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Search Crews Bring Ashore Body after Body; Arrests in Korea Ferry Sinking; Bluefin Scans Final Third

Aired April 21, 2014 - 12:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: A bulk of bodies. That's how divers describe a gruesome discovery on the sunken South Korean ferry. We have the very latest on the search for survivors on that ship carrying hundreds of children.

Plus, a teenage boy allegedly breaks into an airport, he makes it past all security protocol, and then he survives as a stowaway on the plane. You won't believe where he was a stowaway. We're going to dig deeper into this major security breach that's coming up.

And this hour on CNN, we're going to take you live to the Boston Marathon one year after the devastating explosions that claimed lives, injured hundreds and changed that city forever.

Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, in today for Ashleigh Banfield. It is Monday, April 21st. Thank you for joining us and welcome to LEGAL VIEW.

We're going to start with some breaking news now though, a grim discovery in the search for passengers and crew on board the sunken ferry in (INAUDIBLE) 22 new bodies found today, bringing the confirmed death toll to 87, with 215 still missing. Now this video was just shot today as divers searched the cold, murky water for victims, even still hoping for survivors five days after this happened. For many, that hope is shifting to anger now. Paula Hancocks takes a look at the new arrests, the outrage and the transcripts revealing how precious time could have saved lives and it was wasted.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This morning, the investigation into what went wrong is ramping up. Four additional crew members arrested overnight as the country's president blasts the ship's captain directly, calling his actions, quote, "akin to murder." He is now charged with negligence, though he was not at the helm, his third officer was. Prosecutors still accuse him of failing to slow the ship down, causing the ship to make an excessive turn.

Newly released calls between an unidentified crew member and boat traffic control shed new light on exactly what happened. "Our ship is in danger," he says. "The ship is rolling right now." By that time, the ship had already tilted too far for the majority of passengers to move or to deploy lifeboats.

Five minutes later, boat traffic control urged the unidentified crew member on the radio to prepare for evacuation, saying, "please put on the life vests and get ready as people may have to abandon ship." Then, after 30 minutes, boat traffic encouraged the captain to take charge and make the final decision to escape. The crew member questioned the retreat, asking if passengers would immediately be rescued. And now the grim task of retrieving the dead continues, as families, angry and anguished, wait for news.


LEMON: Oh, it's just an unbelievable story. I want to bring in now cargo ship captain Jim Staples, a marine safety consultant.

Jim, you know, we've been learning a lot about the timeline through these audio transcripts. They're really frenetic audio transcripts that have been coming through here. Let's go through, because 8:55, the ship supposedly made the first call for help and the ship -- and it's right behind us, this is when the ship was at zero degrees, right, zero degrees when that happened (ph).


LEMON: And then at 9:11 -- at 9:01, I should say, 15 degrees. And then 9:11 here that we're looking at, 43 degrees. That's pretty fast, don't you think?

STAPLES: That's very fast. That's very fast. And even the initial, when it went to 15 degrees, is quite rapid. And that's when the captain should have realized he had an initial problem immediately.

LEMON: And by 9:17, just to show how quickly again, this is at 51 degrees. And then it continues on to 60 degrees, and then 70 degrees, and then finally it capsizes completely, right?

STAPLES: Correct. Correct.

LEMON: And you said this was wasted time?

STAPLES: This was definitely wasted time. When the captain knew that he had a 15 degree list on the vessel and he did not - the vessel did not come back upright, he should have known right then he had a major problem. And that was the time to give the evacuation order, to get these people off the vessel, to get them to an open area where they would have had a chance of survival.


STAPLES: Leaving them inside the ship as the vessel continues to list, it's hopeless, it's futile.

LEMON: And it happened to fast because the people who were here on this side of the ship, right, is - they - that water - they didn't have a chance.

STAPLES: That's correct. The water was probably starting to come into the vessel very, very quickly, so -

LEMON: And you can't make your way through all of this and get out.

STAPLES: That correct.


STAPLES: We see this vessel at 60 degrees. It's hopeless to bring her back to an upright position just using the vessel's pumps and things like that.

LEMON: All right, help me go through this. We're talking about this dialogue between the land and the ship. And so when it says Jindo VTS, that's land, right?


LEMON: OK. So it says at 9:24, it says, "even if you can't broadcast, please send someone to inform the passengers to wear life jacket or thick clothes." And the Sewol says, "if passengers escape from the ship, will they be rescued immediately?" Jindo VTS says, "dispatch the lift ring. Quickly!" What does that mean?

STAPLES: The life rings. They wanted to put the life rings into the water.

LEMON: OK. To help people -- get them out quickly?

STAPLES: That's correct.

LEMON: Did there appear to be in this -- any time that could have been saved here or were they pretty much on it?

STAPLES: Oh, absolutely. Like I said, initially that's when they should have done it was initially when the captain knew he had a problem was to get the life rafts into the water, to get the life rings into the water.


STAPLES: And then if people did get into the water, they had some place to go.

LEMON: All right. So this is all -- this all happens after 9:17 when the ship was about at 51 degrees.

STAPLES: Correct.

LEMON: And then it goes on to say, at 9:25, it says, Jindo VTS, "the captain should make decision to make people escape." That should have probably happened earlier. "We do not know the situation so captain make final decision on passengers' escape." And again, and then after that, 9:30, it is at 60 degrees.

STAPLES: Yes, critical time was lost on this. When the vessel was at 60 degrees, it's almost impossible to move about a vessel at that time.

LEMON: At what point do you get people in lifeboats?

STAPLES: Probably when, like I said, when the vessel got to about 15 degrees and the captain realized that she was not going to come back to a stable position, and she continued to go over, that was the - the time that he should have been definitely making a decision to get everybody off of that ship when he could have, rather than waiting.

LEMON: CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is here, obviously a former federal prosecutor.

So, Jeffrey, here's a question. The charges are abandoning his boat. He was one of the first ones rescued. Negligence. What else might he face?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, the president of South Korea said his behavior was akin to murder, which I think is probably an unlikely charge in this case. But this whole situation is a classic demonstration of what defense attorneys try to do in any country is delay, because here you have a country that's really on fire with rage, understandably, about what's happened here. And anyone who is charged is going to want to try to push this down the road when people have somewhat cooler heads about it.

LEMON: So you think being charged with -- is he going to go away for life, do you think so?

TOOBIN: It could easily happen.

LEMON: Oh, wow.

TOOBIN: It could easily happen. But, remember, there is so much we don't know about how this happened and why. About the division of authority within the various staff members who were on the bridge at the time. Once a court gets involved, it's going to be a more meticulous process. And then potentially at least some of the crew will be cleared, but it certainly looks bad for them now.

LEMON: All right, attorney, captain, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

STAPLES: My pleasure.

LEMON: We're going to move on now as we talk more about the crew members who were clearly in the wrong. We must talk about this woman who appears to have done everything right. And you've got to hear about 23-year-old Park Jee Young. You know, according to witnesses - witness accounts, she saved the lives of many students as the ferry began to sink. And while she was distributing life jackets, someone noticed that she wasn't wearing one. She simply said that the passengers come first and crew members would be last. Park Jee Young now lies in a funeral home. She is one of the 87 people who died in the ferry disaster. One of the men who she saved came to her funeral to pay his respects and he says she held a towel to his bleeding head and helped him escape as the waters rose. Now today we salute here for her heroism. And to read more about her, her full story, you can go to Her story is right at the top of the page. It's called "young worker hailed as a heroine."

The search area for missing Flight 370 that hasn't been scanned yet is shrinking. As the Bluefin moves over more area, could the last piece - and that's about to be searched -- be where crews find that plane? What's happening now in the Indian Ocean? We'll tell you coming up next.


LEMON: So after eight trips to the - very near the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean, the sonar scanning Bluefin has covered almost all of the area considered most likely to contain one or both of the black boxes from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. So, dive number nine is underway. And on the final one-third of a zone around the last apparent pings from the jet's flight data or cockpit voice recorder. So far there have been no contacts of interest. No contacts of interest. And same goes for the visual search on the surface. That could get a lot more tricky as a tropical cyclone approaches from the north.

And then, back in Malaysia, the mystery only gets deeper as aviation sources telling CNN that the missing plane was in Vietnamese airspace when it made its hair-pin turn we have been telling you about to the left. It still appears that the pilots did not make contact with Vietnamese controllers after their handoff from Malaysia.

We're also told that the Boeing 777 had four emergency locator transmitters designed to send their location to a satellite if there is a crash. There's no indication that that ever happened.

So I want to bring in now our experts on both ends of this search here. Michael Kay is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Royal Air Force and former adviser to the U.K. defense ministry, and Tim Taylor is a specialist in sea operations and submersibles.

So, Tim, I want to go to you first. Two-thirds down, one-third to go. If it finds nothing, what happens, more Bluefins, what do we put in a bigger search area, a different search area? What happens?

TIM TAYLOR, SEA OPERATIONS SPECIALIST: If I was running this operation, I would just be patient. And I would - I would look at it from the long haul. They say two-thirds done. I would say 150 dives and they're on dive nine. Look at --

LEMON: And you would continue in the same area?

TAYLOR: I would continue in the same area. This is your best lead. This is the best site to look. And it takes time. Underwater is like archaeologists digging up, you know, ancient ruins. They go in with bushes --

LEMON: So could the Bluefin have gone over this and not detected it?

TAYLOR: No. No. If it went over it, there's a high likelihood it could have detected it. But I would go over - I would just keep expanding the work area. So you've got a core area that you've searched. I would just keep moving it out in a circular motion. Just keep going around and around and around and expanding that area.

LEMON: OK. So be patient. You're saying not - just expanding the search area.

TAYLOR: Exactly. Exactly.

LEMON: All right. Not necessarily moving it, but just expanding the search area.

TAYLOR: Expanding the search area and just moving it out.


TAYLOR: Eliminating.

LEMON: All right, Michael Kay, 45 days in and we're just talking about ELTs now. Why didn't they go off? And this is fueling the theories that MH370 landed somewhere safely.

MICHAEL KAY, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Yes, I mean, I spoke with someone very familiar with the investigation regarding ELTs. And I think what we need to do, Don, is we need to disassociate an ELT from what a black box is.

LEMON: Right.

KAY: And what I mean by that is that ELTs, and the EPIRBs -- so there's two ELTs and there's two EPIRBS, they come on to - well, (INAUDIBLE), they're not ruggedized. OK? So they are not built to withstand heat and all the things that black boxes are. So, in 25 percent, around 25 percent of the cases, the ELTs don't go off.

Now, an ELT is set off by g-loading.

LEMON: Right.

KAY: An EPIRB is set off by saltwater. The two -

LEMON: Now you're just showing off. I mean -

KAY: The two ELTs, one in the nose, one in the tail. The EPIRBs -

LEMON: This is ELTs, right. And remind people what ELTs are.

KAY: So, emergency locator transmission.


KAY: OK. And they transmit a 121.5 and 243.0 and 406. And 406 is the key frequency. 1215 and 243 are no longer monitored by (INAUDIBLE) satellite.

LEMON: OK. Cockpit, forward door, fuselage and aft (ph) door. That's what they're located?

KAY: Absolutely. So the two ELTs in the nose and in the tail. And then the EPIRBs are actually in a compartment by the emergency exit that are put into the life rafts.

LEMON: Mikey and Tim as well, so there's no trace, everything would have to be perfectly not working in order for none of this -- do you understand what I'm saying?


LEMON: What's the likelihood of that, for none of them to go off?

KAY: In the absence of huge amounts of data --

LEMON: Right.

KAY: As I've said, throughout the investigation, we've got enough information on the table to keep all the options open. And we haven't got enough information to take any of the cards off.

LEMON: I gotta run, but just real quickly, I want to know about entering this Vietnamese airspace and what's the significance of that quickly?

KAY: Right, very quickly, we've got to treat every single piece of information regarding altitude changes from the Malaysian government with extreme caution. The reason for that is there is a very sensitive backdrop to this information. There is an aircraft that has a huge radar cross section that was traveling at over 300 knots across the Malaysian peninsula without a squawk, without a flight plane, without talking to anyone, and the Malaysians did not launch aircraft to go interrogate it. That to me is exposing a huge hole in their national security and their national air defense. So the information we get from them may not be correct.

LEMON: Thank you. Just because the bluefin doesn't find -- doesn't mean it's not there, right?

TIMOTHY TAYLOR, TIBURON SUBSEA SERVICES: I agree. It doesn't mean it's not there. It needs -- You need to keep on that search. I agree with you, that's suspect.

LEMON: That nothing -- yeah, everything failed at once, it's a little odd. Thank you Mikey Kay, thank you Tim Taylor, appreciate that.

A 16-year-old took an incredible flight from California to Hawaii. He wasn't on the plane. He claims he was under it. Inside the wheel well. Inside the wheel well. What is that flight, like five hours? How could he have survived that? Coming up.

A daring teenager has put an entirely new face on running away from home. The 16-year-old you see on this stretcher says he survived a flight halfway across the pacific. You'll see it in a second here. From California to Hawaii after stowing away inside the wheel well of an Hawaiian airlines jet. At 38,000 feet there's almost no air. And it's bitterly cold. The temperature well below zero. That's why some now question if it is true. I'm having a hard time believing this. But if it is, it is certainly miraculous to say the least. And just look at these grim statistics here from the FAA. In 105 attempts, 80 of the stowaways died. Only 1 in 4 survive. 1 in 4 survive. I'm joined again by Michael Kay, retired lieutenant colonel in the royal Air Force. Ok, you know I'm skeptical right? How could this have happened? How could he have survived under those condition?

KAY: Well there are two H's, there's the hypoxia and the hypothermia. And they are the two key environmental issues that will be working against this particular stowaway. Hypoxia is a starvation of oxygen to the body, and that usually happens at around 10,000 to 12,000 feet. The effect you get from that is a feeling of euphoria The danger of it is you don't know it's coming on, you feel euphoric and there is nothing you want to do about it. That's the danger of hypoxia. Hypothermia, as you know, the core body temperature is around 37.5 c. -- The onset of hypothermia comes when the temperature drops below 35 c. core body temperature. Now up at 38,000 feet, you'll be in the region between minus 45 and minus 55 c. So it is incredibly cold. Skin freezes almost instantaneously at temperatures of about minus 40 c. So this just gives you--

LEMON: It's just above the line of having -- for his skin freezing, right, frostbite, so to speak. I want you to listen to this though Mikey, this is the airport manager in Maui. He says he saw the little boy and is skeptical.


AIRPORT MANAGER: Well I would imagine flying at 35,000 feet is very cold, for one thing. Also 35,000 feet in the wheel well really is not pressurized or temperature controlled so it would be a miracle to survive or get by riding up in the wheel well. you know he looked pretty good from what I could see. You know again, young juvenile, Didn't appear to be dirty or greased up from claiming to be in a wheel well.


LEMON: Okay. Apparently there's video that shows him, right, getting in, breaching security, which is awful. This is a wheel well, right?

KAY, RETIRED ROYAL AIR FORCE: Yeah, I think this is a 737 wheel well and from what we are led to believe this was a 767. But there's two key things that are important about this --

LEMON: But are they similar?

KAY: Yeah they are pretty similar, just a bit bigger--

LEMON: How big is this area? And this is where the wheel obviously pulls up here. So you would have to be careful not to get squished if you're in there.

KAY: Exactly and the boy wouldn't be able to stand up inside there. But the point you raise is -- valid. The first danger is -- being crushed by the actual wheel coming in. It's very important to know this area is not pressurized, and it's not heated. And there are a lot people asking if there's a compartment that leads to the hull which is pressurized to 8,000 feet and it is heated. This isn't, these are secluded off. So the environmental conditions that we were talking about would actually be the case if someone was hidden up here. Now, a really important thing to note, having spoken with a couple of 767 pilots, there are airports around the world where there is a stowaway warning. What that means is that when the aircraft lands on the ground, the engineers will drop the doors to allow the pilots who are doing the walk-around, to allow them to look up and in to make sure there are no stowaways. But there are only a few airports around the world where those warnings exist. And maybe we need to broaden that --

LEMON: This is just fascinating especially considering that he survived. Also the security lapses I'm sure people will be taking a look at. Thank you Mikey Kay, appreciate you.

People trapped aboard a sinking ferry in South Korea now being brought out of the sea, sadly in body bags. The images are heartbreaking. The toll it takes on the divers who go under water over and over to find the victims. That's next.


LEMON: Welcome back to legal view, I'm Don Lemon. One hundred and seventy four souls made it off the doomed ferry when it sank last Wednesday off the coast of South Korea. And while that number hasn't changed, the number at missing now at 215 people. Continues to fall as bodies are recovered and the number of confirmed dead climbs. 87 people now confirmed dead. Officials say they discovered a bulk of bodies today. All this as divers keep swimming into what is now a mass underwater grave sadly. They're hoping for a miracle. CNN's Will Ripley has the story now.

WILL RIPLEY, CORRESPONDENT: For these divers, every day is a race against time, a race to find survivors of the sunken Sewol ferry marked by only these two buoys.

TRANSLATOR: As a civilian diver, there must be survivors. No matter what we must find the air pocket. That's why I have hope.

RIPLEY: That hope is fading quickly for Chung Dun Non(PH), who leads hundreds of volunteer divers. Each hour reduces the chances of finding anyone alive.

TRANSLATOR: We cry every day and search for the missing people. I cry whenever I think about it.

RIPLEY: A heavy burden as divers brave dangerous conditions under water, strong currents and almost zero visibility.

TRANSLATOR: If you go down ten meters, you can only see about 20 centimeters. Divers can barely recognize their own palm.

RIPLEY: As they search for the living, all they find are the dead. Each day, more and more victims are pulled from the water, placed on these ships and taken to shore.

TRANSLATOR: All the families of the missing people and hundreds of volunteer divers are focused on searching for the survivors. We are willing to risk our lives for this.