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Hundreds Missing When Ferry Capsizes; Angle of Crash Affects Wreckage of Plane; Overcoming Sleep Apnea; Deep Sea Manned Sub

Aired April 16, 2014 - 12:30   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You're about to see inside of this ship that went down in an unprecedented way, because there's some brand-new cell phone video in to CNN, claiming to be from inside the sinking ferry off the southwest coast of South Korea.


LEMON (voice-over); Here's the video. You can see passengers in their orange life jackets, right? You see that? Apparently waiting to be rescued. And, again, this is inside that sinking ferry. Can you imagine waiting to be rescued and the ship goes down? We cannot confirm the authenticity of this video, but the time stamp is today, April 16th, OK?

And just the back story for you, nearly 300 people still missing after the ferry sank at breathtaking speed while these people, some of them, were waiting to be rescued. It was supposed to be a dream vacation for a huge high school class on their way to an island resort considered Korea's Hawaii.

There's so much confusion right now. We don't know the exact number of passengers on board that ferry, but look at that child being rescued. What they know about the 164 people who have survived, many of them teenagers, dangerously close to losing their lives, some of them unable to jump, having to wait in agony for help.

Listen to this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via translator): I almost quote trapped. If I was told, I could have jumped into the water through the exit, but I couldn't.


LEMON: And, again, as we just said, we have that new video in, and we'll play that as we talk to the experts we have now on opposite ends of the country.

In Boston is Peter Boynton. He's a retired U.S. Coast Guard captain and co-director of The Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security at Northeastern University. And then in Seattle, there's Rob McCallum. Rob, good to see you again. We've been talking a lot about the plane. We'll talk about the ship now. He is an ocean search specialist and expedition leader.

Peter, first to you. I don't know if you can see this video, but does it give you any insight as to what happened on this ship?

PETER BOYNTON, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: Well, information at the beginning here is still coming in, but the speed at which the ship turned on its side and capsized certainly suggests significant flooding that would affect the stability of the vessel.

We don't yet know whether it's a breach of the hull of some sort or if it's some sort of major systems casualty or operator error. There have been very significant varied accidents and loss of life elsewhere due to either hitting something and breaching the hull or significant operator error.

But it does appear that the speed with which this ship turned on its side suggests significant flooding that compromised the stability of the vessel very quickly.

LEMON: So, Peter, here's a question then, because I think the protocol -- you saw the people waiting in this video that we have inside, this cell phone video . People are waiting, and it kind of goes against what the protocol is. Wait, keep your life vest on. It may have been better to get off of the ship fast before it went down.

BOYNTON: Well, it's a very important decision that has to be made by the captain and the crew very quickly. Is whatever happened a potential catastrophic incident? And if so, speed is of the essence to inform the passengers and guide them to exit.

On the other hand, if the damage is not catastrophic, it can sometimes be more dangerous to leave the vessel early. In this case, we clearly know in hindsight that they should have move quickly. What we don't yet know is what was the accessibility of the life-saving equipment?

What was the design of the vessel with respect to the ability to egress and, very importantly, what were the protocols to tell the passengers what they should do in the event of an emergency?

And most people have been in an airplane where they tell you about the emergency exits, buckle your seatbelt, that sort of thing.

I think, you know, oftentimes it's so routine that people don't pay attention, but this is an example where, if the passengers are not given information ahead of time, then when the crisis happens, they may not have the information they need to quickly egress.

And we don't yet know how well the passengers were informed just as a matter of routine for this trip. We just don't know yet.

LEMON: Right. OK, we're going to go to Rob.

Peter just told us about what's happening inside the ship, but look at that water. You saw how choppy it is. The question is, is it easy, difficult, to veer off course in this area, Rob?

ROB MCCALLUM, OCEAN SEARCH SPECIALIST: You know, it's a very tight area through there. There's a lot of shoals, a lot of small islands. But anything at this stage is really supposition.

You know, we have some blessings to count in that this occurred early in the day, in daylight, with relatively good weather, relatively calm conditions, and in an area that's relatively populous. There are major bases nearby, military bases nearby, and there are a lot of ships on the scene very quickly. So the toll could have been a lot higher much earlier on.

LEMON: What are we talking about for depths here? Do we know how deep this water is?

Because from what I understand, just a small part of the hull is sticking up. It's at least deep enough to swallow a ferry of this size, but do we know?

MCCALLUM: We don't know --

BOYNTON: I believe the depth in that area --

LEMON: Go ahead, Peter.

BOYNTON: I believe it's 90 to 100 feet. At least the early reports suggest 90-to-100-foot depth.

LEMON: Yeah. So, Rob, then, the conditions then, you said it's cold, right? But it's fairly choppy, and in your experience with these things, you know, as Peter said, we're not sure, you know, what was happening inside of the ship. It was probably better for them to get off immediately.

But you don't know. This happened 14, 15 hours ago, I would imagine, in darkness. You don't know at that particular point, really, what to do.

And as Peter said, it's up to the people in charge to get you to safety quickly.

MCCALLUM: That's correct. I mean, this is every seafarers worst nightmare, but for people that are on as passengers, irregular seafarers, if you like, their one shot at a briefing is given as the vessel leaves port, and there's the run-through of the safety procedures.

But, you know, that was the day before and these are all predominantly young people so, you know, maybe not completely tuned into that, so, you know, they were confused. And this is a very, very trying time for them now.

LEMON: Absolutely, and they said, you know, probably about six hours in those water temperatures. It's been 14 hours. We don't know. They could be in air pockets, hopefully, some of the folks there maybe not even touching water, but we wish them the best. We want to thank Peter Boynton and Rob McCallum. Thank you both very much.

I want to get back to our other top story now, the search for a missing Malaysian jet. That missing Malaysian jet, Flight 370, at what angle did the plane hit the water? How will this affect the search for debris?

We're going to take a closer look, straight ahead.


LEMON: Welcome back, everyone.

In eastern Ukraine right now, Russian flags are flying on top of some buildings and, more troubling, on some armored military vehicles. It can only be called a standoff between Ukrainian and Russian troops in a part of the country that President Vladimir Putin says is on the brink of civil war.

Our CNN correspondents there say a town about 100 miles from the border appears to be firmly in control of pro-Russian militants, or in the control, I should say, of pro-Russian militants.

Now, the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 has two separate parts now, on the surface and deep under water.

Today, 14 airplanes crisscrossed the search area off Western Australia, mostly military, but some civilian jets, too. Also at work, that high-tech vehicle they call Bluefin-21.

Exactly zero pieces of evidence more than 40 days since it vanished. Crash experts are puzzled about that.

Here's CNN's David Mattingly.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've seen what happens when passenger jets crash, from the tragic and unexpected like last year in San Francisco to the planned and controlled like this demonstration by The Discovery Channel in 2012, and this one from NASA and the FAA decades ago.

Unlike the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, they all crashed on land. Surprisingly, they provide clues to what might happen next in the investigation.

You're telling me that crashing on water is no different than crashing on land?

ANTHONY BRICKHOUSE, AVIATION SAFETY EXPERT: Depending on your impact velocity, depending on your impact angle, the effects could be the same between water and land.

MATTINGLY: Aviation safety expert and crash investigator Anthony Brickhouse takes me through a field of aircraft wreckage used for teaching at Embry-Riddle University.

The lesson learned here? The difficulty of finding a sonar signal of Flight 370's wreckage depends on what was happening in the final seconds of flight. At less than 45 degrees, we're more likely to see large pieces of aircraft.

BRICKHOUSE: Yes, at something less than 45 degrees or around 45 degrees, with the typical velocity an aircraft would be, let's say, landing at, there could be a chance the remain could remain relatively intact.

MATTINGLY: Under this scenario, the 777 could be moving as slowly as 170-miles-per-hour on impact.

At a shallow angle, it could be like what we saw in the crash from a UPS jet last summer in Birmingham. The pilot and co-pilot were killed. The plane was still in hundreds of pieces, but with large easily recognizable sections broken away. It's obvious this one went in head first.

BRICKHOUSE: Absolutely.

MATTINGLY: But the steep angle impact is much more devastating. Both people on board were killed when this small aircraft hit nose first. Notice how the entire plane sustained severe damage.

But the same principles apply to a 777, the steeper the angle, the faster the speed, the smaller the pieces of wreckage, even when it hits the water. In this scenario, Flight 370 could be traveling between 500- and 600-miles-per-hour. Wings and engines might break away.

But not so for the passenger compartment, the fuselage. Imagine the horrific crash at Shanksville on 9/11 if it happened in water.

BRICKHOUSE: In the industry, we call that a smoking hole-type accident, because that's what you have when you get to the crash site.

MATTINGLY: But what happens if it's in the water?

BRICKHOUSE: Water is going to act just like land would. Water is not compressible, so when you hit it, it's going to pretty much have the same effect that land would have.

MATTINGLY: Making it much more problematic to detect with sonar at the bottom of the ocean.

Brickhouse says a hopeful outcome at this point would be to find wreckage similar to the Air France crash of 2009 when investigators were able to salvage pieces of the jet's lavatory, beverage carts, even the engines.

BRICKHOUSE: A tail section, a wing, a piece of the wing, one of the two engines maybe fully intact on that sea bottom, that would be an excellent clue because basically you could start at that point and work your way out and hope to find more wreckage. MATTINGLY: But first, something, anything, has to be found to produce the lead that's eluded the world for more than five weeks.

David Mattingly, CNN, Daytona Beach, Florida.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Fascinating. Thank you, David.

So when searchers do find pieces of this plane, what can they learn from them? We're going to talk about it with a former FAA accident inspector after this very quick break.


LEMON: A devastating story to tell you about out of Nigeria. Army troops are leading the search for more than 100 girls who were kidnapped from a government school late Monday. Authorities and witnesses say the Islamic group Boko Haram, seen here in a promotional video, laid siege to the school and burned the homes and shops as they fled into the bush. Boko Haram translates to "western education is sin."

Well that right there is a backpack being blown up in Boston after police found it unattended near the finish line of next week's marathon. Earlier, they stopped and arrested a man walking barefoot in the rain with another backpack. He's charged with disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and possession of a hoax device.

A spooked horse pulling a carriage took its driver and five passengers along for a wild ride through the streets of Savannah, Georgia, on Tuesday. The horse plowed into parked cars and scared pedestrians. The driver was taken to the hospital with what appeared to be broken ankles. A passenger jumped out of the carriage and suffered only scrapes and bruises. The horse was not injured at all.

In today's "Human Factor," a Super Bowl champion had to overcome a serious medical problem suffered by a million Americans. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has his story.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Super Bowl champion Aaron Taylor's job as a guard was to be big and strong to defend, first at Notre Dame, a two-time all-American, and then for the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers. Some of the same things that got him to the NFL may have also been affecting his health. Just like 60 percent of former linemen, according to a 2009 Mayo Clinic study.

AARON TAYLOR, SUPER BOWL XXXI CHAMPION: I was waking up more tired than I thought I should have been. Waking up feeling like I was hung over. I had a headache, my throat hurt, had trouble concentrating, I was irritable.

What kind of sandwich is that? GUPTA: While he had a family history of sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening illness caused by structural obstruction of the airway during sleep, Taylor never thought it would be something he'd have to deal with himself.

TAYLOR: Bigger guys with bigger necks like myself are typically the demographic that can get it. It's not certainly solely a big person's disease state. But throughout the night, 20 times per hour for 20 seconds per time, I wasn't breathing. That night after night after night is what led to all the problems that I had.

GUPTA: Once he was diagnosed with sleep apnea, he made working out and eating healthy a priority. And Taylor started using a breathing device called a CPAP to help him overcome it. He says it took a while to get used to the device, but it was worth it.

TAYLOR: It pressurizes room air and delivers it through an interface through my nose while I'm sleeping. That basically keeps my throat open so that I can breathe continuously uninterrupted throughout the night.

Hello, everybody. Welcome to "Inside College Football." I'm Aaron Taylor.

GUPTA: Today, Taylor's found success again in football. This time as a college sports analyst, on the road, calling games around the country.

TAYLOR: There's a lot that's required, not only physically for me to be able to do my job, but from a mental capacity. If I'm undernourished or under-rested from a sleep standpoint, I can't do my job. I've just seen the difference that it's been able to make and it's been drastic.

The result has been my kids get their daddy back, my employers get a good employee back, my wife gets a good husband back.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.



LEMON: Continuing coverage now of Flight 370. The Bluefin-21 is searching for signs of the missing Malaysian plane. If the robot sub does locate debris, a deep sea manned sub could be called in. CNN's Gary Tuchman shows us a sub similar to the one that may be deployed.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At first glance it resembles a spacecraft more than anything else, but this is a research sub that has combed the seas doing everything from medical research to ship and aircraft recovery.

JIMMY NELSON, HARBOR BRANCH OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTE: We have an array of light systems on the sub so you can turn on whichever light you need.

TUCHMAN: Jimmy Nelson used to spend about 170 days a year on this sub. The Johnson Sea Link submersible, as it's known. It's now retired at Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution.

TUCHMAN (on camera): All right. I'm ready to go.

NELSON: Ready to go.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): But other manned sea vehicles might be next in line to aid in the Malaysia Airline search.

TUCHMAN (on camera): If this submersible or another submersible can get to where the wreckage is, how effective do you think it could be in the recovery effort?

NELSON: Very effective.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): This is a view of this very submersible in the Atlantic Ocean. It can go 3,000 feet deep. But like all research subs, it's slow. It only travels just over one mile per hour when searching. The sub was called to duty in 1986 after the space shuttle Challenger exploded and it recovered some of the wreckage from the ill-fated shuttle.

NELSON: We have the capability of lifting around 1,000 pounds of weight to the surface.

TUCHMAN: In the very front of the submersible, a tool called a manipulator, which does the important work of grabbing, scooping and sucking up samples that are recovered.

TUCHMAN (on camera): This sub is about 24 feet long. It's also about 11 feet tall and it weighs about 28,000 pounds. It has enough oxygen and emergency provisions aboard for the people to survive under water for up to five days.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): There is also a back cabin on the submersible called the Aft Observation Chamber. A crew member who keeps an eye on the submersible's vital signs and another scientist share that back area, which is only about five and a half feet by three feet.

TUCHMAN (on camera): So just to give our viewers an idea of how tight it is, this is how you're sitting, this is how I'm sitting, and you could be here for hours.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): But during those hours, this is what's taking place.

NELSON: So we fire up the sonar system and it does a sweep and it paints us a picture as it spins around 360 degrees. On -- if there's any solid targets on the bottom, it will beep and it will kind of paint a small picture of what it looks like. Then we could go ahead and motor that way.

TUCHMAN: The use of high-tech unmanned underwater vehicles is increasing. But Jimmy Nelson says when looking for wreckage, manned submersibles offer an important dimension.

TUCHMAN (on camera): So you're saying that sometimes just having a human being, being able to look around, the corner of your eye, can spot things that an unmanned submersible cannot spot?

NELSON: Correct.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): This submersible will not be going, but others could soon be sent into action in the Indian Ocean, under water, in an effort to solve a mystery.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Ft. Pierce, Florida.


LEMON: And make sure you stay with CNN for the very latest on the search for missing Flight 370 and go to for that, as well as that ferry that sank with the students on board.

I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for watching. I have a new co-anchor here. Say hi, Olivia (ph).


LEMON: How are you? You doing OK?


LEMON: Anyways -- there she is.

Thank you for joining me. She's here watching today with her mommy. That's it for me. Thank you so much for watching. We're going to get to CNN's Wolf Blitzer now with "Wolf." It starts right now.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, rescuers are desperately searching for nearly 300 people still missing after their ferry sank off the coast of South Korea. Many are high school students and teachers. They were on a class trip. We're going live to Seoul, South Korea.

Also right now, a U.S. Navy search vehicle is back in the water after a technical glitch interrupted its second day of searching for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.