight it looks like they will have no place it hide -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Karl, please stay with us along with Sara Sidner in Jerusalem. I want to bring in now again as we are going to keep this live picture up of what is going on. You all just saw live the explosion of the Alamine Mosque in Gaza. Now the Hamas mosque, as you've all just heard that explosion when the Israeli military struck that.
Stephen Hadley is with me, a former national security adviser to President Bush and James Zogby, the president of the American Arab Institute. Steven, this goes straight at the issue here, which is the issue of civilian casualties and whether they are avoidable and what situation are they ever acceptable that both sides are arguing about.
The United States, the president, after he spoke to Benjamin Netanyahu on the phone. The summary of the call included the United States, quote, "serious and growing concern about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives. Is Israel at risk of losing the heart and minds of its allies? And I should say, of its most important ally?
STEPHEN HADLEY, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Certainly it is. These kinds of casualties, Israel I'm sure is going out of its way to minimize them. You can minimize them. You cannot eliminate them and quite frankly part of Hamas' strategy is to feature these kinds of civilian deaths and suffering of the Palestinian people on international media as a way it put pressure on the Israelis to accept a cease-fire. It is regrettably part of the tactic of this situation.
BURNETT: James, certainly, you know, it is part of the tactic and yet you hear Karl Penhaul reporting and leaflets are coming down and telling people to flee from the area they just came -- his point, being that they don't have anywhere to go.
JAMES ZOGBY, PRESIDENT, ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE: Look. Gaza is one of the most crowded places on earth and with Gaza City in particular, the density and the poverty and the despair are just overwhelming. I think as I'm watching these pictures of the little kids who are living in Gaza and what they see and how they feel, how their mothers feel as they are watching this all happen, with nowhere to go.
I think it is rather shameful to say that they're being used as human shields. This is their home. This is where they live and they have nowhere to go other than to be at home. There are tweets from people in Gaza saying, you know, I'm not a human shield. I'm just at home and my home was bombed.
I've been there too many times, seen those people in the camps, poverty in Gaza. To not feel tremendous compassion for what they are undergoing. And let me just say that I've heard this argument, that Netanyahu says the Palestinians use their suffering. I don't know of anyone who uses suffering in the way that Benjamin Netanyahu does and the Israelis do.
They have been exploiting this issue now, every single casualty played out in such dramatic ways. Here we have over a thousand people dead and frankly, Hamas is blamed for it. I held no sympathy for Hamas. Their tactics are deplorable and their ideology is despicable.
But this is something that Israel has done. They have provoked this situation and right now they want to shift the blame to somebody else because they cannot accept responsibility for the disaster of the humanitarian disaster they've caused.
BURNETT: Steven, I would imagine you have some very serious questions about James' analysis.
HADLEY: Well, in terms of the sympathy for the suffering of the Palestinian people, we all have to feel for that. What is going on is, you know, the Israelis are once again trying to damage Hamas and to try to buy some quiet from these recurring missile attacks. They tried this in 2008. They tried it in 2012. They say the threat returned.
What Netanyahu's thinking is, is there something they can do this time that will hurt Hamas to the point where Hamas would agree to some kind of arrangement whereby in fact they would demilitarize and get the missiles out and I would hope even agree --
BURNETT: Steven, I want to break in briefly. Go back to Karl Penhaul because there is an F-16 flying right where you are, Karl?
PENHAUL: Absolutely, Erin. There is intense drone activity overhead right now. We also just heard another F-16 flying overhead. It seems to have been flying lower than normal. We have seen those F-16s going by, pumping out decoys. The decoys flairs they pumped are trying to avoid that thing. It is indication they are getting ready to target something -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. And we are going to keep listening to that, in Karl's shot. Just to make sure both Steven and James know that as well as viewers. So far we have seen one explosion just in the past few moments where a mosque was the target of the explosion by the Israeli defense forcing, the Alamin (ph) mosque is controlled by Hamas.
Stephen, what about the point, though. And I guess, James, let me put this question to you. Michael Oren, the former ambassador from Israel to the United States, wrote in his words, in the "Washington Post," Israel must be allowed to crush Hamas. And he said, and that means civilians will die. But there will be fewer who die if Israel is allowed to crush Hamas now. Then who will die if this continues. And there is a pause that allows Hamas to once again use money from its allies to build up weapons, buy more rockets and attack again.
JAMES ZOGBY, PRESIDENT, ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE: Is that for me? Or Steven?
BURNETT: Yes, for you, sorry.
ZOGBY: Look, listen. Here is the issue. I lived through the invasion of Beirut in 1982. And Israel is going to destroy the PLO. And ten years later, they were sitting down and talking to them. And we've seen this not just in 2008 and 2012 but Israel went into Gaza in 2006, in 2008, in 2010, in 2012. It is every two years they do it. They call it mowing the lawn. But the lawn keeps coming back. So at the at end of the day, as Steven knows, as the president tried in a second term, a negotiated settlement is what is necessary, a peace agreement that provides justice for Palestinians, and security for the Israelis. And the U.S. has to play a much more vigorous role than that at end of the day. But we haven't played that role. And I think that is the problem.
We haven't accomplished it. But tried to destroy or -- there is no violent solution to this conflict. There is no violence that will end the occupation. There is no violence that will squash the resistance. There has to be a settlement.
BURNETT: Steven, is it something in your view that the world must accept. That there will be thousands of civilian deaths?
STEPHEN HADLEY, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: No, the world doesn't have to accept it. The question though is how does this end in Gaza? And can it end in a way that reduces the risk that it will occur again. This is the third round we've had of this.
And I think the question is, can we get to a situation where Hamas agrees to demilitarize. We will accept that kind of agreement. Then the question is how do you enforce that agreement? We had such an agreement in Lebanon in 2006, it never was enforced. And I think it is -- can Hamas get to the point where it will accept demilitarization, accept the Palestinian authority to return to Gaza, to insure that the agreement is complied with, and then to begin to open up Gaza to the flow of goods and materials that they need to rebuild Gaza and can that provide a more sustainable basis and ultimately maybe even a path towards a broader negotiations settlement the way James talked about.
BURNETT: All right. We will just hit pause here. A brief moment of quiet as can you see in the live picture from Karl Penhaul's camera shot. There was another loud explosion just a moment ago, though. And Karl is going to figure out exactly where that struck one. Just before that, it did strike a mosque a moment ago as you were watching live.
The breaking news of explosions in Gaza. Our coverage of this continues with live pictures here from our cameras live in Gaza city.
And we will be talking about the breaking news on MH-17. We have details tonight on what actually is on those black boxes, just coming out, on what happened that instant.
And Malaysia airlines is now saying it could change its name. We'll be back.
BURNETT: Breaking news. A barrage of explosions over Gaza tonight. You have been watching it live on this program. These are live pictures of what is happening in Gaza city. This is a live picture from our Karl Penhaul's camera. A picture, fighting is raging tonight between Hamas and Israel. A mosque has been hit. Drones are overhead. You are seeing flares illuminate and then we have heard two significant explosions.
Karl Penhaul is standing next to the picture on this phone to talk us to. Your building, I know Karl, has been rocked by the first explosion of the Hamas mosque. But there was then another explosion, I believe, right?
BURNETT: All right, everyone. Karl was saying that his phone dropped. He is dialing back in. As soon as he dials back in, I'm going to bring him in.
But Stephen Hadley is still with me, former national security adviser to President Bush, and James Zogby, president of the American Arab Institute.
Stephen, James made the point that you can't call the use of civilians' human shields in Gaza city because it is so densely populated then people have nowhere to go. Do you agree?
HADLEY: It is very difficult. You know, the Israelis were calling, and James is more the authority than I, but the press reports were that the Israelis were calling for civilians to vacate certain areas and Hamas was saying to them, no, stay in your houses.
You know, this is, you know, this is an unseemly thing to do because it maximizes rather than minimizes civilian casualties. You understand from Hamas' standpoint why they do it. But you know, the victims here are the people of Gaza city and that's why, the issue is, how does it end and can it end in a way that avoid the repetition of the cycle which we have now seen, now for the third time.
BURNETT: James, I mean, is this, though, the reality is, that Hamas is willing to kill its own people. To allow its own people to be killed because they benefit when those images are shown around the world. That's the horrific truth, they benefit.
ZOGBY: I think that's an unfair way to characterize it, though. Look, again, I'm no supporter of Hamas. But Israel held on to the fact that those three young teenagers were dead. They knew about it. They held on to it for a couple of weeks. And exploited the hell out of it. And went around the West Bank arresting hundreds of Palestinians. I mean, the fact is, is that, sides do that in war. But the issue is
that people are dying because Israel is killing them. And killing them in ways that do not give them any hope or any option, any horizon.
Here's the point. Look, in the best of times, right after Oslo, the border was closed. Palestinians lost the single largest source of income they had, which were day-labor jobs in Israel. Eighty percent of youth in Gaza were unemployed for almost 20 years. These young men were fighting and dying now. They have never had a job and no prospect of the job. You want to end Hamas, you want to end violence and extremism, create hope. Give Palestinians a sense that there is a better future for them. That in fact, the borders will be open, that commerce can take place and that in fact they can have jobs and produce families and live a descent life.
Hamas preys on the despair and that's where extremism comes from. Want to end extremism, create hope.
BURNETT: Karl Penhaul, I believe you back with us now. Sorry we lost you for a moment there. Tell us what you are seeing and what you can tell us about the explosion we just heard.
PENHAUL: I also want to pick up on a comment your guest made there when there was mentioned of Hamas telling people to stay in their homes. Earlier this evening, we heard a loud speaker message whether that was from this troop or from a mosque telling people to go inside your homes for your own protection. And that simply was a message to tell people to take cover.
Take cover. Why? Because there had been no warning in this part of Gaza city that the Israeli military would be targeting this part of the Gaza Strip tonight. And at the moment, that we heard that loud speaker message telling people to go into their homes for their own protection that was because the illuminating flares were coming done over Gaza City. And not only is there is a risk of those lamination flares could stop fires below. But also, these illumination flares come with a very heavy canister. And if that canister falls to earth, it clangs very heavily on the pavement. That could easily go through the roof of somebody's house. It could kill somebody if it falls on them.
Also incidentally, about 300 yard from where we are now, there's a U.N. school, one of the shelters for these displaced Gaza people, and we saw a couple of the illuminating rounds falling into that school as well. Luckily that didn't start any fire, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Karl Penhaul, thank you very much.
Horrific and tragic situation.
Thanks very much to Stephen Hadley and James Zogby as well.
Well coming up, two Americans infected with the Ebola virus. We are going to hear from someone who has been in contact with them tonight. And the black boxes from flight 17 with a major new revelation
tonight. What happened just before that airliner came down. We have that information. We'll be right back.
BURNETT: Breaking news on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Ukrainian officials say they now know what is on the black boxes. A security official telling reporters today the 777 suffered, and I want to quote their words, "massive explosive decompression after being hit by shrapnel from a surface to air missile." Also today, inspectors are trying to get a closer look at the debris. They were forced to abandon their mission because of its new fighting at the crash site. Our Nick Paton Walsh was traveling with the experts when they had to turn back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Days of planning, talking, but now the Dutch and Australian police with OSCE monitors, time to move. Roads cleared by separatists for convoy half journalists towards where Flight MH17 still lay in parts. We stopped on the edge of the town Shakhtersk, where the separatists are digging in on the roadside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking Russian)
WALSH: Blocks the media's path while the inspectors continued. Soon we heard distant shelling and later learned the inspectors had to turn back.
They are taking up positions along this road, but people fleeing Shakhtersk say that overnight two planes dropped the bombs upon them.
WALSH: And moving his back down the road, two planes dropped bombs and they are fleeing frankly out of fear for their lives. A difficult place for the convoy to continue through.
A steady flow of fear. The planes flew from this direction, he says, my little one, she's terrified. We pull back to see more smoke. This carload saying there are Ukrainian soldiers there but it is hard to distinguish them from separatists. On the back roads they also fled and we soon heard too close why. Rockets landing nearby. Quiet farm lives here, torn apart by this violence before it brought down MH17. Now it keeps both these people and the relatives of the planes dead in limbo. They won't get answers or closure that they need until inspectors can start work. Those inspectors felt let down both by the Ukrainian army and separatists.
Intense fightings prevented investigators from getting answers, but there is new information from the downed plane's black boxes. Ukrainian official announced today that jets suffered quote a massive explosive decompression saying, experts of commission on investigation of causes of Boeing 777 crash informed us the data from flight recorders shows the plane was destroyed by shrapnel coming from a rocket blast. But Dutch authorities leading the investigation refused to confirm that information.
BURNETT: And Nick, what's happening where you are right now.
WALSH: Erin, remarkably quiet. As most nights in cities, but we have been hearing sustained artillery on the outskirts of town for the past few hours. And more recently, small arms fire, machine gun shooting, increasingly close to where we are. And then what we were normally - describe after curfew, as militants racing around in their cars. There is clearly something going on this night around Donetsk, and that's important for those investigators trying to get to the crash site. The violence around this city will immediately impact that area there. We know the Ukrainian military are trying to take the towns around the crash area. They seem also to be trying to split areas held by the separatists in two making it harder for them to go back toward Russia. There's a lot changing on the ground and a big question tomorrow is, can that investigation mission try and get down that road again? You just saw there blocked by heavy artillery. Many doubts the violence will be over by then. Many doubts they'll get near it. And as each day passes, there is further pain for those relatives who died on MH17, Erin.
BURNETT: Nick, thank you. And now our aviation analyst Miles O'Brien joins me along with our safety analyst David Soucie. David, you are with me. Let me start with this. The black box, as Ukraine officials, confirmed a massive explosive decompression. All right, so what is that and what would that have felt like to someone?
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Now, what you are going is you are going from about 8,000 feet of altitude to 33,000 feet of altitude instantaneously. So fast that the air is just escaping out, you've been - then you've had taking up the masks would be dropping. There is a lot going on in there. Now, the good thing about this information it tells us that because it was still recording during that decompression that the electricity to it was not cut off. So, that tells us that we are going to get even more information about that aircraft and how it descended.
BURNETT: And Miles, of course, our two black boxes. And from this report of the massive explosion depression, can you tell, which one they are talking about? The flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder? Because obviously, the voice recorder could indicate the pilots were aware of the event. There might be some sort of a conversation, which as horrific on the human level as it may be to imagine, may provide some crucial clues to solving who did this.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Yeah, you know, Erin, I was concerned because, of course, the black boxes are located in the tail section of the plain. We know the tail broke off. When did it break off is a key question. It appears it was intact long enough to capture the event. The cockpit voice recorder with all the microphones around there would pick up, of course, the noise of an explosion. We know that there was a serious hit right near the captain's seat. You would hear alarm bells sounding indicating a depressurization event. Obviously, a lot of wind noise. It will be a very dramatic event captured by those microphones. Meanwhile the flight data recorder would be able to capture several indications of failures which would lead you to the inescapable conclusion that this is what happened. Of course, this wasn't a mystery. We know it was brought down by a missile. We have seen the shrapnel damage. This is just building the case.
BURNETT: It's building the case, David, but before we talk about the case, let me just ask, because you talk about -- the breathing coming down ...
SOUCIE: Yes, the masks.
BURNETT: The masks, I'm sorry. And this electricity may not have been cut off. I mean this, of course, means people would have been aware that something - they knew.
SOUCIE: Yes. I believe that they would have known it. There is nothing instantaneous about a fatality inside the aircraft at this point, other than anyone that was actually hit by the shrapnel coming through the aircraft. So unfortunately, there were people that knew what was coming.
BURNETT: And those would, of course, those would be the blessed ones, the ones who were actually hit by that shot. They are saying the plane was destroyed by the shrapnel coming from a rocket blast. How would they know that? Because, obviously, that gets to the heart of how you are going to know what kind of a missile did this, right?
BURNETT: One that was designed like the Buk to explode near the plane and send shrapnel as opposed to striking the plane directly.
SOUCIE: And this is the danger in having the information come out in the way that it did, Erin, as we can't paint a whole picture. And there's assumptions being made. Any investigator doesn't make conclusions from what they hear. They described what they've heard, they say, yes, it was a massive decompression, and they would know that. What they would not have done, a professional investigative team, would not have said because it was from this or because it was from that. And this is the same thing that we saw with MH-370. With the presumptions ...
BURNETT: So, you saying, they are saying more than they know.
SOUCIE: Absolutely they are. I mean we do know what it is. We presume that. But the challenge is, when things are presumed that way and they go out the way that they did, this is why the investigative team, my colleagues there told me that they did not intend for this to come out. They really didn't want it to come out this way. They wanted to have it be a congruent picture of what happened and not just pieces coming out like this. It is very dangerous to have that happen.
BURNETT: It's dangerous and disappointing. Miles, what is the most crucial piece of information that you want to hear about from those black boxes right now. Taking aside for a moment whether it is appropriate to be releasing that information as David so rightly points out?
O'BRIEN: You know, I think this key idea that has been floating around that there was some other war aircraft in the area. I wonder if the cockpits voice recorder might shed some light on air traffic control communications about either a warning or a question from the crew about an aircraft in the area. That needs to be cleared up. Was this plane flying all by itself or were there other aircraft in the area, perhaps, the Ukrainian fighter. That's a very key question.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks to both of you.
And still out front to Americans infected with Ebola. As the country closes its borders to prevent the virus from spreading even further. We are going to talk to someone who knows those two Americans well and how they are faring. And Malaysia Airlines in crisis after the two major incidents, will a name change be enough to save that airline?
BURNETT: Breaking news, President Obama getting briefed on a deadly Ebola outbreak as second American is now tested positive for the virus. Nancy Writebol was helping treat Ebola patient. She's an aid worker in Liberia. This comes just days after another American, Dr. Kent Brantly, also became infected while treating Ebola patient. The current outbreak is the deadliest ever recorded. So far hundreds have lost their lives, many more could be infected and not even know it yet. One man boarded a flight last week not knowing he had Ebola, days later he died. His flight included stops in three countries. And obviously exposure to many other people. According to the World Health Organization, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for Ebola, and the fatality rate is up to 90 percent. The symptoms when they start include weakness, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain. And joining me now is Ken Isaacs, the vice president of Samaritan's Purse, an organization that the two Americans are affiliated with. And thank you for being with us, Ken.
Let me start off by saying, obviously, Nancy and Dr. Brantly both are fighting Ebola right now. How are they doing?
KEN ISAACS, VICE PRESIDENT, SAMARITAN'S PURSE: They are both in very serious, but stable condition. Today has not been a good day for them as yesterday was. They are running through the course of the disease. And certainly the next seven days are going to be key to whether or not they are able to survive.
BURNETT: Well, I know we are all hoping when we see those fatality numbers that this would be a miracle. Both of them will come out of this. What happened? Ken, I mean, you know Dr. Brantly. He is one of your - members of your team. What were his symptoms? And when did he realize he had contracted Ebola?
ISAACS: Dr. Brantly got up last Wednesday and he detected a low grade fever in himself so he immediately self-isolated. And we sent personnel in to take his blood and the testing. The first test came back negative. We kept him in isolation according to procedures. We took a second test on Saturday morning. That came back positive. We took a third one to confirm it on Saturday afternoon. That also, unfortunately, came back positive. And he is sick. He is in good spirits, but he is a brilliant doctor. He knows very well what his circumstances are. And we are doing all that we can to support him right now with the care that he needs.
BURNETT: A brilliant doctor. And who is described by, you know, as meticulous. He followed every single protocol that could be followed. This wasn't someone who is in any way careless. I mean the description here is just an absolutely outstanding in his field. We have seen how carefully workers prepare to treat Ebola patients. Here's our Sanjay Gupta, just to show our viewers, what it was like when he went inside an isolation ward for Ebola.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Multiple pairs of gloves and masks. The head is completely covered. A multilayer gown, boots and then an apron. It's positively suffocating in the hundred-degree weather.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Ken, do you have any idea How Dr. Brantly contracted the virus?
ISAACS: Well, Sunday we had the Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization, Doctors without Borders all came into our care management center, helped us review our procedures and what we understand, we have not received a report, but what we understand is that one of our national staff members was positive for Ebola. That staff member died on Thursday. And he came to work on Monday and Tuesday. He was symptomatic, and we think in the scrub down area, is where the disease was passed to both Nancy and to Kent.
BURNETT: All right, Ken, thank you very much. And our thought are with Nancy and Dr. Brantly that they will over those next seven days come out of this, thank you.
ISAACS: Erin, thank you. Thank you for covering this story. It is a story that needs to be covered. Because if it is not contained in West Africa, we will be fighting it and containing this disease in other parts of the world.
BURNETT: Thank you.
And still to come, after those two high profile plane crashes in four months, Malaysia Airlines is desperately trying to survive. Can it?
And the story that captivated our viewers, the parents of a Flight 17 passenger. A beautiful 25-year old who wanted to be an astronaut. They went to the crash site to find her.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We thought how they survived it. We just couldn't believe it.
BURNETT: Breaking news tonight, new information from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 black boxes. A Ukrainian official says that the boxes show the jet suffered "massive explosive decompression" after it was hit by shrapnel from a surface to air missile. Meanwhile, after two deadly accidents in only four months, Malaysia Airlines is desperately trying to survive. It says it may change its name. Long before MH 17 was shot out of the sky, and long before the greatest mystery in aviation history, MH-370, the airline has had a history of scandal. Ana Cabrera is out front.
ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the world mourns those killed on Flight 17, in the fate of MH 370 remains a mystery. The focus on Malaysia Airlines intensifies.
MICHAEL BOYD, AVIATION CONSULTANT, THE BOYD GROUP: I think it's a huge blow for them, I really do.
CABRERA: Two planes lost in just four months. 537 lives taken too soon. Unfortunately, Malaysia Airlines has been here before, the airline is no stranger to unusual and tragic circumstances. A hijacking in 1977 killed all on board. Another crash in 1995 left 34 dead, and now we're learning more about a bizarre case in 2000. An Airbus A-330 was headed from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur. Ironically, the reverse route of MH-370. The fight itself went smoothly, but on the ground disaster struck. Baggage handlers got hit with toxic fumes. They discovered chemical filled canisters had leaked, poison covered the cargo area. No serious injuries, but the corrosive chemicals damaged the plane beyond repair.
BOYD: Hazardous materials are carried by every airline in America, every airline in the world, probably.
And if something is mislabeled or mis-packaged or badly packaged, you can have that happen.
CABRERA: Even if you can call what has happened to Malaysia airlines bad luck or a fluke, travelers may have trepidations and the airline is already struggling. Having lost an estimated $1.3 billion in business over the past three years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not unusual for airlines that go through this kind of thing to end up in bankruptcy.
CABRERA: So, how does an airline with such a troubled past survive?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At Malaysia Airlines ...
CABRERA: Malaysia Airlines now said it's considering a rebrand. A reputation overhaul. And an editorial piece for Sunday's "British Telegraph" newspaper, the airline's commercial director Hugh Dunleavy writes, "Our majority shareholder, the Malaysian government has already started a process of assessing the future shape of our business, and that process will now be speeded up as a result of MH- 17. "
BOYD: They need to do it, they need to do it very quickly, color schemes need to be different, the name needs to be different, everything has to be different. They need a program that they can put into place within probably 90 days.
CABRERA: Industry insiders say the airlines turnaround must also focus on more than image. The airline can't just scratch the surface, it has to look deeper into its own corporate culture for the sake of its passengers.
SOUCIE: What needs to be done now is Malaysia Airlines needs to look very closely. If they're going to survive, they're going to have to look very closely at their safety culture. They're going to have to open their minds to looking at hazards that they would have never suspected.
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BURNETT: Thanks very much to our Ana Cabrera. We'll be right back.
BURNETT: The first family members have visited the crash site of MH- 17. The parents of passenger Fatima Dyczynski told this show they refuse to believe their daughter died in the crash, they came from Australia all the way to Donetsk Ukraine. Even though authorities repeatedly warned them not to make the trip they wanted to go to the crash site to honor their daughter who wanted to be an astronaut and was already an engineer.
Our hearts go out to them tonight. Anderson is next.