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School Stabbing Rampage; Mystery of Flight 370

Aired April 9, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Tonight searchers get closer to finding the wreckage of Flight 370. Late and significant new developments just ahead. But first, though, breaking news, the heroes emerging in a high school sophomore charged, we're just now learning he'll be charged as an adult after another school rampage. The elements this time of the 16-year-old suspect who we are not naming, two kitchen knives and five minutes of terror.


GRACEY EVANS, STABBING RAMPAGE WITNESS: My best friend stepped in front of me and he got stabbed in the back. And then in 30 seconds, I saw three people get stabbed.


COOPER: We're going to hear from Gracey in just a moment. She helped save the life of one of her friends, three of more than 20 people wounded in all. You're going to hear shortly more about how she helped save her friend's life. This as you might imagine sending shock waves throughout the small Pittsburgh area community, where it happened, where chances are everyone knows somebody involved. There are vigils there tonight and no doubt in hospital ICUs as well.

Justice correspondent Pamela Brown tonight has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got multiple victims here. We need ambulances here as soon as possible.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chaos and tragedy this morning at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. Police say a 16-year-old male sophomore ran into classrooms on the horrific stabbing spree.

CHIEF THOMAS SEEFELD, MURRYSVILLE POLICE: I can tell you what we saw when we got there was a hallway that was pretty much in chaos as you can imagine. A lot of evidence of blood on the floors in the hallway. We had students running about trying to get out of the area.

ZACHERY ANSLER, FRANKLIN REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I was walking over towards the exit. And there was blood all over the floor. Thought maybe someone had a nose bleed or something. And someone yelled she got stabbed. BROWN: Area hospitals are treating victims for stab wounds to the torso, abdomen, chest and back, according to medical officials.

DR. CHRIS KAUFMANN, DIRECTOR, FRANKLIN REGIONAL HOSPITAL TRAUMA CENTER: I would say that half of them are life-threatening.

BROWN: It could have been worse if not for a few who are hailed as a heroes like one quick-thinking student.

GOV. TOM CORBETT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Students who stayed with their friends and did not leave their friends. Cafeteria workers who just automatically just reactively began caring for students who were bleeding.

BROWN: A school security guard seen here also helped subdue the alleged attacker after the assistant principal tackled the suspect. The officer known as Buzz was stabbed but is doing fine. Murrysville's police chief credits a fire alarm with helping to save lives.

Parents scrambling to pick up their teen students, all of them understandably shocked.

ZACH SHEIDO, FRANKLIN REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: Then I saw people holding each other's hands. I saw other people getting cut. Just blood everywhere. It was very traumatizing.

BROWN: The suspect, seen being taken from the police station has been treated for minor injuries including cuts to his hands. So far there is no indication of a motive.


COOPER: Pamela Brown joins us now from Murrysville, Pennsylvania.

So I understand, there are more specifics now about what the suspect, who again we are not naming, is being charged with.

BROWN: That's right, Anderson. We have learned that the 16-year-old sophomore who is the suspect has been charged as an adult. He faces 21 counts of aggravated assault, four counts of intent to commit a homicide and also one count of bringing a prohibited weapon on the school property.

Anderson, he appeared before a magistrate earlier today. The magistrate denied bail. Interesting to note his parents did not show up. The district attorney, John (INAUDIBLE), spoke and said that the alleged attacker went around indiscriminately stabbing the people. And he spoke about one of the victims saying that this victim was eviscerated, still in critical condition at the hospital and there is still a question of whether he will make it.

We're learning more about this suspect, the 16-year-old, that he was a quiet kid according to those who knew him who did not have a prior arrest record. So there is still a lot of questions tonight about why he could have done this. The FBI is involved. We learned they did confiscated his computer from his home. And this investigation is ongoing to figure out the motive -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Pamela Brown, thanks very much. This is all in some way so familiar, also depressing. At this time like all the others we also see the very best coming out in people in this school. As Pennsylvania governor, Tom Corbett, underscored today, we see them rise above the terror, at least put it aside, and rise to the occasion, even though it means in some cases risking their own lives.


CORBETT: There are a number of heroes in this day. Many of them are students, and I want you to write that. Students who stayed with their friends and did not leave their friends.


COOPER: Gracey Evans did far more than just stay with her friend. She may have helped save her best friend's life after he was wounded saving her. She's telling her story tonight.

Gracey, when did you first realize that something was wrong?

EVANS: I was walking from a locker with my friend. And this girl says, hey, you got blood on you to a random kid in the hallway. And in that moment, the kid just ran down the hall with the knives. And my best friend stepped in front of me and he got stabbed in the back. And then in 30 seconds, I saw three people get stabbed.

COOPER: So your friend who stepped in front of you, he was trying to protect you?

EVANS: Yes, he was protecting me. He collapsed on the floor. And so did the two other boys that got stabbed after he did.

COOPER: When your friend went down was that when you first saw the suspect?

EVANS: Yes, I saw him stab my best friend in the back with a butcher knife. And he was so quiet, you couldn't even tell that he actually maybe had a knife in his hand.

COOPER: He wasn't saying anything?

EVANS: And -- he didn't say a word at all. The whole time he didn't say a word. And he just stabbed my best friend in the back. And I could tell you exactly how much blood there was on that knife and how bloody it was when he came out and how much blood my best friend was bleeding. Like it was just incredible what was happening.

COOPER: Did other people know what was going on or was this happening so fast? Were people saying anything? Yelling?

EVANS: It was happening so quick. But as soon as the three boys got stabbed in 30 seconds, I let out -- I didn't know what to do so I let out a blood-curdling scream. And at that moment I -- there was somebody that pulled the fire alarm. And then my one teacher told us all to get in his room, which there were three -- the three boys that were injured. And then four of us who weren't injured.

And my best friend laid down on his stomach so that he could take away some of the pain. And then the boy that mainly got stabbed, that is still I think in critical condition and stuff, he got told to sit up. And I knew that wasn't right. So I went over and I sat him down. And I screamed out the door, I need to put pressure on this wound. And so my friends, they got me paper towels.

COOPER: Were people speaking during this time? I mean, were people saying anything or?

EVANS: We were all just so scared in that room. And we didn't know what to do. There were people like -- there was people everywhere screaming out in the hallway. And it was just -- I can -- it was too scary.

COOPER: And was -- was the young man who is -- who you were applying pressure to, was he conscious?

EVANS: Yes, I was keeping him conscious as long as I could. He started coughing and he barfed. And I couldn't take the smell and that's when a bunch of blood came out of his wound and I couldn't take it anymore. And so I stood up, and as soon as I stood up an EMT came in the room and said you need to move. So I moved and I went out of the room for a minute and then I hear my best friend screaming in pain.

So I went back into the storage room and I held his hand. And he wouldn't let go. The whole way to the hospital. He didn't let go.

COOPER: You drove in the ambulance with him?

EVANS: Yes, because he -- even though I helped to pull the stretcher outside of the school he was asking where I was and everything. Because he like needed me by his side.

COOPER: I mean, it is just incredible. You're a good friend to have been able to do all of that. How were you holding up during all of this? I mean, it's one thing to be helping other people and then when you got to the hospital what happened?

EVANS: Well, I was crying the whole entire time. I was just trying to keep people alive. I was trying to keep the one kid alive that I was applying pressure to. I was telling him to keep talking to me, keep awake, that he needs to stay awake. That they're going -- that the EMTs are going to be here soon and you're going to be fine and everything. I did that the same to my best friend.

Can I say one thing?

COOPER: Yes, of course, Gracey.

EVANS: Brett, if you're listening to this, I love you and I hope you're OK. And I also want to thank all the people that were helping me and I wasn't alone in this.

COOPER: Well, Gracey, again, I just -- I appreciate you talking to us and I wish you well. Take care.

EVANS: Thank you.

COOPER: A lot of people, a lot of good people did a lot of good things in the wake of this terror.

Let me know what you think. Follow me on Twitter @andersoncooper tonight. Tweet us using #ac360.

Coming up next, why searchers think they are closing in on Flight 370. We're going to bring you late word from western Australia. And as always, new insight from our aviation professionals.

And later, what it is like down there at those great depths in the waters. Some of the roughest terrain on earth. We'll show you how to pull parts of an plane from what could be mountains under the sea.


COOPER: Tonight a new beginning in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and breaking news, the search area narrowing yet again. Day 34 since the Boeing 777 vanished with 239 souls on board, yet only the start of day two since the discovery of those new underwater signals from what experts say is almost certainly a black box pinger.

Searchers now optimistic they will find not just the source of the pinging but wreckage of the plane. Suddenly questions about recovering the wreckage and seeking answers from it are no longer just academic, they are quickly becoming real.

We're going to explore many of them tonight. But first the very latest from Michael Holmes at search headquarters in western Australia.

So what do we know about the latest search efforts under way right now?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is -- we're 12 hours ahead of where you are on the East Coast there, Anderson, and so it's 8:00 in the morning. We're expecting more than a dozen planes to be out there again, today, searching for any floating debris, no luck so far as you know. Also more than a dozen ships are still out there as well.

It's interesting you mentioned the word optimism. The Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, he is a man not given to hyperbole, and when he said yesterday that these latest two pings in addition to the two that were last Saturday have given him cause for optimism that they would find the wreckage, it really is telling that he used those words because he's a man ultra cautious guy.

And for him to say he's optimistic they're going to find the wreckage is really quite something. So they're out there again today, of course the focus on the Australian ship that is towing that U.S. Navy ping locator, looking for more pings crucially so they can narrow it down even further. COOPER: Michael, have they given any more sense today, this morning about how long they're going to continue to just try to listen for those pings using that towing locator before they actually start going under water? Because we know time is running out, we don't even know if the pings are still echoing, still going.

HOLMES: Yes, yes, that's right, I mean, this is the dawn of day 34 in this search. And those ping -- those pingers are meant to last about 30 days. So obviously time running out very quickly in terms of getting more pings.

What I guess they're trying to do, Anderson, is in the same way you use cell towers to try to narrow down where a cell phone might be by triangulation. That is what they're trying to do here, they've got those four pings now. If they get more they can try to narrow it down even further. That ping locator is omnidirectional, it's not directional, so when they get a ping, they kind of say oh, there it is.

It just helps them narrow down the search area. What they were trying to do then while they can still get these pings is try to narrow it down so that they can send down that underwater submersible, the Bluefin, which then maps the bottom of the ocean floor and gives them -- really is looking for wreckage. But that really moves at a walking pace and is a tedious process.

And even if it found the wreckage, you then have to get the other recovery vehicles in place to go down and get whatever it is that they see. So this could take weeks even if they are in the right spot -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, Michael Holmes, I appreciate the update.

These new pings all they imply about locating the wreckage cell, even more -- or call even more attention, I should say, to what comes next when a debris field is actually located. Now in a moment we're going to show you just how truly deep some of this ocean is and the challenges conducting the recovery operations in a pitch black.

But first, I want to focus on the latest news about the pings and the scramble to hear more from them.

Joining us again, CNN safety analyst, David Soucie, author of "Why Planes Crash: An Accident Investigator's Fight for Safe Skies," CNN analyst David Gallo, co-leader of the search for Air France Flight 447 and director of Special Projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Also aviation correspondent Richard Quest.

Richard, just big picture.


COOPER: In terms of the optimism that we heard from that last press conference from Angus Houston, I mean, we have never really heard him come as close as he did to saying we know the plane is here. QUEST: Yes, and the only thing that prevented him from going that one stage further was his natural reluctance to take that step until he has hard physical evidence. And that is what he said again and again in his late night press conference Eastern Time.

I want to see evidence. Not just because that is what he needs but because that is what the families require. So that they have certainty of what happened and they can begin the process of closure on the event.

COOPER: Dave Gallo, when we look at that map where you see the four different spots where they heard pings on two separate -- a number of -- two different days, and we're looking at it right there. It's confusing as you know there are only two black boxes. So why were there all these different positions? Can you just explain -- I mean, my understanding of this is that basically because of the way sound can refract under water.


COOPER: That is why we're getting all these different locations.

GALLO: Yes. And the other thing, Anderson, is when you look at that graphic, I think it's showing you where the ship was or where the pinger was when they heard the sound. It doesn't mean that's where they assume the black boxes to be.

COOPER: The black boxes.

GALLO: Right.

COOPER: But why would they have heard -- if there's only two boxes, why would they have heard sound in those different locations which are spread out? Is it just because sound bounces around on the water?

GALLO: Exactly, sound bounces around, and depending on where you are with that TPL, towing the TPL, that's where you may have heard the sound, so it doesn't surprise me at all, it comes and goes, depending on where they are with respect to thermal layers and topography.

COOPER: So, David Soucie, that's why it's more essential why they're trying to give every opportunity to hear more pings so they can get as many different kind of data points to start to analyze.

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Exactly. And back to the point of the echoing or where it's going, it'd be like standing on the mountain, up in the Colorado Mountains, and shouting, and you hear your echo go out, and it comes back sometimes, sometimes it goes over the mountain, you're not really sure where it goes but you could be standing on the rock on the other side and not hear that shout.

So that's kind of what's going on there. But that's how you can get it closer is by saying distinguishing that that is echo, it's a refracted signal, as oppose to the primary signal which I think is up in that two-mile stretch. COOPER: Realistically, though, David, how long do you think that they're going to give to continue with the towed pinger locator? Because we know -- I mean, 30 days is supposedly the life span of this thing. You know, I talked to -- I think it was Captain Matthews the other day who said we'll maybe give it as much as 45 days just in case.

SOUCIE: Yes, I think that when we were talking to Matthews at that time, he was -- he was referring mostly to saying that if we get no pings between now and then --

COOPER: Right. We'll continue.

SOUCIE: We can go as long as 45 days.

COOPER: Right.

SOUCIE: But they are getting pings. So now they have the general vicinity. They're going to continue in that area as long as days go by of getting pings, I think they'll be fine. But to judge it properly I think, if it were me, I would say, if we had no pings for three days then let's give it up. Because we're not going to get anything at that point.

COOPER: And the -- we understand they dropped some sonobuoys now. Why would they -- why would they do that?

GALLO: Sonobuoys from an aircraft, just for listening again. Because they're dropped from an aircraft, so there's no ship, there's no ship sound, they're very capable devices to hear low amplitude sounds.

COOPER: And when you see that map again of the different ping locations, how big an area -- I mean, realistically, how tough of an area is that to cover again good just going for more pings?

GALLO: Well, I don't think you need to cover that entire area. I think you need to still that down to figure out where in that area is the best guess where the black boxes will be and then you start with an area that's larger than that, maybe -- if you think everything is within the one by one mile area you might want to map something that's five by five --

COOPER: You're talking about underwater searches.


COOPER: But while they're on the surface, would they just -- wouldn't they continue to go back over that entire area?

GALLO: That depends on how they're trying to pick up the sounds, trying to triangulate on the sounds. So they've got their own -- whoever is out there calling the shots on board that ship has got a plan for re-acquiring and trying to triangulate on those sounds.

COOPER: There is a Web site, I know, David Gallo, you've been looking at, you've been paying a lot of attention to. It shows the real-time positions of the ships, in the search area. We showed these images just a short time ago. It shows the vessels in the area right now. We can also see the search pattern of the Ocean Shield. What does that tell you?

GALLO: Well, the Ocean Shield hasn't moved from that spot on the right on that lump. Here it looks like a slightly lighter shade of blue. That lump it's doing that pattern, back and forth pattern, a triangular pattern sometimes. The other ships oddly enough have been moving around fairly quickly so Ocean Shield moving at about two or three miles an hour. Everyone else is going about 20 miles an hour, back and forth along straight lines. So it seems like they're -- everyone else is looking for something on the surface. Ocean Shield is sitting there listening to something.

COOPER: And Richard, it is just fascinating that no debris has been found. I mean, they're zeroing in on this location.

QUEST: And that remains the conundrum. The troublesome factor. But they are sending more planes in a more tightly formatted area. And that's what he said last night at the press conference because they're able to focus down on that.

With this whole process now, Angus Houston said there is no second chances when it comes to the pingers. When they're dead, they're dead. And that is why he is throwing everything he has got at the pingers, the location, until he is sure for several days two or three days after he gets any last ping because he wouldn't be able to re- create that once they finish.

COOPER: We've got to take a quick break, we're going to have more.

Coming up, the extreme ocean environment, more than 10,000 feet deep. We're going to take a closer look at what we know about the bottom of the sea in the area and how it maps out next.

Also ahead the latest on the search from Commander William Marks who's on the scene with the U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet.


COOPER: If the search for Flight 370 is indeed zeroing in on the right place it's a challenge, to say the least, on that stretch of the Indian Ocean.

Now I want to give you some perspective about just how deep we're talking about. Take a look at this animation. The very top of that is sea level. Now when people go for scuba diving for recreation maybe they go down to about 130 feet at the most. The Empire State Building, by comparison, that's just over 1200 feet.

And take a look at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Well, here, it's inverted. That's over 5200 feet. The deepest diving sea mammal gets to more than 9800. And even further down the wreckage of the Titanic that was found at a depth of 12,500 feet.

Now the towed pinger locator that we've been talking about which listens for signals from the black boxes, that is at about 10,000 feet below the surface. And the pings that have been picked in the search for this plane are more than 13,000 feet below the surface.

So even though Australian officials are optimistic that they're now looking in the right place there are challenges when we're talking about this kind of depths about three miles down in darkness with silt that can be very thick. It's a difficult environment to be sure.

You know, it's been sad that we actually know more about the surface of the moon than the bottom of the ocean. So just how much of the world's sea bed has been mapped? And what is that look like?

Gary Tuchman has that.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the bottom of the sea, the view is dark and mysterious. The video you're looking at was taken with an underwater camera during an oil exploration mission in the Mediterranean Sea. But during the mission a startling discovery, more than 9,000 feet down, a vessel that sunk during World War II, spotted on the seafloor.

The ship now visible for the first time in almost 70 years. The camera picture remarkably clear. But it wasn't the camera that originally spotted the wreck. It was sonar.

DAVID MILLER, FUGRO PELAGOS: So you can only see eight, 10, 12 feet at a time. Whereas with the sonar type system you could actually map much larger areas.

TUCHMAN: David Miller is the president of Fugro Pelagos, a company that helps to map the world's oceans and seas.

MILLER: Despite the fact that 70 percent of the world is covered by ocean, only 5 percent of our oceans have been explored to date.

TUCHMAN: This is a side scan sonar device. It's tossed into the water off of San Diego. To give us a look at what's under our boat.

MILLER: All these little rectangular features on the ocean floor are all scattered debris that the side scan is picking up. You can actually see real time.

TUCHMAN: But this is shallow water. What can you see in the deep? With sonar, an amazing amount. This is one of the company's autonomous underwater vehicles known as the AUV. It glides through the deepest ocean depths in the world with the sonar attached. These are actual images, it's not animation, it's transmitted by acoustic beams that provide a picture of the sea bed.

This is also in the Mediterranean Sea. It's a surreal underwater scene with mountain ranges, some of these mountains are more than 600 feet tall, or about 60 stories on a building.

MILLER: The oceans are really no different than what we can see as humans on land. There are valleys, there are canyons, there are mountain ranges.

TUCHMAN: This company has used the sonar to find ships that are under water, like this one, but searches are certainly not always successful.

(on camera): Particularly when you're dealing with the mountainous plateaus that are in the Indian Ocean where it is believed that Flight 370 now rests. If they're able to ascertain for sure that the wreckage is nearby and the bottom of the Indian Ocean is flat, do you think they will be able to find the plane?

DAVID MILLAR: Yes, there is a hard probability they will be able to find the plane in those conditions.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): But that is a big "if," because most of the underwater area being searched has never, ever been explored. Gary Tuchman, CNN, San Diego.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, joining us once again is David Gallo and David Soucie. David Gallo, let me start with you. The silt that is supposedly underneath here, will that interrupt the side sonar scanner?

DAVID GALLO, CNN ANALYST: Anderson, that was based on one sediment core taken some time ago from a long way away. I don't think silt will be a problem. We always have to worry a bit about sediment kicking up. It would happen certainly not to the level it would impact the sonar search --

COOPER: Even, I mean, obviously with a plane hitting the bottom would bring up a lot of silt, but that would settle relatively.

GALLO: Relatively quickly, yes. But certainly not to the level that is going to impact the sonar search. That's at least as far as I know.

COOPER: And the environment, we talked about this a little during the break. The environment at these kind of depths under the water, it is a whole other world.

GALLO: It is a completely different world that nobody has a concept of. And that's only half of the ocean depth, that's about 50 percent of the ocean is above that.

COOPER: You see species down there you don't see anywhere else.

GALLO: All sorts of life forms, you don't see underwater rivers, underwater lakes, underwater falls --

COPER: What is an underwater river?

GALLO: It is density, water moves because of density. Whether it is warmer or colder, saltier or less salty and at the bottom of the ocean, we see actual rivers that cuts across the sea bed. COOPER: Of water that is more dense?

GALLO: Yes, it flow, it starts using the Arctic or Antarctic and pours into the basins, the lakes are even more amazing that you can go to the bottom of the ocean and see what looks like a lake at night.

COOPER: Would it interfere with the towed pinger locators?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Potentially it could, it makes a little bit of extra noise, there are some that are in that frequency range. There is the physical movement of the propeller and pieces on it that can interfere. It should be distinguishable, but as the battery gets weaker and weaker --

COOPER: The side scanner sonar that the U.S. Navy has, I think it is called Bluefin, how deep can it go? Can it go to the depths that we are talking about?

GALLO: At 4500 meters it can go. That is operating maximum and we're right about there. They're right on the very edge of that operating capabilities. If they move to the north, it drops rapidly to about 6,000 meters. If they go a bit to the south it climbs up to 2,000 meters. But I think it is to the north that it could cause a problem.

COOPER: What happens if it goes deeper?

GALLO: It would float --

COOPER: It is crushed because of the pressure.

GALLO: And I know they are thinking about that and there are ways around it. They can fly higher above the terrain.

COOPER: It is called a side scanning sonar, but does it have a depth of -- I mean, can it scan at a certain depth? Does it have to be on the same level or can it scan below?

GALLO: If you want to see further, you can come up off the bottom and looking out to the side you will see further, just like in an airplane the higher you are, the further you can see. You have less of an idea of what you're looking at. If you want an accurate view of what's on the bottom, you come low and hug the bottom --

COOPER: Are there rovers that can do that?

GALLO: Yes, the Bluefin-21 can do that. If they're read at that operating depth, they probably don't want to chance losing the vehicle.

COOPER: So are there vehicles that can go further then?

GALLO: Again, Phoenix International is very capable of figuring this out so I am sure they have other things, plan b in the back of their mind. That is the team out there operating the TPL and the Bluefin- 21.

COOPER: And these are private teams that are contracted?

GALLO: Yes, it is a company out of Largo.

COOPER: How deep can an unmanned vehicle go?

GALLO: We have vehicles that can go to 6,000 meters, 95 percent of the sea floor. Just on the other side of Australia we have a very new vehicle going down into the trenches. That is full ocean depth.

COOPER: That is incredible.

GALLO: It is technology. It has been great to watch the technology over the last 20 years.

COOPER: And a depth like that, is it just collecting data or does it have arms that it can pick out things?

GALLO: Yes, it is a very special vehicle, if you're working at seven miles depth, you have to have ten or 12 miles of cable. Now they just dive down there with a simple fiber strand.

COOPER: That is incredible. Amazing technology. David Gallo, thank you. David Soucie as well. Up next, an update on today's search from Commander William Marks of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet.

And also, the prosecutor blistering cross examination of Olympic star, Oscar Pistorius on trial in South Africa. We'll take you inside the courtroom.


COOPER: Day 34 for Flight 370, back with us tonight, Commander Marks on board the command ship, USS Blue Ridge. Commander Marks, appreciate you joining us again. Can you give us an update on how the search is going at 8:39 a.m. in the region?

COMMANDER WILLIAM MARKS, ABOARD USS BLUE RIDGE (via telephone): Sure, we are much more optimistic than we were even a day or so ago. And even then, many more times optimistic than a week ago. We were up to four distinct detections on the black box. We turned around on the reciprocal course, and then a 4-minute and 7-minute chunk of detection time.

So when you put these two together it makes us very optimistic. When you only had the one set, I would call us cautiously optimistic. But now that we had the second set, we are optimistic we are getting closer and close. A couple of reasons why, one, we worked very closely with the joint acoustic center in Australia.

And they determined these are very clear, distinct signals. So they're a continuous ping coming out with clear signals. This is not something you would find with commercial shipping. Not something you know, just found in nature. This is definitely something that is manmade, very consistent with what would come from these black boxes.

And the second thing is we did hear two distinct locations and so that would be both consistent with the cockpit data recorder and then the voice recorder. So we are looking pretty good now. And it is a good find.

COOPER: Do you have a sense of how much more -- how many more days, I assume it is days, how many more days you might go at trying to pick up more pings? I know it is not your call to make. There is a number of different players here in the region. But do you have a sense of how much longer you're going to go before trying to get the pings?

MARKS: That is really the next decision point. So we have our experts here working with the experts from Australia and other agencies. So what you have to do is maximize the use of the TPL. The towed pinger locator is only good once the black boxes are pinging, once they stop, there is really no use.

So while we have the potential of the black boxes to have battery life, maybe it is only a day or two but we still want to use that. Once you get the Bluefin in the water, the side scan sonar, there is really no limit for that. You can use that for an indefinite period. I would say there is really no rush to get that in.

I know everyone wants to start getting, you know, sonar pictures of the bottom, but if we take out the TPL now, we're really going to give up the last couple of days of any potential black box ping. So most likely we'll try to maximize that and get the side scan sonar in later.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Commander, good evening. It is Richard Quest. Let me reverse that point to you. You will keep using the TPL for as long as you can. But then how many days of no signal? No pings do you think would be appropriate before you can say all right, it is over. It is done, let's get it down there.

MARKS: Yes, that is really the question. And me here on Seventh Fleet, you know it is not my decision. But what is encouraging is the second set of hits on the black boxes were only really 10 or 15 kilometers away from the first set. So -- that is still a big search area. So if we can narrow that down I think that is the best course of action. So you know, I can't answer you definitively. You know, maybe a day or two, but I still think there is value in listening with the TPL before you get to this very slow, deliberate methodical search with the Bluefin-21.

COOPER: Interesting, so maybe a day or two is what the commander is saying. I want to bring Les Abend who is a Boeing 777 captain to give a question.

LES ABEND, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Yes, Commander Marks, just to clarify something, do you think it is possible that these signals that you're receiving may be from both the digital flight data recorder and from the cockpit voice recorder?

MARKS: Yes, so there are a couple of indications we had. First I should let you know there was a slight variation in frequency, and that can be expected. That is not something completely out of line. But on that first day we did have the same type of signal coming from two locations. The second day we couldn't quite decipher that. But on the second day we did have two distinct locations. So there are indications that indeed, both of those black boxes are out there.

ABEND: Do you recall the approximate distance between the two?

MARKS: No, I don't have that. But it was not that great of a distance because if we can hear it with the TPL you're only talking a couple of kilometers. So not that huge of a range.

ABEND: OK, thank you.

SOUCIE: Yes, Commander Marks, this is David Soucie -- how are you?

MARKS: Doing well here in the Pacific.

SOUCIE: OK, great, what I would like to ask you when you saw the two- hour connection and you were getting the pings for two hours, and I'm hearing they were not able to be re-acquired. I am hearing you went to the south. Would you not go to the north? It appears because they were so far away from the two hours they may just be the refracted ping hours that you're hearing below. Is the plan to go north now?

MARKS: You know that is a good point. With this initial two-hour detection, when we did re-acquire for a very short time in that 13- minute block, and that was as we turned around on that reciprocal course. But we are searching the entire area. It is just a matter of slowly and methodically doing that. You have to realize we are only moving at the pace a person can walk, so a couple of miles an hour.

So you have this dimension of depth. So what is a miracle, the first hit we got, only up 300 meters -- so very shallow, once we heard it we lowered the TPL down to 400 meters, then really you want to get it at more like 3,000 meters so we are searching the whole area, it is just a matter of slowly and methodically doing it.

COOPER: Commander Marks, it is good to have you on as always. Appreciate it and appreciate all your efforts there. I think the headline from that conversation is really the one or two days they will still listen for pings before starting to deploy underwater. David Soucie, Richard Quest and Les Abend, thanks.

Up next, the prosecution tearing down Oscar Pistorius at his murder trial.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you take responsibility for that?

OSCAR PISTORIUS? I did, my lady.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then say it. Say yes. I shot and killed Reeva Steencamp.

PISTORIUS: I did, my lady.


COOPER: In crime and punishment, the prosecution pulled out all the stops during a blistering cross examination of Oscar Pistorius, back on the stand for a third day. He was grilled on the night he killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steencamp. His story he says it was a terrible accident.

The prosecutor was known for his aggressive style, his questioning combative and the graphic images he showed in court today prompted the defense to claim only the court can see Pistorius because he has chosen not to testify be on camera, but the audio feed captured much of what happened. Here's Robyn Curnow.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the video shown by the prosecution in its first day of cross examining Oscar Pistorius. The Olympian shooting water melons at a gun range, yelling, then saying it is a lot softer than brains. The defense called the court presentation an ambush, evidence they say they were not privy to. The judge allowed it. And the judge ordered a graphic photo of Reeva Steenkamp on every courtroom screen.

GERRIE NEL, PROSECUTOR: I'm going to show you, Mr. Pistorius, is that the exact same effect the bullet that went into her head.

CURNOW: Pushing Pistorius to look, to compare the watermelon to Steenkamp.

PISTORIUS: My lady, I was there that night.

NEL: Have a look, I know you don't want to because you don't want to take responsibility but it is time that you look at it. Take responsibility for what you have done, Mr. Pistorius.

CURNOW: And in doing so may have over stepped.

KELLY PHELPS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It is a valid strategy to try and set all the defendants so that they essentially get tripped up on the stand. But there are reasonable limits within which that can be done.

CURNOW: Earlier Pistorius was on the stand for the defense.

PISTORIUS: I had her head on my left shoulder and I could feel the blood was running down on me.

CURNOW: Oscar Pistorius finally detailing the moments after he shot and killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

PISTORIUS: I was shouting, screaming for him to help me get her to the hospital.

CURNOW: He says he desperately tried to save her life.

PISTORIUS: I had my fingers in her mouth to help her try to breathe. CURNOW: The defense making Oscar Pistorius meticulously recap minute by minute.

PISTORIUS: While Reeva died, I was holding her before the ambulance arrived so I knew there was nothing they could do for her.

CURNOW: The amputee said he did not have his prosthetics on when he broke the door down with cricket bat.

PISTORIUS: I can barely stand on my stumps let alone yield a bat.

CURNOW: The defense trying to disprove witness testimony, discussing statements from the neighbors on either side of Pistorius' home, neighbors the prosecution never called to the stand who say they never heard a woman's voice that night.

GARRY ROUX, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: She heard loud crying and not a woman screaming.

CURNOW: Pistorius continuing to proclaim his innocence.

PISTORIUS: I did not intend to kill Reeva, my lady, or anybody else, for that matter.

CURNOW: It was a tragic mistake, said Pistorius who under cross examination battled a prosecutor determined to prove it was nothing less than premeditated murder.

NEL: You made a mistake. You killed a person, didn't you?

PISTORIUS: I made a mistake.

NEL: You killed Reeva Steenkamp, that is what you did.


CURNOW: Now, this hostile aggressive cross examination will continue on Thursday. Oscar Pistorius has said that he didn't think before he shot. However, the state prosecutor said we will show you, you are lying. Robyn Curnow, CNN, Pretoria.

COOPER: Just ahead tonight, the latest in the American family rescued at sea. They were trying to sail around the world with their young kids.

Plus a play date with Prince George, who makes his first official public appearance in New Zealand. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Let get caught up on some other stories we are following. Susan Hendricks has the 360 Bulletin -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, three soldiers killed in last week's shooting rampage were mourned today at Fort Hood. President Obama spoke at today's memorial service just as he did after 2009 shooting at the same base.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: As commander-in-chief I'm determined that we will continue to step up our efforts to reach our troops and veterans who are hurting. Deliver to them the care that they need, to make sure we never stigmatize those who have the courage to seek help.


HENDRICKS: Also today, a child who died after a car crashes into a Florida daycare center near Orlando. Fourteen others, mostly children were hurt. A Dodge Durango that rear ended the car pushing it into the building fled the scene. A tip led police to the SUV hours later. They are still looking for the driver.

And a 1-year-old girl and her family are finally back on dry land after a scare at sea. The child felt ill during a sailing trip that was supposed to take them around the world. Just days into the voyage they had to be rescued. A mission that involved the Coast Guard, the Navy, and air national guard, as well.

And take a look at Prince George who mixed it up with a room full of babies in New Zealand. At 8 months old, the third heir to Britain's throne is traveling with the duke and duchess of Cambridge, mom and dad to him. Not really your typical play date.

COOPER: Very cute baby, a roomful of very cute babies, could watch that all day. Susan, thanks very much. That does it for us. Thanks very much for watching. Be sure to set your DVRs, a prime time edition of "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.