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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Crisis in Ukraine; South Korea Ferry Disaster; Search for Flight 370; Landfill On The High Seas; Plane Search Hampered By Ocean Garbage; Skeptic Reception For Ukraine/Russia De-Escalation Both On The Ground And From President Obama
Aired April 17, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone, 8:00 p.m. here in New York, 9:00 a.m. off the coast of South Korea, where the death toll is climbing and anger rising over what happened to this ferry and the hundreds of people, many of them young people, who went down with it.
So many hard questions tonight: What made it capsize? Why so few lifeboats launched? Did the captain delay the evacuation and was he among the first to leave? We're looking for answers and bring you the latest on the search for survivors.
Also tonight, we will take you the kind of undersea explorer that could bring up pieces of Flight 370. There are late developments in that search as well and we have got all of them tonight.
Plus, the U.S. and Russia making a deal to try to defuse the crisis in Ukraine. The question is, will it actually work? Big doubts about it is workable or if it is just a way for Russia to buy time in some are calling a slow-motion takeover.
We begin the breaking news with another search in another sea, a search for survivors and an excruciating wait for the families of hundreds of people are still missing after the South Korean ferry disaster. The families of the missing know where their loved ones are. They don't know if they are alive and so far rescuers have not been able to reach them.
The South Korean coast guard says 25 people now confirmed dead after the ferry capsized two days ago. What caused the ferry to sink is still unknown. But the more pressing issue is getting to the 276 people who are believed to be trapped in the ship, many of them high school students from Seoul.
Rescuers are hoping that air pockets inside the ferry's hull could be keeping people alive. But so far, more than 500 divers working in 12- hour shifts have not been able to get into the ship to pump in more air. The weather is bad, the water is cold. The situation is simply heartbreaking.
At the White House today, President Obama expressed condolences to the families and also said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Obviously, information is still coming in. We know that many of the victims of this terrible tragedy were students.
And American Navy personnel and Marines have already been on the scene helping with search-and-rescue. As one of our closest allies, our commitment to South Korea is unwavering in good times and in bad, and that is something I will underscore during my visit to Seoul next week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Kyung Lah joins us now from Jindo, South Korea.
What is the latest, Kyung?
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, what we're hearing from the rescue teams is that they're treating this as a search-and-rescue operation.
They're searching for the living, despite the mounting challenges; it has now been 72 hours since the ship went into the water. Hope is certainly dimming. The rain, you can see it is still coming down and it is slowing what is already a painstaking search.
LAH (voice-over): Hundreds of boats and hundreds of divers all focused on one thing, finding survivors. The frantic search continues, just one day after scores of dramatic rescues from the sinking five-story ferry.
Family members wait desperately for answers onshore, but so far no survivors pulled from inside the ferry. Rescuers hope the capsized ship contains air pockets with enough oxygen to keep passengers alive. While many relatives watch over the search-and-rescue area, others cling to cell phones praying for a text from their missing children.
Bad weather only makes the search of that much more treacherous. At one point, high tides turned rescue teams around and slowed the hunt. Desperation is settling in.
"Shouldn't I be angry at that?" said this father, whose second-grade son is missing. "If the government cares for our people, please rescue our families and our children."
Other parents vented anger directly at South Korea's president as the details surrounding the evacuation trickled out. As passengers clung for their lives, the ship's captain managed to save himself.
And CNN affiliate YTN reports only one lifeboat was deployed, even though there were 46 aboard. Even more troubling, the survivors say the guidance given by the crew told them to stay where they are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Don't move. If you move, it is more dangerous. Don't move. LAH: And this video said to be taken inside the sinking ferry shows passengers wearing their life jackets and doing what they're told, sitting inside. Another shows a passenger clinging to the floor.
Students who survived told reporters their classmates who listened to the stay-put order obediently remained in their rooms and likely never made it out.
Today, the ship's captain hid his face from cameras and gave no explanation to police about what caused the deadly accident. But he did offer this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Any words for the family members of the missing?
LEE JOON-SEOK, FERRY BOAT CAPTAIN (through translator): I am sorry. I am at a loss for words.
LAH: An answer that will bring little comfort to the scores of grieving families overcome by loss.
COOPER: And, Kyung, these families standing on the dock just waiting for any kind of word, I know you talked to some of the family members today. I can't imagine. This is just a nightmare.
LAH: It certainly is a nightmare, and you see it in their faces. You can hear it in their voices, even though they're speaking Korean. That pain is very, very human.
They actually called cameras over to a gathering of the families today. They specifically asked CNN to join them in the tent. They were crying and they were screaming. One of the things they were screaming, "Captain, come out."
What they want is a face-to-face with this captain. They want to know why he chose to save himself and yet someone on the crew told the other passengers, hundreds of passengers to stay aboard the sinking vessel. They also want to know why the government does not appear to be moving as quickly as they would like.
But, certainly, Anderson, I mean, this weather is just -- it's terrible. It has been a very, very difficult 24 to 48 hours.
COOPER: It is unbelievable.
Kyung Lah, I appreciate it.
Joining us now is cargo ship and maritime safety consultant James Staples, Maritime Security Council governor emeritus Kim Petersen, who is also president of Security Dynamics, and rescue diver Butch Hendrick, president and founder of Lifeguard Systems.
Let me ask you, Kim, what do you make of this? The idea that the captain would have been able to get off this ship while others were being told to remain in place -- I know you have been in touch with rescuers. What are they telling you about the conditions right now?
KIM PETERSEN, GOVERNOR EMERITUS, MARITIME SECURITY COUNCIL: Well, getting back to your first point about the captain, what we have heard is that, yes, he was one of the first individuals...
He was one of the first people to be pulled out of the waters into a rescue craft. However, it is not clear when he entered the water. It may have been that he entered much later than those passengers that were able to make it into the water. Nobody actually saw him leave.
But he was one of the first to be pulled from the ocean. So it is still somewhat hazy as to what took place there. The conditions are absolutely abysmal. As you said, it is a nightmare there. You're talking now about winds that are increasing, that are going to increase the surface chop for the divers that are there. And we have divers from the Coast Guard, the Navy, and even the Republic of Korean SEALs, as well as private divers that have joined in the search.
They're dealing with low visibility due to silt. They're looking at currents that are between two-and-a-half and five knots, almost six miles per hour, also very cold water. We're talking 10 degrees Celsius, 50 degrees Fahrenheit. All of this is combined to make an extremely difficult rescue effort, coupled with the fact too that you have debris and hazards once they find a way into the ship. And that, they have not done that.
COOPER: Captain Staples, there are reports that the crew had never actually an evacuation simulation, that they had only studied the manual on fire drills. Does that make any sense to you?
JAMES STAPLES, CARGO SHIP CAPTAIN: No, absolutely not.
One of the protocols on every vessel is, you have fire drills and you have abandon ship drills or evacuation drills. These are mandatory and this is something the crew should be well trained in and well versed in.
And apparently it looks like the case that they were not. Apparent to me that when these life rafts were not deployed, we could see a problem with the training.
COOPER: And, Captain, there was also reports from some of the passengers who say they don't recall being given safety instructions before boarding the ship. In your experience, is it standard to give some sort of safety protocol or instructions to passengers?
STAPLES: Absolutely. Here in the United States, that is done all the time, no matter what type of vessel you're on. They will always give you some type of a safety protocol or a safety lecture, letting you know where the life jackets are, where the life rafts are, in the event of a problem, what you should do. It is usually a five-, 10-minute lecture they give. They even give them on the head fishing boats that you may take out to go fishing with your family. You usually get some type of lifesaving explanation.
COOPER: Butch, I know you're an experienced rescue diver. I think for people who don't dive, when they see part of the ship still sticking out of the water, it doesn't look like it is that deep. You know, it is hard to understand why it is such a complex procedure to try to get inside the ship underwater. Can you explain what a dive like this is like, I mean, with the low visibility, the freezing cold temperatures and also the current?
BUTCH HENDRICK, RESCUE DIVER: Yes, Anderson.
One of the things, of course, is just the low visibility. And with only they're saying they have got if they're lucky four or five feet of visibility, they can't see anywhere. Inside that ship right now, the surge, the flushing movement of the water from the current and the waves, the storm that is around them has got to be moving things in every possible direction.
The divers are doing everything they can just to hold in position, to heck with being able to move forward anywhere. And as the ship is going to be up and down slightly, it has no choice but to move in that sea. The divers have to be extremely careful in not being hit by something while they're trying to get underneath that deck.
COOPER: Butch, the idea that there could be people in air pockets, does that seem viable to you?
HENDRICK: The only air pocket that would be viable, Anderson, to me is the one that is forward, because the ship is inverted and the forward portion of the bow is still sticking out of the water. So if there were going to be an air pocket, that is where it would be. The rest of that boat did not look to me as if it had any dry compartments whatsoever, or lockout compartments.
The difficulty with that is if the ship was sinking and rolling, how many individuals will go down below the decks to the lowest part of the ship and then forward to an area that there is no escape, rather than up and attempting to go to the stern, the fantail, where it is open deck and that is where you would try to go?
COOPER: And, Captain Staples, investigators have said that there were 180 trucks and cars on board. You have been a captain on a vessel like that before. You say it is critical for every single vehicle to be latched down, correct?
STAPLES: Oh, absolutely, in the event of some type of casualty.
Even though the weather may be good and you have nice, sunny, days, calm seas, you always have to be prepared for the unexpected. And as we see here, they have had an unexpected incident. And it sounds like the vehicles were not latched down, which had -- would have a major drawback on the stability of the vessel, changing the center of gravity, which could cause her to list very quickly and choppy and lay on her size and then capsize.
COOPER: Kim, how many I don't know if it's inches of water, how much water in a cargo area would put the water into critical instability?
PETERSEN: Well, there is a similarity between this event and the Herald of Free Enterprise, which is another ferry that actually sunk in 1987, taking down 193 lives.
It also had very large deck space that's necessary for bringing on vehicles. It's obvious that you need a lot of area to put trucks and cars. There is something called the surface-free effect, or the free- surface effect, which means that you could have water entering into the vehicle deck and only have an inch or two inches of water on that deck and cause the vessel to go into a critically unstable condition, because the water is sloshing back and forth.
And if the vessel becomes unstable, it will be very difficult for the crew to save her. And that appears to have been at least part of the problem here. We know that the vessel went unstable. And for 30 minutes, the captain, using the crew, attempted to stabilize the vessel before he gave up and gave the order to evacuate the ship. And of course, we don't know whether or not that notice was ever put out over the P.A. system.
COOPER: It's just hard to imagine, so unbelievable.
James Staples, appreciate you on, Kim Petersen, Butch Hendrick as well.
Eyewitness accounts and images of the ferry as it was sinking captured some of the terror 48 hours ago on the Yellow Sea. It is looking like human error likely played a role in both the accident and the botched evacuation.
Tonight, Randi Kaye takes a look at what could have gone wrong and why. To drill down on both questions, she visited a ship simulator.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the South Korean ferry began to lean, this is what it looked like and felt like.
(on camera): So, at this point, with the vessel on its side, people would be falling?
DONALD MARCUS, CAPTAIN: Yes, people would be falling; people would be injured; people would be climbing over each other if they were in a crowded compartment. And there would definitely be great fear and panic.
KAYE (voice-over): This is a rare look inside a ship simulator in Baltimore, Maryland. Captain Donald Marcus is showing us what the people on board the ferry in the Yellow Sea may have been experiencing as the ship started to sink. (on camera): It is so disorienting.
MARCUS: Yes, it certainly is at that point.
KAYE (voice-over): As the ferry took on water, a loudspeaker on board warned passengers to stay where they are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Don't move. If you move, it is more dangerous. Don't move.
KAYE: This cell phone video shows people staying in place. Those who ignored the warning believe that is why they got out alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Kept announcing it about 10 times, so kids were forced to stay put, so only some of those who moved survived.
KAYE: Captain Marcus says that is not standard protocol, that passengers should have been moved to upper decks.
(on camera): Is there something that a passenger should do in a situation like that?
MARCUS: You would certainly go to a higher deck to go where you can exit the vessel. Generally speaking, you're safer on the vessel until such point as you assess that, yes, the vessel is going to sink, and then you need to evacuate, abandon ship.
KAYE: But a blanket warning of don't move doesn't make sense to you?
MARCUS: Not to me.
KAYE (voice-over): When the ferry started to take on water, alarms like these would have sounded immediately. They wouldn't indicate whether or not the ferry had hit a rock or if there had been an explosion, nor would they specify where the water was coming in.
MARCUS: You would be getting various alarms. You would be doing emergency signals. You would be trying to contact the various crew to do assessments.
KAYE: Investigators believe the ferry likely ran off course due to foggy weather. They say the ship may have made a sharp turn to get back on track.
MARCUS: The danger is not overcorrecting. The danger is getting to that point of no return.
KAYE (on camera): We can even simulate the rescue operation under way here. They're dealing with heavy winds, high rains, rough seas. You can see the rescue ships out there and the choppers up above, which are there.
But looking at these conditions, it is easy to understand why it has been so difficult for the rescuers to get inside that ferry and see if there is anyone there still alive. (voice-over): Alive and perhaps in air pockets in the ship, but neither time nor temperature are on their side.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Baltimore.
COOPER: Well, if you have questions about this, you can follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. Tweet using #AC360.
Late developments in the search for Flight 370 coming up, on the fuel found in the water, debris spotted, and what happens if the current search comes up empty? Is there a plan B? We will talk with one of the top search leaders.
And we will take you inside a deep diving manned submersible so you can see for yourself what a recovery mission looks like miles underwater.
COOPER: It's about 8:20 a.m. off the west coast of Australia, new developments in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
They're analyzing data from the Bluefin-21 sonar sub's latest mission, getting ready to send it back in for another run. Australian authorities knocking down reports that it may take as much as two months to complete its work, calling the search area focused, crediting the U.S. Navy with helping narrow it down, as we first reported last night.
In a moment, we will take you underwater on the kind of vehicle that may soon enter the underwater effort once it becomes a recovery effort, but first let's check in Michael Holmes in Perth.
What is the latest on Bluefin? Is it back in the water yet?
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, Anderson, good Friday and all.
They're running a little bit behind on their daily updates. It should be back in the water. Trip number four was completed. We're awaiting word on what data came off that. But, yes, trip number four has been done, and trip number five should be under way. We should know soon.
We're told a total of 100 square kilometers or nearly 50 square miles has been covered in those first four trips to the ocean floor, a depth of between 3,200 and 4,700 meters is what they have seen so far. And by all accounts, the Bluefin is operating very well on a technical level.
They are getting good resolution, 3-D images of the ocean floor, but obviously so far have not found anything, Anderson.
COOPER: And the analysis of the oil samples collected from the ocean earlier this week I understand show it is not from the aircraft. That is obviously a blow. But the search teams do feel like they're still looking in the right place?
HOLMES: Yes, it is interesting.
The data from trips one through three has been examined. They haven't found anything there. As you say, the oil was examined. They were hopeful it might be something. They were not overly confident that it would be. It has now been ruled out.
And, as you say, when it comes to -- what is interesting, Anderson, is they have narrowed down and focused, as you said, this search area. We're getting word from people involved in the search operation that there is a level of confidence about this. They do feel they're in the right spot.
And while they haven't found anything so far, let's remember we're only a few days into this ocean floor search. And it is interesting getting that feedback from those involved in the search. The confidence level, they do feel like they might find something, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Michael Holmes, I appreciate the update.
Forty days now and almost as many false leads and false hopes. We have heard conflicting statements, as you know, about how much longer this current phase of the search operation will go on. Australia's prime minister saying a week, other sources, as we said, estimating much longer, no one, though, talking about giving up.
They are however talking about a plan B.
Our Tom Foreman is here to show us what that might look like.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson, it is perfectly fine for searchers to say they have a plan B.
But we have had a lot of these plans over the time since the plane disappeared. And just take a look at what we have seen in the past month alone. Every single one of these areas represents a new best plan at its time, a new search area they went through.
This represents hundreds of thousands of square miles down here alone and that is not counting the search up in the Malacca Strait, the search off Vietnam, the search off Malaysia, the South China Sea, any searches that went all up in Europe, all of these ideas we saw early on.
This is the best bet right now. This is where they have the underwater Bluefin working up here and it has managed to search only a few dozen square miles under the sea right now in those very difficult conditions.
The visual above-water search is happening over here with planes and boats and they keep saying they hope they find something. But what if they don't? What if this plan also fails? Well, that is when they talk about this new idea. And that is where to take a couple of these pinging areas, to connect them again along the arc described by that satellite data and search about 11,000 square miles down in here, hoping to find something. So that is their plan B and they can call it a plan B, but, Anderson, in all fairness, they could also call it plan X, Y or Z at this point.
COOPER: Tom, thanks very much.
Let's bring in the panel, aviation correspondent Richard Quest, CNN analyst David Gallo, co-leader of the search for Air France 447 and director of special projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Also with us, David Soucie, CNN aviation analyst and author of "Why Planes Crash: An Accident Investigator Fights for Safe Skies," and aviation writer Geoffrey Thomas, editor in chief at AirlineRatings.com.
David Gallo, let me start with you.
The Bluefin has so far yielded no information about the plane that we know about it, the last bit still being analyzed. Searchers said the third dive, which took about 19 hours, was particularly successful. We heard the images are clear. Does that tell you anything?
DAVID GALLO, WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION: Just that they're getting better at what they do.
I mean, this team is a very well-qualified team. They're getting the vehicle tuned to work at those depths. They're getting into the rhythm of surveying, getting the vehicle out and getting it back, uploading the data, downloading more power to the vehicle, so just that things are starting to get at their peak performance.
COOPER: And, David, also, the investigators already suggesting they might have to expand the search area beyond where they heard their pings. I mean, it looks along that arc where they think the plane actually may have gone. But if that is the case, it seems like we're in for a very long haul.
GALLO: They're talking about -- Captain Matthews talked early on about tactical surveying going right on at the bullseye with one dart. Now, if they're talking about wider areas, yes, they will have to do something a bit different, maybe bring on more vehicles. Don't know how they will do that. But I'm sure they're already working that out in their minds.
COOPER: Geoffrey, everyone involved in the underwater search still seems very confident. We just were hearing that from Michael Holmes, confident they're in the right location. Are you hearing that from your sources as well? And do you think that there is some kind of information they're working on that has not been publicly released?
GEOFFREY THOMAS, EDITOR IN CHIEF, AIRLINERATINGS.COM: Indeed, Anderson, I mean, we have to sort of take ourselves back about a week ago.
They had four strong pings. They had two fading pings. This was the spot where the Inmarsat final handshake was recorded. So the electronic, if you like, footprint of this is this location. And I think, if my memory serves me correctly, and David can verify this, when they did all the recalculations with Air France 447 and put the Bluefin-21 in there, I think it was about a week, maybe six days before it was located. So, I mean, we're at only day three, if you like.
We have two semi-aborted missions. We have two good missions. So it's still early days yet, but there is a very strong level of confidence that they're looking in the right area and I'm getting that from several sources on the ground here.
COOPER: David, just from memory, was it eight to 10 days? Was that right?
GALLO: Yes, it was eight to 10. It was about eight or nine days, depending on how you count it. It was the REMUS 6000 because we were down below -- we had to go to 6000 on that mission..
COOPER: Right. That's from Woods Hole.
Geoffrey, it sounds like there is some confusion about when the air search for floating debris is actually going to end. We have heard from the air marshal in charge that it could be any day essentially, and yet the planes are still flying.
THOMAS: It is a very interesting point, Anderson.
And they did indeed say, we're going to wind this back. However, they then started searching in an area which was -- has been searched before, in fact, about three weeks ago. It is well further away.
But -- and I asked a question about this and they said, look, we have had new drift calculation data, some new analysis, and we're continuing the search. And there is up to about 12 to 13 aircraft every day are going out to this locality, which is about 1,500 miles basically west of Perth and probably about 600 or 700 miles southwest of where they're looking for the pings at the moment. That is an approximate.
COOPER: Richard, Malaysian transportation minister echoing what Australian authorities have been saying, that if nothing is found, they may have to regroup at some point soon.
But again that really does not seem all that easy, the idea of just regrouping and kind of refocusing the search. They have been talking about this as a tactical search. They're confident. If they're not confident, then the game -- who knows what happens.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, you were right the first time. The game is just about up.
If this is not the area, and they have lost confidence in it being the area, because they have searched so thoroughly and there is nothing there, then they really are in very deep problems, because they don't have anything else besides the Inmarsat and the pings to work on. There is no other evidence of which we are aware. So what they will do is go back and look at that data again. Have they missed something? Could they have recalibrated it different? Was there a potential to move it 100 miles in whatever direction? That is the only thing they can do, Anderson, if this proves to be not the resting place.
COOPER: And, David Soucie, how big a blow is it the fact that this oil or what they found on the surface of the water is not linked to the plane?
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: It is a blow in that it would have given us an answer right then.
SOUCIE: But in any investigation we have got these leads that you go down. And you have to finish those out, just like it took that long to get the oil back and figure out that that was not it.
I'm still confident. We still had pings. Those pings are not longer there, which would be consistent with the fact that the battery is dead. So, to me, I think that is a big clue. And I think we need to follow this out.
COOPER: And there is no other explanation for those pings.
SOUCIE: No, there isn't.
COOPER: They have said they have ruled out anything unnatural. They said it was manmade.
SOUCIE: That's right.
QUEST: You can make an argument that says it is not from the black boxes, but that is flying in the face of the best expert evidence around.
COOPER: I want to thank all of our panel.
We got to take a quick break. As always, you can find more on the story and others at CNN.com.
Just ahead, David Mattingly inside a sub tonight at the bottom of Horseshoe Bay, British Columbia. He is going to show us how the missing black boxes, if they are found, could be brought to the surface. It is amazing technology.
We'll also show you the gigantic patch of swirling garbage in the Indian Ocean that may make it impossible to find any debris from the flight.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: The U.S. Navy's unmanned sub, the Bluefin-21 is doing its work deep below the Southern Indian Ocean. If and when it locates the plane's black boxes or any wreckage another vehicle will be used to retrieve it. Tonight, we're going to show you what that might look like, David Mattingly is in a manned submersible vessel at Horseshoe Bay, British Columbia.
There are only about half a dozen manned subs in the world capable of making a dive to the bottom of the Indian Ocean. This is not one of them. David is about 50 feet down in much calmer waters. The sub he is in uses the same kind of technology to pick up objects underwater, however. David, thanks very much for joining us. What is it like down there? I mean, you're only at 50 feet, but what is it like?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, even at 50 feet here it is very different from the two or three miles we might be looking at in the Indian Ocean. But the conditions here are very much the same. The visibility, the light, the currents, everything is very similar to what someone might see in that possible end game, if a manned submersible has to go down and retrieve the black box.
Now, Phil Nuytten is here with me. He actually develops vehicles like what we're in right now. And Phil, show me, we have an arm outside. We actually have a black box replica attached to it. It would take normally about 10 minutes in the best of circumstances normally to grab that arm. Can you show me how difficult it is just to put it in the basket that you need to carry it up to the surface?
PHILIP NUYTTEN: Sure, glad to.
MATTINGLY: And talk me through this. You're going inch by inch, very slowly, why is this?
NUYTTEN: Very slowly, delicately, patience is required. It is coming in curves, I have to calculate where it is going to go and grab the spot.
MATTINGLY: It is a very tenuous situation, if you drop that, you have to start all over. That is the conditions here, Anderson, if you stir up the sediment, it is like sneezing into a handful of flour. There is just going to be a cloud of material that is going to blind you and you have to wait for that material to settle. So it is a game of inches down here, even at 50 feet. But it would be the same at two miles, three miles down below.
NUYTTEN: Well, it may well be worse. This is very coarse material, the very fine sediment or dust, you have to wait for it to settle before you can do any work.
MATTINGLY: And right now, Anderson, you can see with the cameras it is still somewhat murky here, we have these tremendous bright lights out in front here, illuminating this area. And we can still see about four feet in front of us. That is under the best conditions we have here.
COOPER: Let me ask, when you're in a vehicle here at those depths and trying to pick up a black box, are you actually stationary on the ground, or are you floating and would have to kind of maneuver based on the currents?
MATTINGLY: Yes, we are actually stationary on the ground. That actually helps because of the currents you have down below. You would have to brace yourself. You don't want the currents pushing you around while you're trying to do this kind of delicate work. There is temperatures and all sorts of problems you have to work through, right?
NUYTTEN: That is correct, you want to be as hard and fast on the bottom if you can so that you can concentrate all of your efforts on making the recovery.
COOPER: And what is the deepest a manned submersible can go? Because obviously there are unmanned ones for really great depths?
MATTINGLY: We have about a half dozen manned submersibles that have go very deep, how deep can they go?
NUYTTEN: Some of the deepest, for instance, Jim Camerons can go full depth, 35,000 feet. There are a number of subs that can go 25,000 feet. Probably a handful and depending on where the wreck is located.
MATTINGLY: And they have similar conditions, Anderson, to like what we have in here right now. The water is about 42 degrees. It would be about the same at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
NUYTTEN: It wouldn't be much colder.
MATTINGLY: And we have four men inside a submarine that is made for actually three people. And just the normal respiration, everything is very wet here with all the condensation. It is almost like it is raining here, that is just some of the conditions they would have down here.
COOPER: You mentioned Woods Hole. I want to bring in David Gallo who is here with us from Woods Hole. David, you have a lot of experience in underwater work, when you're coming back up, is it like diving where you have to wait at a certain depth in order to -- before surfacing too quickly so you don't get the bends or it doesn't matter?
GALLO: Not in a sub like this, Anderson, where you're pretty encapsulated in that enclosure, with the pressure. So it is great to see Phil Nuytten, one of the true pioneers in ocean engineering. Phil, are there submarines that are air flyable? I guess anything is air flyable if you have a big enough plane? So could you deliver a submarine by air or do you have to put it on a boat and truck it half way around the world?
MATTINGLY: Dave Gallo would like to know if you can deliver a submarine by air.
NUYTTEN: It has certainly been done many times, we don't build subs that go to those depths, but there are subs that could be delivered by air certainly. MATTINGLY: In this case we were actually put in this by a giant arm, lowered us in it. It was just a very quick trip down to 50 feet below here. So it was really nothing to deploy us here, how long would it take to get to the bottom?
NUYTTEN: Well, on the "Titanic," the trip to the bottom was about three to three and a half hours. And this was about twice as deep. One could reckon it would be anything from four to six hours.
MATTINGLY: And this is one that would possibly --
NUYTTEN: Possibly, it may be better, all the unknowns, you don't know until you get there.
COOPER: Amazing technology, David Mattingly, thank you very much. David Gallo as well. Up next, in nearly six weeks not a single piece of debris from the flight. Question is why not and what happens next?
Plus tensions in the Eastern Ukraine taking an ugly turn outside a synagogue. Details on that and the deal the U.S. and Russia have made to try to diffuse the crisis.
COOPER: With planes still in the air over the search area today, clearly hope remains they will either spot something on the surface or just underneath it. So far as we have been discussing tonight, that hope has gone almost entirely unfulfilled. Questions are why and what happens next?
Joining us is someone who is truly in a position to know, Air Commodore Kevin McEvoy of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, who is part of aerial search effort. Commodore, what can you tell us about today's air search effort?
AIR COMMODORE KEVIN MCEVOY, ROYAL NEW ZEALAND AIR FORCE: They had a no-fly day with the crews, basically no flying today and the crews doing maintenance with the aircraft. They did find some debris, but unfortunately it was not attributed to the missing plane itself. They actually went out and found some debris, which they had anticipated would be. But they have sent a Chinese ship into the area, they picked up what was unfortunately only floating debris of the fishing variety.
COOPER: There has been some confusion as to when the air component of the search would end. Can you give us a sense of timing as to when that might happen, if you know?
MCEVOY: So we have had no official word around the conclusion. So airplanes at the moment as are all the other nations, they're planning to continue the search for as long as we have been told.
COOPER: Who makes that decision to finally call off the air search?
MCEVOY: So my understanding is the decisions will be made at a political level obviously on the advice of international expertise. So the Malaysian authorities in conjunction with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
COOPER: Are you surprised at this point more than 40 days in now that not one piece of debris associated with the plane has been found?
MCEVOY: It is day 42. And we have been there since the 10th of March. So it is a long effort for us and for all the other nations involved. It is a big search area. It is a long way off the coast of Australia. And there were quite unusual circumstances in which the aircraft has been lost. So the level of data that was available early on in the search, really it is not that surprising that they're over such a vast over in such a long period of time that no debris has been found.
It is disappointing for us, absolutely. But the crews will go out there again today focused on the operation. The aircraft is specifically equipped for search and rescue. The crews are well focused and if there is anything to be found on the surface they will find it.
COOPER: Commodore McEvoy, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
MCEVOY: Thanks, Anderson, cheers.
COOPER: As Commodore McEvoy said the latest object recovered from the search area has turned out to be garbage. That is what is explored underneath the surface and what is known as one of the planet's biggest floating junk yards. Randi Kaye reports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know the debris we find in and around our homes. Here is a paint brush handle, a toy leg from a baby. Flip- flops.
KAYE (voice-over): Not items from a landfill, but from the ocean. More specifically the Indian Ocean gyre, essentially a garbage patch swirling with trash and overflowing with plastic. The massive current spins counterclockwise. Marcus Erickson is the direction of research for the Five Gyres Institute in California. He said gyres are like plastic soup.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is typical of what the material looks like.
KAYE: In 2010, he sailed through the Indian Ocean gyre, the same search area where the searchers are looking for doomed Flight 370.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we found were buoys, buckets like the ones behind me, crates, consumer goods like bottles and caps and bags and forks and knives. There was so much stuff already there. So the aircraft is blending into all that.
KAYE: Which is one reason why locating the missing plane is such a challenge. Satellite images once thought to be debris fields? Likely just floating garbage. Recently a Chinese ship in search of the airplane came across trash instead. Even sea life can't tell the difference. Fish, sea lions, birds, they all ingest this junk, thinking it might be food.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I hear this talk about there being 300- plus pieces from the aircraft. There are 300,000-plus pieces of trash already there.
KAYE: The Indian Ocean gyre are not the only one that exist. They are also two in the Pacific and two in the Atlantic. They form when ocean currents bounce off the continents and create a vortex of swirling water, which pulls debris from the shores to the center of the ocean.
(on camera): The gyre in the Indian Ocean is thought to be about 2 million square miles. Now keep in mind the entire United States is just under 4 million square miles. And this garbage is not still, it travels about half a mile per hour or about 12 miles per day and it may be carrying parts of the plane with it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has moved away from the crash site, moved to maybe 50 to 100 miles by now and dispersed as well. It is joining the background of other debris.
KAYE: Leaving search teams to play catch up as they try to track down Flight 370. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: What a mess. Coming up, the latest from Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry and his Ukrainian counterpart meeting and issuing a joint statement on ending tensions. We'll have the latest on what the plan is to get that done if it is going to work. And also an update from Nick Paton Walsh in Ukraine next.
COOPER: More troubling news from the Ukraine tonight, a leaflet has been distributed out the synagogue in Donetsk, ordering the Jews to register with the government office. Something that Secretary of State John Kerry called, quote, "grotesque." Kerry met with the Ukrainian counterpart in Geneva today and issued a joint statement calling for de-escalation of tensions overall.
CNN's international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh is there in Eastern Ukraine. He joins me now. So Nick, the agreement today that was reached, what does it do? What doesn't it do in terms of trying to de-escalate the conflict?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the fact there is a piece of paper where Moscow and Kiev wouldn't even recognize each other weeks ago were actually able to agree on a common road map that is effectively what western officials are trumpeting here. But, if you look at the text it is messy, calls on illegal occupations of buildings to end and groups illegally armed to put down your weapons.
But frankly, if you're Kiev, that means the protest is here occupying buildings with armed militants backing them up. If you're pro-Russian that means the guys in Kiev doing the same things there. So lots of scope for things to fall apart. And certainly we spoke to one of the leaders of this self-declared People's Republic. When John Kerry speaking, he was not even aware it was happening.
So they're not paying a huge amount of attention to this process. They're looking towards a referendum today saying they want to see it by May 11th to establish the choice of which country Donetsk wants to be a part of. There are still tonight reports across the region of potential for violence here on social media.
COOPER: And these fliers distributed in Eastern Ukraine, telling Jewish residents of one city that they needed to register with the pro-Russian government, what do we know about them?
WALSH: Well, it seems like one bizarre incident, which was unusual for John Kerry, the secretary of state, to actually focus on. But it appears that three masked men turned up at the synagogue here in Donetsk, put these posters up, demanding people to register themselves if they were Jewish.
We've heard from the chief rabbi. He says it's isolated that one instance. It wasn't in other towns either. He says it was a provocation designed to draw out hate. He said we're fine with the people of Donetsk. We spoke to the man who allegedly put his signature to the poster, the self-declared head of the opposition protesters here.
He said it is a fake, not even his handwriting. He also calls it a provocation. Both sides here trying to dismiss this as trying to ferment hatred and it is bizarre both being accused of being fascists to see this being focused upon when actually people on the ground are not concerned about it at all.
COOPER: All right, Nick Paton Walsh, appreciate it. Thanks, Nick. We'll be right back with more.
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