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Police Searched Co-Pilot's Home, Seize Boxes of Evidence; Doctor Declared Co-Pilot Unfit to Fly; Report: Co-Pilot Suffered Serious Depressive Episode; Amanda Knox Murder Conviction Overturned. Aired 7-8:00p ET

Aired March 27, 2015 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:10] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, new information tonight on the medical condition of Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot who crashed Flight 9525 was unfit to fly.

Plus, we're learning more about Lubitz's training in Arizona reportedly interrupted several times for mental health. Were those interruptions part of what happened?

And more breaking news, Amanda Knox charged in the murder of her roommate. The verdict from Italy's highest court returned just moments ago. Is she finally free? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. New details tonight about Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot who deliberately crash Flight 9525 murdering 149 other people. The prosecutor and the investigation says, his doctors had declared him unfit to work quotes around that. Unfit to work before the crash. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are also reporting tonight that Lubitz was being treated for depression and hid that from his employer at Lufthansa. Police are scouring Lubitz's apartment in Dusseldorf, Germany. They have collected boxes and bags of evidence as you can see carrying that out of the apartment tonight. Among that evidence so far, records that indicate an ongoing medical condition as well as doctor's notes excusing him from work on the day that he actually flew. CNN is covering this breaking story from all angles.

Will Ripley in Germany with new details about his medical condition. Sara Sidner in Phoenix where Lubitz trained to become a pilot. Karl Penhaul near the crash site with the latest on the recovery. And we begin with Pamela Brown OUTFRONT in Cologne, Germany. And Pamela, what have you learned about the search? We saw those bags and bags coming out. What did they find?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Investigators have been bringing out mounds of evidence. And we know that they found a crucial clue as you point out and Andreas Lubitz trash can, torn up medical lead notes. Notes from his doctors saying that he was excused from work for a period of time including on a day that authorities say, he crashed, deliberately crashed Flight 9525 into the French Alps. Now tonight, Germanwings is saying that it never received a sick note from Lubitz on the day that he flied and the prosecutor is saying today that the theory is that he was trying to hide this illness whatever it was publicly. Authorities are not saying if it's a mental health issue, if it's

a physical illness. But the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are reporting tonight that Lubitz was being treated for depression. He was being treated by a neuropsychologist who gave him a leave of absence for work for a period of time including as we said on the day of that crashed. We did visit today a university clinic here in Dusseldorf where Lubitz apparently went just a couple of times recently, in February and on March 10th according to the clinic. But the clinic makes it clear he was not being treated for a depression there. The clinic would only say that it was for an explanation of a diagnosis. Again, officials are not explaining what that illness is, what the diagnosis is. So, a lot of questions surrounding that. There's a period of time, Erin, we know in 2008 where he took a break from training. Lufthansa won't say why he took that break. It only will say that he was 100 percent fit to fly and had the reason to think otherwise -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Pam, thank you very much. Pamela is gathering more information. There are disturbing questions about who knew what and when they knew it about the co-pilots mental health. So, you just heard Pam say, the airline says he was fit to fly but no evidence suggests something very different.

Will Ripley is OUTFRONT in Germany tonight.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The co-pilot who crashed F9525 into the Alps killing 149 people and himself had a mental illness that he apparently hid from his employers, a condition that made him unfit to fly according to reports in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

CHRISTOPH KUMPA, DUSSELDORF PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: We have found a letter that indicated that he was declared by a medical doctor unfit to work that were found --

RIPLEY: A search of Andreas Lubitz's Dusseldorf apartment turned up that slash letter. Also found there, recent doctors notes excusing him from work including one for the day of the crash. Those notes had been torn up and thrown away. The airline issued a statement saying a sick note for this day was not submitted to the company. Just a day earlier Lufthansa's CEO said they had no medical or psychological concerns about 27-year-olds's Lubitz.

CARSTEN SPOHR, LUFTHANSA CEO (through a translator): He was 100 percent set to fly without restrictions. His flight performance was perfect.

[19:05:05] RIPLEY: And again today, the company insisted Lubitz had a clean bill of health adding, we can't confirm or deny specifics about his medical condition for reasons of confidentiality. No suicide note was found. And investigators say they found nothing indicating a political or religious based motive. Officials for university medical center in Dusseldorf confirmed that Lubitz was treated there in February and returned for his diagnosis in March just two wee weeks before the crash. The hospital would not reveal why he was there but did, Lubitz was not treated for depression at their hospital.


RIPLEY: Erin, tonight we've been talking to a lot of people in this neighborhood who say this 27-year-old, he was a runner seen here in a marathon just a couple of years ago appeared to be in good health. And up until about two months ago he was regularly seen with his girlfriend including at a local pizza shop where they would go once or twice a week, the owner says. But then he says, about two months ago it all stopped. And two months ago is about the time that we believe he started receiving treatment. In fact, we confirmed he started receiving treatment at that clinic here in Dusseldorf and they got that diagnosis on March 10th, Erin. All of these pieces investigators trying to put together to figure out what happened, what triggered this horrible event that left 150 incident people, at least 149 innocent people dead and one person under very serious scrutiny tonight -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much Will Ripley.

And OUTFRONT now, Gary Kay, he's a neuropsychology consultant for the Federal Aviation Administration. Richard Quest and safety analyst David Soucie who's investigated crashes for nearly 20 years.

Okay, let me just start with this news that Will was just sharing, David. When he says the pizza parlor near where Will was, that the co-pilot used to go with his girlfriend until a couple of months ago, he stopped going. That time seems to coincide with perhaps some latest treatment.

DAVID SOUCIE, FORMER FAA SAFETY INSPECTOR: It is and of itself, it doesn't really mean anything. But when you add it to all the other evidence that you have then the probability, the likelihood of that contributing rises.

BURNETT: Certainly rises. Gary, he was declared unfit to work according to the prosecutor. But you just heard both Pam and Will talking about it. The clinic that is believed to have issued that letter they found in his apartment today that says he should not be working, the letter that says he shouldn't be working on the day of this tragic flight. That clinic tells CNN, it was not treating him for depression. Now, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal both report that he suffered from a mental illness. Obviously, he could have been treated for depression somewhere else at some other time. But if it wasn't depression right now, if that wasn't the reason for the letter saying he was unfit to work, what might it have been?

GARY KAY, NEUROPSYCHOLOGY CONSULTANT: Well, there's a whole range of disorders, medical conditions that would be disqualifying or medications that you might be prescribed that would make you disqualified to fly. So, there's things beside his mental condition. He may have had the depression which he had failed to disclose according to what we've heard from the company. But there may also been some other medical condition. We just can't tell from what's been shared so far.

BURNETT: And if it were mental, I mean, it's pretty much anything on the table, I mean, we would have no idea. Right? Bipolar, schizophrenia, we just don't know, psychosis, anything at this point. No idea.

KAY: We don't know. We do hear, we've heard number of people saying, depression, that's basically all that I've heard so far.

BURNETT: Richard, at least one of the medical leave notes, right? That we know about today that said he shouldn't have been working was for a period of time that included the day of the crash, that it included that day this week. How serious would an illness have been or a mental condition have been to get a letter saying you're unfit for duty as pilot.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: As you see here, we've got to ask, did the person who wrote the note know what the job was? Was it an aviation doctor or was it his general --

BURNETT: Right. So, was it someone like Gary Kay who knows he's looking at pilots or just another doctor?

QUEST: Of course, I suspect that any doctor who says you're unfit for an office job is also saying, you're unfit to fly a plane.

BURNETT: One would hope.

QUEST: But it doesn't necessarily translate in the sense of the skills required. The depression, the mental aspects of it. The difficulty with this whole sick note, this whole medical issue is I don't know what you do about it when you're talking about going to your G.P.

BURNETT: Your general practitioner.

QUEST: Yes. General practitioner.


QUEST: Your regular family doctor.


QUEST: Because are we prepared to say that an ordinary doctor, ordinary doctor for a certification, are we prepared to say that an ordinary doctor should now have a duty if he knows he's a pilot to actually report this to his airline or to the authorities.

BURNETT: So, let me ask that question to you David, because right now when a doctor, when Gary Kay says to a pilot you cannot fly, you know, generally speaking around the world it's up to the pilot to then tell the employer. It was certainly in this case. Right? It was up to him. He didn't do it. How could that be? I mean, in a sense, shouldn't it be -- the doctor also be responsible. You tell directly, if someone is a pilot you tell Lufthansa, United Airlines, whoever it is.

[19:10:08] SOUCIE: Well, the standards are set by the FAA as far as how many medical exams have to be done --

BURNETT: Here in United States.

SOUCIE: That's designated to medical examiners, those medical examiners who are designated too are certified. If they make this mistake and don't report something, they lose their certification. And that's pretty much where the punishment stops, they can issue about $10,000 fine. That's pretty much where the punishment stops in for a medical examiner. So, now you have to imply rules in an area where they had no authority.

BURNETT: Richard is agitated.

QUEST: You got that but this is my point. My point is not that the aviation medical experts who have a duty to report it on the folks. My point is, the university clinic, the doctor around the corner, the person you go to because you don't want to go to somebody who is going to report it.

BURNETT: You don't want, exactly.

QUEST: And that's scary.

BURNETT: And Gary, you have had to deal with this. You had to do letters like this. You had to tell a pilot you're not fit to fly. That's been a really hard thing to do. We saw one of those letters was ripped up in his apartment. It was ripped up, the one that said, he wasn't supposed to fly. That doesn't surprise you.

KAY: No. Very much a pilot's identity is wrapped up in their job. This is not something that they're just doing from 9:00 to 5:00. This is something, you heard about this individual, a passion, a lifelong passion. The training to become a pilot, his identity as a pilot. The fact, you hear that he would wear his uniform out on the street in the neighborhood. So, when somebody learns that they're going to lose their medical certificate, it's devastating. Now, that doesn't mean that the person is going to do something horrendous as occurred here but obviously it's a major adjustment. It's enormous situation. And as pointed out, was the person who was evaluating him of any idea that he was a pilot or --

BURNETT: And that's a crucial question. All right. We'll going to take a brief break. Because you do have a certificate as a pilot. And on his certificate according to Wall Street Journal, it said he had a medical condition that required regular checks. We're going to talk more about that.

Next, Andreas Lubitz's training in Phoenix, that training was interrupted several times according to reports. It was interrupted because of mental health issues. How did he become a pilot then? We'll going to go live to the training facility after this.

A new video into CNN of the daunting search and recovery effort. For the first time we're going to show you this live pictures near the crash site.

And can a plane truly be hijacked proof? Our special report.


BURNETT: Breaking news tonight. Andreas Lubitz suffered a serious depressive episode around the time he suspended training this 2009. We know he resumed his training at the Lufthansa training facility in the United States in Phoenix. That's where Sara is tonight. What more have you been able to learn about this crucial point? This break in co-pilots training.


[19:16:19] BURNETT: Breaking news tonight, Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of the Flight 9525 suffered a quote, "serious depressive episode around the time he suspended his pilot training in 2009." Now, this is according which is citing Germany's Bild newspaper. We know Lubitz eventually resumed his training at the Lufthansa training facility which is in the United States in Phoenix and that's where our Sara Sidner is tonight.

Sara, I know you've been working, talking to people all day long. What more have you been able to learn about this, this crucial point, this break in the co-pilots training.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, you know, it's the kind of thing that we talked to a trainer who used to train here. Pilot trainees for Lufthansa. He said that is what made the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. The fact that someone would leave their training which is highly unusual according to this former Lufthansa pilot trainer. What we can tell you though is a little bit more about what Bill is reporting. And that newspaper has saying that it has some internal memos that was sent from Lufthansa's own aeromedical center to German authorities that state talk about that depressive episode and then goes onto say that he left around the same time that he stalled or stopped or suspended his training which is around 2009. And that he was out for about a year for psychiatric treatment. So, those are some very big statements that could have a lot of meaning if those documents are indeed the real deal. Bild saying, they have the documents, that those documents were given to German authorities. We have not however heard from Lufthansa or the prosecutor, they have not commented on any of that reporting at this point.

BURNETT: And it's a stunning revelation. It's a stunning revelation, and I know you said you talked to someone who had trained Lufthansa pilots. What was the training like? My understanding from your reporting is that they said this is incredibly mentally stressful and on purpose.

SIDNER: Yes. The way that he described it and he trained here for a couple of years and there were a lot of students that came through. They spend anywhere from six months to a year. They have to spend at least six months in order to be able to fly for Lufthansa. It's the rule that they have in place and to get their license. And he called it mental boot camp. That's how he phrased it saying that it is tough on students, but the students that show up here, those who come from Germany, they stay right here. We're looking at some of the dorms just behind us. They are the top of their class. Really smart people who come here to learn to be pilots. Because it's a very good job but it is mentally tough and would be very, very tough on someone specially someone who's going through some serious psychiatric issues -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you very much. And I'm back now with Richard Quest, David Soucie and Gary Kay. So, Richard, I just want to, I want to really emphasize this point. OK. So, this guy says, the airline says, the CEO says this week, he was 100 percent fit to fly. Turns out, there was a doctor's note saying he was unfit to fly. Airline didn't know about that note. But they did know on his pilot's license certificate, he had some sort of medical condition requiring check-up. And they did know, that he took a year off of their own training program during which time we now understand from his reporting he had a serious depressive psychiatric episode. How in the world can anybody who takes a year off from pilot training, and is treated for psychiatric issues during that entire time ever become a pilot?

QUEST: Because people recover, because you can't as indeed written many years of this evening will test. You can't just say, they've had a psychiatric or they've had a psychological incident in their life and then just stop. Now, maybe the airline should have been more rigorous in terms of what it did post. We have not heard about the evaluations that were made.

BURNETT: No, no, we haven't. We don't know the pose evaluation.

QUEST: Right. And I guess, it may have been -- and I grant you your point, it may be, this is the case that's absolutely fallen between the cracks of what should happen, what did happen and what would have been best practice. That's entirely possible here as well.

BURNETT: Wait. And David, I'll give you that we don't know at this point. But we just have these basic pieces. Right? So, we don't know all the details in between. But the basic pieces are truly hard to understand. If you have to back out a pilot training or psychiatric issues for year, most people would say, why are you suddenly soon after that a pilot?

SOUCIE: That's a good point. But what's not gelling in my mind is, pilot certificate plus depression doesn't equal murder of 150 people.

BURNETT: Right. No one can comprehend that thing --

SOUCIE: There has to be something else here. And I'd like to ask Gary Kay this question. Because, does that add up for you Gary? It just doesn't in my mind.

KAY: No.

SOUCIE: I'm certainly not train as you are but -- [19:21:03] KAY: No, it doesn't add up. And I can hear Aaron's

question about, how could somebody with depression actually come aboard as, you know, as a pilot within the airline, complete their training. But in fact, depression is a condition that can be treated and can have a good outcome. In fact, there was a lot of resistance in the U.S. to allowing pilots to come back to flight status if they were taking any depressant medication. But I was an advocate for that change in that program. And we now have a policy where pilots can be taking certain anti-depressant medication, but they are monitored very, very closely. And we have a program of continual testing and screening, we stay in touched with their health, with their mental healthcare provider, and so, it's an excellent program. We had excellent results. And if you don't have a program like that you have people not disclosing and not getting treated for the condition and going underground and going --

BURNETT: Right. They would hide it. They would hide it. Right.

KAY: Exactly.

BURNETT: So, you would rather know than be underground. I understand that point.

KAY: Yes.

BURNETT: Richard, here's the thing. When it comes to Lufthansa though, you know, Gary is talking about regular checkups -- depression, again, something there's been reports that he suffered from. We don't know if that was it, if there were other mental issues. Right. We just don't know the whole panoply at this point. But in the case of Lufthansa. My understanding is, you go to the psychological assessment which he had gone to at the end of the training. Okay, you're in. But then you're in. You're in. You're in. That's it.

QUEST: No, no, no, I think more has been made of this than needs to be. But what this caused this -- and this question of, are you --

BURNETT: The CEO of Lufthansa.

QUEST: Yes. The CEO. Yes, this idea of, are you psychologically evaluated? The answer is no. And indeed the answer is pretty much say similar in the United States. Questions are asked, form of questions. And New York too, the --

BURNETT: When we talked about the questions. Are you angry or are you suicidal? They're not exactly questions that --

QUEST: Once you're in, and you go for your regular examination. You're right. But nowhere are they sitting down and doing another full scale psychological evaluation. You rely on the person involved, you rely on the colleagues. But the form say yes, you expect to glean something from a psychological profile as you go through your medical examination. It's neither realistic, nor does it work. BURNETT: So, Gary, do you just say, you know, what, something

awful happened here and that's terrible but it is what it is? This is going to happen rarely and it's horrific but there's nothing that can be done. And I'm not saying that is what Richard is leading up to that conclusion, but some of this when you put it together, kind of does lead you to that conclusion. Because how do you stop it? How can you recognize when something horrific like this is going to happen? Because nobody who is normal in anyway can comprehend such an evil act.

KAY: Right. It's an extraordinary rare event. We need to appreciate that. But I think that we don't just say that's it and go on. I think that there's something which can come out, which is, and this has been recognized by Tony Evans from Ikea, the International Aviation Organization and the European Congress Aerospace Medicine, just this last year saying that when they do the, you know, periodic flight physical they shouldn't just be checking the blood pressure, weight and up, they should be having a conversation. This is a conversation where again, we are dependent upon self-disclosure, but if they have a relationship with the aviator then they can actually get into, you know, is your relationships. How are you sleeping, how are you eating? What's your exercise like?


KAY: They can have a relationship. And that should be more of a focus.

BURNETT: And quickly, before we go though, Richard, all this presumes one thing. It presumes that someone was mentally ill and that's it and not also, for lack of a better word, evil or planning something like this. It presumes that's not the case which we just, we don't know.

QUEST: We don't know. And that's a very good point. We can have the sympathy to the understanding of the mental condition if somebody is ill. That we can discuss, we can discuss the where's and why for, should they been in the cockpit, should they not. Who's fault to let them be in the cockpit? But if somebody was ill --

SOUCIE: Vilifying those that suffer from this.

KAY: Right. Exactly. Exactly.

BURNETT: It's the distinction I'm trying to make. Because there may have been a very, very significant distinction in this case.

KAY: Exactly.

QUEST: And that's why I think it's really important, as Gary was saying, it's process versus philosophy in this case that we need to really distinguish.

BURNETT: All right. We're going to take a pause. We'll be back. And next, should the CIA be able the control a plane by remote control. It's almost a reality if you can believe that. So, that would mean someone from the ground could have taken this plane over during that eight minutes. Is it a good idea?

And we're live near the crash scene tonight. Investigators are going through the pieces, quote, "bit by bit, bag by bag." We are just getting some new images which you'll see only here, next.


[19:29:48] BURNETT: Breaking news on Flight 9525, tonight, new images of the crash site. Crews at the scene facing dangerous terrain, windy conditions making the recovery of remains in this incredibly remote area very difficult. You're looking at debris. This is scattered across this very, very as I said, remote area of the French Alps. You can see pieces of the plane's wreckage broken. Wheels, sections of the fuselage, this is where the co-pilot 27-year- old Andreas Lubitz according to prosecutors crashed the airbus A-320 murdering 149 other people.

Karl Penhaul is OUTFRONT from near the crash site.

And, Karl, you made it there and went up to the crash site today. What did you see?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that's why we went, because it was very important to get up there just so we can understand just how difficult this recovery operation is and why it is expected to take two weeks or perhaps even more to recover all the body parts and all the fragments of the planes that can help investigators.

When we got there really kind of incredible scenes. You really understand the sides of the valley where the plane crashed are so steep at certain points that the investigators seem to be clinging on almost with their -- with their nails. In fact, the forensic examiners have been put together with expert mountaineers and it's the mountain mountaineers job really to stop the forensic expert from falling off the side of the mountain.

Because the parts are so small and that's because of the speed of the crash, then what these people are doing is they're combing through the mountainside to the sides of the valley. They're marking each significant object, each significant fragment, with a little red flag, and they're coming back to it, and examining more, recovering. And it's literally, as the French prosecutors already said, the recovery of the human remains is bit by bit and bag by bag.

And then, of course, how do they get it out? Well, they winch it up on helicopters and today as well, we saw some of those rescue workers in action dangling from a wire hundreds of feet below because it was so windy, as the helicopter then rises and heads back down to the valleys getting buffeted by the wind. And those rescue workers, they're being winched back to this wire, they're swinging crazily around as they're taking body bags back up. You really get a sense of just how hard they are working, Erin.

BURNETT: That's hard to imagine, but thank you very much, Karl, who actually made the track and to hike all the way up there. This tragedy is now sparking a new debate which is whether planes

should be able to be controlled remotely by somebody on the ground who could override a pilot in situation such as this one.

Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.

And, Tom, how realistic is this?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, Boeing has a patent and Google conducted a test flight. And some of the biggest tech companies in the world are looking at this idea of airplanes that can be controlled from the ground, in the belief that this will be impervious to attacks by terrorists or criminals or anyone else.


FOREMAN (voice-over): Watch closely. This plane over England has a crew at the controls, passengers in the back, but something extraordinary is about to happen. A pilot on the ground is taking over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready to take control.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're on control.

FOREMAN: This is the $94 million ASTRAEA project by the British Aerospace Company, BAE, one of several efforts around the world to develop planes that can be flown remotely.

DUNCAN CASEY, TEST ENGINEER, BAE SYSTEMS: What you can hear at the moment is the discussion with air traffic that's exactly the same as the pilots would be having if they were in charge of the steering of the aircraft.

FOREMAN: Military success with drones has driven much of the interest and some efforts are focused on airplanes in hazard conditions, such as hurricane research and fighting wildfires. Analysts say pilotless planes could be a $400 billion a year global business.

So, why not passenger flights? First, the airline industry has remarkable safety record despite high profile disasters. Many believe on board pilots remain the most reliable way to handle problems and retrofitting planes would cost billions of dollars. And second, passengers may not be ready.


FOREMAN: There are questions about reliability, questions about what happens if plane like this just gets loose from its electronic tether and what is terrorists take over a ground station and in that fashion take control of the plane. Well, one answer to all of that would be to have multiple ground

stations controlling any given planes. So, no one site could do it all alone.

But even then, what if you have some sort of a hacker that breaks into the data stream and takes control of the . All of these questions have to been answered even as the planes grow more automated, Erin, because until they are, this march toward passengers planes that are automated is going to be very slow.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Tom Foreman.

And I want to bring in Robert Goyer, editor in chief of "Flying Magazine", and Richard Quest is still with me.

[19:35:01] All right. Robert, you think this technology might work and could be effective in preventing another tragedy like the one we just saw. So, that would mean in these 8 to 10 minutes, right, where this plane was going down, pilot not responding, someone from the ground would have been able to take that plane over pull it up and avert the disaster?

ROBERT GOYER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, FLYING MAGAZINE: Yes, that's exactly right, Erin. We know that the air traffic control was aware that the plane had left its flight plan. It has descended without getting clearance from ATC to do that. At that point when they weren't in contact with pilot that's the point they would say, OK, we're going stop this descent and put it on its flight plan and we'll keep it here until we re-enable contact with the pilot and find out what's going wrong here. The same could have been done with Malaysia 370 as well.

BURNETT: All right. So, Richard, I don't know if you heard him groan there.

Richard, you disagree?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Robert, I have great respect for you, but I disagree in the strongest possible terms with this. You might have technology in the future and history on your side and this might be the way we are going, and I never want to see it. I want there to be a human controlling the aircraft.

To me, there are simply too many variables that would make me absolutely uncomfortable even in the near future with such a prospect.

BURNETT: So, Robert, let me put to you the main one which Tom was reporting on, which is, right now, what just happened was unimaginable for almost every human being on this planet, what just happened. Because of that it happens incredibly rarely, to say the least. So, if we were to have this system in place for all planes, that would mean all planes then were open to terrorists or cyber hijacking, someone taking it over and bringing it down from the ground. Isn't that greater risk than the planes you might save?

GOYER: Well, first, I'd like to say, I think that I was remarkably impressed by Richard's take on the depression segment that you did and I agreed with many of the things you said. That's a big variable is the pilot. Nobody knew this guy has a serious problem until after the fact. As far as variables are concerns, with controlling an airplane, yet, there are going to be some issues with that. As far as cyber security is concerned, that's the issue.

But we're not talking about controlling every airplane all the time. It's undoable. We're talking about having the issue to go in when there's a known issue and taking control at that point. And this is not a rare problem either, Erin. This is 1985, there had been 10 -- almost 10, I think there are nine incidents, where a passenger or a pilot has taken control of the airplane to intentionally crash it. And that's -- it's resulted in not counting 9/11 in more than 700 fatalities.

So, it's not a rare problem. Today, it's a bigger problem than hijacking. It's a bigger problem than terrorists are.

BURNETT: That's a pretty interesting point, because, Richard, to take Robert point one point further, when they were hijackings they reinforced the pilot door so you would have to have a grenade. They could withstand the grenade. As a result, this pilot couldn't get in to save his own plane. He's saying that is less of a risk than a pilot trying to crash his own plane.

QUEST: I don't buy it, I don't buy it, and I'll tell you why, because I think what's happened is, as we have seen with the reinforced cockpit door, it's created another problem, yes, with these examples of recent, we don't know whether 370, but in this example. And I can foresee an entire panel of problems.

I mean, we're not talking about planes being controlled from the ground any time soon, and I take your point on that clearly, Robert. We're looking into the future. No doubt it's coming. The driverless car is with us.

BURNETT: You can't stop it.

QUEST: The pilotless plane is going to arrive. I just don't want to see it.

GOYER: It's already arrived in the form of drones.

QUEST: Absolutely. I just don't want to be passenger in 16k when it does happen.

GOYER: I agree with you completely, Richard. I don't want to be a passenger on a regular plane that's a regular flight that's being controlled automatically. I want to have pilots there too. Agree completely.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to both of you. And look forward to all of your feedback on that, especially that point as to whether there was a greater risk of what happened this week than a hijacking. OUTFRONT next, cameras in the cockpit, streaming live video back

to air traffic control. Why are so many pilots against this when the cockpit after all is not personal space, it is a professional zone?

And more breaking news: a new verdict returned in the trial of Amanda Knox. They waited until after midnight on Italy on a Friday, working to come up with a verdict. She was charged with the gruesome and horrific murder of her roommate. We're live in Rome tonight.


[19:43:35] BURNETT: Tonight, investigators are sifting through evidence. They have bags, they boxes that they have taken out in the dark in Germany. They seized this from the co-pilot's apartment. They are hunting for clues about what illness led doctors to declare him unfit to work. We now know what led to this crash that left 150 people dead, according to prosecutors.

The co-pilot, 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz, locked the captain out of cockpit, say prosecutors, putting that plane into descent, crashing it deliberately into the French Alps. All of this igniting a serious debate about what happened to the cockpit. And one big question is, if there were live streaming video inside the cockpit, would that change anything?

Brian Todd is OUTFRONT with tonight's "I.D.E.A."


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Andreas Lubitz had locked himself alone in the cockpit as the captain pounded on the door. Today, safety experts are calling for a bold move to avoid another disaster -- cameras in the cockpit.

JIM HALL, FORMER NTSB CHAIRMAN: The cameras would not be on the face. They would focus on the instruments and on the manipulations that are made.

TODD: Former NTSB chairman Jim Hall says cameras in the cockpit would be a deterrent to bad behavior or careless piloting, and would be a key investigative tool.

What could cameras trained on the control panel detect?

LYNN SPENCER, FORMER COMMERCIAL AIRLINE PILOT: You can see the instruments. You can see what they're seeing on their instrument panels, on their screens.

[19:45:01] You can see what they're doing with their hands.

TODD: Cameras on the instruments wouldn't necessarily give investigators much help in the Germanwings crash probe. They already know how that plane went down technically.

But, former commercial pilot Lynn Spencer says cameras trained on pilot's faces could catch certain things that cockpit voice and flight data recorders might miss.

SPENCER: Was the pilot choking? Is the pilot having the seizure?

TODD: The technology is already on the market. But one manufacturer told us no airlines have bought their cameras.

Cameras are already used to monitor key missions like today's launch to the International Space Station. They are used to watch some train operators, taxi drivers and bus drivers, including this one caught looking at his phone and then crashing.

Cockpit video could be live streamed back to controllers on the ground in real time, although the expense of installing and streaming thousands of live cameras could be prohibitive.

Spencer says cockpit cameras could have provided key evidence in some of the most infamous disasters in aviation, including 9/11.

SPENCER: If we had cameras in the cockpit on 9/11, we would have been able to see how the hijackers took over the cockpit. How they killed the pilots. How they tried to manipulate the controls.

TODD: The top pilot's union in America is staunchly against the idea. In a statement to CNN, it says cockpit video, quote, "is subject to misinterpretation and may, in fact, lead investigators away from accurate conclusions."

(on camera): Pilots union officials are worried about a video leaking. They say voice data clips have been made public in past cases especially overseas, and no pilot wants their final moments to be posted all over the Internet.

As one pilot once famously said, "I don't want my spouse, children and grandchildren and a million strangers to be able to watch me die" -- Erin.


BURNETT: That's a fair point. All right. Brian, thank you.

And OUTFRONT next, breaking news: the final verdict on Amanda Knox. This is the final, the final, the highest court in Italy working to well after midnight. She was charged with the murder of her roommate. What did they decide? Guilty or innocent? We're live in Rome.


[19:51:05] BURNETT: Breaking news: tonight, judges in Italy's highest court say not guilty, clearing Amanda Knox, the American girl, in the 2000 death of her roommate British student Meredith Kercher. It has been a 7 1/2-year legal rollercoaster for Knox, and the man you see next to her who also was found not guilty tonight, her former boyfriend, the Italian Raffaele Sollecito. At first, Knox was convicted of the gruesome murder. She spent

four years in jail for the crime and then there was an appeal. She was cleared. And then, they ordered a new trial and they were convicted again. It was a yin-yang back and forth.

If the court had upheld that last verdict, Knox could have been sentenced to 28 1/2 more years in prison.

CNN's Barbie Nadeau is live from Rome with the latest.

And, Barbie, this is pretty stunning. I mean, they finished the session today. They took hours. They worked until after midnight. Many, many people thought that this was going to come back guilty. I mean, this is shocking to a lot of people.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. Absolutely here in Italy, it is very shocking. I think everyone really felt that they would come back, the high court would come back with upholding the conviction, which would mean Raffaele Sollecito would go immediately back to jail and the extradition process would start for extradition of Amanda Knox. People were very, very surprised of this outcome. Raffaele Sollecito even chose not to stay in Rome for the court. He went back to his home in the south of Italy to hear the decision there. He obviously had no confidence in what exactly was going to happen there.

It is shocking, absolutely, Erin.

BURNETT: And it's shocking. You know what's amazing, Amanda -- Barbie, sorry -- Amanda was portrayed so differently in the United States. People so sympathetic to her story and people believed her. In Italy, she was portrayed often as a villain.

So, in the U.S., you have a lot of celebration tonight. What's the reaction there in Italy?

NADEAU: Well, there's a lot of shock here. I think people really felt that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, along with Rudy Guede, who is sentenced to 16 years for his part in this murder serving half of the 16 year sentence, I think a lot of people really felt the three acted together in this murder. They were, you know, just the press really followed it from the very beginning here in Italy, signs seemed to point to that, and people are surprised for the outcome, absolutely.

BURNETT: All right. Barbie Nadeau, thank very much, reporting live from Rome, where it's just about 1:00 in the morning. They waited through the night, through the afternoon for this relief.

Amanda Knox has released a statement moments ago and it says in part, "I am tremendously relieved and grateful for the decision, the knowledge of innocence given me strength in the darkest of times of this ordeal."

Ted Simon is a lawyer for Amanda Knox. He joins me on the phone tonight. Ted, I know you spoke to Amanda moments after the verdict, and

they were sitting there waiting hours were going by. There was no verdict. There was no verdict. Then and there, was this not guilty. You spoke to her.

What did she say?

TED SIMON, LAWYER FOR AMANDA KNOX (via telephone): Well, let me just say this, and thanks you for having me. Extraordinary legal kudos are due and must be extended to Carlo Dalla Vedova and Luciano Ghirga who argued success with the appeal today.

But with regard to Amanda, she was -- it was an emotionally filled transcending joy. I'd say only eclipsed by her heartfelt and exuberant appreciation and thankfulness and gratitude. Words simply -- words simply can't describe the experience.

BURNETT: The word you used, transcending joy.

SIMON: Transcendent joy and that's not good enough.

BURNETT: And -- so what happens to her? She was looking, possibly nearly 30 more years in jail, extradition fight. That's what she was looking last, the past eight of years of her life has been dealing with this. She spent four years in jail. What's next?

SIMON: Yes, but let's look at the past. It has been a trying and grueling almost eight year nightmarish marathon that really no child or parent should have ever had to endure.

[09:55:00] But Amanda and her parents, Curt, Edda, Chris, and Cassandra and family have demonstrated questioned unparallel patience and steadfast courage, dignity, resilience and fortitude. And most of all, they rely upon their faith on this unjust conviction would not stand.

I have to tell you that we've been appreciative and thankful and ever so grateful to the Supreme Court, that court that cast the decision exonerating Amanda and Raffaele. This decision announces once again and with finality to the world that Amanda Knox was previously, wrongfully convicted, rightly acquitted, and that she was not absolutely not responsible for the tragic loss of Meredith Kercher.

But let us not forget that Meredith was Amanda's friend and I know Amanda and the family wishes you and everyone to remember Meredith and to keep and continue to keep the Kercher family in your prayers.

BURNETT: All right. Well, you know, Ted, thank you very much.

And everyone is going to be watching her. I know she's engaged to be married and hoping that she can move on with her life. As you heard Ted Simon say, he spoke to Amanda right after the verdict and the description said of her voice and what she felt was transcendent joy. We'll be right back.


BURNETT: It's Friday night and we thank you for joining us. We hope you'll have a wonderful weekend.

Please be sure to set your DVR to record OUTFRONT so you can watch us at anytime, any show during the week. Thanks so much. Have a great weekend.

"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now.