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Piers Morgan Live
Missing Plane at the Bottom of Indian Ocean?
Aired March 13, 2014 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN: This is Piers Morgan Live.
Tonight, breaking news on Flight 370, and this time it's U.S. government. The administration officials tell CNN's Barbara Starr that it's quite significant likelihood the plane is on the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
They also said their indications that the plane may have flown for hours longer than we thought. Malaysian authorities report they have multiple pings of data that were transmitted from the plane to satellites four to five hours after transponder went dead.
Meanwhile, Malaysian officials also say that two communication systems on the plane were shut down 40 minutes apart.
When it comes to this mystery, there are more questions than answers. How long did Flight 370 stay in the air and why did no one noticed it? What happened to the transponder? Was it mechanical failure or was it deliberately shut off? Why is there still no sign of wreckage? Is it still possible the plane could have landed somewhere?
There is one thing we do know, a plane full of people, 239 people doesn't just disappear, so where is Flight 370?
Our Big Story, it's been a week almost that the fate of Flight 370 remains unknown. We have new information tonight.
Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon with the latest. Barbara, what do you know?
BARBAR STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening Piers. A Senior U.S. official now telling CNN exactly what you said, there is a strong likelihood that the flight is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
Why did they come to this conclusion while the Malaysians have now given the U.S. in the last 24 hours an access to key data, essentially pings from the airplane as it flew four to five hours out over in the Indian Ocean to satellites?
The U.S. has analyzed all of that and now concludes that it did fly over the Indian Ocean.
Basically, these pings match the airframe, the type of engines that was this flight and there is no correlating transponder information. And as we know now, the transponder for some reason turned off, was turned off, stopped working, so they have a flight out over the Indian Ocean correlates to this exact type of airplane with no transponder. They believe that's where the flight has come to rest.
MORGAN: And Barbara, why are they so convinced that it may have gone to the bottom of the ocean when many other people are theorizing from this information about the pings that it could potentially have been hijacked or stolen to order and landed somewhere. Why did they believe it has actually crashed into the sea?
STARR: Well, I think there's a couple of questions here. One is, you know, what caused the plane to disappear if you will? Was it a deliberate act? Was it sabotage? Was it espionage? Was it sabotage? Was it some kind of hijacking? We do not know the answer to that. Nobody at the moment really knows the answer to that because they have no definitive intelligence or information that leads them to believe it was an act of terrorism, sabotage, a deliberate act, pilot suicide, any of these theories that we've all heard for the last several days.
What they do have is data information now, technical, highly technical data that tells them the likely path of the plane. In other words, where it is not why and how it exactly got there. There is also a very key radar blip, if you will, from the Malaysians that showed the plane turning around instead of heading to China, heading off the west coast of the Malay Peninsula.
That was one of their first indications now. They have the correlating other satellite data. So they're beginning to put the clues together, beginning to put the pieces together, all of these leading them now to turn their attention to the Indian Ocean.
MORGAN: Barbara Starr, thank you very much indeed for that report.
Joining me on the phone with more on the trail of the plane is Wall Street Journal Reporter Jon Ostrower.
Jon Ostrower, thank you for joining me.
You just saw Barbara Starr's report there. Clearly, what seems to now be indisputable is the fact that these pings were heard suggesting the plane carried on flying for four to five hours after we have been led to believe in the first few days. What is now conjecture over what the U.S. authorities believe that it landed in the Indian Ocean but you have a different theory. Tell me what that is.
JON OSTROWER, WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTER: Well, we were just supporting just moments ago that the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that's been missing since late last Friday actually continued to ping the satellites that are 23,000 miles above the surface of the earth for at least five hours.
So that adds an additional hour on to the last known position of where the aircraft was. These pings in particular included very detailed information that investigators are now using to triangulate the aircraft's potential position now. Those included things like the GPS location, the speed and the altitude of the aircraft.
After at least five hours of transmitting, the signal stopped. Investigators really right now are trying to determine why it stopped and that's really potential question of this investigation.
MORGAN: Right, but as I say, Barbara Starr just reported to CNN that the belief of U.S. officials is that is it highly probable this plane is now at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. Does that correlate to anything that you have heard in relation to what they believe happened at the end of the pings?
OSTROWER: We don't know, and certainly the data right now suggests that the aircraft was flying, the data that we have in the reporting that we've just done indicates the airplane was in a normal cruise altitude when it stopped broadcasting.
So certainly, you know, you take that to a few different logical conclusions as you continue the investigation and you can arrive at one that says it has crashed. You can say it maybe has landed somewhere.
At this point, this is the central focus of where the investigation is going. And the U.S. Navy has dispatched...
MORGAN: OK. Jon Ostrower, thank you very much indeed. We've actually kept Barbara Starr.
Barbara, I want to get your reaction to the Wall Street Journal report. Clearly, a lot of similarities there although I guess the conclusion is still up for conjecture depending on who you talk to. What did you make of what he just said?
STARR: Well, yeah, you know, if you want to add to the mystery of all of these or the uncertainty, what officials are also telling us this plane like all planes carried a system, essentially a beacon that would have gone off if the plane was going to make impact somewhere.
In other words, if it was going to hit the water, hit land, this is that kind of emergency beacon that goes off and it registers and transmits the data of impact. So far, US officials say they don't see any data that that emergency beacon system went up, certainly nothing that the Malaysians have shared with them yet. So that adds to the mystery the plane if that did not go off was certainly for some period of time in some form of relatively stable flight officials say.
But did it land somewhere? We've asked everybody and I have to tell you, you get the same answer Piers, you know. Head scratching in today's modern world, in today's age, is it actually plausible that a passenger airliner with so many people onboard landed somewhere and nobody noticed?
MORGAN: But at the same time, Barbara, clearly, everything about this story is highly mysterious if not suspicious.
STARR: Absolutely. MORGAN: You know, I mean it seems -- I think most viewers will be sharing my utter disbelief that it's taken nearly a week to discover that they have these ping signals and this data information, presumably they have that pretty immediately and yet we're just hearing about it now. Why is it taking so long?
STARR: Yeah. Well, you know, I think behind the scenes U.S. officials will tell you that they have some frustration with this entire situation. It is the Malaysians who are essentially running the show here. They are running the search operation.
US officials say it was only in the last 24 hours that the Malaysian government shared this specific technical data with them. Pardon me -- the U.S. has a number of very highly trained imagery and radar and satellite specialists out there looking at every scrap of information. But if the Malaysians don't share what they know, they don't share what they have, it becomes very difficult.
That's why they say there has been some delay and really, as Richard Quest has been saying on CNN all week long, it is just an unprecedented situation all the way around, Piers.
MORGAN: Barbara, stay with us. I want to bring in some experts now for panel.
David Soucie, the Author of "Why Planes Crash: An Accident Investigator Fights for Safe Skies, Aviation Expert and Retired American Airlines Pilot Jim Tilmon and Matthew Robinson, an Air Safety Investigator with Robson Forensic. Welcome to all of you.
Let me start with you Jim Tilmon. We've talked before this week about the various twists and turns quite literally, the phase of this plane. What do you make of these extraordinary new revelations?
JIM TILMON, RETIRED AMERICAN AIRLINES PILOT: Well, they're just about as confusing as everything else I've heard about this event from the very beginning.
For example, let's talk about pings. It's my understanding that these devices don't ping until they are hitting water, until they get into water. And if the pings went on involves a sudden stop over the Indian Ocean, it's just the opposite of the way that I have always understood them to work. That they really -- that should be when they really start going.
The other thing is I got to tell you that I find it very difficult to believe that this captain and his crew decided to just commit suicide out there in the middle of the Indian Ocean. They didn't have to go that far in order to commit suicide and they have to know that's where they were.
If they work on -- and I'm not altogether certain that they were. I mean if they're a head some kind of a situation on board the airplane that caused them to be incapacitated and they were just sitting there and riding the airplane until it reached a point where it was out of fuel or out of CG, out of balance, then that would explain a lot of things.
I'm afraid I'm still not really convinced that the airplane crashed. I just happen to have seen enough data or enough damage that floated to the top or landed on the ground. I haven't seen anything like that and you heard also about the ELT, the Emergency Transmitter, that's if the airplane hits something, an object like the ground and it's on land. Well, that didn't go off and also -- I wonder where it is just like everybody else.
MORGAN: OK. Let me turn now to David Soucie the Former FAA Safety Inspector.
Clearly, let's remind all of us and everyone watching. We don't have the answers here. This is one of the great mysteries in aviation history and it gets more mysterious by the day.
Having said that, we have more information than we seemed to have had at any stage in this week, if you take the assumption that these pings, I mean it's interesting what I thought Jim Tilmon just said that the pings themselves. Is that correct? Do you know when they are supposed to go off? Do they go off when a plane is at normal altitude or are they supposed to just work when a plane hits the water?
DAVID SOUCIE, AUTHOR "WHY PLANES CRASH": And out of the ACAR system which is a data link that provides information from the aircraft continuously if the satellite is available, continuously from that aircraft. So it's intended to provide all the information that John mentioned before from Wall Street is the engine information, the speed information had even -- it tells us about vibration information if there was a bomb or something that happen dramatically onboard or a fire even would cause enough vibration that that data would have been sent back. There's 10,000 data points a second that are being sent through that ACAR system.
So I find it difficult to believe that those pings contain data. I do believe that those pings do exist and that the United States satellites have been picking up those pings and maybe the Malaysia as well.
Those pings are just simply a phone call that's waiting for an answer. It doesn't mean if there's any data in it at all until the answer comes in that says, "Yeah, we're speaking the same language. Now that we are, I'm going to upload all the data that I've been storing out of my ACAR system, the aircraft tracking and reporting system communication or reporting system -- excuse me, which is sending in all that information up.
So it was designed that -- when it's connected to a satellite, it's constantly sending that information back to Boeing and well it sends it back to Air Rink (ph) which is a company that disperses the information. But that information then goes to Rolls Royce, it goes to Boeing, it goes to the manufacturing from there.
So to me, the pings are very viable, it's what should be happening. What's confusing to me -- two things that are confusing to me about that is that those pings that are coming off of there, why then is there not a transponder still on could -- that it was turned off? That's the only explanation I would have because if the electrical system failed to the extent where there's no communication, there's no Satcom, there's no UHF, there's no VHF, there's no way for that pilot to communicate why then would just that ACARS pinging be going on?
MORGAN: OK. Let me just take a break here. Matthew Robinson, when we come to you after the break. I want to get really a sense from you about the mounting theory through the day to day that this plane could potentially have been stolen to order. Who knows by who or for what purpose but is that possible from all that you have seen and read today? We'll come back after the break and get your response.
MORGAN: I want to return to our breaking news.
Malaysian authorities report multiple pings of data transmitted from the plane to satellites five hours after the transponder went dead and U.S. officials now are saying there's a significant likelihood that Flight 370 is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
Well, back with me now is David Soucie, Jim Tilmon and Matthew Robinson joining us and Bill Nye, you know him as a science guy but he's a Former Boeing Engineer and worked on the design that's so called Black Box, also Henry Hughes, a retired NTSB Senior Accident Investigator. Welcome to all of you.
Let me go to you Matthew Robinson. We've been talking about this before the break there. I actually want to ask you a more focused question about the terrain (ph). I believe you know the area well.
Obviously, completely baffling to many people watching the story that we're only finding out now, it could be in the Indian Ocean. Is it possible that there is any where in that area where a plane of this size could have landed without detection?
MATTHEW ROBINSON, AIR SAFETY INVESTIGATOR, ROBSON FORENSIC: Well, of course it's possible but is it likely? Probably not and welcome to my world if there was a simple explanation for all these questions, I would be out of a job at this point.
What we have to keep in mind here is first of all a lack of material evidence both in electronic form and in material form. That combined with the vast nature of the search area right here presents a real challenge. This is now an old fashioned accident investigation to where we need to just go out and look for it old fashioned. That's the point where ...
ROBINSON: ... this is how we're going to accomplish this.
MORGAN: OK. Bill Nye, you said an interesting thing in the break there which I want to get the viewers quickly. There are different types of pings. NYE: Well, words include more than they leave out and words never say all there is to say about everything.
The word "ping" started out in Sonar, ping ping in a submarine. But there's an expression now, "I'll ping you." Means I'll send you an e- mail and remind you to do this. So there's two different kinds here. We're talking about the underwater clicking like a bell. That would be a ping from my day but it's also being used in this context to refer to a radar blip which has an echo or just a signal being sent to satellites. So maybe it's being used three ways. But the pings that the pilot was walking about a few moments ago would be the underwater ones.
And so I still question if the original search which I understand was by the Vietnamese Navy, did they really listen underwater with hydro -- underwater microphone?
MORGAN: But were they even in the right part of the world?
NYE: Yes, exactly.
MORGAN: I mean this is the complication to it.
Jim Tilmon let me bring you back in here. In terms of a 777 plane, obviously a very big, very modern plane, how easy would it be to land a plane like that given the wide area it could have landed without any radar detection?
TILMON: Well, I think if you get low enough, you don't worry about radar and, you know, you can fly this thing in what we call (inaudible) of the earth or right down on the pit (ph). Could this captain have done that? I don't know. But you know? I would love to see them, the authorities, to get into his home and download whatever that's left on his simulator because that's a very sophisticated simulator and he may have done a lot of practice and it would take a lot of skill and practice to bring that airplane that low in that kind of altitude to skirt around and go where he's going.
Let me quickly also say something about the pings. Yes, absolutely right. I'm glad that somebody mentioned that. The ping is a sound that was designed to give you the indication that you have something underwater.
The thing that we've been calling pings here today really are like text messages that come out of the ACAR system in a completely different kind of thing. I don't know why they call that a ping as a matter of fact.
MORGAN: OK. Let me go to Henry Hughes, a retired NSTB Senior Accident Investigator.
You deal in facts, Henry Hughes, and there are precious few facts that even the few scratch of facts we've been given through the week have been completely contradicting the very next day in most cases.
What is your take on where this investigation is right now? HENRY HUGHES, RETIRED NTSB SR. ACCIDENT INVESTIGATOR: I think the folks from Malaysia are a little bit new at this. Unfortunately, they haven't had many major accidents.
As a result, I don't know that they were prepared again not being there this opposition on my part, I can tell you from talking to some of my former colleagues that now that the NTSB and FAA teams have arrived. We have some senior technical people, one very senior air traffic control specialist in particular that can help them sort out some of the radar information and basically start to organize a formalized investigation.
I think the, you know, this safety boards (ph) there to serve as technical advisers. We're not in charge nor should we be under the ICAOTreaty Chapter 13 or of Annex 1 I should say were there to provide technical support to the Malaysians and as such we have to act a way as to their dictates.
MORGAN: OK. Let me bring in Barbara Starr again. Barbara Starr, let's work on this theory that the plane -- Barbara Starr is gone, I'm sorry we've lost contact with Barbara.
But let me go back to Jim Tilmon. You being the pilot here on this panel, I want to know this. If somebody with ill-gotten designs on this plane had taken charge of it, how far could they have taken it with the fuel that they had and the fact we now know it was flying for four or five hours longer than we thought, what is the area? I mean, I heard earlier that somebody suggested it could have gotten even as far as Bangladesh or Pakistan.
TILMON: Well, that's true. It could get pretty close to that and of course -- but then again, it could turn and go the other direction towards North Korea. I mean there are so many options that are out there that kind of detest (ph) the mind when you start thinking about where could they go. Take that point of last known departure and add to that just X number of hours of flying time and it's pretty simple to figure out just exactly what the range would be at that point.
That's something that I'd love to see our authorities do because I know they could do that very quickly and very accurately.
MORGAN: OK. Let me bring in Bill Nye. You're shaking your head. Why?
NYE: Well, I just read these press releases very carefully. Let me ask you the hard hitting investigative journalist, have the two guys or the two people who said that this ACARS transponders were working all this time if they identified themselves ,"Hi, I work for Boeing and this is where we discovered and here's the chart." does anybody done that?
MORGAN: Well, their sources haven't been revealed by the Wall Street Journal.
NYE: OK. And then reading them carefully, there's this expression decline in comment and there'd be comparable and consistent with. It's very romantic. This is to say it's an airplane disaster which still gets all of us and it's a mystery. But I wonder if we're just letting our imaginations run well. I mean, I am open-minded of course. But I just still wonder if the original search was done thoroughly because I'm reading this stuff, it's very carefully worded and they're drawing conclusions based on -- by eliminating what are perceived to be likely outcomes.
MORGAN: OK. Well, that ...
NYE: ... and that can assure how well they've been eliminated.
MORGAN: Let me go to David Soucie.
MORGAN: You were also shaking your head. Tell me why.
SOUCIE: Well, Dr. Nye, ICAO Annex13, you know, when there's an aircraft accident, the manufacturers, the avionics manufacturers, everybody to do with that aircraft they're obligated by Annex 13 not to report to the public. They have to report all that information directly to the civil authority in charge of that accident.
So they cannot release their names, they can't -- any information we now is probably being ill-gotten because the fact that ...
NYE: Yeah, OK.
SOUCIE: ... that it's not really recorded. They can't report that information.
MORGAN: Let me ask you David Soucie, you're very experienced in this field but nobody however experienced can really fathom what has gone on here. What do you think is the most likely of all the theories you've heard?
SOUCIE: Well, to talk about probability of likelihood. We have to also make a few assumptions. So I'm going to start with that.
Let's assume that the pings and I'm referring to the ping as a like an internet protocol ping when you are verifying an IP address, you send a ping out to see if you a response and that's what I'm referring to when I say ping from the ACAR system because it has to communicated, send that ping out and get the information back. So let's assume that they really were pings coming from that location.
Now, assuming that, I find it extremely difficult to think that somehow the system failed, that 777 is the most reliable aircraft in the air in my opinion. And to think that that whole system, the three boxes that we have, the three generators, the backup generator which can be driven by air that can power those avionics and those communication channels as well.
So I believe that it was taken off by intent if that aircraft was intentfully disabled from communication, and if that -- it has been flying. It makes sense to me that the pings are still occurring for one reason. If you're going to -- the average pilot would know, that you -- how to disconnect all the communications equipment on that airplane except for one thing and that's the ACAR system because there's a circuit breaker and when you pull the circuit breaker that says ACARS on it, it doesn't turn off the transmitter. It's like not turning off the WiFi but turning off the computer. It stops the data stream from coming, it stops the computer which stores the data, but yet there's another circuit breaker that's much more hidden to turn off the actual transmitter in the ACAR system.
And in that case, this would make sense to me because whoever was trying to mask this aircraft would not have known -- would very likely not have known how to turn off both systems in the ACARS because they're marked completely differently on the circuit breaker panel.
MORGAN: OK. To David Soucie, taking that theory to its conclusion, if somebody had decided to be malicious with this or to commit suicide or whatever it maybe and just you would assume they would simply crash the plane once it's taken charge of it. That doesn't appear to have happened from the evidence that we've got.
So you have to assume that whoever took charge of it, if your theory is correct, has potentially landed this plane somewhere or at least tried to.
SOUCIE: You know, I have to put out false hope but again staying on this scenario making those assumptions that's where I'm going with is because I don't think it was a suicide situation for this reason.
The last time we had that particular situation was when one of the pilots excused himself from the cockpit and during that time to go to the rest room or have some food. During that time, the other cockpit or the other pilot locked him out and wouldn't let him return to the cabin. That's at which time he had some mental difficulties and luckily that scenario is a result without fatalities.
In that scenario, in this particular scenario right as you're changing, as you're -- and Jim you could probably address -- or John Tilmon you could probably address this better than I but when you're getting ready to transfer from on country to another from one control to another, you're going from Vietnam to another country, at that point, it's critical to have two pilots in the cockpit. I doubt that one of them would elect on their own to say, "Hey, we're about ready to transfer control centers. Why don't I go to the restroom while we're doing that?" I find that highly unlikely.
MORGAN: OK. So we got to leave it there for this particular panel. Thank you all very much indeed.
Coming up, disappearance of Flight 370 spawned some theories. It sound crazy but are they? Could the truth be even crazier? The world wide obsession next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, I think it will be a long time before we know what happened. Two, there bound to be all kinds of conspiracy theories.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are popping up online, like did the plane landed on a remote island? Does a meteor take the plane down? There was actually no meteor in the area. At the time the plane took off, could it have hit the plane?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One spectacular event happens I think is human nature to try and find some sort of cause that explains something mysterious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The Flight 370 become a worldwide obsession as the mystery deepens, the theories are multiplying. And anxious flyers are wondering could it happen again?
Well, joining now Patrick Smith, host of askthepilot.com and also "Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know about Air Travel," and also Arnold Barnett, he's a professor of Statistics at MIT. And Jeff Wise, a contributor to Slate and author of "Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger."
Jeff Wise, let me come to you first. I just read you piece before I came on air. Absolutely fascinating theory. Just tell me in brief terms what that theory is and why you think it could hold some grievance here.
JEFF WISE, AUTHOR, "EXTREME FEAR: THE SCIENCE OF YOUR MIND IN DANGER": Well, it turns a little bit outlandish which, you know, as time goes by, and the obvious answers don't pan out, you start to have to turn to some of the more unlikely seeming possibilities. And basically, what some pilots are talking about I'm hearing, is the idea that, perhaps the pilot or co-pilot of this plane took control over the cockpit, either incapacitated or kill the other pilot, locks the door, there's a dead bolt, you can lock everyone else out. Turn off as much electronics as he could. Dive the plain and head out.
And now, it just so happens, coincidentally, that or perhaps not coincidentally, that where this plane vanished or was last spotted was a patch of ocean where electronic communication is very poor. It's sort of a dead area between the ground stations where if you were to suddenly turn off your electronics and make a dash for it, that would be the perfect place to do it. It might just be a coincidence, but if it was intentional, that would be this place to do it. So, it would imply a certain level of sophistication on the part of the perpetrator if there was a perpetrator. Obviously, this all completely (inaudible).
MORGAN: Right. But in your piece, I thought it was very -- what I thought as I've seen your piece was you went on to say that, "who would want the plane that?" This would -- they worth 37 million pounds. And there are plenty of people dodgy regimes around the world and probably love to get their hands on one. So there is a huge potential market for a modern sophisticated plane like this.
WISE: Well, absolutely. And w who knows, I mean who knows -- to do something like this. The point of the piece was just to say, which will investigate the question, could it be done? And I think the answer is, well, there is no reason why it couldn't be done that we know of so far. Obviously, the clues are still emerging. I just watch Captain Phillips by chance last night and, you know, there's that other element, you got, you know, over 200 souls onboard in this plane that over something to somebody.
MORGAN: Let me go to Arnold Barnett. I should just clarify $37 million of pounds, if we get ravels (ph) for a moment. Arnold Barnett, in terms of statistics, this is your area of expertise, MIT. Statistics don't always answer stories over the sea. But what is the most likely theory or theories based on statistics about all the information we now know?
ARNOLD BARNETT, PROFESSOR OF STATISTICS, MIT: Well, the statistics don't offer any clear indication of what's happened, although because we're not even sure of the fact. The event that seems to me most similar to this or might be most similar to these involved Ethiopian airlines in 1996. When hijackers stormed the cockpit, demanded to be taken some place that was unattainable given the fuel on the plane, but wouldn't let the pilots land.
What happened was that when the plane was just about to run out of fuel, the pilot attempted an emergency landing in the sea, in shallow water, some passengers did survive, but the vast majority onboard were killed. It is conceivable that we are in a situation like that where the pilots were ordered to do something that was -- that they couldn't do. But again, there are other precedent -- I'm sorry.
MORGAN: No, no, please continue, I'm sorry, (inaudible).
BARNETT: As far as suicide, we have had suicides, but in those cases, it seems that as soon as the opportunity arose, the pilots plunge the plane into the ground. Whereas here, it's -- there's talk about having been off course for something like four of five hours. So, I would agree with those who are skeptical of the theory that the pilots themselves were committing suicide.
MORGAN: OK. Stay with me panel. We'll come back again to Patrick Smith and get your theory on this. Everyone has a theory. I want to hear yours. You obviously very well-informed about planes and air travel. Interesting (ph) we are to think after the break.
MORGAN: The story of Flight 370 consumes us all, but why? Well, last year, it was the safest year in airline travels to date. So, one is obsessed without fear of flying. I'm back with Patrick Smith, Arnold Barnett, and Jeff Wise.
Patrick Smith, you're an airline pilot, what do you make, I mean, everyone's got theory. I've got a theory that changes every hour and it's based on the latest reports and so on. What is your best advice, best informed theory, can be no more than that?
SMITH: I'm not sure that I have one, you know, Mr. Wise's suggestion, I think, is something that's conceivable and we're hearing a lot of these conceivable ideas. But, although they're conceivable, they're not very likely. Meanwhile, you know, to me, I think the most fascinating aspect of the story now is that it's become, for lack of a better term, transcendent. And by that, I mean, it's no longer a story about an airplane crash. It's a mystery story. And people are watching it the way they watch a celebrity murder trial. And now, the verdict, so to speak, isn't guilty or not guilty. It's going to be where and when do they find the airplane.
And my theory there is, once that happens, the story loses its mojo and nobody cares anymore, which is unfortunate for a couple of reasons. One, being the fact that the questions we really should be asking are what happened onboard at the airplane? That's the question we should be asking, not where is the airplane? And I'm afraid when we get to that point, assuming we do, people are going to lost interest.
MORGAN: Well, well look, let me jump in. Let me jump in, because I think that, you know, we're running about an hour saying conspiracy theories. Some of them are conspiracy theories. Some of them are perfectly, in my view, perfectly reasonable theories to be airing and debating. Everybody is speculating. But surely, it's better to speculate and perhaps try collectively with all the brain power we can amassed on earth, possible theories. It could be investigated in the current situation, which is even the world's finest aviation experts working at airlines around the world haven't got a clue.
SMITH: Well, I think what's happening is the lack of evidence. It's just inspiring people and pushing people to these more fringe theories, because they don't know what else to come up with. And to some extent, that's the age that we live in. This has become kind of human nature for us, you know, the internet is all talking about it. And meanwhile ...
MORGAN: Right, you're right, but again, but again, Patrick. Patrick, let me jump in again there, because it's quite important point you're making and some people may agree with this. But again, I say to you, what else is expected to happen when you have such conflicting reports from the Malaysian authorities who are responsible in this investigation, who tells us one thing, one thing -- one day, one of days (ph).
So, I had a heart-rending interview with the wife of one the passengers last night, absolutely tear-jerking interview. And I want her to get answers. I want her to be treated better than she's being treated. And I think that trying to explore the theories can possibly be helpful. I don't see it as anything other than a rational response by people ...
WISE: Piers, can I jump in?
MORGAN: ... given the upholding behavior of the authorities.
WISE: Can I jump in?
MORGAN: Jeff Wise, Jeff Wise, yes.
WISE: You know, you eluded to, you know, the importance of facts getting out. There's been a lot of complains I've been following the coverage, a lot of complains about the Malaysian authorities. And look, they're not United States. We have the most advanced communications and transportation infrastructure in the world. We've got a fantastic NTSB. It's unfair to judge the Malaysians in the basis of our own agency. And people who are complaining about the Malaysians now, the reasons that the Malaysians are in charge of the investigation now is that, nobody knows where the plane is, and it's a Malaysian flag carrier.
The instinct that that plane turns up somewhere else, it will become the jurisdiction of that country. So, if this plane turns up in Burma, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan or wherever it may turn up. There's a lot of places that are going to way worse than Malaysia. And so, I think, we should go a little bit easy on criticizing Malaysians.
MORGAN: Well, I'm not so sure about that. Because I think that -- I've spoken to this poor woman last night. I think we should be going harder on the Malaysians actually and tell them to get their acting gear and to start producing some proper evidence, and if they had something that is cogent, put it out there quickly. And ...
WISE: What I'm saying is though that the ...
MORGAN: ... to trick their poor families, sitting there waiting for news in a better way than they all currently doing. So, I don't agree with that. Let me go back to Arnold Barnett. Statistically again, this is, you know, this is purely based on what has happened in the past, I get that. But of all these scenarios, pilot suicide, common gearing, hijacking, mechanical failure, they're totally bizarre, a meteorite hitting it, who knows. Of all these theories, what statistically from everything that we can see from analysis the most likely?
BARNETT: That's a very difficult question to answer because any numbers I would give you or assessments or themselves, after all, was said and done opinions. I would say that, the facts that have emerged now seem to me to make impossible that this was an accident, that it seems more plausible that something deliberate happened, whether it was the pilots or those who forced themselves on the pilots. We can look in the past and see examples of both. I would tend -- if you wanted me to make a guess and it's really just a guess. I would guess that the pilots were under duress and they were forced into actions that may ultimately have led to the distraction of the plane.
MORGAN: Well, that's certainly seems to be the theory that the U.S. authorities. Well, -- and just to remind people of our story the top of the show, Barbara Starr, CNN correspondent reporting that U.S. authorities believed there is a highly, likely probability for more that they have said is lying on the bottom of the Indian Ocean, we just don't know that, that's not -- when it comes to the fact that that is the theory the American administration is working on certainly. To my panel, thank you all very much. For the families of the 239 people onboard Flight 370, these six days have been absolute agony. When we come back, we'll talk to a woman as exactly what they're going through, and the things that's going to help families of crash victims.
MORGAN: The families of 239 people onboard Flight 370 in anguish tonight. And sadly, my next guest knows all too well what is like. Heidi Snow, lost her fiance in the crash of TWA Flight 800. She's the founder ACCESS, AirCraft Casualty Emotional Support Services, also the author of "Surviving Sudden Loss: Stories from Those Who Have Lived It." And Heidi Snow joins me now. Welcome to you Heidi Snow.
You suffered the appalling tragedy of your fiance Michel Breistroff who died on that infamous TWA Flight 800 in July 1996. I want to play, before I speak to you, a clip from a really heart-rending interview I did last night with Danica Weeks, and her husband Paul is on the missing plane. I want to play you what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANICA WEEKS, WIFE OF FLIGHT 370 PASSENGER: That's the toughest part, everyday day waking up and just speaking, you know, you're looking on the news and seeing that, you know, there's nothing and there's no calls for Malaysia to say, we've found something. And God, everyday it just seems like it's an eternity, it's an absolute eternity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Heidi, you've been in that position, it was five weeks before you really knew what had happened to Michel. What kind of advice can you offer to people like Danica Weeks who are going through this absolute wrenching torment right now?
HEIDI SNOW, LOST FIANCE IN TWA FLIGHT 800: Well, after my lost, I founded AirCraft Casualty Emotional Support Services, because one of the things I found most important was being able to talk about it and to have people who could listen during this process. Because at this point I was doing everything I could to keep him alive. So anyone who would listen and you would validate for the thoughts I was having was really critical for me. And I was lucky enough to have a woman who lost her fiance on Pan AM 103, eight years earlier meet with me and she really have validate a lot of the feelings I had.
At that point, I really held hope, that maybe he didn't actually board the plane or that he had somehow survived or somehow got saved. Because when there's no remains and no confirmation, you really do hold on to hope. And that was very critical in my survival process during that time. But most importantly having somebody to talk to who had been there before, helped me tremendously, which is what let do to found the organization ACCESS.
And what we have found since this crash, we've had a lot of calls from other people who are really brought back to day one, who remember that waiting time. We've had calls for help from the people, from hundreds of different air disasters over time, and so many of them have this waiting process.
One of our board members lost her father in a private plane crash and it took three weeks before they even located the aircraft. And for her, she's been through that. And it's -- and really our organization validate this specific need that with most sudden losses we really -- usually can figure what happened. But with air disasters, it can be weeks, months, years, and sometimes, we just never know.
We never know what our last moments were like even after we got confirmation that they were actually board the plane. There's so many questions. And we often don't even know the cause of the crash.
MORGAN: Right. And so, in this case, they didn't know what even happened to the plane which is -- I would imagine even more agonizing for these poor families. Heidi Snow, we're going to take a short break. We will comeback and talk about how the families of crash victims can get help, help they desperately need.
MORGAN: Back with me now is Heidi Snow who lost her fiance Michel in the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996. Heidi, tell us how families of crash victims can get help. Heidi, this the crucial point, we've got about a minute left. But, how can these families get the proper support?
SNOW: So, at ACCESS, we have 250 grief mentors who have all lost loved ones in air disasters, who are on-call for the families. And so, we have help line in our website which is www.accesshelf.org, where people can request care and then they'll be partnered up with somebody else of like experience. We match mothers to mothers, siblings to siblings, spouses to spouses. And for example, in Danica's case, we do have people who lost spouses, who have young children, who could benefit from talking to somebody, who has been there.
MORGAN: Great. Heidi Snow ...
SNOW: And ...
MORGAN: ... thank you so much. It's incredibly important and very useful. Anything you want to add very quickly. Sorry. And she can't -- I'm sorry Heidi, we got to leave it there. I'm so sorry. I just lost contact with you.
We're going to go now to Chicagoland, starts right now.