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CNN SPECIAL REPORTS

Air Search for Flight 370 Suspended; Search For South Korean Ferry Victims Continues; How Did Teen Survive in Wheel Well Of Hawaiian Airlines Jet?

Aired April 21, 2014 - 23:00   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: This is a CNN Special Report. I'm Don Lemon. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world.

We begin with breaking news. The air search for flight 370 suspended due to bad weather from tropical cyclone Jack.

Meanwhile, deep below the surface, Bluefin-21 is completing its ninth mission, but what happens if the Bluefin comes up empty again? What the Malaysian officials tell the families of the passengers? It has been 46 days of dead ends, 46 days of waiting for word on the fate of their loved ones.

We're going to talk to the family of flight 370 passenger, (INAUDIBLE).

But in the face of all these tragedy, we also have a miraculous tale of survival. A teen boy climbs inside the wheel well of a jet in California and stumbles out into a Hawaiian runway five hours and 2,300 miles later. How did he survive? That story tonight.

And you have been tweeting us your flight 370 questions by the thousands. We have got top aviation and security experts standing by to answer them. Like this, could the pinger be buried in silt at the location they are now searching in? Can the Bluefin locate it in that case?

I want to go right to CNN's reporters in the search zone. Miguel Marquez is in Perth and Richard Quest is in Kuala Lumpur.

Hello to both of you.

Miguel, you first. I understand there's been a change of today's search plans based on the tropical cyclone. What can you tell us about that?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is something they did not want to call off. They first, his very early this morning they said the plane would be flying in the surface search for MH-370 and later in the day said it was not going to happen. And despite what beautiful a day it seems in Perth at the moment, the seas and the air, they have about four kilometers of visibility out in that area. The seas are very high, which makes it very difficult to spot anything, and the winds are up and it's also raining in certain areas there. So they just believe that getting the planes up, getting them out there in those search areas, in some cases thousands of miles away from Australia, was not really worth it.

In any event, this far on from when that plane went down, pilots we speak to and professionals say, look, it's going to be extraordinarily difficult to find anything related to MH-0370 at this point -- Don.

LEMON: Yes. And as we've been seeing, you know, the result, nothing so far.

Given the lack of results so far, how are the searchers adjusting their future plans, Miguel?

MARQUEZ: Well, this is what we now understand from the U.S. Navy, there is a very broad conversation going on amongst all the countries and entities involved in this search for how they go forward if Bluefin doesn't come up with anything. It is clearly almost all the way through this initial, most hoped for search area where they thought they'd hit something positive with regard to 370.

And going forward what they are looking at is several months out and possibly bringing in other types of resources, other types of vehicles, autonomous or towed vehicles, that might be able to take either a bigger picture of the ocean floor or operate on a more constant basis over a much larger stretch of the ocean out here -- Don.

LEMON: All Miguel Marquez, thank you very much.

Richard Quest now in Kuala Lumpur, where many of the family members, Richard, of flight 370 have gathered, their frustration mounting. What are the questions, some of the questions that the families have been asking and not getting answers to?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I have them here for you. This is the latest sort of questions, 26 of them. Some of them are the sort of questions you might have thought we'd know by now, what are the levels and speed of the pain that were used in the calculation to derive its final position? Are there plans to fit cameras on the tip of Bluefin-21 for visual sightings?

Just give you one or two others, how is the investigation conducted? Did Malaysia share raw data? Is it possible for the ELTs to function?

There's lots of them that you might at this point in the investigation say, well, why have they not been given these facts? I do know that in Beijing at a particularly acrimonious and unpleasant meeting between families and authorities. They are now, Malaysia is now, bringing technical experts to answer these questions. \

But sometimes, Don, it does seem slightly, I don't know whether one would say officious or official, that some questions are being asked where you might have wondered why the answers cannot or have not been given.

LEMON: You know, Richard, you were here last week and now that you're in Malaysia, you may have, you know, a better grasp of the situation. It has been more than six weeks since the plane disappeared. Should we be seeing some sort of initial report from investigators soon? Remember you brought the kind of report we should be seeing. Should we be seeing something soon?

QUEST: Yes. I went into this on the flight over here, I went into this on some detail and you're basically talking about annex 13 and a variety of related documents on (INAUDIBLE) reporting.

Under section seven, I think it is subsection four, basically, a preliminary report is meant to be sent to (INAUDIBLE) within 30 days. Now what we need to know is, firstly, whether such a report has been written and sent to the other states. If it hasn't, when is it going to be sent, and if it has, are they going to release it. And I think that is one of the core questions, because you're talking here not about controversial issues of who did what in cockpits and who might have been responsible, you're talking about statements of fact, Don, which are known and which can be released. Provided, of course, I can hear the authorities saying it already, provided these facts are verified.

LEMON: Richard Quest, we'll see you a little later on from Kuala Lumpur. Thank you very much.

I want to bring in my panel of experts, Jeff Wise, CNN aviation analyst, author of "extreme fear: the science of your mind in danger," Mary Schiavo, former inspector general of department of transportation, now an attorney for victims of transportation accidents. Lieutenant colonel Michael Kay, a retired military pilot with the British air force and Anthony Roman, former corporate jet pilot and CEO of Roman and Associates, Karlene Petitt, an international pilot and author of "fight for control" and "flight for safety," and of course, Geoffrey Thomas, editor in chief of airlineratings.com.

Good to see all of you. Welcome to the week, it's Monday now. Bluefin-21, Geoffrey, has already scanned two-thirds of the search zone. If it continues to find nothing, what is plan "b"?

GEOFFREY THOMAS, EDITOR IN-CHIEF, AIRLINERATINGS.COM: Well, it's a very good question, Don, and a question that everybody here in Perth, western Australia, is asking. Look, they may well extend to one of the other pinger locations. They may move it and do another 10k radius around one of the other spots, but they are also looking at a wider strategy of other vehicles that they can bring to bear and perhaps a wider search with slightly less definition than the Bluefin- 21 gives, more of a broad brush stroke, if you like.

They are all the parties of this investigation, this search, are now looking at those options. And we do understand that there are a number of 747 freighters on standby in the United States to bring out more equipment if that's the way they decide to go.

LEMON: All right, to Mary Schiavo now. Probably the best thing we've got of images of the ocean that was previously unmapped, officials are saying Bluefin returned very clear images of the ocean floor. But you know, is it possible the underwater drone may have gone over the wreckage and not detected it? MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, I say not because it is looking for things -- well, the people who are viewing that images are looking for things that wouldn't appear in nature, you know, right angles, things that stand out from the ocean floor, et cetera.

So you know, they are only as good as the people reviewing the pictures, so theoretically a human could miss something that the Bluefin carefully captured an image of and brought to the surface, but they've been poring over the pictures. And so, I doubt if they actually think they just haven't hit upon the wreckage and they need to keep searching.

LEMON: All right, to Jeff Wise now.

Jeff, let's go back to why searchers believe they are looking in the right place. It is based on four pings detected by the towed pinger locator and the Inmarsat handshake. You know, what if those assumptions turn out to be wrong? We talked about this a little bit, what if this is all wrong here?

JEFF WISE, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, I mean, that's really the million-dollar question. The longer they search this area and don't locate the plane's wreckage, the more we're going to have to conclude the assumptions were faulty and that the pings, the underwater acoustic pings were, in fact, false positives, and when that determination is made, if it's made, then it's going to be back to square one, as David Soucie called it, a blank sheet of paper analysis to really start from your base-level assumptions to try to figure out, OK, what were our faulty assumptions going into this?

LEMON: Yes.

Karlene, you now -- listen, you have what some might consider, many might consider, a very controversial opinion about the search. You think the entire search should end due to the cost, not just the above water search. Expand on that for me, will you?

KARLENE PETITT, INTERNATIONAL PILOT: I think when they finish this search, if they come up empty handed, it definitely should be ended. We don't really, at this point, we want to know what happened, but I think at this point we determined that the airplane did not fly itself, that airplane, the pattern, the flight pattern, the route of flight, the airplane couldn't have done it. We had human intervention. So we know a pilot, somebody, a person was in there and did that.

So to find the airplane, if there was any doubt and we thought it was the aircraft, yes, we'd have to go to no ends. But at this point, I think we've ruled out that this airplane flew itself erroneously for seven hours. It just didn't happen.

So I think the money would be better spent to beef up security so people couldn't get in the cockpit door, so kids couldn't climb over a fence and get in a wheel well. I think we could even spend the money and clean up our ocean, and I would suspect if we did that, we would probably find the debris we're looking for to give closure to those families.

LEMON: Very interesting.

Anthony, you know, the air search has been suspended today because of the tropical cyclone Jack. If it when it does resume, do you see any benefit of continuing the above-water search?

ANTHONY ROMAN, CEO, ROMAN AND ASSOCIATES: I think it's always a benefit to conduct the over-water search. When you have negative results, whether above the submerged water line or beneath it, negative information gives you information. Despite it being disappointing, it tells you where the wreckage is not. And, therefore, you have better information as to where to begin the future search.

So in this particular case, if they go to the area, the two-thirds area that has been searched, we know it's not there, we go to the one- third area, we search. If it's not there, we expand in concentric rings around that general area, still operating under the premise that the Inmarsat data is correct.

There will always be questions about that Inmarsat data, simply because it has not been shared. And I believe at this juncture it should be shared so we could be cross verified by other professionals.

LEMON: All right. Stick around, a lot of show to get you. Michael Kay we'll, of course, get you in the next block.

We are going to have much, much more on the search for flight 370 coming up, flat.

Next, a survival story so miraculous many simply don't believe it. A teenage boy climbs into the landing gear of a jet in California and gets out five hours later in an airport in Hawaii.

And later, I'm going to talk to the family of one flight 370 passenger and get their thoughts in the search for their missing love ones.

Plus, new details of the chaos and confusion on the sinking ferry that led to the death of at least 104 people in South Korea.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Welcome back.

Tonight, authorities say they are not pressing charges against the teenage boy who climbed into the landing gear compartment of a Hawaiian airlines flight bound for Maui, and that's not even his luckiest break. He survived a number of extreme elements that could have killed him.

Brian Todd has more now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The ground crew noticed him wandering the tarmac in Maui disoriented. FBI special agent, Tom Simon, says this 16-year-old boy claims to have ridden to Maui in a wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines 767 all the way from San Jose, California. The airport spokeswoman in San Jose says --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's a very lucky boy today.

TODD: Officials have reviewed surveillance video and say the teenager was seen hopping the fence at the San Jose Airport and walking across the tarmac toward the Hawaiian Airlines plane. The Maui Airport has footage of him crawling out of a wheel well. We went into a wheel well of a 707, smaller than the 767's wheel bay, but security expert Rafi Ron was able to show us how he could have wedged in.

(on camera): In the wheel well, the center area here could be key, right?

RAFI RON, FORMER ISRAELI AVIATION SECURITY OFFICIAL: Yes. But with the setup here in the 707, this area here is probably the best location for him at this time, because that is where the space between the wheels would later on be positioned and that ensures that there would be slightly enough space for him to survive. And then he can improve his position once the gear is in.

TODD: Experts say if he did successfully stowaway, it's almost miraculous. The wheel wells of passengers' jet aren't heated or pressurized, they say, at a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet, the cold air could have killed him.

MICHAEL KAY, FORMER ADVISOR TO THE UK MILITARY OF DEFENSE: At that height, you have temperatures of around minus 45 to minus 55 degrees c. Just to put that in perspective, skin freezes almost instantaneously around minus 44 degrees.

TODD: A loss of oxygen in that altitude could have killed him, unless his metabolism slowed enough for him not to need much oxygen. The lack of security in San Jose is also being questioned in this case. Rafi Ron says the boy took advantage of a gap in the system.

RON: Right now, many of our airports are not protecting the perimeter well enough to prevent an incident like this one.

TODD: The airport spokeswoman in San Jose says that facility airport exceeds all security requirements and has an excellent track record. The TSA is assisting the airport in the investigation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: So that was Brian Todd. So exactly how did this young man do it? Let's take a look now at Gary Tuchman.

He's going to show us exactly how -- Gary. GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is southern California aviation airport in Victorville, California, in the desert where airlines all over the world bring their plane they are not using anymore. We're going to demonstrate to you how someone would get in a wheel well of an aircraft.

This is a Boeing 767 that used to be used. This is the door that is closed. But there is a way to sneak in a hole to get into the wheel well and we will show you how the process would start according to experts here.

Someone who wanted to get in the wheel well would get on the tire, one of the two priors. Step on the bars right here, climb all the way to the top right here, and this right here is where an opening would be to climb into the landing gear wheel well. Once someone would climb into that hole, they'd end up here. And I'm going to show you what happens after they climb through the hole.

I get in this area. This is the wheel well area, and we're told there's only one place to sit where you could possibly survive, because when the wheels move in, the two huge wheels, they come right here. There's no room except for right here in this spot. And this is where the experts say you'd have to sit with your knees close to you, the wheel well would close, two tires right here, and this is the only place where you could possibly survive. There is nothing stupider in the world to do, but this is where you can do it.

LEMON: Wow. Fascinating. Thank you, Gary.

I want to bring in now my panel of experts. Michael, I just -- I don't know. I can't believe it. I'm very skeptical, and as you noted in Brian's piece, it's clearly a harsh environment in the wheel well of a plane, it's cold, the temperatures are, no pressurization. How could this teenager have survived that, Mikey?

KAY: It is a brilliant question, Don. I think the two key factors going against the teenager are hyperthermia and (INAUDIBLE). But there is one thing, I just like to points out in that last piece where you saw the guy climbing up into the aircraft, Gary.

I think -- I spoke to a couple 767 captain today. And there are various airports around the world airlines designate as having a stowaway risk. You saw Gary climbing up the two big doors into the aircraft. Those big doors actually close when the gear is locked and down. And so, if you're doing a walk around an aircraft captain, hidden somewhere like (INAUDIBLE), those doors are actually closed, so you can't see up and all the way in to where Gary finally sat.

LEMON: Well, wait, wait. Hang on, hang on, Mikey. There he goes. There's Gary. So explain to me. The part where he's climbing up, not this part, but the other part.

KAY: Yes, if you look where Gary's climbing up there, when he walks across the actual undercarriage, as you can see now coming into frame, it's not quite there yet, those doors there, those two big doors actually close when the gear is locked and down and they close for drag purposes.

However, there are some airlines that have various specifics about airfields around the world that have a stowaway risk. And what the aircraft captains will do is they'll ask engineers to drop those doors so they can see into that very area that Gary is getting into.

LEMON: So they are looking for stowaways?

KAY: Absolutely. Only in specific airfields around the world, though.

LEMON: OK. All right.

And so, Anthony, listen. Another thing that makes this so remarkable, I mean, even if the person survived the journey, there's still the issue of falling out once the landing gear opens again, right? And the question is, when Mikey Kay was talking about the big doors, I mean, might that have preserved some of the heat or maybe some of the cold doesn't get in and that's how this young man survived?

ROMAN: No, it doesn't preserve the heat at all. It's absolutely freezing in there, up to minus 69 degrees Fahrenheit.

LEMON: Good lord.

ROMAN: What happens in some cases like this, it's rare, but it's known, and I've actually seen this in unrelated accident investigations, as well, where a young boy fell into a lake, a very mucky lake. It took almost three hours to locate the individual, and he was found in this ultra super hypothermic state. They thought he was already dead. When he came to the hospital, he began to revive on his own. His heartbeat was virtually indiscernible. Respiration was virtually indiscernible, and it is a known phenomenon.

But you have something else very interesting happening there. If you could show those landing gear doors again, you'll see that they are curved outwards. In other words, the portion of the landing gear that closes, the internal portion, is concave. When they are open, they would create an aerodynamic positive pressure on the outside of those gear doors and a slightly negative pressure on the inside as a result of their shape. And that would cause a sucking motion, and you often find in these cases that the individuals fall out, they are more likely sucked out by the negative pressure under the wheel well. So if this actually occurred, he's a very fortunate boy. He had the right biology, and he survived the adversary of dynamics.

LEMON: They found him kind of wandering around aimlessly, but still he was alive -- who knows, got to have other tests. But my goodness, Geoffrey Thomas, most of the time people have attempted this, they don't live through it. How common is it for people to stowaway using this message, Geoffrey Thomas?

THOMAS: Well, according to the statistics, about 80 percent, unfortunately, die, either by the cold or when the doors open they do fall out. There was a famous case in Sydney that was actually photographed of a Japan airlines dc-8 taking off and the boy had stowed away and when the doors opened to attract the gear, he fell out and it was photographed falling from the airplane.

But one of the most famous cases was a Nigeria airways (ph) from Havana to Madrid in 1969, again, a dc-8. The boy actually ran through long grass when the airplane turned to take off, leapt up on to the wheel, jumped in, and he survived an eight and a half hour flight to Madrid. So there's been about ten cases where they have survived, but extraordinarily luckily -- luckily, as the panelists have indicated.

LEMON: I guess when you have the will to live and you want a different or better life, you'll do anything you can to do it.

Thank you very much, Geoffrey Thomas. Everybody else, please stick with me.

Coming up, they have lived through the last 46 days having to wonder what happened to their loved one. I'm going to talk to the family of Shandrica Sharma, who was aboard the Malaysian flight 370.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The families of the passengers of flight 370 are nearing a boiling point in dealing with Malaysian officials. One family referred to their recent meeting with Malaysian authorities as useless.

I want to go back now to Kuala Lumpur and Richard Quest.

Richard, you have been there speaking with the families. The Chinese relatives today met with Malaysian officials in Beijing. How did that meeting go?

QUEST: Well, the meeting in Beijing went very badly. It all ended in sort of abuse and profanity being leveled at the Malaysian authorities. And part of the reason is, the families say that they keep -- the Malaysian authorities keep saying to them, let us have your questions, which we will answer, but when they come to provide the questions, their eyes are met with a "we haven't got the answer," or we need to get back to you with the answer, or we're going to get more experts in, and that has frustrated many of the families.

So now what the Malaysians have announced is they will be bringing to Beijing technical experts to answer the questions. And to some extent it is slightly remarkable, because when you do look at the questions that they are asking, it's not immediately obvious why they can't be answered in a fairly forthright fashion, even allowing for -- even allowing for the investigation to take place.

And now what's happening, of course, is the us and the them has arisen, because, Don, the families are grouping into several different groups. There are those that still believe that there may be hope for their loved ones. There are those who now want to know about the rights of the next of kin, and there are those that are really saying it's time to move on, but we need more information about how we do that and what happens next.

LEMON: All right, Richard Quest, thank you very much. And as the world watches the search for flight 370, Shandrica Sharma's family has gone without words for her, from her, or any answers from Malaysian airline officials as they wait to see what happened.

Joining me now, (INAUDIBLE) as well as (INAUDIBLE), they are the husband, the brother, and the mother of Chandrika Scharma, who is a passenger aboard flight 370.

Thank you for joining us.

We know it's a tough time for you and we appreciate you coming back, you've been with us several times on the show. I wish there had been a better resolution for your family so far since we last spoke. How are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is nothing here. I think it's been a hard, long week, as you know, and each day passes without knowing anymore or the whole process of moving on, actually moving any further. In some sense, knowing very little from the start, knowing very little except bits and bits that comes in dribbles from time to time. And facing each day with a source of information whose credibility has been very severely impaired.

So it's hard to know what to believe. It's hard to know what to expect, and it's very hard to know when we will see some closure and some finality to where the plane is and what the fate of the passengers are.

LEMON: (INAUDIBLE), You're Chandrika's mother. Of course, our hearts go out to you and your entire family. How are you holding up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope she's alive. I'm still hoping. Finding out where the airplane is, but nothing is coming out. Because they have -- find out. Where the plane is. (INAUDIBLE). Families are waiting. Getting tired of waiting, every day waiting. I read the newspaper, I can't sleep. I keep on praying, praying, reading the newspaper. Watching the news, only watching the news, can't sleep. It is 45 days. (INAUDIBLE). They are very nice, they are putting in effort. I'm thankful to them, but they should take another direction. (INAUDIBLE). So many families. (INAUDIBLE).

LEMON: I understand. I understand that it's very tough for you, that you said for 45 days you've been watching the news and watching for information and so far you've got nothing. I know that it's frustrating.

And (INAUDIBLE), as you sit there with your mother, you know, there's been no sign of debris, no results from the Bluefin search. Are you convinced that they are even looking in the right place, (INAUDIBLE)?

BIMAL SHARMA, BROTHER OF MISSING PASSENGER: I am not convinced. I am not convinced at all because I belong to the industry -- I mean, I belong to the maritime industry and have been a captain of -- I have been sailing for 38 years. I mean, the whole logical search is based upon Inmarsat, and there's too many questions in my mind, which are totally unanswered. And it doesn't seem to be the logical -- everything is -- I mean, I really believe something much more to it. I really believe.

LEMON: You do. You know, back to you, some families of passengers submitted a list of highly technical questions to authorities that they want answers to about emergency locator transmitters, the black boxes. How important is it to you to get answers to questions like these? How will this information, in your estimation, help the families?

K.S NAREN SARENDRAN, HUSBAND OF MISSING PASSENGER: Can I just take a step back, why are these questions coming up from a set of people who are themselves not investigators or technical specialists? I think primarily we've been forced to try to understand aspects of civilization, aspects of airplane design and so on simply because we do not seem convinced that enough has been shared and, you know, in a way that's credible and in a way that's timely.

So some of these questions have simply have come up because we have had to do our own homework and we're trying to make sense of it in our own particular way, which can only be facilitated if information is shared. The critical question is, how can Malaysian government and other bodies that have connections with the investigation bring and restore a certain semblance of credibility in a way that assures the families that they are doing a fair job and not a hasty and a carefully calculated cover up?

Now therefore, these questions become relevant. We have asked for a fairly straight forward things where we can understand in our own limited way what exactly is happening on the ground with respect to the search, with respect to understanding and investigating. So these questions are important.

Fundamentally, at least for many of us, I think the state of the survivors or faith of the passengers is just one part of the question. The second part of the question is really about what actually happened, and it's not just about this aircraft. It's not just about the 239 passengers, but it's also about millions of travelers day after day.

It's also a question, really, of saying how can dignity and respect for families be guaranteed when there is insufficient transparency, when there is institutions sharing of detail in a way that doesn't jeopardize the investigation?

LEMON: Right.

SARENDRAN: So to ask the questions are critical, not just for the content, but also for the symbolism and also for the sincerity of the government involved.

LEMON: Right. Well, Naren, (INAUDIBLE), thank you, we appreciate you coming on CNN once again. We'll have you back soon and our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Thank you again.

SARENDRAN: Thank you, Don. Thank you. LEMON: Thank you. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Welcome back. I'm Don Lemon.

Breaking news tonight in the search for missing flight 370. The air search has been called off due to tropical cyclone Jack. We're going to have more on that in just a moment.

But first an update for you on another breaking news story. One hundred and five people are now confirmed dead in the South Korean ferry disaster. The company that operated the Sewol ferry has posted an apology on its Web site.

In Korean, under the heading "words of apology," it translates to "pray for the Sewol victims who lost their precious lives due to the accident. We prostrate ourselves before the victims' families and beg for forgiveness."

I will go now to CNN's Nic Robertson in Jindo, South Korea.

So Nic, the South Korean president has called the actions of the sunken ferry captain akin to murder. Nic, what is the latest on the rescue and recovery efforts?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, 105 bodies brought ashore now, 197 people still missing. It's a very solemn, sad process of bringing those bodies ashore. We've been watching where the police boats come in on the harbor side, transfer the bodies to a tented morgue, if you will, on the harbor side. And we've seen row after row of ambulance pulling up, reversing up, people then carrying those bodies very carefully in a very dignified way towards the ambulances, each one driving off slowly and carefully, but the speed of the process, if you will, the number of ambulances now, the pace has picked up and that is an indication that the recovery efforts are progressing better than they were in the past few days, but it's not easy.

We've been told that the divers still face very limited visibility. They've been focusing on the third and fourth levels with inside the ship. The third level they've been trying to get to a cafeteria. They weren't able to get that far, there were a lot of obstacles in the way. They were able to get to a lounge where they say they were able to recover some of the bodies from what they hoped to be able to do next is the break the wall down between the lounge and the cafeteria area. They say that won't be easy.

They've also been searching on the fourth floor towards the back of the ship where some of the cabins were, where they believe some of the people aboard were taking cover, if you will, in those cabins, but it is a visibility that's very tough for the divers there, Don.

LEMON: Nic Robertson, thank you very much.

I want to bring in now my panel of experts. First you, Mary. This is awful. You know, you see the body bags there. And it's probably going to end up, I mean, I'm just being honest, about 300 people who will have lost their lives here, because they are saying this is now a recovery effort and they believe that most of the people are gone, as they are searching through these cabins. What is the reasonable explanation why the captain may have delayed getting passengers off this vessel, Mary?

SCHIAVO: Well, there really isn't a good reasonable explanation, especially when you hear the transcripts of what transpired with the communications with the ship. They had warnings, you know, there was a problem, you know, starting with the first bump. And you know, ferries are particularly susceptible to sinking. Any upset event, any kind of a grounding. If once the ship starts listing to one side or the other, it takes on water very quickly, because there's so many openings, and, you know, there just really isn't an explanation.

I suppose I have heard one, I should take that back, I heard one where they say they might have been concerned about the temperature of the water. But then he was told that other boats would be there within ten minutes, and so the, you know, hypothermia probably wouldn't have taken them in ten minutes, so there just isn't any excuse not to have launched those life boats and gotten the people in it. It's just a tragedy on top of tragedy.

LEMON: It is. I have questions now.

Karlene, I want to get to first, someone sent this question and it says, this is from Sara, it says we've already heard the transmission of the distress call of Korean ferry and nothing from MH 370 six weeks later. Why? I think that's also sad, they say.

It is true. I think that Sara is probably referring to audio between the air traffic control and cockpit. Is that a fair point?

PETITT: Yes, there wouldn't be a distress call from the cockpit. If there was nothing wrong with the airplane. If they had an emergency where they had a fire, rapid depressurization, they would have declared an emergency.

LEMON: But we are getting information it appears -- it appears we're getting information, my point is, we're getting information much more quickly with the ferry than we are with the airplane. It's been six weeks for the airplane and about a week for the ferry.

PETITT: Well, we have the ferry. We see the ferry. We know what happened to it. We don't know what happened to the aircraft, and the search was retained in one area for directly underneath where it initially went missing for four days. They never even expanded that search. So I think there was the problem with the suspect that it blew up and they were looking for debris for four days right underneath, you know, where the transponder got turned off.

LEMON: Right, right.

So Jeff, you know, the family in the earlier block, the one just before this, they continue to raise questions whether searchers are looking for flight 370 in the right place. Where else would they look if they do broaden out the search area?

WISE: Well, what we heard was something that hasn't really been raised since the early days of the search. The passenger's mother raising the issue of the idea she feels it's gone up to Kazakhstan to the north, you know. We haven't talked about this for a long time because we've been focusing on the Southern Indian Ocean. But you know, when Inmarsat analyzes this ping data, the ping data itself is symmetrical, meaning every time you generate a pass to the south, there's equally valid pass to the north.

And the assumption I think all along has been on the part of the authorities, well, you know, it couldn't have gone to the north, it just seems too implausible, would be such a farfetched Tom Clancy kind of scenario to go up there.

LEMON: But families are still raising it. You heard her say that. Her mom did.

WISE: Well, I mean, I think the idea being the more we look in the southern ocean and find no wreckage, find no debris on the seabed, with every piece of negative information we obtain, the probability increases that, as impossible as it may seem, that the likelihood increases that, in fact, this bizarre sounding scenario might indeed have taken place.

LEMON: All right, when we come right back, my panel of experts, my team here, answers your questions.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We have breaking news tonight, the air search for flight 370 has been suspended due to a tropical cyclone in the search area.

Back with my experts now, and they are answering your questions for you.

So first to Michael Kay.

Michael, a question from Joe Nemo. He says, if a suicide pilot's plan included mystifying the final fate of flight 370, wouldn't it make sense to disable the ELTs, too? That's a very good question.

KAY: Yes, that is a good question. I'm not actually sure how you would disable the ELTs. But I mean, just for factual data, there are four beacons on the aircraft. There are two ELTs, emergency locator transmitters, in the nose and the tail. They are activated by g- loading, and then two (INAUDIBLE). And they sit in a compartment next to the emergency exit they put in life raft and they are activated by salt water. So I think there are lots of questions on why there weren't activations of the ELTs. I think the simple answer is they are not black boxes, they are not rugged, therefore, they break.

LEMON: OK. I want everybody in here. So Anthony, the question from Joe, but before we go to that, for everything to fail on this plane, I mean, just seems like the perfect sort of scenario here, all the ELTs failed, other communications failed, nobody can find anything. Come on. That's stranger than fiction.

ROMAN: Well, this whole entire mystery is stranger than fiction. But in terms of the ELTs, let's understand specifically how they work. There are options in aircraft, including commercial aircraft, to have an on, off, and arm switch in the cockpit for the ELTs. If this particular aircraft had that option, the pilots, if they were not involved in the hijacking of their own plane, could have armed the ELTs in flight, and that would have given a very good scenario, picture, latitude and longitude of where the aircraft is.

LEMON: I want to get to Mary. A question now from Rajesh (ph). He says could the pinger be buried in silt at the location they are searching now and could the Bluefin locate it in that case?

SCHIAVO: Well, probably, because it will have disturbed the ocean floor and the Bluefin sonar pictures, apparently, are very good at detecting anything that isn't natural in nature, sharp edges, right angles, and the black box has a lot of sharp right angles. It's a square box with a pinger located on the front, so I think if it's there, the Bluefin will find it.

LEMON: All right, Karlene, I want to take a look at a question from tweetmate (ph), it says, isn't it a good idea to slow down or even call off the search operation for now for 370 until plausible leads appear?

PETITT: Well, I'm under the assumption right now that they have plausible leads, but once we exhaust them, I agree, that we should, you know, unfortunately, we probably should call off the search.

LEMON: All right. Jeff, a question from cole surfer. From cole surfer says, if the plane is not found, what will be the next step in trying to find flight MH 370, on land or still in the water?

WISE: Boy, that's a big question. But you know what, I think really what we're going to have to do is go back to square one, maybe bring in some fresh eyeballs, bring in some fresh brains and look at this data, see what we've really got. And we've had so much conflicting information that we in the press and we in the public have heard.

Hopefully, the authorities have a better sense of what's real and what's misreporting and really, you know, put everything back on the table and say, OK, what did we rule out prematurely before?

LEMON: Yes. We'll be right back with my panel of experts.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Back now with my panel of experts. So, air travel, is it as safe as we think it is, especially considering the stowaway?

Anthony Roman, what do you think? What improvements do we need?

ROMAN: We need a lot of improvements. History is showing, the last three years is showing that the aircraft perimeters, I mean the airport perimeters, are penetrable, and they have been penetrated. $300 million burglary, robbery, at Brussels airport, three vans penetrated the airport perimeter, drove across two active runways, held the pilots at gunpoint.

Philadelphia International, vehicle penetrated the perimeter, drove up and down and active long enough.

LEMON: And I'm sure there are many examples on and on that we can get in here. And I'm sorry couldn't get all of you in in this last segment. But I do appreciate all of you joining us and we will see you tomorrow night.

I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for watching, everyone. That's it for us tonight.

AC360 starts right now.