Return to Transcripts main page

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

The Mystery of Flight 370

Aired March 28, 2014 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: This is a CNN special report, "The Mystery of Flight 370." I'm Don Lemon. Good evening.

And we do have breaking news tonight. Any moment, ships in the search zone could be picking up some of those floating objects, objects that could -- and I repeat -- could give us at least one answer to the mystery that's become a worldwide obsession.

We are going to tell you what that news is in a moment, as soon as we get it. But even if this turns out to be debris from Flight 370, there are still more questions than answers. You have been tweeting us by the thousands, and we have top aviation and security experts standing by to answer your questions throughout this hour, like this one from Randy. "Under ideal conditions, how long would it take to completely search the new area?"

And this is from John: "So, an hour or so into the flight, there's a problem. The pilot decides to turn around. Why not return to a base an hour away?"

CNN's reporters are covering this story around the world tonight.

Atika Shubert is in Perth. Sara Sidner is in Kuala Lumpur, Chad Myers in the Weather Center mapping out the challenges searchers are facing. And Richard Quest, he has been on top of this story from the very beginning and he is back with me in studio tonight.

Hello to everyone, but I'm going to begin with Atika Shubert.

Atika, question to you. Earlier, crews spotted objects that might be debris. Are they getting any closer to finding them?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We really don't know is the answer to that. Five objects found, one of them was a fishing buoy.

But the New Zealand P-3 Orion did a pretty close flyover, and they got a pretty good look at an object they say is promising. But that doesn't mean anything until you can actually get a ship right there to take a look at that object and verify whether or not it's actually debris from the plane, and that's what they're hoping to do today.

At this point, however, there's only one ship in the search area, a Chinese ship. The other five are expected to get there either late this afternoon or early evening. So it could be a while before we still get any confirmation, Don. LEMON: I would imagine that they are used to dealing with this sort of thing, the people who are finding it. They do have to handle this very carefully to get any pieces out of the water. But how challenging, especially given the conditions, will it be to pick these pieces up?

SHUBERT: Well, the good news is that they're no longer in that southern search area, which was a lot more -- it had much rougher weather, rougher seas, huge swells.

Now they're a little further north, so the weather is a little bit calmer. And that's going to help. It's also closer, so the search flights take less time to get there. It means they have more time to actually search. But, having said that, the weather is expected to deteriorate later today and that's why it's important to get an early start. We have only seen one flight take off. Another one is do to go soon.

So, the sooner they can get there, the better chance they have.

LEMON: All right, Atika, thank you very much.

I want to check now in with Sara Sidner in Kuala Lumpur.

Sara, the Malaysian government was very confident in the analysis done by satellite company Inmarsat. All week, investigators were searching in a different spot. Are they just as confident now?

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, it's hard to know what to believe, right? This is the difficulty that the families have been going through this. First, they're confident, then suddenly the search shifts. This wasn't just because of the ocean currents.

This was because they looked at other data and decided if they did a different calculation with the plane going faster, that it couldn't have gone as far, it would have burned more fuel. And so they ended up in a different spot in looking at their data again.

This is a real difficulty. This is not necessarily simple math, right? They're looking at a lot of different things to try to figure out exactly where these debris are. And the ocean is also filled with a lot of trash, and so it's hard to tell one thing from another.

Looking at the satellite images is one thing, actually finding it another thing. And you know they have been searching for all this time, since March 8. They have been looking for any sign of this plane. It's very, very, very frustrating I'm sure to the investigators and more so to the families, Don.

LEMON: Sara Sidner, thank you very much.

Let's check in now with CNN's Chad Myers in the CNN Weather Center down in Atlanta.

Chad, we heard a lot about the bad weather in the search zone earlier. This week the search was even called off more than once due to weather. Are conditions better where they're searching now? I imagine they're better, but it's not like a swimming pool. It's not placid. Right?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right.

We're out of the roaring 40s, we're up into the 30s. But still there will be mid-latitude storms that roll through there, just like they roll into California, they roll into Oregon or Washington. Same kind of idea.

There's a couple good positives and a couple of negatives. Let's just get right through them right now. The new search area is right on what's called Broken Ridge. To the north, it's lighter, about 6,000 feet, to the South, almost 12,000 feet, and in this rip zone, in that tear zone right through there, that fracture, it can get all the way down to 20,000 feet, especially if you go toward Australia in that direction. This is rugged down here.

If you get a plane or a black box down in this area, it's going to be hard to find, hard to get. Something else though that's on the good side, there's not as much of a current here. Right here, this is the search area, and the currents are to the north and to the south. But right here in the middle, there are some eddies. But they don't really go anywhere.

They're not pushing it one way or the other, part of this gyre that we talk about where things don't move very much in the ocean. This goes around and around and around. And around and around is hat's another problem, Don, because all that garbage that's been in there for hundreds of years probably is still going around. Much of it deteriorates, breaks up, gets small and sinks, but obviously there's still some stuck in there.

And that's just some of the debris we have been seeing on the satellite, according to officials.

LEMON: All right, Chad, thank you very much. Appreciate that.

Joining me now is Geoffrey Thomas. He's editor in chief of AirlineRatings.com. And then David Mearns, he's a marine scientist and deep-water search and rescue expert. He also joins us tonight via Skype. And of course Richard Quest is here.

David, I want to talk to you about the change in the search area. It's about 680 miles northeast of where we were, and that's like moving the search area from Atlanta to Philadelphia. It appears we're back to square one. Are we?

DAVID MEARNS, BLUE WATER RECOVERIES: Well, I'm sad to say that. I think that's the obvious conclusion.

This is a very big change, such that it's almost impossible now to believe that -- to connect this new search box with the earlier sightings, the satellite images that people were looking at, and some of the sightings that the airplanes are doing. In one sense, all the oceanographic modeling that was being done on the debris that was supposedly drifting south there and bringing it back to an origin point is probably not valid anymore.

LEMON: Geoffrey, in your estimation, and given this new information, how close are searchers to finding debris that they can confirm is from this plane?

GEOFFREY THOMAS, AIRLINERATINGS.COM: I spoke to some officials overnight, Don, and there seems to be a greater level of confidence about the new coordinates that are being worked -- that have been worked through, using more data out of Southeast Asia.

They weren't specific about what data they now had. But there seemed to be a high level of confidence. We do know that they took photographs yesterday. These debris items were actually spotted in total by about five aircraft. The photos are being analyzed overnight in Australia, and we are told that possibly later on today, we might have a press conference and some of the detail may be released.

So there seems to be a growing confidence that we might be more on the track than we were.

LEMON: All right, Geoffrey and David, we have gotten questions from viewers asking about the new calculations and how they were made.

Here's what Rebecca asks. She said: "How do the experts arrive at the new information? Speed of plane was much higher than was first thought."

First to Geoffrey and then to David.

THOMAS: Well, as explained, it's a very good question, and we're all quite puzzled by all of this, but there's all sorts of data coming through. There's recalculations being done. There's assumptions that were originally made that have been rethought as new data comes through, possibly from Indonesian military radar. We don't know.

I have asked the question. There's just a -- there's a no- comment. So I think some countries are giving up more data now, and we are getting recalculations and new assumptions are being made.

LEMON: OK. David?

MEARNS: That's essentially what I have heard as well. I'm not an aviation specialist. I don't think I should comment on that.

But maybe what I can comment on is the earlier question that somebody put to you, is, how long would it take to search an area this large when you get to the point of doing the sonar, the subsea search for the wreckage? And just quickly, if you're talking about an area that's 100 by 100 nautical miles, that's 10,000 square nautical miles.

One sonar can search about 15 square nautical miles a day. That's on the high end. That would give you over 160 days of active searching. That's no time for resting, for refueling, for going to port, for maintenance, for downtime, anything. That's over two years to search that one area. LEMON: Let me ask you this question then. Do you think that we're a bit too anxious thinking that we're going to find the debris in the hours and days and maybe the weeks after this possible crash into the ocean?

MEARNS: Yes, this is going to take a very long time, because I think it would be a miracle at this point for them to get in the location close enough to be able to hear the pingers on the black boxes.

That opportunity I believe has been lost. So the next thing is a subsea search using sonars, maybe a combination of towed sonars and once deployed in autonomous vehicles, the same way that was done during Air France. But you're looking at months and months at work, and probably multiple ships searching the area, because at the end of the day now, with all that -- it's going to be very difficult to use any wreckage that they find now, and track that back using the leeway drift to an origin point.

We're talking 22 days after the crash. So there's going to be huge errors associated with that, and this new track is an estimate, by anybody's...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Estimation, yes, I get it.

But I want you to weigh in on this, because I think this is important information. He's saying, listen, we're too anxious about this. This will take two years. He said 680 days at the very least. And he believes the pingers, that we have missed that opportunity.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're getting ahead of ourselves.

We're getting ahead of ourselves, because until we know where the debris is, it's best not to concern ourselves too much with what might happen next.

LEMON: But you understand what he's saying.

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: Yes, of course I do.

LEMON: Because we're sitting here and we're reporting this every single night, where did they find it, the government is coming out, and he's saying we're getting way ahead of ourselves. This takes time.

And basically he's saying everybody, settle down, this is going to take a while.

QUEST: They have got to find the debris. They're working and they have been quite open and honest about this. Geoffrey, you probably agree with me. The prime minister of Australia may have got a bit ahead of himself. But, basically, time and again they have said it's the best we have got. It's not perfect, but it's best we have got.

What I want to know, do we have any news, Geoffrey, do we have any news on what the altitude was when the plane was between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca, this 12,000, 45,000, 23,000? Nothing has been confirmed on this issue, and what altitude it then was when it went into -- when it started its journey down to the Southern Indian Ocean.

THOMAS: There's conflicting information, Richard.

One source says that Malaysian radar tracked it at 12,000. We have even heard 5,000. It is unfortunately still confused. We haven't actually had the Malaysian investigation team say exactly what the altitude was that it was tracked at. But it has been reported quite widely it got down to 12,000 feet.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you.

But I think that you're missing what he's saying here. I think everybody is getting ahead of themselves, because he says when something like this happens, regardless of the altitude, and how fast it was going and did it run -- whatever, the northern trek or the southern trek, he's saying in order to figure this out, it is going to take some time. And he says at least 680 days for -- a 447 took two years.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Are you understanding what he's saying here?

QUEST: Of course I understand what he says.

You're the one who is choosing to put the cart before the horse. What I'm saying is, he's right in terms of finding the black boxes. But you don't stand a chance of finding the black boxes really until you find the debris. So, instead of worrying...

LEMON: Richard, I'm not saying to stop looking for the debris. I'm just saying to stop thinking that you're going to find it every single second or every single moment or every single day.

He's saying in order to find the debris, it's going to take time. That's all I'm saying. Do you understand what he's saying?

QUEST: Let's hear what he's saying.

LEMON: Go ahead. Go ahead, David.

(CROSSTALK)

MEARNS: I'm sorry What the debris will help with will obviously confirm certainly for the families that this plane has crashed. It will allow the investigators to look at the wreckage and draw some preliminary conclusions if they get pieces that show certain types of impact. We saw that with Air France.

But what I'm saying is that this debris, 21 days removed from the crash site, removed from the origin, is no longer going to be a very good clue as to where that crash took place. That leaves us with just this estimated track and a very, very approximate search box based on drift.

That means a large search box. When you're putting all these different clues together, over a period of time, like in any mystery, what you want them to do is to converge, get closer so your area is getting smaller. What we have seen yesterday is that it diverged. We can no longer put together the clues we had previously with this new information. It means more error, a larger area to search, more time, and we are in for the long haul here.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Thank you. We have got to get to a break. Thank you. Thank you, David.

Geoffrey Thomas, Richard Quest, make sure you stay with me.

When we come right back, I'm going to talk more about the search going on right now off the coast of Australia. Could this be finally the break everyone has been waiting for?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Welcome back, everyone.

Our breaking news tonight, ships in the search zone could pick up floating objects at any moment, objects that could possibly begin to give us some answers to what happened to Flight 370.

So, back with me now is Richard Quest. Also, Mary Schiavo is a former inspector general of the Department of Transportation. Mary now represents victims of negligence by transportation companies, including airlines. Also with me, Jeff Wise, the author of "Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger," retired American Airlines pilot Jim Tilmon, and Clive Irving, a contributing -- a contributor to The Daily Beast, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Kay, an experienced military pilot and tactical instructor, and Geoffrey Thomas, editor in chief of AirlineRatings.com.

I want to get your reaction to what Richard and I were having quite a discussion about a little bit earlier to what David Mearns said.

First with you, Mary Schiavo. He's saying, listen, this could take two years, if not more, and he believes that we have lost the opportunity to hear the pinging on the black boxes. MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, we may have lost the opportunity to hear the pinging.

But on his idea that it could take two years or more, actually, the average aviation investigation and case takes about 3.5 years, so he was actually being conservative by his estimate.

LEMON: Generous, right.

SCHIAVO: Yes. In my case, it's taken about 3.5 years.

LEMON: Michael Kay?

LT. COL. MICHAEL KAY, EXPERIENCED MILITARY PILOT: Yes, I think one of the big problems we have got here is that the accuracy of the search operation is predominantly based on assumptions.

We know from the Inmarsat Doppler shift data that we have got the distance and the arc. What we don't know is how far down the arc south that it's gone. And what is fueling this information is assumptions-based information. So, it's distance, it's track, it's also altitude, and it's speed.

But they're all based on conflicting -- or deconflicting evidence as what we have seen. We don't know what happened after that last transponder ping. We don't know what track it took. We don't know how high it was. We don't know what speed it was. So what they're having to do is they're having to work their way backwards.

So anyone who says that what we have been doing in the far south is irrelevant, I don't agree with that. I think it is necessary, because even through a process of elimination, it's allowed ourselves to work ourselves backwards.

LEMON: So, Jim Tilmon, listen, we can find debris in five minutes, or, as you heard Mary say, the average investigation takes 3.5 years.

Let's talk a little bit more about viewer questions here, because a lot of views had wanted to know about that new search area. And this one is from Kenneth. Kenneth says: "How could the plane be going faster, yet the distance is not as far than first thought, since we're told it was flying for seven hours?"

JIM TILMON, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, because there's a difference in the fuel burn.

The fuel burn is what's determining how far we assume it has flown before it all ended. And I think it's important for us to realize that those who want to use charts to determine this should be reminded that the charts are based on fuel in the tank at the end. And the event here may very well be dry tanks. That may be a different distance than what we're used to looking at.

LEMON: Clive, what new questions does this new information about the plane speed bring into the equation here? Does this mean that Flight 370 was flying at a higher altitude as well?

CLIVE IRVING, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, I think the most fascinating thing to me about this, I thought we were lacking any really stable and salient information.

It's very hard to come by. Then it struck me that it was staring me in the face all the time, which is that we know one really interesting thing, which that the engines continued to run perfectly throughout the whole period of this flight. That meant that the fuel was going from the three tanks, one in the center and two in the wings, to the engines, as they should have done, and they were being -- fuel was being transferred from one tank to another.

Everything was working by the book. The engines worked by the book for the duration of that flight, or from the time when it made the course change and gone out to the Malacca Straits and headed off down into the Southern Indian Ocean.

So, what does that tell us? What fascinates me about that is, we know that that is working, we know that that was working well. What wasn't working? Can we find a meeting point between the things that were working? The fact that those earnings were working, they were providing power to the whole aircraft. There's one generator in each of those engines, and those generators are providing the power to operate all the flight -- the flight management system.

We call it an autopilot, but it's a very sophisticated piece of computerized equipment.

LEMON: Right.

IRVING: All that was working, so what you have a picture of here is a plane which is flying as it was designed to fly, perfectly, but apparently no human intention.

So we have to work our way back from that to what might not have been working to cause the things that give us pause, the lack of a call from the plane, the ending of the ACARS signals and the transponder? Where is the division between those things?

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Yes.

Well, Clive, I have got to get my other panelists in here. I want to bring in Jeff Wise and get his reaction, because, Jeff, you have been -- you write about this. You have been studying this.

You sort of disagreed with the Inmarsat data. You didn't really trust it. But what do you make of that possibly we have lost time, we have lost the pingers, and that we're getting way ahead of ourselves here by thinking we're going to find debris in the next minute or hours or even days?

JEFF WISE, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Don, I would love to address those issues, but I feel like I must address some inaccuracies... (CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Well, can you address that first and then you can address the inaccuracy?

WISE: Listen, we have a huge task ahead of us, I agree.

And, yes, I agree it's maybe before time to worry about finding the wreckage on the seabed, when we have no idea what idea what part of the seabed it's on. We do need to find wreckage first.

At this point, this is spread out over -- the potential search area, if we have believe that it's on the southern arc, is thousands of miles long. It's a vast area. And so we have really got to -- we haven't even -- we talk about looking for the needle in the haystack. We have no idea where the haystack is. So it's looking very like a huge and daunting task.

LEMON: Yes.

So, we will get to discuss the inaccuracies in just a bit. We have a whole lot of show left, so stay with me, everybody.

If those objects floating in the search zone turn out to be debris from Flight 370, and we don't know that yet, well, well, what happen -- what happens next, I should ask, in this investigation? We are going to look into that coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: As we speak, ships and planes are scouring the new search area off the coast of Australia for any sign of debris from Flight 370. But what happens if and when they find some?

CNN's Alexandra Field has a look at what happens next.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Picking up the pieces, putting them together, it's been done by crash investigators before. The question is, in the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, will it be done again?

PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: You got to get salvage vessels out into the area that have the kind of grappling equipment that can lift potentially large pieces of airplane, not only off the surface of the water, but, if need be, drop down cables long enough to reach the wreckage in 12,000 feet.

FIELD: July 1996, TWA Flight 800 crashes just eight miles off the coast of Long Island, New York, in waters only 200-feet deep.

Investigators spot pieces of the Boeing 747 right away, but it still takes three days to find the bulk of the wreckage. After finding 97 percent of the plane, crash experts reassemble it in a Long Island hanger. DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: You can literally start placing pieces of the aircraft back together again, so you can see how they relate to each other, how the impact was related.

FIELD (on camera): Is that kind of reconstruction still necessary?

SOUCIE: Well, there's obviously debate about that.

FIELD (voice-over): That's because data recorders like the one on Flight 370 are now more sophisticated. The older model aboard TWA Flight 800 could record only 18 indicators. Investigators needed to reassemble the debris, because the data only gave a partial view of what had happened on board at the time of the crash.

GOELZ: Essentially, speed, altitude, heading. So it was not that helpful in the -- determining what the probable cause was.

FIELD: The missing data from Flight 370 captured 82 separate indicators, significantly more information, but will it be enough?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: If there's something conclusive on the 82 parameters that says the engines quit or there was a fire extinguisher that went off, things like that, it will really narrow the accident down to where they may not have to reconstruct the entire aircraft.

FIELD: Instead, investigators could choose to recover a few key pieces and hope they reveal the rest of the puzzle.

Alexandra Field, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Alexandra, thank you very much.

Our breaking news tonight, we're awaiting word from the search zone as ships rush to pick up those unidentified objects. And we'll give you that news the moment we get it here on CNN.

So back now with me, my team of experts. First, I want to go to Jeff Wise. Jeff, continuing your thought, you said what inaccuracies do you want to address?

WISE: The main thing is that the press release from the Australians was confusing, it's been misreported. The part about going fast refers only to the initial part of the flight. That is that the plane burned so much fuel early on, that it had to have been going slower later to save fuel. Moving your search area to the north means that you're assuming that the plane was flying slower, not faster. So the viewers have questioned that.

LEMON: OK. Go ahead, Richard.

QUEST: This is a very good point that he makes. Clearly, it's like the car journey where you drive faster or you're stuck in traffic at the beginning, you burn more petrol or gas; you don't have as much for the rest of the journey. That's behind (ph) this whole thesis for this new theory of where the plane went down.

LEMON: OK. Thank you both for addressing that.

Now to Michael Kay. This is from Karen. "Is there any type of netting that ships can use to drag to find parts of the plane," Michael?

KAY: I think that's entirely dependent on the depths of the ocean that you're trying to troll. And I also think it's entirely dependent on where we think the debris is going to be within the ocean itself. So, you know, is it going to have floated to the bottom? Is it going to be resting on the ocean floor? Or is it going to be on top of the surface or just under the surface in some sort of neutral buoyancy-type affair?

So it's a great question. We'll need to find the debris, and then the rest of the search will form around the way that the debris field has actually manifested itself on the ocean top.

LEMON: Geoffrey Thomas, I have a question for you. Might this rush that everyone seems to be having to find the debris or to find the black boxes, might it be putting too much pressure on the Malaysian government, the Malaysia Airlines and on searchers and investigators who are trying to figure out what this -- what's going on?

THOMAS: Look, it could possibly be, particularly up in Malaysia. But I think after talking to Australian officials over the last couple of days, they're being very methodical about this. They're being very considered about this, and they've had a lot of experience in searching for aircraft and searching for lone yachtsman. And we know this area probably better than anybody does.

So from an Australian perspective, they're not being rushed at all. Obviously, they know the urgency of finding the black box, and that certainly is urgent. But as far as making statements of concern, they're just sticking to the facts and working through the intelligence they get in a very slow, methodical process.

LEMON: Geoffrey Thomas, I want to read two questions to you, basically statements, and I want to get your response. The first is from Suzy. Suzy said, "Yes, I still think they're chasing trash bags and garbage in the search area. Tired of repeat speculation." And Patrick Nolan says, "It is an eye opener to see our oceans so full of trash we can't distinguish a 777 from garbage." Those -- those are -- you care to respond to those two statements?

THOMAS: Well, look, there's another dynamic to this, as well. One of the things that's been of great concern in Camber (ph), in the search headquarters, is some of these images that we've been shown from the French, the Chinese and the Thais, they're saying -- they're not showing the debris that they claim. They are very skeptical now about the intelligence, the analysis of this debris. So that's one question we have to look at as far as how good are these satellite images in the first place?

The other thing is, yes, it's a very sad indictment of us, that there is so much debris in the ocean. And it's a very sobering thing and something that really globally we have to look at.

LEMON: Geoffrey Thomas, thank you. Everyone else, stay with me. Coming up, the families of Flight 370. As we all wait for word from the search zone, just imagine what they must be feeling.

When we come right back, I'm going to talk to a man whose wife was a passenger on that missing plane.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: As we await word from the search zone tonight, the anguish for the families of Flight 370 must be almost more than they can bear. Joining us now is K.S. Narendran, whose wife, Chandrika Sharma, boarded the plan three weeks ago, and that was the last time he heard from her.

Thank you for joining us. Naren (ph), how are you doing tonight?

K.S. NARENDRAN, WIFE A PASSENGER ON FLIGHT 370: It's morning for me, Saturday, this morning. And I'm -- looking ahead to the day. I have no clear idea of what the day is going to be, because (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And what shall I say? I'm just looking forward to the evening, because that's when I meet my daughter. The end of the day at college. So that's what the day looks like for me, and I don't have anything else to look forward to at this point in time.

LEMON: You mentioned your daughter. You and your wife have a daughter. And how is she coping? As I understand, she's contemplating whether or not she should return to college.

NARENDRAN: Actually, this week she has returned to college, because we thought it was best that she gets back to her studies and work. Just being at home in the midst of all the uncertainty and all the heightened emotions was not very helpful to her or to anybody else. So we thought it was better that she gets back to her routines and her studies, however difficult it might be.

So that's what we tried to do this week, and she is back in college. I can see that she's settling in quite well. She has her moments, just as all of us do, when we can't but help but reflect on -- and feel the presence of Chandrika. But that's the way it is.

LEMON: I spoke earlier this week with your brother-in-law, Bimal (ph), and I know that this anguish for your whole family is just -- it's -- we can't even imagine it. But how is your wife's mother doing?

NARENDRAN: She is -- she is a very strong woman. She's about 85 or 86, and she's a very strong woman, has a very deep faith that her daughter will return. And even if she sometimes succumbs to momentary doubt, she springs back with renewed force, renewed vigor. She's not seen her daughter for the last three weeks, has not spoken to her. And they were on the phone every night at 9 p.m. So she misses that. And I think perhaps the prospect of never seeing her again crosses her mind once in a while, but she's a lady -- she's a lady of firm faith. And she believes in miracles. She believes that God is on our side and good things will happen.

LEMON: As I read about you, it's hard to believe that you're very measured, you can come on television and be so measured. You see people are just distraught, and you see how the families have been reacting, you know, and rightly so. You know, people react the way they're going to react. You said your family is not going to histrionics. You've chosen not to go to the search area or where the plane left, because you think it's better to be at home with your family and have as much normalcy as possible?

NARENDRAN: That's absolutely right. It's pointless to be in (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or in Perth. Because I'm not an investigator, and I'm not going to be on the plane or the ship. Being in either of those places just means that I'm probably holed up in a hotel and get the same kind of information that is available to the general public. And there's nothing different that I hear.

The story is just the same as it was on day one. The plane is missing. We don't know where it is. We don't know why it disappeared, and we're still searching. So that essential story line hasn't changed.

So I'm happier being with my friends and family, and hopefully I'll start looking at some work, as well, to just get my mind off into -- off the state of listlessness that I've experienced lately.

So I think it makes better sense to just be at home. So that's what I have chosen to do.

I agree that it's not about histrionics. The fact is that we don't know. And I -- personally, I think we would like to know the truth, and I believe that the truth can free us. It can make us feel a lot more safe and secure. And it can also help us deal with her, you know, either her return or her absence a little better.

LEMON: Naren (ph), thank you. Our hearts go out to you and your family. And we appreciate you sharing your story.

NARENDRAN: Thank you.

LEMON: My experts are back with me now. And joining me now is Ken Druck, a grief and resilience expert and author of "The Real Rules of Life."

Very strong man.

KEN DRUCK, AUTHOR, "THE REAL RULES OF LIFE": Amazing. Don, I'm sitting here watching Naren (ph), and I'm remembering back 18 years ago yesterday that there was a bus accident in India where Naren (ph) is from, and it was my daughter and three other young women, college students, who were in that accident and who died in that accident.

And the moments of getting the first phone call that they had been in that accident, and then the torturous moments after, nothing compared to what Naren (ph) and his daughter and his family have gone through. But we were in a state of suspended agony, and it's almost unimaginable if you haven't gone through something like that.

Most of us have had an experience for a second where our child is home -- isn't home when they're supposed to be, somebody is missing for an hour or a couple of hours, and we feel a sense of terror.

These families are emotionally exhausted. They've been going through this now for almost three weeks.

LEMON: Yes. And can we talk a little bit about the grief process? Because you heard what Naren (ph) says -- Naren (ph) said. He said, you know, "We need to find something so that we can have some type of closure, some sort of finality." For them, it's just sort of hanging out there, hope mixed with the worst possibility.

DRUCK: With the worst despair. And it's dangling between hope and despair. When we're going through this, we're still in a state of relative shock. But the shock begins to wear off, and the reality begins to set in that life as we've known it has ended. That we are starting -- we're in the ashes of Plan A and looking at the possibilities for reconstructing a life of Plan B.

Just as we're trying to reconstruct the elements of what happened, and the whole world is trying to do that, and to make sense of what might not ever make sense, the families are doing the same thing. Emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, trying to somehow step into Plan B, standing in the ashes of Plan A, trying to look at how am I possibly going to go on? What has happened here? Am I preparing myself emotionally for the worst? Could there possibly be a miracle? How?

And all suspended in this agony, that's what they're going through.

LEMON: All right. Ken Druck, thank you. Everybody stick around. We're going to bring you any news from that search zone the moment we get it here on CNN.

When we come right back, questions about pilots. How often do they get psychological evaluations? We're going to answer that and more of your questions. So keep using the hashtag 370Qs, 370-Q-S.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Our breaking news tonight, ships could be picking up objects from the search zone at any moment. But even if it turns out we finally have debris from the plane, there's still so many questions about Flight 370. We're answering them tonight with my panel of experts.

So listen, guys, when last I saw you, you each had a specific question that you wanted answered. And I want to see if we have gotten any closer to what you wanted answered.

So let's first just ask, Jeff Wise, you first. Your question was, was there the rest of the Inmarsat data -- where is the rest of the Inmarsat data: Are you surprised more people aren't asking to review the data?

WISE: Yes. Well, needless to say, that data has not been released. However, this change of the search area does seem to have been based on a reanalysis of this data. And so in a sense, we have learned something more about it.

LEMON: All right. Jim Tilmon, you wanted a precise timeline. You've done a timeline. Give us a quick rundown.

TILMON: Well, I don't have a timeline, because we don't have one available that you can count on.

LEMON: Richard, you have a timeline, right?

QUEST: We have done a timeline of -- we've done a timeline from the information that has been released by the Malaysians at their news briefings, which is the closest anybody has got.

LEMON: But you still don't feel like your question has been fulfilled, right, Jim?

TILMON: No. No, I don't.

And let me offer one quick thing about the pilots. Remember, pilots have to -- captains have to go get a physical every six months.

LEMON: Yes.

TILMON: And even first officers have to go if they're international every six months. So it's the most regulated profession on the planet.

LEMON: OK. All right, Jim, thank you.

Mary Schiavo, your question was very intriguing about the plane's maintenance. We know that the plane was in for maintenance for ten days before it went missing and then scheduled to go back. Why would a plane have to go back to maintenance? I mean, to make sure everything was fixed the first time? Right? If everything was fixed, why would it have to go back?

SCHIAVO: Well, it has to go into maintenance periodically anyway. There are various A, B, C, and D checks, and some of the checks are overnight.

But there was a line that they said they had accomplished a lot of the various directives and maintenance orders, et cetera, and that they had more to do. And there was just one line, and I was very intrigued by that, but I haven't been able to find any more about that. But undoubtedly -- and I hope this is the case -- the investigation will encompass that, and hopefully they'll have information about that soon. Because that's very typical. It's something you would cover in an investigation.

LEMON: OK. Let's see. And we've answered -- Jim, you answered -- I was going to ask you about the psychological evaluations and medical evaluations. You said every six months.

This one is to Michael Kay. Is there an explanation for that transponder being turned off other than by an act of the pilot -- Michael?

KAY: Can I just actually say, I've got absolutely huge admiration for Naren (ph) and the way he conducted that calm and measured interview with you this evening. It really is truly humbling. I've been around disaster and grief during my military career, and I thought the way he conducted himself was truly humbling.

The transponder, for me, there was some unanswered questions on the transponder. The transponder works off secondary surveillance radar, secondary surveillance radar which works out to around 200 miles off the coast.

I would still like to see more information on the distance from the coast that that transponder was turned off. There were two reasons that the transponder was turned off within 200 miles. Sorry, that it couldn't work. The first it was damaged by something, i.e. an explosion in cockpit, and the second was it could be turned off. If it's outside of 200 miles -- I don't think we're addressing that.

LEMON: So Clive Irving. I had to give you short shrift here, but the million-dollar question, with the change in the search area today, do you think we are any closer here?

IRVING: Yes, I do. I'd like to ask Richard if I may quickly, if I may, quickly, which is the investigation is an unusual one because it demands a completely new skill set to any other normal skill investigation. It's not clear where the various cells of this investigation are taking place, in Australia, Malaysia, where are they?

QUEST: All the working groups are in Malaysia, because that is the state of registry, and the state of operator. And therefore, the investigation falls to Malaysia. The Australians have been given primacy for the search and rescue and recovery in the -- off Perth. And Australia today sent a diplomatic note to all nations involved, reminding them to make sure any debris they recover goes to western Australia.

LEMON: Right. And we've got to get to a break. Stick with me, everyone. We have time for one more question and the moment that we have the news that they've reached something in that search zone, we're going to bring it to you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Breaking news for you right now. Australia's prime minister speaking just a little while ago. He says today is a good weather day, but ships have not recovered any debris, have not yet recovered any debris. And he vows that the search will go on without counting the cost.

So my experts are back with me now. Ken Druck, this one is for you. I want to read this one to you. And it says, "I don't understand. I don't understand. We can find planets that are not in our solar system, but we can't find a plane in our ocean." And I think that's what most people around the world are thinking, especially the families. This just doesn't make sense. People can't fathom this.

DRUCK: We want to be able to make sense of everything, Don, but sometimes we're standing at a moment of helplessness and sorrow. And even though we're fiercely trying to do everything we can, there comes a point where we realize it's in bigger hands than our own.

LEMON: And that's going to -- that's going to have to be it.

DRUCK: And surrender.

LEMON: Thank you very much. I appreciate all my guests. Make sure you have a weekend. I'll see you back here Saturday and Sunday night and Monday night, as well at 10 p.m. Eastern for our special report, "Mystery of Flight 370." And make sure you stay with us all weekend for the latest on the search.

"AC 360" starts right now.