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Australian Minister Announcing Pings Have Come From Flight 370; Experts on New Conditions of Searching for Flight 370; Passengers' Family Members Still Keeping Hope; Rising Tensions over Piece of Land in Nevada; Portland for Tourists; Stephen Colbert's Pronounced Anchor of "Late Night Show"

Aired April 12, 2014 - 07:00   ET

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


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: A late news conference last night with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. And overnight, he reiterated his confidence that the four signals detected by a high tech U.S. pinger locator in the Indian Ocean are coming from one of the plane's black boxes. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: They have the numerous, numerous transmissions recorded, which gives us the high degree of confidence that this is the black box from the missing flight. What we're now doing given that the signal from the black box is rapidly fading, what we are now doing is trying to get as many detections as we can so that we can (INAUDIBLE) we can narrow the search area down to as small an area as possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So, those signals were detected within 17 miles of one another. At least ten planes, 14 ships right now are in the middle of searching.

BLACKWELL: And the crews are focused on an area about the size of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined. You may recall that at one point the search zone was about the size of the continental U.S.

PAUL: But remember, I mean time is running out here. The batteries on the black boxes are either quickly fading if they're not dead already. And even though crews may be close, those signals are coming from about three miles below the surface, which can really compromise, I think, what they hear. Officials are warning that retrieving those black boxes is a massive, massive task. And here's why. Flight 370 is about 200 feet wide and 242 feet long. Hopefully this will help you understand this. Because that means from where those signals are coming from, you'd pass the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, and the tallest building in the world on your way down to get it.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN's Will Ripley in Perth, Australia. We have talked about the search for the black boxes. Let's talk about this visual search. I'd expect it's wrapping up now, Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's over for the day. The planes will be arriving over the next couple of hours or so, landing. They were out at the search area trying to maximize the daylight hours to do that visual search. Weather today wasn't so great. There were showers. There was a swell. Visibility was just a few miles. And, so, you know, we will obviously learn later whether any of the planes today spotted anything. Normally what happens is they'll call a press conference with just a couple of hours' notice. But, you know, day in and day out, that the pattern unfortunately for the visual search has been no debris spotted. And that's really tough for the 370 families, understandably so. Because many of these people feel that in spite of these pings and, you know, the confidence on the part of searchers that they think this is where 370's black boxes are located, the families want proof. They want something tangible, and we're just not close to getting that yet.

PAUL: So, Will, are you getting any indication there as to when they're going to consider sending this blue fin drone down under water?

RIPLEY: You know, the talk, you know, behind the scenes is that there's going to be an announcement within the coming days or at least they're going to be talking about making a decision about when to deploy the submersible. You know, they want to listen as much as possible, as you heard the prime minister say, to try to narrow down the size of the search area. Because once they do deploy that submersible, it really slows down the search process. And, you know, there's a lot of challenges, you know, when you send this submersible down. The depth is going to push this technology to the limits. There's a lot of silt down there. We don't know a whole lot about the terrain under water. There could be mountains. And then you talked earlier, too, about the size of the plane. You know, that's assuming that the plane is intact. Which, you know, experience shows when a plane hits the water, it tends to break apart. So it's going to be a difficult process once they move into that next phase. And maybe will get some answers this week.

PAUL: All right. Sounds good. Will Ripley, thanks so much for the update. And let's talk more about this investigation with CNN aviation analyst and former inspector general with the U.S. Transportation Department Mary Schiavo.

BLACKWELL: Also, we've got Thomas Altshuler, the vice president and group general manager at Teledyne Marine Systems, which develops underwater communication systems. And Tom Fuentes as CNN law enforcement analyst and the former FBI system director. Let's start with Mary. Mary, a mistake for the prime minister Tony Abbott to be so confident publicly and talk about this high degree of confidence that they've detected signals from Flight 370's black boxes considering all the confidence in the past and thus far nothing?

MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: Oh, I don't really think so. I mean, he is the prime minister. And he - when he started these more positive discussions, he was in China. He was speaking to a Chinese audience, knowing that the families were there or at least were listening. I think he was just probably, you know, putting a good face on what Angus Houston, the director of the joint task force, had already said. That they thought that they were the pings and they were zeroing in on it. So, I can't take the prime minister too much to task. I suppose anyone would want to have a little bit of optimism, particularly if you knew that families of the victims were listening.

PAUL: You know, it was interesting this week -- tom, I want to pose this to you. Malaysian authorities, they came out and said, look, we want to head this investigation once we get the black box, but they admit that they don't have the capability to do so, to really -- or the expertise to really look at this thing. Who gets that black box once it's found, Tom?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Whoever they want to get it will get it. They still are in charge of it. It's their aircraft. It's their investigation. They're leading it. But they've already said and admitted. So I mean that should take the worry away from people who think that they're going to just start cracking open those boxes and destroy all of the information. They've said they don't have the expertise. They said they'll rely on other experts to do it. And, you know, most people now believe that it'll probably -- the Australians do have the expertise and the lab. And will probably - but the Malaysians will decide who does it. And if the Australians do use their facility, it will be probably with NTSB and the British and the French experts. They'll probably have a combined expertise combined to look at it.

BLACKWELL: Tom Altshuler, the Bluefin 21 according to the manufacturer can cover about 40 square miles per day. The four ping signals are all within 17 miles of one another. Do you think it's time to send down the Bluefin? And if not, when should it go down?

TOM ALTSHULER, VICE PRESIDENT & GENERAL MANAGER, TELEDYNE MARINE SYSTEMS: Well, it's probably still a little early. I think we heard yesterday that -- and we've been talking about it for the last couple of weeks. The pingers have a lifetime of 30 days. That's the specified lifetime. So that you are required as a manufacturer to guarantee that you'll get 30 days of operation. But in reality, most people design a system that has what we call engineering margin. So there's more energy in those batteries. And so, it's not outrageous for them to last 35, 36 days or even longer. And you really need to narrow that search region. I think in a piece just a little while ago, you know, you were talking about the fact that sound propagates through the water column in a very complex manner. So, just because you have 17 miles between pings doesn't mean that the pingers are in between those locations. It could be outside and propagating around, off the terrain and through the water column and causing a much - resulting in a much larger search area.

PAUL: Tom Fuentes, in this new sky news report, Malaysia's transport minister said that everyone on board the missing flight remains a suspect. But nearly two weeks ago, the Inspector General of Malaysian police cleared all 227 passengers. So do you believe that what he's saying now is only the crew is on the table or the passengers are still suspect as well?

FUENTES: No, I think, yeah, the passengers are now added back. I think when they made that announcement a couple of weeks ago, at the time I said that's a huge mistake. I know from, you know, the FBI with massive resources in the case like this, it would still take maybe years to clear everybody. At least certainly months. Not two or three weeks. So at the time of that first announcement, I really couldn't believe they made that announcement. I think now they're making a course correction, if you will, that what they said before was wrong.

BLACKWELL: Mary, for whom is he speaking when he says that everyone is still a suspect? Just the Malaysians or the entire investigative group, including the Americans and the British who I guess are supporting the Malaysians?

SCHIAVO: Or is he speaking just basically doing a CYA for the government? What I think happened is they got out in front of each other. And they probably were accurate when they said -- not that they cleared people, that they weren't looking to the passengers as suspects. And, you know, probably let that slip. And now they're trying to go back over and smooth it over and say, oh, no, no, everyone's a suspect. But the fact of the matter is they've also said because the FBI has released it that they really don't have anything on the pilots from their computers or the flight simulator. And so, I think realistically when they say everyone is a suspect, if everyone's a suspect, no one's a suspect. So I think it was kind of just a smoothing over for public consumption. I can't really read a whole lot into it. I can't believe all the passengers are suspects. I just don't believe it.

PAUL: All right. Mary Schiavo, Tom Altshuler and Tom Fuentes, thank you all so much for being with us.

ALTSHULER: Thank you.

FUENTES: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Still to come on "NEW DAY," of course, the teams are trying to narrow the search zone even more. The U.S. is thinking about how its role may be expanded if debris is found. We'll look into how that could happen.

PAUL: And dreams dashed for a group of prospective college students. This is just horrid. More on what you're looking at here, this fiery wreck that took their lives. Stay close.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: So glad to have you with us this morning. You know, if parts of missing Malaysia Flight 370 are, in fact, found, U.S. investigators may step up their involvement.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, because this investigation so far has come up with no claims of terrorism as CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports. Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, Victor, with all of the focus on the hunt for Flight 370, U.S. government analysts and investigators have been on the sidelines a bit. But now all of that might be about to change.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: As searchers potentially close in on finding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, U.S. government intelligence, law enforcement, and aviation experts are quietly talking about what comes next. And at what point they'll take a bigger role in the investigation. If new pings are found from the plane's black boxes. It could still take weeks to locate the voice recorder, which investigators hope will tell them what was happening in the cockpit. But it's the data recorder that may tell them the most about how the plane went down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to tell you what switches were moved, when they were moved, what your air speed was, what your altitudes were. What your heading was. It's going to give you an entire picture of what that airplane was doing. And when it was doing it.

STARR: If debris is salvaged, more clues for the U.S. to follow. If part of the frame is bent outwards, it could indicate an explosion. If investigators find a punched-in nose cone, an indication the plane hit the water nose first. But still, the question, what brought the plane down? And if it was a deliberate act, what was the motive? There has been no claim of terrorism found by the CIA, FBI computer experts found no evidence of wrongdoing on the pilot and first officer's computers. Malaysian sources say the plane may have deliberately dropped to a low altitude attempting to avoid radar. That low altitude could be one of the biggest indications Flight 370 was not having mechanical trouble and trying to avoid other aircraft for safety reasons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you hear anybody say that there was any emergency call? Why would you turn off a transponder?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: U.S. officials still theorize that someone steered Flight 370 away from land and into the Indian Ocean, leaving the vital questions, who and why? Victor, Christi.

PAUL: Barbara Starr, thank you so much. I don't know, have you heard about this heated standoff between a Nevada rancher and the federal government over cattle and grazing land? Because it is getting dicey. We'll tell you more.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, and if you have questions about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, tweet us. I am at Victor CNN, Christie is at Christi Paul. And use the #370Qs. 370 QS. We'll get some answers to those questions. Our panel is going to weigh in on how well the Malaysian government is handling the investigation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: We're going to have more for you on the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 in a moment, but we have got some news just in we need to get to you.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, let's go to Nick Valencia for some other news making headlines and a big development. Good morning, Nick.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, big development in northern California. Good morning, guys. We start there in California where a college tour ended in a fiery wreck, killing ten people, five of them students. More than 30 were injured after a FedEx truck slammed into a bus carrying the teens. And new information this morning. This just in the CNN from affiliate KOVR who spoke to eyewitnesses who said that FedEx truck was on fire before it hit the tour bus. The students were on their way to visit Humboldt State University.

And two associates of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez have been indicted on murder charges in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez is already charged with first-degree murder. Police say the two men just indicted were in the car with Hernandez on the night of the last year's murder. Hernandez has already pleaded not guilty.

Amazon wants to know, do you really want this job? The company is offering its warehouse employees $5,000 to quit. Even though the company is actively hiring and expanding. The Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says the offer ensures that everyone who works at Amazon really wants to be there.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle took a bit of a pay cut in 2013. The couple reported $481,000 in adjusted gross income on their federal tax return. That's a drop of about 21 percent from last year. The federal tax bill came to a bit more than $98,000. That's an effective federal tax rate of 20.4 percent.

And moving on, this story seems just like it's straight out of an old Wild West movie. In Nevada, a rancher and federal rangers clashed over grazing rights. The rancher alleges the government is taking away his cattle, but the government says he's been illegally grazing his herds on federal land for years. CNN's Dan Simon has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get back now!

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This dramatic video Wednesday showed the rising tension over some prized desert in Nevada. About an hour and a half outside of Las Vegas. With dogs and tasers, these federal officers were trying to clear a roadway blocked by protesters, an incident now under investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is America. And they are the aggressors. We're not the aggressors.

SIMON: It all began when the USBLM, the Bureau of Land Management, began seizing hundreds of cattle owned by a local rancher, 68-year-old ClIven Bundy, a well-liked figure in this rural community.

CLIVEN BUNDY: The federal government is here with an Army stealing my cattle. That's what it is. It's not seizing. They're stealing my cattle.

SIMON: Bundy and his son claim it's an illegal action because the cattle and land belong to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I grew up on this land, and all the rest of you did too. Most of you did. And never once have we ever been kept away from going up on this land.

SIMON: But the BLM and the National Parks Service says the Bundys don't own it, the government does. And therefore, they need to pay grazing fees for the livestock. All told, Uncle Sam says the elder Bundy owes more than $1 million in unpaid debts spanning two decades.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to leave now!

SIMON: This week, the BLM said enough is enough, prepared for a battle. They had this run-in with Bundy supporters. In a statement, federal authorities say a police dog was kicked and then officers protecting a civilian driver were threatened and assaulted. And as for the seizure, the BLM and NPS have made repeated attempts to resolve this matter administratively and judicially. (INAUDIBLE) of cattle illegally grazing on public lands is an option of last resort. The dispute, however, has brought self-proclaimed members of militia groups from across the country to join the rancher in fighting what they say is U.S. tyranny.

(on camera): Did you bring weapons with you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just prefer not to answer. SIMON (voice over): And there's no answer as to how long this standoff will last. Dan Simon, CNN, Bunkerville, Nevada.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VALENCIA: That's a fight that's been going on for years. We'll see if there's a resolution any time soon. Victor, Christi, back to you.

BLACKWELL: All right, Nick, thank you.

PAUL: Thanks, Nick.

BLACKWELL: 36 days now, and I think what shocks most people, no sign of debris from Flight 370.

PAUL: Yeah, there's this new sense, you know, of urgency. And some people would say desperation as search crews try to find the plane's black boxes.

BLACKWELL: Next, why searchers could be closer than ever to finding a possible debris field.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: It is bottom of the hour. Translation 7:28. You have got plenty of time. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Pleasure to be with you this morning and every weekend. Here's the latest on the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. A lot has happened overnight. PAUL: Definitely. The Australian prime minister specifically. I think a lot of people are listening to him right now as he says he is confident four signals detected by a high-tech U.S. pinger locator are, indeed, coming from one of the plane's black boxes.

BLACKWELL: And those signals were all detected within 17 miles of one another. That means that the 10 planes and the 14 ships conducting today's search are focused on one of the smallest search zones to date.

PAUL: Now, let's put this in perspective. Take a look at this map here. You see Massachusetts and Connecticut there highlighted in red. That is the size of today's narrowed-down search zone. So, you might remember at one point the search area was about the size of the continental U.S. in its entirety.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, progress, but still two U.S. states is the size of this search area. You know, time is ticking away for the crews. The batteries on the plane's black boxes are quickly fading, if they're not dead already. And although those signals were detected relatively close to one another, they're also coming from about three miles below the surface.

PAUL: Let's talk about it with David Soucie, he is a safety analyst and the author of "Why Planes Crash."

BLACKWELL: And David Stupples is an electronics and a radar engineer and a professor at the City University of London. OK, gentlemen. Good to have both of you. And, you know, we haven't heard about a new ping in a couple of days now. Are you of the mind -- and let's start with you, Professor Stupples that the batteries are already dead?

DAVID STUPPLES, CITY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Well, I couldn't say whether the batteries are dead at the moment, but they certainly will be getting a lot weaker, and the signal strength will be falling away quite rapidly, which also means that the frequency will be falling away as well.

PAUL: David, I should say David Soucie, I wanted to throw this to you. We have a question from Michael on Twitter. Actually, from David at Twitter. And had never even thought about this before. But it's interesting. He said, is it possible to remove flight data and cockpit recorder from a 777? In other words, could they have been dumped as a diversion? David Soucie?

DAVID SOUCIE, "WHY PLANES CRASH?": You know, that's something I hadn't thought of either, but it would be extremely difficult, first of all, to get to it from the cabin area. You'd have to take them -- they're back in the back of the aircraft. So, they'd have to be taken out, brought forward. And probably the best way - the only way to get it out of the aircraft would be to take it down into the avionics bay, the equipment bay and then drop it overboard through the outflow valve, which is in the bottom of the bay. That would be about the only way you could do it. But again, it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to get it from the tail of the aircraft into the interior of the aircraft. BLACKWELL: Professor Stupples, I wonder about your level of optimism. We were hearing a lot of it from Air Chief Marshall Houston, also from the Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The P-3 Orion has been modified to pick up these sounds, and the signals that they're picking up are not at 37.5 kilohertz, which is the frequency at which the pinger locator emits the signal. So, with this two modifications, how optimistic are you? How confident are you?

STUPPLES: Well, for the pinger itself, that's the towed ping locator, the - it will have a fairly broad reception bandwidth. So, therefore, it will certainly be able to receive 37.5, but it will receive signals at some distance either side of that. I think it will go down probably to about 10 kilohertz. So, therefore, if it's being transmitted, it will have received it.

PAUL: So David Soucie, if Australian search teams do find the black box, let's say, what are the chances that they're going to find the plane as well? And we ask that because you wonder how far debris spreads across the ocean floor.

SOUCIE: Well, it depends, of course, on how the aircraft broke up in the first place. If it was - obviously, it was a mid-air explosion or something, it broken up in flight, it could be spread for miles. But if it's something that caused - it was caused by the impact on the water, it would be probably within maybe a mile or so. But the black boxes, remember, are attached to the structure. So they wouldn't be expected to be far at all, if not right at the area of the most debris.

BLACKWELL: So question, I'm going to come right back to you, David Soucie, with the question from someone on Twitter using the hashtag 370Qs. You can send them to us. This one is from John Craig Jr. Why can't they design a black box that floats and has a GPS? I wonder if that's possible even, but I guess the question gets to, is there an easier way to get this information. Does it always have to be this difficult?

SOUCIE: Yeah, there is, actually. There's a patent on a product that's an ejecting box. And the military has been using this for a while, as a matter of fact. And it was recognized in the Safe Act following 9/11 to be deployed. But no action has been taken on that. They haven't actually followed that forward. The box comes out. It's ejected either by the impact or if that doesn't work, then it's ejected by pressure from the water. And it works mostly like an EPIRB, which is an emergency radio beacon, which is used on ships. So it doesn't need to have GPS on it. Because what happens there is it sends out a frequency at 406 megahertz. And at that, it's triangulated upon by 16 satellites that continuously are available to provide that location. So, yeah, there's much better technology available right now.

PAUL: Hi, David Stupples, why do we not at this point, since we've honed in on the smallest search area they've had yet, deploy that Bluefin underwater drone?

STUPPLES: Well, the Bluefin can probably search out about 40 square miles a day at maximum. But realistically, it's going to be 10 to 20 square miles a day. And if you think at the moment, we've got 140- mile - a 140 mile area to search. That will take a considerable amount of time. So what they're hoping to do is reduce that down to probably around about 50 square miles and then if they can do that, then they will deploy Bluefin and hopefully find it probably within a month.

BLACKWELL: All right. Hopefully within a month. David Soucie, Professor David Stupples, thank you both for joining us this morning. Good to have you both.

SOUCIE: Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you. We have now reached week five. And you wonder how long these families can endure that ups and downs and twists and turns of this investigation. We are going to hear from some of the loved ones who are still waiting for any word on the fate of this flight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Well, it's been more than five solid weeks now, and I'm sure many of the families would call this torment. I mean, just the leads and then nothing about Flight 370. And these families are not just waiting. They're not just sitting there grieving or pressing investigators for answers now. They are doing those things, but they're also organizing. They formed a committee of sorts to speak and make decisions for the group. Each family gets one vote.

PAUL: And in the absence of any physical evidence of the airliner, no number of leads or theories is going to erase their hope. And would you? One passenger's mother spoke to our Nic Robertson in Kuala Lumpur. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Inside, my heart is telling still they are alive. All the passengers are alive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Sarah Bajc is the partner of an American passenger Phillip Wood. She spoke with our Anderson Cooper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH BAJC: Like most of the other families, I continue to just push by asking more questions. Sooner or later, we're going to get to the truth. I mean, either we're going to find the plane or there will be a conclusion found as to why it was taken or why it was crashed. And so whether the continued data that we're getting is constantly changed or not, we still have to keep asking for it. It's a real quandary. Because on the one hand, I want to be a logical and thoughtful person and say, OK, I get it. The plane has crashed. We need to find the black box, and then we can discover what happened. You know, the scientific line of inquiry says that there was probably some catastrophic failure on the flight and the pilots were able to stay in control just long enough to get the auto pilot reprogrammed and then everybody conked out and the plane kept going until it ran out of fuel. I mean I logically can accept that that is a likely path. But emotionally, it's impossible to accept that because then it means there's no more hope. And, you know, if we run out of hope, we stop asking questions, and then the investigation dies. So we just have to keep asking until we find something. Hope is the only thing that we have. And the minute we give that up, we have to fall into a grieving cycle, and we can't do that until we have evidence. So, you know, I think a lot of outsiders think the families are just being irrational, but we're not. We're protecting our emotional health. And we want answers and we want to keep pressure on the government agencies involved to find those answers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: And I think ...

PAUL: Such a great explanation, wasn't it?

BLACKWELL: It was. And I think there are a lot of people who do understand exactly the perspective of the families. Unless you show me something.

PAUL: Right.

BLACKWELL: Not just tell me, show me something, of course these families are holding on to hope. But most of the passengers on this flight that was headed to Beijing are Chinese. Others are from Australia, some from New Zealand, India, also a few from the U.S. as well.

PAUL: Yeah, let's actually go to CNN's Sumnina Udas. She's in Kuala Lumpur. And she has got more from the transportation minister. Because he's outgoing some of the concerns that we've been seeing as well. Sumnima, what did he say this morning?

SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What he said, Christi, is that those sounds that the Australians have been hearing, that is a promising lead, especially because they sound like the sound that would come out of a black box. But still, he says all of that needs to be verified. The Malaysian authorities are still cautiously optimistic. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN TRANSPORT MINISTER: Signals, they need to be verified. I totally agree with Angus Houston that any lead, and this might be one of the more cautiously optimistic leads that we have, because the signals are similar to a black box.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UDAS: You can understand the hesitation there because there's been so many false leads in the past few weeks. The Malaysian authorities want to be absolutely sure before they jump to any sort of conclusion. Christi? BLACKWELL: We heard from one passenger's mother, another passenger's partner. What else are you hearing from the relatives and the loved ones of the passengers on the plane?

UDAS: Well, most of the families we've heard from, they're not happy with the way the investigation is going. We just heard from the mother of one of the Iranian passengers on board. She said she simply doesn't understand how that plane could have flown for so many hours and how nobody could have noticed. She said she's still having sleepless nights. She thinks that the Malaysians aren't following up with this investigation enough. She hopes, she says, that the Americans are still investigating this because she has lost faith in the Malaysian authorities. And she says without the evidence -- and this is, of course, what most family members here are saying. Without that evidence, without seeing some sort of debris or wreckage, they just cannot believe that they've finally lost their loved ones. So they're still clinging on to hope, Christi.

PAUL: Sumnina Udas, thank you so much for bringing us this perspective. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: All right. Coming up, this search for the black boxes and for the wreckage will take us to a place that few have ever seen. Miles, three miles, under the sea.

PAUL: So you wonder, how deep is that? And has anything ever been found that far below the surface?

(CP)

BLACKWELL: Welcome back. We've talked a lot about the depths at which searchers will have to go to get the black boxes that could be two and a half - three miles below the water. Thousands and thousands of feet. Let's put those numbers in a perspective. Here we have a mockup of the Boeing 777. It is about 200 feet wide, 240 feet long and down here on the surface, we have got the Ocean Shield. Now, to give you an idea, we put some of the landmarks that people know here on the surface. Here is the Statue of Liberty at just 305 feet. If you tip it upside down, it will take you this deep below the surface. Then there's the Eiffel Tower at 1,063 feet. The tallest building in the world, that's the Burj Khalifa. That maxes out at 2,717 feet. We continue to go thousands and thousands of feet below. Now, the TPL, the towed ping locator, rather, here at about 4600 feet. That's where this is. Now, of course, we've got about 10,000 feet to go. But this little yellow dot here, that can pick up a signal from about two miles away. So, that's how we are hearing it. Now we crossed the one-mile mark and continue to dive and continue to dive until we get to about 8,100 feet. This is the HMAS Sydney that sank back in the '40s. The wreckage was discovered more than 60 years later. And actually, near this area in the Indian Ocean. Continue to dive. Continue to dive, we are now past 10,000 feet. Two miles. And we get to about 12,000 feet where the wreckage from the "Titanic" was discovered. 12,500 feet discovered in 1985 about 70 years after it sank. Now, the HMS Sydney and the Titanic at least give us hope that this wreckage can be found without a signal being emitted. And that maybe - what searchers have to do once the batteries die. Here, this is Air France Flight 447 below a 13,000 feet, below the surface there. That took some time, of course, to find. And then we get to where the pinger is likely at about 14,500 feet. And you see this line here, this ridge, this is an outline, if you were to tip Washington State's iconic Mount Rainier upside down, you get to the peak of it at about where the pinger is. 15,000 feet below the surface of the water. So, that gives you an idea of just how far this locator has to pick up a signal and where the black boxes likely are. Christi.

PAUL: It's something, because we - you don't want to be so simplistic about it, and just say, where is it. It is just not that easy.

BLACKWELL: Yeah.

PAUL: Hey, listen, after more than three decades on TV as we switch gears here, were you surprised to hear "Late Show" host David Letterman is retiring? Well, fans, we know you are interested to see what kind of comic relief his successor is going to bring. We are going to tell you what we've learned.

Plus, the very latest report on the search for Flight 370. A live report coming to you from Perth, Australia momentarily, but first here is your travel insider.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, guys, I'm Jena. Welcome to Portland, Maine. I'm a writer here and I'm going to show you some of Portland's best kept secrets. I think what people don't realize about Portland, Maine is how culturally thriving it is. It is like living in a big city that it has a small town feel to it. And we are situated in one of the most beautiful states in the country.

We are here at local 188. My favorite brunch spot in Portland. And this specializes in Spanish-inspired cuisine that uses local Maine ingredients. My favorite item on the menu is the breakfast burrito. Also they are making amazing pancakes. It is like flipping entire flix. With (INAUDIBLE) there is an open kitchen. You can watch them preparing. And the waitress has lovely apron. I think it is the best dressed staff in Portland.

We are at Yes! Books right now. My favorite bookstore in Portland. They specialize in used and out of print books. Being a writer, I need inspiration. This is a great place to come and get lost in the afternoon.

We are at Ferdinand right now. This is my favorite place to shop in Portland. Diane (ph) has an amazing selection of - vintage clothing. Her store in particular is just sort of encapsulizes why Portland is so great. It's filled with creative energy. It's filled with talented people. And that is what I think is so great about Portland.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Well, after 33 years on the air, Late Night host David Letterman says he'll retire from the late show some time next year. Not the entire 33 years on the one program.

PAUL: Yeah, but you know, and I love the whole sometime next year.

BLACKWELL: Yeah.

PAUL: That's a tease.

BLACKWELL: We'll be there right now.

PAUL: So, I'm wondering if, you know, he's just going to go away one night and the next night, who's going to show up? It's Stephen Colbert who's replacing him - just hey, how are you doing? Because that does have a lot of people wondering where do we go from here?

BLACKWELL: Yeah, some people are excited, and some people are not so excited about Colbert. Alexandra Field joins us live from New York. What are hearing there, Alexandra?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christi and Victor. Yeah, a lot of surprises here as you point out. First of all, it' just a week after David Letterman announced that he stepped down that CBS announced Stephen Colbert would replace him. We still don't know what the show will look like from a creative standpoint and we don't know when exactly that transition will happen. But we do know one thing the show will not include.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHEN COLBERT: And I have got to tell you, I do not envy whoever they try to put in that chair.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FIELD: Stephen Colbert ready to take the microphone from David Letterman. The 2015 transition marking the end of a late show era.

DAVID LETTERMAN: Paul and I will be wrapping things up and taking a hike.

(APPLAUSE)

FIELD: But Colbert's new beginning will also mark another kind of ending. He plans to retire Stephen Colbert, the character. The conservative pundit he plays on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report."

COLBERT: The truthiness is anyone can read the news to you. I promise to feel the news at you.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

COLBERT: There is no bigger fan of Bill O'Reilly than Bill himself.

(LAUGHTER)

COLBERT: But I am a close second.

FIELD: The routine has won him plenty of fans and, yes, some critics, including real life conservative Rush Limbaugh.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America. They've hired a partisan, so called comedian to run a comedy show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Colbert has been mocking conservatives for a decade. So, I'm not surprised Rush Limbaugh is not happy with the choice. Nor do I think Rush Limbaugh will actually tune in and watch Colbert. But I think a lot of other people will.

FIELD: And that is what CBS is counting on, but who is the real Stephen Colbert?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're about to see a great reinvention take place. Someone who we think we know who has played a character for a decade is about to transform in this - and maybe completely different.

FIELD: We caught some rare moments of Colbert playing it straight in 2010 when he was called to testify by a House Judiciary Subcommittee.

COLBERT: Migrant workers suffer and have no rights.

FIELD: His heartfelt words stemming from some made-for-TV moments ...

COLBERT: Slow down, sister.

FIELD: In the recurring segment on his show, Colbert spent a day in the life of a migrant worker packing corn and picking beans.

JON STEWART, THE DAILY SHOW: And what's different about it?

FIELD: Colbert was thrown into the national spotlight when he was tasked as the correspondent on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart.

STEWART: Truly one of the great pleasures of doing this show has been trying to maintain professional composure while Mr. Colbert is making me laugh uncontrollably.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: So, the exciting news today is I know longer need a cable subscription for the privilege of watching Stephen Colbert.

(CHEERS)

FIELD: But "The Late Show" viewers like the real Colbert as much as the character he's played so well for so long.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FIELD: And David Letterman himself is offering Colbert his support publicly calling him a real friend. Christi, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Alexandra Field. Everybody is looking forward to what this transition will bring. Thank you so much. And thank you for starting your morning with us.

PAUL: Yeah, the next hour of your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

PAUL: Put your feet up and grab some breakfast and just relax a little bit. We have got you covered. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: You assume that feet have already hit the floor ...

PAUL: I know.

BLACKWELL: That people have gotten out of bed. I'm Victor Blackwell. 8:00 no on the East Coast. 5:00 out west. This is "NEW DAY Saturday."

PAUL: Yeah, and we want to show you - we are getting some brand new information this hour on that fatal bus crash in southern California. We'll tell you what we know.