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Drone Strike Hits al Qaeda Suspects; Search for Survivors in Sunken Korean Ferry; What's Next in Search for Flight 370; Drone Strikes in Yemen; What Happened to Flight 370

Aired April 19, 2014 - 13:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And a student gets suspended for asking Miss America to prom. Details on that straight ahead.

We have much more to come in the CNN NEWSROOM which begins right now.

All right. Hello again, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. And here are the top stories that we are following in the CNN NEWSROOM.

A deadly drone attack in Yemen killed 12 suspected al Qaeda militants. What we're learning this hour.

And the death toll rising in that ferry disaster. Divers seeing more bodies inside the submerged ship but struggling to recover them. Meanwhile, the captain faces charges that could land him in jail for life.

And can this underwater drone find the missing Malaysia airliner? It is scanning the ocean floor now, capturing new images. But is the plane even in the vicinity?

All right. Back to our top story. A drone strike targeting al Qaeda militants in Yemen, killing at least 15 people today according to Yemeni Defense officials. Officials say 12 were suspected al Qaeda members and three were civilians. A source in the region says the strike was aimed at three people who are well-known al Qaeda operatives, but none were in al Qaeda's senior leadership.

The strike hit a pickup truck in the southwestern portion of Yemen. It is not clear who was behind the strike yet, but the U.S. is the only known country to have conducted drone strikes in Yemen.

So what is the significance of this attack?

Let's bring in now Jamie Rubin, he is a former U.S. assistant secretary of state and a visiting scholar to Oxford University.

All right, so, Jamie, in your view is this drone strike strategically important?

JAMES RUBIN, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is a significant organization that has tried to attack the United States in the past, and we've seen in recent weeks indications that they are revving up again for efforts to strike the United States. I don't think we should exaggerate their capabilities. Their capabilities are not like al Qaeda was in Afghanistan, they're not like the bin Laden organization was prior to 9/11. But they do pose risks to the United States in terms of having individuals who are prepared to come to the United States, plan to perhaps put a bomb in a car or try get activity on an airplane. So it is very important for the United States and its anti-terrorist allies like the Yemeni government and others to stop these people over there so that those risks are mitigated.

WHITFIELD: Isn't it a given that the U.S. is behind this drone strike?

RUBIN: Well, I'm not in the government, I don't know. I haven't been briefed on this strike, but I would assume so. Certainly we all saw in the last week or two this evidence that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is trying to make a name for itself. And it looks like that effort has backfired if the United States has responded with this strike.

WHITFIELD: And you're referring to the video, this most recently released video showing that they're very bold about its recruitment, in showing that they're organized and coming together and they're not completely in hiding about it.

RUBIN: Well, that's exactly right. Any time one of these new offshoots of the original al Qaeda tries to get new propaganda value by standing up, putting one of these videos out, I think it's helpful for the world to know and the individuals involved to know that the United States will continue to defend its interests, to act preemptively if necessary against those terrorists, and I think the Obama administration has a generally very effective record in counterterrorism. And this looks like another piece in that record.

WHITFIELD: And then what about the cooperation that the U.S. is getting, you know, from the Yemeni government or what is representative of the Yemeni government?

RUBIN: Well, that's always complicated. What happens in Pakistan and Yemen and Somali, other countries around the world, is the government's concern, do not want to make it seem as if they are working directly and closely and hand in glove with the United States. So various mechanisms are found to minimize the public partnership that exists and the way they do that sometimes is by misleading their public as to what they're doing.

We saw in the case of some of the cables that were released in the past, the Yemeni government was told that the United States is perfectly happy for them to take credit for these attacks on militants, as long as militants are attacked.

WHITFIELD: Jamie Rubin, thanks so much for your time in New York.

RUBIN: You're welcome.

WHITFIELD: And meantime the death toll rises to at least 36 now in that horrific ferry disaster. 269 people, many of them students and teachers, are still missing after the ship sank three days ago. They were on a class trip to a resort island when the ship rolled over. Divers are desperately trying to find more survivors. They made it to the third deck inside the ship and saw bodies, but struggled to recover them because of the currents.

Our Paula Hancocks has more from a boat near the scene.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The two large inflatables behind me are really the only sign of where this sunken ferry is. More than 6,000 ton ferry is beneath the waves. You simply wouldn't know it was there if it wasn't for the sheer number of vessels on the water. I counted more than 100, ranging from the very large national warships down to the very small, private fishing vessels. Everybody wants to be involved if there is any chance they know of finding survivors.

The two helicopters in the air I saw earlier, four cranes, these floatable massive cranes are here as well, but they're not part of this operation at this point. And we do know that there are divers right now trying to get inside this submerged vessel to see if they can find any survivors at all.

One thing we're noticing as well in the past hour is an oil slick on the top of the water, and a very strong smell of oil in some areas. It's not clear at this point, though, whether this is actually related to the ferry. And unfortunately, this afternoon the weather conditions are deteriorating somewhat, which is jeopardizing the search and rescue operation. The swell of the sea is a lot bigger than it was just a matter of hours ago. And now we don't see any divers in the area where the ship is submerged.

You see the two big inflatables there, that's where the ferry is under the water. So there is a concern that the search and rescue operation is being jeopardized again this past day by the weather.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, in the Yellow Sea of South Korea.


WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Paula Hancocks.

And CNN has just learned that divers now have indeed started to remove the bodies from the ship. It had been a problem earlier because of the currents. But now apparently they're able to remove some of the bodies.

Again, very painful moment there for the families who are -- many family members who are waiting nearby. Waiting for any word of what is to happen from the search.

All right. Meantime, searchers have been scouring uncharted territory in the Southern Indian Ocean. We'll talk about how that's effecting the search.


WHITFIELD: All right. It could prove to be a crucial two days in the search for Flight 370. Searchers now say the underwater drone searching for the plane could finish its work within a week. That's sooner than many had expected.

The Bluefin-21 has been capturing clear, sharp images of the ocean bottom, but has yet to come up with any trace of the plane. Malaysia's acting transport minister says the searchers will likely have to reassess the search operation in the next few days regardless of whether anything is found.

Today 11 military planes and 12 ships are scouring a search zone that has been narrowed dramatically. So where will the search operation go from here?

Erin McLaughlin is in Perth, Australia.

So, Erin, they're saying the Bluefin-21 could be done with its current search zone within a week, and it seems much quicker than expected. What's changed?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. Well, no new data points have been introduced into the mix that we know of. What they're doing right now is they're searching in the area they believe they'll most likely find the black box. And that's based on detailed acoustic analysis, Australian officials telling us today, of the second ping detected by the towed pinger locator on April 8th.

That ping lasting about 13 minutes. It was the strongest of the four signals detected. And what they're doing is they're looking in a three-mile radius around the point of that detection. And according to my math, the past six dives, they've been able to cover about 42 percent of that area. Australian officials today saying they have another five to seven days toll before the entire area will be completely searched, and that's given good weather and that the Bluefin-21 operates as it is supposed to.

Now earlier today we heard from the acting transportation minister from Malaysia, Hishammuddin Hussein, who had this to say about the critical nature of the stage of this operation. Take a listen.


HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN ACTING TRANSPORT MINISTER: The narrowing of the search for today and tomorrow is at a very critical juncture. So I appeal to everybody around the world to pray and pray hard that we find something to work on over the next couple days.


MCLAUGHLIN: Now a source close to the operation telling CNN that dive seven still under way. The Bluefin-21 still in the water, people here watching, as you heard there, even praying that they find something -- Fredricka. WHITFIELD: All right, Erin McLaughlin, thank you so much from Perth.

All right. Let's get more perspective on this with our panel of experts now joining us from New York. It's CNN aviation analyst Jeff Wise, an ocean explorer Fabien Cousteau, and in Washington, CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes.

All right, gentlemen, good to see you.

So, Fabien, you know, there's been nothing like this kind of search before. Was this expected in your view that the effort would need to be reassessed, reevaluated at this juncture?

FABIEN COUSTEAU, OCEAN ENGINEER: Absolutely. I think this is a natural part of the process, and although we could get lucky and find some evidence out there, it's a very large search pattern, and even though it's narrowing, this is a natural part of the progression. Even lack of information and lack of hits is information in and of itself.

WHITFIELD: In what way do you mean? By eliminating territory?

COUSTEAU: Well, by not -- by not finding any evidence or any debris, it just gives us a better indication that that may not be the exact place to go search.

WHITFIELD: So, Jeff, you heard that transport minister there, saying, you know, this is a critical juncture and we're just praying, you know, that something will arise, something will advance this investigation. But what do you read into that, quote, unquote, "critical juncture," meaning if something, you know, doesn't come about in a manner of days or hours and it means, you know, starting all over, it means abandoning this effort? What do you read into that?

JEFF WISE, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, I'm afraid it would mean abandoning this effort. You know, we've focused all of our attention in the last week or so on the idea that these pings that have been detected must correspond to the black boxes from MH-370. Now really the proof is going to be in the pudding. And if the sub goes down there, can't find anything, it comes up empty, we've really got nothing else to go on.

We have no physical leads of any kind. So we're really left with the whole, you know, eastern hemisphere practically to deal with. And we really don't know. You know, we're going to have to go back, and as we said several times in the last few hours, we have to go back to Inmarsat data and really look at it carefully and try to figure out what grounds, if any, do we have for trying to narrow down this vast search area.

WHITFIELD: And then I wonder, Tom, in addition to looking at that Inmarsat data, we heard Erin McLaughlin talking about the search of three-mile radius of that ping number two, in particular. But does it also mean going back, listening to the recordings of all of those pings, trying to discern it indeed. Were they false positives? Were those really pings, that of the black boxes because that certainly could either eliminate or continue to include data?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right. I think you're right, Fredricka. They'll probably go back and look at all of the data again, which is something they should do. But on the other hand, this acting minister has often made conflicting and unhelpful comments during the course of this investigation, so the fact that he puts this timeline of a couple days on it, when all of the other experts and the search leaders in Australia have said it could take days and weeks, you know, I don't know.

Does he know something none of us know or is he just misspeaking and we're -- you know, we're overanalyzing what he said and what he said was inaccurate?

WHITFIELD: And then I wonder, this latest information that we heard at the end of the day yesterday about the plane now climbing 39,000 feet, you know, just short of its safe operating at to do of 41,000 feet, and that it may have gone over Vietnamese air space, I mean, there are a few different things that the Malaysian authorities have just revealed or leaked sources to CNN and that this electronic locator transmission of which there are four that send emergency signals to the satellite upon impact, whether it be impact on land or water, and that none of those signals went off.

So, Tom, in the other end of this I guess investigation, and we're talking about this possible criminal investigation in addition to the search investigation, does this just add more credence to the messages coming from Malaysian authorities in your view or is this just the way it goes when you have a mystery of this magnitude?

FUENTES: No, I think there's been more misinformation in this than you might often see. With regard to the radar, since the very first week of this thing, we've had conflicting stories that that plane was at the furthest extent of the radar coverage, therefore highly inaccurate, and that they might not be able to tell within 16,000 feet of what the correct altitude of that aircraft was when it made the turn and shortly after.

Now all of a sudden -- and previously we were told to believe that it went up to 43,000, down to 20 some thousand, at 35,000, later down to 4,000, and I think that how do we know any of this is true? And so because some backchannel source says oh, yes, the radar shows such and such, you know, I don't know if I believe that either. I'd like to hear that from real radar technicians who come forward and make an official statement.

The government makes an official statement that this is what we know and this is how we know it, and this is who said and did the analysis. We haven't had that. We've just had these theories of radar that had been put out for 43 days. And this one makes me just as suspicious as the -- the prior ones.

WHITFIELD: So, Jeff, are these inconsistencies in your view or are these simply, you know, gaping holes in these, you know, many investigations here? WISE: Well, you know, the authorities that are conducting investigation don't have to release information. In fact, they're really not supposed to release information that's critical to the investigation. So we're getting all these reports that are coming out through backchannels as Tom was saying, and they've just proven to be the most conflicting part of the whole story.

I'm referring specifically to these altitude datas that we're -- that we're hearing about. So you know, we're hearing 39,000 feet over the Malay Peninsula today. Last week we were hearing and talking about 4,000 to 5,000 feet in a similar area. And we don't really know where this data is coming from. We don't know who is providing this data. It does seem to be conflicting and confusing.

And I would point out as well that it doesn't tell us much about the fate of the airliner either. So in a way I am starting to wonder if it's just noise and we should really not give it too much credence.

WHITFIELD: And, Fabien, what do you want to see next in this search investigation?

COUSTEAU: Well, you know, not being an aviation expert, I certainly wouldn't want to comment too much on the above the sea level, but I think because of the lack of information, because of the disparate facts that folks have to work with, we might have to take a step back and start from the previous point, the anchor point that can be verified, and start re-examining some alternate theories and alternate possibilities.

WHITFIELD: Fabien Cousteau, Tom Fuentes, Jeff Wise, thank you so much, gentlemen, appreciate it.

All right. What started out as a joke turned into a three-day suspension for a high school student. His crime was asking a woman to a prom. But it was who he asked and how that actually got him into hot water.


WHITFIELD: All right. Lots going on today. So much so that Nick Valencia is here to assist.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we're here, got some headlines.


VALENCIA: Let's get straight to them here. We're 24 minutes past the hour. Let's start in Ukraine.

So much for peace there in Ukraine, the deal that had been brokered is being ignored. Thousands of Russian troops are near the eastern Ukraine border. Russia says they're there due to political instability. All this while pro-Russian separatists in the eastern city of Donetsk have dug in, in defiance of that international deal aimed at resolving the crisis, and preventing an all-out civil war. Separatists are refusing to leave public buildings and calls to lay down their arms.

The number of fatalities in what was already the deadliest accident on Mount Everest rose again today when search and rescue teams found the body of another Sherpa guide. In total 13 people were killed and three others still missing after an avalanche struck the 20,000 foot mark of the world's highest peak. The deadliest year on Everest was 1996 when 15 people died. More than 200 people have died on the mountain in the last 100 years.

And as you're driving at night and seeing this mysterious fireball light up the sky -- look at that, Fred. A dashcam video posted on YouTube of a meteor-like object appearing to streak across northern Russia last night. No, just straight ahead here. No reports of damage or injury from the blast, they're completely unfazed there.

You may remember last winter, a mass of meteor exploded over southwestern Russia injuring more than 1500 people.

And here is what's gotten our producers here at CNN talking today. A high school senior is on a three-day suspension for asking Miss America --

WHITFIELD: Three days?

VALENCIA: -- Nina Davuluri to the prom during appearance at his school.


VALENCIA: Davuluri said reportedly she thought it was cute, the school disagreed. They released a statement said --


VALENCIA: "It is not our practice to discipline a student for asking someone even Miss America to a school dance. However, it is our practice to set expectations for student behavior. It is a shame that the media wants to frame this story to sell papers and make headlines, using a distortion of what actually happened."

Miss America was at the school to talk with students about the -- importance, I should say, of science and technology, engineering and math studies.

So here's what happened.

WHITFIELD: OK. There's more.

VALENCIA: He was telling his friends.


VALENCIA: That he was going to ask Miss America to the prom.


VALENCIA: The school administrators got wind of that, they said please don't do it. He did it anyway. So there comes the suspension.

WHITFIELD: So that's the behavior.

VALENCIA: That's the behavior there.

WHITFIELD: That the school said he didn't abide by.

VALENCIA: But you don't get a date with Miss America unless you ask, right?

WHITFIELD: There were rules and you know. Well, that's true, too. I'm sure that was his defense.

VALENCIA: I think so.

WHITFIELD: He got in return three-day suspension.

VALENCIA: We tried calling him. We tried calling him a little awhile ago, so maybe we will hear back.

WHITFIELD: Keep trying.

VALENCIA: Yes, I'll keep trying. See what he has to say about it.

WHITFIELD: It's nice to hear both sides of the story. We got the school's account, though. We understand the rules and they say he broke the rules.

VALENCIA: Yes, got to get past (INAUDIBLE).


WHITFIELD: Now we want to hear from him. Right. All right. Thanks, Nick. Appreciate that.

VALENCIA: You bet.

WHITFIELD: OK. All right. Well, perhaps you were planning an Easter egg hunt in your backyard this weekend. That would be me. And I don't think it's going to happen.

Jennifer Gray here with a -- maybe it's an encouraging forecast for some?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. For some, especially in the northeast. And come on, they've had the worst winter ever. They're finally going to get some gorgeous weather for the Easter weekend.

The southeast, a little bit of a different story. The rain has wrapped up in Atlanta. We actually have live pictures in Atlanta, still overcast, but it rained for almost 24 hours straight. Finally starting to dry out just a little bit. The grounds will be wet for those Easter egg hunts, but at least the rain has tapered off.

Not the case for North Carolina, South Carolina, it is a mess, especially the outer banks. And this system is going to hug the coastline as we go through the next 24 to 48 hours. We're going to track it for you. And as we go through this evening, 6:00 p.m. still quite a bit of rain across South Carolina and North Carolina, it is just going to stick around as we go through Easter Sunday, and then finally try to leave us by the time we get into Monday.

So that's really going to be the big stoker for the weekend. We could see close to four inches of rain as we go through the next 24 hours or so. Three inches in Hatteras. We're going to see about a quarter of an half inch to half an inch in Charlotte, of course Atlanta, Jacksonville, West Palm, you were all starting to dry out.

Here's the big picture for your Easter Sunday. Watch out for possible severe weather across west Texas. We could see large hail, damaging winds and even the possibility of isolated tornadoes. The place to be, Deep South, the northeast, and the west. We are going to have incredible weather.

Boston Marathon runners on Monday, 44 degrees starting out, Fred, we'll be in the 60s by the afternoon.

WHITFIELD: Nice. That's feeling good. And that's -- yes, people will be happy about that.

GRAY: They will.

WHITFIELD: Starts out cool and then it warms up a little bit when they're all sweaty and stuff.

GRAY: Yes.


WHITFIELD: All right. Jennifer Gray, thanks so much. Appreciate that.

All right. A deadly drone strike today just hours from a known al Qaeda hot bed, what we're learning about the targets and who was killed next.


WHITFIELD: All right. Mortgage rates ticked up this week, let's take a look.


WHITFIELD: An attack on suspected al Qaeda militants is being called a success today by officials in Yemen. A drone strike hit a pickup truck in the southwestern portion of the country, Yemeni officials say at least 15 people, including 12 al Qaeda suspects, were killed.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is joining me right now on the phone.

So, Barbara, what more have you learned about the strike and the specific targets? BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Well, according to officials in the region, the target was specifically a couple of al Qaeda militants tied to a training camp in this region in southern Yemen. This is a real stronghold in the south for al Qaeda in Yemen, which is a big concern to the United States.

This is a very violent, vicious elements of al Qaeda that is very capable of attacking outside of Yemen for the Yemeni government, they -- these people have launched a lot of attacks inside that country, they're very destabilizing. So both nations really want to go after them and going after them in the south is where they are right now.

No indication, Fred, that it was any of the top tier, you know, the tier one top leadership of al Qaeda in Yemen, but it was, we are told, militants that they have been looking at for a long time, that they've been tracking and that they decided to launch a drone against.

As you say, several people killed. It looks like three civilians were killed, and that is always a big problem for the United States because the -- government of Yemen is very sensitive to these drone strikes.

Generally they're carried out by the CIA or the Pentagon. Neither agency officially talking about it today.

WHITFIELD: OK. So no confirmation as to whether the U.S. was involved in that drone strike?

STARR: Well, I think it's an absolute given that they were. It is only the CIA or the Pentagon that carries out these drone strikes over time. That is the only country that knowingly we know of that launches these drone strikes in Yemen. But they're some of the most classified operations out there. Very sensitive intelligence, always involved about this group, about its leaders, their locations.

So the U.S. doesn't ever really publicly comment on them. Behind the scenes, though, it looks like it absolutely was the United States behind it.

WHITFIELD: All right. Barbara Starr, thanks so much.

Meantime, Malaysian authorities admit things could have been handled better in the search for Flight 370. In a minute, what they're doing to try to learn from the mistakes.

And later, we'll take you in a simulator and show you what it probably looked like as Korean -- as the Korean ferry, rather, began to sink.


WHITFIELD: The next phase in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 could soon come. The Bluefin-21 underwater drone has been scanning the seafloor. Looks like it could complete its work within a week.

Also both Australian and Malaysian officials are saying they will likely have to, quote, "regroup and reconsider." End quote. Search operations end in the next few days. Today, 11 military planes and 12 ships are scouring the search zone.

Malaysian authorities are turning the spotlight on themselves in fact these days. They're trying to figure out just what went wrong and what they can learn from it.

Sumnima Udas has the story.


SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As many remain mystified by the disappearance of MH-370, Malaysian authorities look inwards to see what lessons can be learned. The face of the crisis, defense minister and acting transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, explaining to officials at an exhibition in Kuala Lumpur why Malaysia was perhaps not prepared to deal with the situation, drawing a comparison with the 9/11 attack in the U.S.

HUSSEIN: We did not go through the Twin Tower incident. Our Ministry of Defense was not attacked like Pentagon was. Future threat, that needs to be addressed and the SOPs that is with the Air Force might have to be relooked at.

UDAS: What is the current SOP, standard operating procedure, authorities will not reveal, but this may be the closest officials have come to acknowledging mistakes may have been made.

Malaysia has been criticized for how they handled the crisis early on. Sources telling CNN the Malaysian Air Force sent search planes to the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait just hours after the airliner was reported missing. But a source says the military did not inform civilian authorities of that western search for at least three days.

(On camera): Was there a disconnect between the investigating agencies early on?

HUSSEIN: Like I said, that's not something that we should be discussing right now.

UDAS (voice-over): Malaysian authorities denied there was a discrepancy. The Cabinet has agreed to allow an international investigation team to evaluate what happened to MH-370.

HUSSEIN: And history will judge us because we have nothing to hide. With the committees that we are setting up, the Malaysian Royal Air Force have nothing to hide.

UDAS (on camera): The investigation could take months, even years. The plane has not even been found yet, but the purpose of the international team is not to pour some blame but to determine what went wrong so no other airplane disappears again.

Sumnima Udas, CNN, Kuala Lumpur.


WHITFIELD: All right. So let's talk now about the lessons learned from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and what can be done differently in the future.

Back with me in New York, CNN aviation analyst, Jeff Wise, and ocean explorer, Fabien Cousteau, and CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes is with us from Washington.

So, Jeff, to you first. You know, earlier we were talking about the idea of authorities going back to square one with this investigation. Would that help identify some of the procedures that may need to be changed if there is an incident like this again?

WISE: Unfortunately we don't really know what an incident like this is. We know so little about this plane. First we called it a plane crash, we don't even really know that it was a crash. I mean, there's an assumption that it's been lost, but we don't even really know that. So it's difficult to identify, you know, as with Air France 447, a case that this is so often compared to, even before we found the plane, there were changes, for instance, in the pitot tubes, the speed indicators that were used. Here we can't even do anything like that.

WHITFIELD: Right. And Tom, you know, since we really don't know the outcome, we don't know, you know, where to pinpoint the mistakes made, I mean, you listed a litany of things that in terms of the miscommunication from officials, but you know, where is the starting point on where lessons can be learned? Is it in the disseminating of information, is it the identifying, you know, where -- what may have gone wrong in the investigation? I mean, where do you begin here?

FUENTES: Well, for one thing, Fredricka, I go back to something in the most recent piece that the acting transport minister said, which I think is outrageous. They didn't experience 9/11. They don't know what happened on that event and how to prepare to defend against something like that. What, they don't have CNN in Kuala Lumpur? That is a ridiculous statement.

You learn from what happened to other people around the world. You study events historically and make sure it doesn't happen to you. So to make a statement like that only adds to the multitude of statements that that gentleman has made throughout this case.

WHITFIELD: And so, Fabien, as it pertains to the underwater search, aside from what is or isn't being said, what kind of lesson can be learned, even though we haven't found the plane, you know, under water, what kind of lessons can be learned in terms of what kind of assets to devote to a search of this magnitude?

COUSTEAU: Well, first of all, if the foundation of the search is unsure, then we can't expect to get any sort of answers from an ocean based search in the first place simply because that environment has not really been explored to any extent whatsoever. We explored less than 5 percent of our oceans to date. So it stands to reason that we need to start from a very, very strong point in any kind of exploration.

And beyond that, of course, we need to be able to have more of these tools at our disposal in the case of tragedies such as this, or in the case of pure exploration in general. WHITFIELD: And, Jeff, do you see that, you know, there really is a deficiency in tools, just really are not, you know, at the ready for a search like this?

WISE: Well, you know, we're still hoping that the submersible will find some wreckage, we shouldn't rule that out yet. But in the event that it doesn't, really all we've got to go on is this much talked about Inmarsat data. We've got these pings that were detected. We've got the analysis of those pings, and then we've got the assumptions that we feed into the resulting, you know, formula that is produced. And so that's all we have. And it's very little to go on. So a lack of tools is an understatement.

WHITFIELD: And Fabien, you know, as it pertains to exploring the undersea, we've been talking about all the unknown in the Indian Ocean, you are getting ready to embark on a new mission actually in the Florida Keys called Mission 31. Tell us about that and what you are hoping to learn about the floor of the Atlantic and where the Gulf come together.


COUSTEAU: Well, it's -- you know, Mission 31 is exciting because for the first time ever, we're going to be able to take a team to live and work underwater and open up that platform to the general public so that they can come along and be part of this through the advent of social media and the fact that we have Wi-Fi underwater in our habitat.

And we'll be able to share in real time with the world our exploits and exploration as it's happening so that we can immerse people in a much more conducive environment to learn about why the oceans are so important, how much we don't know about them, and how important it is for us to push further, longer and deeper in order for us to be able to find out more about this ocean planet.

WHITFIELD: Very fascinating. All right, Fabien Cousteau, Tom Fuentes, Jeff Wise, it's good to see all of you. Thanks so much.

All right. There's much more to discuss as it pertains to that Korean ferry, what happened and why in a minute. We'll take you inside a simulator and show you what it might have looked like as that ship took on water.

But first, this summer, the CNN Fit Nation triathlon challenge culminates in the big race which is Malibu, California.

CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta is busy training to get ready but he still found time to chat with "Biggest Loser" trainer Bob Harper who has a new book out, "Skinny Meals: Everything You Need to Lose Weight -- Need to Know to Lose Weight Fast."


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, there's something about you that a lot of people don't know, I think. You grew up on a cattle farm in Nashville.


GUPTA: But still I know you're on board with this next -- this rule which we both say maybe go meatless at least one day a week. Meatless Mondays, for example, something that's become popular, because habits are easier to change and stick to earlier in the week.

How much of an impact do you think that makes for people?

HARPER: I say -- I preface it by saying I am a meat eater, and I get my -- most of my protein from lean animal protein. I like people to go meatless, especially people that aren't used to eating a lot of vegetables, not familiar with a lot of vegetables that are out there, how to prepare them. So it is like if I have you going meatless one day, it causes you to explore a set of foods that you probably aren't used to.

And that's why in my book, "The Skinny Meals," I have so many -- vegetable options. So you're not just having steamed broccoli because who wants to eat that all of the time. So I think it's important to get people to get more familiar with eating vegetables and know that vegetables just aren't French fries and corn.


GUPTA: Which does seem to be the norm in a lot of places around the country.

HARPER: Unfortunately.


WHITFIELD: All right. To see more of Sanjay's interview with Bob Harper on nutrition, fitness, sleep and stress, catch "SANJAY GUPTA MD", 4:30 Eastern right here on CNN.


WHITFIELD: All right. Exciting doubleheader tomorrow night on CNN at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Anthony Bourdain takes on Las Vegas like you've never seen before. Then at 10:00 Eastern, an all-new episode of "INSIDE MAN." Are we meant to live forever? Morgan Spurlock explores futurism and the quest for immortality, Sunday night, 10:00 p.m., right here on CNN.

All right. As investigators try to figure out what happened on that sunken Korean ferry, it seems clear the captain wasn't on the bridge when the ship began to sink.

Randi Kaye goes inside a ferry simulator to look at what conditions might have been like on the bridge when disaster struck.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the South Korean ferry began to lean, this is what it looked and felt like.

(On camera): So at this point, with the vessel on its side, people would be falling.

CAPT. DON MARCUS: Yes, people would have fallen. 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 glimpse inside a ship simulator in Baltimore, Maryland. Captain Donald Marcus is showing us what those on board the ferry in the Yellow Sea may have been experiencing as the ship started to sink.

(On camera): It's so disorienting.

MARCUS: Yes. It certainly is at this 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): They kept announced that 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'd certainly go to a higher deck, 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'd be getting various alarms, you'd be doing the emergency signals, be trying to contact 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 in overcorrecting. The danger is getting to that point of no return.

KAYE (on camera): We can even simulate the rescue operation underway here. They are dealing with heavy rains, high winds, rough seas. You can see the rescue ships out there and the choppers up above, which are there. But looking at these conditions, it's easy to understand why it has been so difficult for the rescuers to get inside that ferry and see if there's 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.


WHITFIELD: And "YOUR MONEY" with Christine Romans starts right after a short break.