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Piers Morgan Live

Mystery of Flight 370

Aired March 25, 2014 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: This is Piers Morgan Live. Breaking news, the search is back on in the Southern Indian Ocean. 12 planes crisscrossing in an area of nearly 31,000 square miles. Planes from China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, the U.S., and New Zealand are searching for any trace at all of Flight 370. Also, a final partial ping from the plane, eight minutes after the last complete transmission, what does send us clue could mean to the investigation. This all comes after furious families stormed in the Malaysian embassy in Beijing to find the answers.

Of course, the landslide in Washington State that killed at least 14 people, the deaths are expected to rise. A news conference will take place in this hour. We'll bring that to you live. And also, the woman who's praying for miracle tonight as she waits for a word on her husband of 43 years.

On our Big Story, of course, remains Flight 370. We're covering every angle of scene as reporters all over the globe. Kyung Lah is in Perth, Australia, David McKenzie is in Beijing, and Richard Quest is here with me in New York.

We'll start with Kyung Lah on Perth where the search planes are taking off tonight, although it's morning obviously in Perth. Kyung, clearly the weather conditions have improved enough for these planes to take off. How optimistic are they given the smaller amount of ocean they now have to check. They may have success quite early in tracking down the debris if it exists there.

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're optimistic that it appears to be shrinking, but at the same time, they are under a number of ticking clocks, the first being that we're looking at a very small window of good weather. The weather forecast is supposed to take a turn for the worst tomorrow. There's going to be increasing winds, increasing rain, it's going to make tomorrow a much more difficult day.

So today, while conditions are not ideal, they are looking at a good window. So, the search planes are taking off. They stagger throughout the day. You mentioned all those countries, all those planes, 12 of them taking to the air, and the first of which should be arriving to the search area right now, only up two hours, once they get to the site, they have to make that four-hour trip back. So, very tough conditions, Piers. They are under the gun and they are pressing forward. MORGAN: And Kyung, the key development in the investigation itself appears to be this revelation that there was a final partial ping that they believe came from the missing plane. What do we know about this?

LAH: Well, it's not completely understood. So the impact on the actual search is unknown right now. The way it's being read here on the ground is that they're going to keep moving forward. It's a partial ping. It appears to be some sort of off line communication. It's not really quite understood. So as far as the search teams are concerned, they're going to plot ahead. They're going to keep moving forward. What is important is what they do know. They do know that there was some debris spotted on Monday by an Australian plane. A beacon was dropped in that area of debris. The Australian ship is going to be heading there today to try to pick up that debris if it is still near that beacon and bring it up. They are hoping it will be good news.

MORGAN: Kyung Lah, thank you very much indeed. David McKenzie is joining us in Beijing where angry families marched to the Malaysian embassy today. Obviously, increasing anger David, from these families towards the Malaysian officials and government. What can you tell me about what happened today?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Piers, they stormed out to that hotel where they've been hold up for more than two weeks and went to the Malaysian embassy by foot. They even managed to reach some of the Malaysian embassy security. Now certainly, it's very unusual to have a protest of this kind in time. They're allowed to at least possibly (ph) allowed by the communist party. The family say they want proof that this plane went down.

MORGAN: And David ...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't dare to. I have no courage. Everyday, I'm scared to call my sons because once I call them, they will cry out "daddy, mommy" and my heart can't handle it. I don't want to hurt my children.


MORGAN: And David, it sounds that of any ...

MCKENZIE: Well, certainly, that's the more emotional side.

MORGAN: Yes. I should say that is a very, very emotional, very angry, but where would all this actually take things because presumably there aren't going to be any real answers to satisfy anyone on the family's side completely until they find wreckage or clear evidence of this plane having actually crashed in the Ocean.

MCKENZIE: Well, that's right Piers. This puts a lot of pressure on the search as Kyung was talking about to find some debris because these family members don't want to have any or don't want to get any closure it seems until they get that debris. They don't necessarily believe the Malaysian announcement that they based on the date (ph) of this plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean. So you saw that anger spilling out.

Certainly, it's a tough spot for the Chinese government. They are continuing to point fingers at the Malaysians sending a special envoy to Malaysia to help with the investigation. So certainly, the pressure is rising that's almost like a pressure cooker here that we saw boil over in Beijing with that protest, Piers.

MORGAN: David McKenzie, thank you very much.

And the breaking news tonight on this investigation, (inaudible) a final partial ping from Flight 370. He will explain what it means. He's Jon Ostrower of the Wall Street Journal. He joins me on the phone.

Jon, you're reporting tonight about this partial ping, how significant do the investigators think it is?

Can you hear me John? I think we lost contact with Jon Ostrower. Let me go to Richard Quest. Richard, you know about this report?


MORGAN: Clearly, it is significant but how much is it going to be helpful perhaps in targeting where this plane has gone down and why?

QUEST: It is going to be extremely significant because there was six handshakes where the satellite says "I'm here" the plane says "I'm here." Those six took us way down into the South Indian Ocean. Now, when the last one took place, you've got a very large area where you could be talking about. But eight minutes later from 19 minutes past, that four handshake is at 11 minutes past, at 90 minutes past, you got this partial handshake.

Now what that means is you can now narrow down. Once you've worked out why it's likely to have done this partial handshake, that could either -- that's could be the plane sending up to the satellite "I'm here" or an electrical fault. In other words, something activated the system on the plane to try and do (inaudible). Now, at this morning's briefing, Inmarsat said, this time, we do not fully understand it and it's subject to further work, ongoing work.

Tonight, Inmarsat is saying we do not believe. We are not looking at this as being some human intervention trying to activate the system. What does it mean? Long and short of it. There was a moment when the plane activated this system and best view seems to be, the end of its fuel line, it's in extremist and that's the point upon which the plane is going down.

MORGAN: I think we've got Jon Ostrower on the line now. Jon, can you hear me now?


MORGAN: And Jon, this report about the partial ping, I suppose a key interpretation of this depending on who you talk to is -- does it indicate perhaps more mechanical failure than a more nefarious reason for why this plane went down?

OSTROWER: Well, that's the key to understanding this ping. And really, what investigators are looking at right now is what is its significance. So what actually causes a partial ping on the aircraft. What's really important about this particular ping is that it's different from all the other pings that came before it. The ones allowed Inmarsat to determine the path of the airplane where it dealt and they're looking today in the Indian Ocean.

This particular ping began on Flight 370, rather than began in an automated system in the ground stations that Inmarsat actually operates. So that's going to be a really important guide for investigators moving forward as they figure out what exactly would cause a partial ping.

MORGAN: Let me ask you Jon and I've spoken to you several times in the whole process of this three weeks now news story. Richard yesterday when we spoke was saying he still believes nefarious reasons behind why this plane went down. What do you think from everything that you've seen and studied on this?

OSTROWER: You know, honestly, Piers, it gone to my head, I still don't know what happened. I don't have a clear theory guiding one way or another. What we're trying to do is let the facts come out as they may without trying to preordain them against the given theory that we're working with. Certainly, what we have is another bread crumb, you know, in a series of bread crumbs that have lead us from -- all the way from Kuala Lumpur, to the Gulf of Thailand, to the Andaman Sea, and now here, you know, off that coast of Australia, you know, that was (inaudible) of miles from where this flight first begin and where anyone really thought it was even going to be -- two weeks ago.

MORGAN: Jon Ostrower, thank you very much. Richard, just coming back to you quickly before I can call my next guest, you said that yesterday, did anything with this partial ping today slightly changed your thinking?

QUEST: Well, I'm going to just ...

MORGAN: I mean, all we can go is each piece of new information ...

QUEST: Correct. And I'm in the middle. I'm in the middle. I see the evidence sort of nefarious but I can also see the evidence for mechanical. And I can argue, as Jon has said, I can knock each one of those down. What I do want to point out is that if you look at the map that we were showing today by the authorities, you see that way the plane circumnavigated the Indonesian Coast. It didn't go straight over Indonesia, it went round Indonesia. More evidence of perhaps nefarious, I don't know. I do now know, we must not jump to a conclusion one way or the other. I mean ...

MORGAN: All you can do is go on as is -- each new piece of information comes out.

QUEST: Exactly. Pieces ...

MORGAN: You have to assess it in the most expert manner you can.

QUEST: Pieces of the jigsaw being put on the table until we finally get the picture.

MORGAN: One last question Richard, does everybody involved in this who is a genuine, bona fide expert concur on one thing. And if you find the wreckage, you solve the problem. You solve the mystery of what brought it down.

QUEST: Oh no question, yes. Find the wreckage. You find the black boxes. Find the black boxes, you know what was happening on the engines and all the systems, find that in the cockpit voice recorder, you find out what happened.

MORGAN: And on the black boxes, is there a ticking clock? I've read that there may be seven days left for the black boxes to still function. Is that true?

QUEST: It's not like an alarm with a timer, it won't just suddenly stop out for 30 days, but at the 30 days, it will degrade. So it will be harder to hear the ping and up to 35 to 37 days, the ping may not be there at all. Yes, there is definitely a time running against the investigators, but there was as well in 447 and they found the black boxes two years after.

MORGAN: Richard, your energy levels, as always, are quite battling to me. We will -- you're back on the midnight, right?

QUEST: OK. 11, midnight.

MORGAN: You're doing a great job. Thank you very much indeed.

I'll turn now to Lieutenant Commander John Balbi. He is the officer- in-charge of the U.S. Navy's P-3 detached with Kuala Lumpur. He joins me now on the phone. Welcome to you commander.

Let me ask you this. This is obviously a very, very difficult operation. But how hopeful are you and the others involved in this that they will actually find this wreckage if it exist in the area they now believe it is.

JOHN BALBI, LT. CMDR., U.S. NAVY: Piers, good evening and thanks for having me. They're very helpful. We've got a lot of high-technology aircraft that's better out there. As a previous guess, it alluded to the weather has been a bit of hamper recently. But if there's something out where, we will eventually find them.

MORGAN: And you go some very high-tech stuff including the P-8 Poseidon. Tell me about that and the significance of being able to use that in this search.

BALBI: It's extremely significant. Both the P-3 and the P-8 are maritime patrol air crafts really designed to patrol the seas for variety of things including search and rescue mission. So, you really will to start with the larger area search and try to narrow down identifying anything that radar picks up with our optical cameras or as we're always getting eyes on a lot of times or just be observer looking at the window that we'll find some of the smaller objects that the radar won't necessarily see floating on the surface.

MORGAN: Well, commander, you and everyone involved in this is doing a fantastic job. We wish you all the great best of luck obviously in tracking down what is left in this plane, if it is crashed, where people believed has crashed. Thank you very much for joining me.

BALBI: Thank you.

MORGAN: Well next, the U.S. Navy's black box locator has arrived in Perth. Can it get to the search area before time runs out? I'll ask my aviation experts.


MORGAN: Our breaking news tonight, planes from six countries searching at the moment for any trace of Flight 370. Joining me now that is on search is David Soucie, author of "Why Planes Crash," Keith Wolzinger, he's a commercial pilot that fly 777S, Bill Nye, he was an engineer for Boeing and worked on so called black boxes, and Miles O'Brien, a pilot and CNN Aviation Analyst. Welcome to all of you.

And let me just talk to you David Soucie. We spoken a lot yesterday about all this, the significance of this partial ping to you is how dramatic?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: It's really a game changer. I really believed that it is. Here's what I think might have happened there Piers. The Satcom boxes are way in the back of the aircraft. They're in the back in the upper compartment right below the Satcom antenna. And that's what they've been receiving is this pings from that Satcom antenna. A long way in the front is where the ACARS is and that's what stopped giving us information. That's where it's all gathered then it sends information from the aircraft.

So, what I suspect to happen at this point is Satcom is designed that when something changes, when there's an emergency signal of any kind, it starts to try to connect which is not what we got when it first made that turn. It went at 1:07, and if some emergency had happened at that time, you would have expected it to then connect.

MORGAN: So does it reaffirm or change your position which yesterday was you believed something catastrophic had happened and you probably wasn't, you know, a nefarious reason behind this.

SOUCIE: Yeah, absolutely it does for a number of reasons, but the biggest reason in my mind right now about this partial ping is that that Satcom antenna not only receives information from ACARS, but it gets the information straight from the engines as well. It doesn't have to go through the ACARS to get there. So let's ...

MORGAN: So, what does it tell you?

SOUCIE: Well, (inaudible) if this ...

MORGAN: In Layman's terms, what does it tell you?

SOUCIE: If the engines quit from lack of fuel, whatever it is, it would have sent a signal to Satcom and said "Let's connect."

MORGAN: Bill Nye, let me come to you. You worked to Boeing. You know about the black boxes, you've been following the stories keenly as anybody else. What do you think of where we are now three weeks nearly into this?

BILL NYE, SCIENCE EDUCATOR: Well, what I would like to say is. I don't think it's any one thing. I think that it's going be a series of problems that compounded and it sounds listening to these experts about telemetry or communication with satellites, it sounds like there was some sort of foul play or somebody within intent at the beginning. But then, by the end, that was something else and if you like to get all span up about this stuff, as we all do, there are maybe confederates who are waiting also to see what's going to happen where it would really cause their plan to go wrong whatever their maybe and this will be confederates living on land with conducting their lives and they are also waiting to see what happens.

So, once this thing is resolved, there could be another attempt that whatever was really -- this was driving. But I'll bet you it's -- well, it's hard to say. I'm pretty sure it's more than one thing.


NYE: And this race against time for the pinger is important, but if we don't get the pinger, we'll go to conventional means or extraordinary means but -- or conventional as we did for the crash of the coast of South America two years ago.

MORGAN: Miles O'Brien, let's talk if we can to a pure factual analysis because there are a million theories, some of them outrageous, some of them perhaps correct, we just don't know at this stage. But from all the facts that we now have and drip, drip, drip, little bits come out each day, today, the partial ping. What is your aviation expert head tell you is the most likely sequence of events here?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, we don't have a lot of facts is number one Piers, that's one of the big problems in all of these. And frankly, the best primary factual information we have right now comes from -- is Inmarsat data, which we'd been talking about. And the Inmarsat data, the Inmarsat satellite is not a satellite tracking device. They have done a clever bit of work to try to make it do this job using the time it takes from the airplane to the satellite and back to figure out timing as well as the Doppler shift to help to understand the speed and direction.

It's pretty clever reverse engineering. So, if you look at that track, you see -- what you see initially would totally butchers the idea that there was some sort of rapid decompression, a quick turn back and it descent down to 12,000 feet. Now that was -- the altitude is based on other information, military radar from Malaysia. Right after that point, I don't see anything that would indicate anything that was willful act. But then there are two turns after that. Two turns, one to the northwest, and then one to the south. What makes it appear to avoid the land mass of Indonesia.

It's very difficult in an emergency situation to come up with a scenario where that would happen. If they're in a serious situation, the thing to do is get the plane down and get it to the nearest airport. So, could they have put in some way points that were stray and went off on a different course and become incapacitated? Yes. I feel like that's less likely tonight.

MORGAN: Let me go to Keith Wolzinger, you are a commercial pilot. You know, you fly 777s. You've heard all the experts tonight. You're a guy who's actually been at the helm of one of these things. What is your view?

KEITH WOLZINGER, COMMERCIAL PILOT WHO FLIES 777S: My view still leans more toward human intervention, either action by the crew, action by the crew under duress or action by a third party commandeering the aircraft, and having this technical skill and knowledge to maneuver the airplane. The idea that a catastrophic event could have occurred seems less likely because the distance the airplane traveled and the course changes as Miles pointed out, the course changes of the airplane underwent. I don't see how a catastrophic event would have sent the airplane midway between Malaysia and Vietnam to the South Indian Ocean.

MORGAN: Right. You see David Soucie, it's fascinating because although we don't have a lot facts, actually, we're starting to get enough where experienced pilots and aviation experts can almost -- will start to rule things out because ...

SOUCIE: Right.

MORGAN: ... it doesn't make any sense.

SOUCIE: Yes. Well, if we just look at the facts that I'm accepting with a good reliability rate and something that I can say, "Yes, that feels right me, it feels good to me." We know that the 1:07 attempt for the ACARS was normal. I'm not convinced that the transponders we're turned off, I think it's possible that it just didn't receive a request to send the information that far away from the radar station. So let's take that off the table for a just second.

Now, the aircraft drops the 12,000 feet and makes a turn. The only airport I can see that it made have been attempted to get to which would make sense is Penang, because Penang is a maintenance base for Malaysia Air. That's a place that, if I had a problem with an aircraft, that's where I wound head.

MORGAN: But if you -- let me ask you again a layman question. If that is what they would do, why wouldn't they just told the airline or somebody, air traffic control?

SOUCIE: There's a couple of reasons for that. We talked a lot about the oxygen mask, if you have a rapid decompression which would explain why they dove and why they made turn back to the maintenance base and the oxygen was -- you grab your oxygen mask, when it comes out like an alien, you put it over and you release it and sucks down into your face. If you then think I'm transmitting, you're not, because there's PTT button, a push-to-talk button that is right next to that mask, it's easily forgotten especially in emergency situations. So it's possible that they ...

MORGAN: Let me get back to Keith Wolzinger here for a moment, because as a pilot if you were involved in this kind of scenario and there was something catastrophic going on, would you dive down to the nearest airport as David is suggesting, is that possibility here to Penang for example?

WOLZINGER: Assume there's a possibility, particularly if it's a depressurization or fire or smoke in the cockpit that would certainly the first course of action to get the airplane turn toward the nearest airport and on the ground.

MORGAN: And let me ask ...

WOLZINGER: And -- But everybody know in the process.

MORGAN: Right. Let me ask you this, most people I've spoken to about is -- and everyone still gripped because the mystery remains. They all say the same thing which is why has nobody on the entire plane been able to make any kind of contact or communication with somebody outside it? Keith Wolzinger, for you.

WOLZINGER: I have no idea why anyone would not be able to communicate from the aircraft, the cellular phones don't work at high altitude, they don't work offshore, they have to be in range with a ground based tower. There's lots of reason why communication might not be possible.

MORGAN: OK. Let's take a short break. Please stay with me panel. When we come back, we have other breaking news on tragedy in this country. A deadly landslide on Washington State that killed 14 people. I'll take you live tonight's news conference and then we will be back with more of this expert panel debate on the missing plane.


MORGAN: In our breaking news, on a deadly landslide in Washington state this weekend. Rescuers were frantically searching for days but hopes are deeming tonight.

CNN's George Howell is in Darrington, Washington. We're awaiting a live news conference. George, the figure last night of people who are unaccounted for was 176 and 14 dead. We expect the death toll to rise and what do we know about the 176 number?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sadly, we do expect the death toll to rise. We understand that search and rescue crews today pulled more victims from the mud here in Snohomish County. They are not releasing a number at this point. We expect to learn more. We hope to learn more. I hear in this news conference here in the next few minutes that CNN continues to monitor.

But what we do know as far as the 176 people who are missing and unaccounted for. It is very important to break that number down and explain it. It's 176 reports. So it could be a report that a family member put out on a website, it could be a reporter came out on Twitter. Or it could very well be a vague description.

For instance, a neighbor is saying, you know, my neighbor Bill lived there, that's where he should be but, you know, he's missing so Bill could be an identity that these investigators are looking into.

The hope, Piers, is that number goes down. But as we saw yesterday, it went up from 108 to 176 and, you know, it very well could go up again. We know that the investigators are doing their best to look for as many of those reports across the spectrum and combine them, put them all together and then start bringing the numbers down.

MORGAN: And, George, have they found anybody who has survived in this appalling aftermath of what happened?

HOWELL: No. You know, on Saturday, that was the last time that search and rescue team say that they heard people, you know, scream for help, they're trying to get out, you know, trying to be heard.

Saturday was the last day that that happened. And ever since, there have been no sounds coming from the mud and we know that they have not pulled any survivors from it. Instead, they pulled victims from the mud. We know at this point, 14 people confirmed dead. We are expecting here in the new conference that here any moment now and to learn -- hopefully learn more about what they discovered, potentially learn numbers that could add to the death toll.

MORGAN: Well, George, stay with us. Obviously we'll go live as soon as that conference starts.

I want to turn now to the family of a man who's been missing since the landslide. Barbara Welsh hasn't heard her from her husband of 43 years since he left home on a Saturday morning for his job as an electrician. With her are her sons, Chris and Wayne. Welcome to all of you and our hearts go out to you and all the families. It's an agonizing wait and obviously desperate scenes down there.

Let me ask you Barbara, when was the last time that you saw your husband?

BARBARA WELSH, HUSBAND MISSING IN LANDSLIDE: Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and he was supposed to be home by 12 and I never saw him after that.

MORGAN: And he was an electrician, Bill. The steel had drive and he was hit in, we believe, in the direct path of the landslide.

WELSH: Yeah. He is. Yes. He was putting in -- helping put in a hot water tank for someone that was ready to move into their home.

MORGAN: And Barbara, you were married -- been married 43 years. He was ... WELSH: Yeah. We have.

MORGAN: ... a great man. He survived Vietnam and was a great man.

WELSH: Right.

MORGAN: How are you holding up as a family?

WELSH: I think so. It's not easy. It's not easy.

MORGAN: Do you still have -- do you still have hope that he ...

WELSH: I know that ...

MORGAN: ... and other people ...

WELSH: I do. Yes. Yeah. My husband's a survivor and I believe in him and that's all you can do. Just keep believing.

MORGAN: Wayne, if I could talk to you, you've been to the devastated area. You've actually been involved with the rescue teams. Tell me what you've been doing and describe to me the kind of scene that you've encountered.

WAYNE WELSH, FATHER MISSING IN LANDSLIDE: I've just been down here at fire station and seeing all the volunteers come out of the wood work from the community and they really -- this area has really come out to help -- to give hope especially with the families who needs hope. We just cannot give up, you know. People survive 9/11 for a long time afterwards. They can survive this.

And I do see disasters quite a bit. I'm (inaudible) firefighter for the United States government. As a private contractor and I see that, you know, it's just the knowledge you get from all the structure and stuff (ph) people can last long a time out there.

MORGAN: And Chris, let me ask you along with all the other families there. President Obama has spoken about this, FEMA is involved, the Army Corps of Engineers -- you don't have your earpiece. Let me just wait for you to ...

OK. Chris, you can hear me now I think. I was just saying Chris, is it a comfort to the families that ...


MORGAN: ... the president's take an active role of the Army Corps of Engineers or FEMA are all down there?

C. WELSH: I'm not hearing it now.

B. WELSH: He's not hearing it now but ...

MORGAN: I don't hear you, Chris.

B. WELSH: ... I know that ... MORGAN: Let me ask you Barbara if I may. I'm sorry until we can get Chris to hear me.


MORGAN: Barbara, do you feel that enough is being done? The president's being involved, FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers. Do you feel you're getting enough support from local and federal level?

B. WELSH: I think it's great what we're doing. I just think it could have been a little sooner but that's, you know, my personal thought. But I think all the resources are being used and I appreciate that and I just wish somebody could tell where Bill is and they can go for him. But that's my, you know, that's my thought.

MORGAN: And Barbara, for those who don't know Bill. Describe him to me.

B. WELSH: He was a very kind man. He can be opinionated. You can tell when he likes someone and loves them which is me. I don't know what else, you know, just a very special guy.

C. WELSH: I'm not getting audio.

B. WELSH: He is just a true ...

C. WELSH: No audio.

B. WELSH: ... man. And I think he's done a good job of taking care of his family and this was just a disaster. I figured if anything, he was out there helping other people in the south if he survives it, you know.

MORGAN: Well, Barbara ...

B. WELSH: But he didn't ...

MORGAN: ... you must be ...

B. WELSH: ... I wasn't able to ...

MORGAN: It must be an agonizing time for all of you. Thank you so much for sparing some time to come on the show tonight and talk about Bill and our prayers will be with you as a family that he has managed to survive this and that he will be reunited with you all. Thank you very much indeed.

B. WELSH: Thank you.


MORGAN: We go now live to the press conference in Arlington, Washington where (inaudible) start.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the last few days and the things that I have seen, the love and support for this community will sustain me for many years to come. And with that, I would like to invite Chief Hots to the microphone.

FIRE CHIEF TRAVIS HOTS, SNOHOMISH COUNTRY FIRE: Thank you, sir. Hello. My name is Chief Travis Hots and I'd like to give you a report on today's operation. We had a very -- a very challenging day today with the rain and it just further complicated things.

We continued our search and recovery operation on the entire slide area. Unfortunately, we didn't find any signs of life and we didn't locate anybody alive and so that's the disappointing part. Our condolences go out to those -- to the families that have lost people here. And I say that on behalf of every single person that is working in the scene in putting a tremendous amount of time and effort and hours and they're doing a great job.

We're utilizing a lot of different resources out here. Those resources that we're using were used in the Snohomish County Sheriff's department helicopter, Snohomish County volunteer search and rescue personnel, reutilizing search (inaudible) both search and cadaver dogs. We've got the FEMA urban search and rescue team. There's about 70 of those members coming.

We've got heavy equipment on site as well. And some of the heavy equipment is everything from, you know, dozers (ph) to small little like bobcats that are like little excavator bobcats so that, you know, we can work in a real smaller area where there's a lot of debris. When you think of a dozer, you think of -- or a trackle (ph). When you think of a trackle, you think of something that's very large. We're getting of those little snow (ph) bobcat trackles (ph) and they're proven to be very, very effective.

Some of the stuff we're using are actually have the equipment like when we get into areas that, you know, we can work. The national guards, USAR team is also here and it's going to be instrumental in helping us. And of course our regional technical rescue teams from this region have been out there working tirelessly.

This makes up over 200 responders that are here on site working very, very hard to try to locate victims and hopefully find somebody that's alive. That is still our number one priority out there.

I visited the site today and I went over to the Darrington site and as a fire chief, I believe it's important for me to get out there in the trenches where my people are working and find out what their needs are and see how we can better support their needs in the operation.

I actually used to serve on a technical rescue team when I work for the Marysville fire district and I happen to meet up with some of my old colleagues that I worked with there. And they were taking about a 15-minute break just to get a meal and I talked to them. And I worked with those guys long enough where they're not the type of people that would, you know, just tell me I want to hear. I say, "How things are going? Are you getting the support that you need?" And the words that I heard from some of those folks is, "We're getting all the support we need. It's great seeing all this federal state regional resources coming in." And one of the captains even said to me, he says and he calls me Travis, he says, "Travis." he says, "It seems like the system is firing on all eight cylinders." And so I was very please to hear that, because there not the type of people that would, you know, just tell me what I want to hear.

I visited another area at the site and there was a lot of work going on. And here we are, we're several days into this operation. And if any of you have ever seen ...


MORGAN: Let us break off from that press conference that's going. We'll obviously bring you any developments that they reveal about the search for people down there in Washington State from that dreadful landslide. We'll take a short commercial break and we'll be back.


MORGAN: (inaudible) of a plane headed to the search area tonight looking for clues for the fate of Flight 370.

And back with me now David Soucie, author of "Why Planes Crash", Keith Wolzinger a Commercial Pilot of Flight 777, and Miles O'Brian, a pilot and CNN Aviation Analyst.

Miles O'Brian, when we look at now what's going to happen with this search, they only have a window apparently of maybe 36 hours. In your experience of this and given the terrain they're looking at, this ocean is extremely wild and the best of tides, (inaudible) the weather is bad. How realistic is it do you think that we're going to find the wreckage of this plane?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANAYST: Well, I think the odds are stacked way against them. And even if you find something floating on the surface of that churning Southern Ocean, that doesn't mean you're anywhere near where the rest of the wreckage is at the bottom of the sea. There's obviously a lot of drift. Now, they can do some calculations and do some looking. But just take of that video that's going on beside me there, that's a nice day on the Southern Ocean.

So it's difficult conditions. It's autumn and it's going to get worse as the whether gets colder down there. They need to break soon. And, you know, those black boxes will be preserved for a long time. I don't know that we're going to see them anytime soon.

MORGAN: David Soucie, you've got some interesting new information that you've got. I think from an engineer, is that right?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SOCIETY ANAYST: Well, yeah, I did. I talked to one of lead auditors down there who worked for the maintenance base that took care of this aircraft. He also worked as lead auditor at Malaysia and went into their facilities and reveals a few things about the black boxes. I wanted to talk about that, because the batteries for the black boxes are tested on the sea check every thousand hours. But in addition every year they should be changed. I asked him, I said, "So what's the chance it's going to make 30 days or past 30 days?" He said it won't, he said his audit proved that those batteries we're stored in very hot, very humid area. He wrote that up as a problem that needed to be addressed and yet it wasn't. So those batteries in my estimation that it may not make seven days, it may have not made it today. So I'm very concerned about this investigation and the fact that we don't want to make the same mistake that we did with Air France 447, which to make the assumption that they were pinging at all.

And so overlook an area, go over and scan some place thinking, well we're not looking for anything but a ping. But what they should be looking for also as they're looking for that ping is with cameras down there checking to see what else is down there as well.

MORGAN: Keith Wolzinger, what is your reaction as a pilot who flied 777s to what you just heard?

KEITH WOLZINGER, COMMERCIAL PILOT WHO FLIES 777: Well, in a lot of cases the batteries don't last the full length of time that they're suppose to due storage conditions or environmental conditions as he just said. The emergency locator transmitters that are similar type of batteries, they're also subject to environmental conditions as well and the length of usable time might be degraded in that case as well.

MORGAN: Miles O'Brien, how critical should we be of the Malaysian government and Malaysian officials? That it doesn't really had to do -- analysis before, a lot of criticism being hit on their heads. How much of it is deserved in you opinion?

O'BRIEN: Well, I feel like we're watching them learn how to conduct an air crash investigation and that's an unfortunate thing. A steady hand and some experience would be good on this case. I was talking to former NTSB Chairman Jim Hall yesterday and he said, "You know, if a nation is buying something as complex as a triple seven, it should be able to demonstrate that as the expertise and the capability to perform and conduct a thorough investigation if something bad happens.

And that and if they can't, if they can't demonstrate that, perhaps there should some sort of memorandum of understanding with another nation that has that capability, in this case maybe Australia or New Zealand or the United Kingdom whatever the case may be.

So I think there's a responsibility when you're flying something as complex as a Boeing 777 to able to conduct an investigation like this, because it is really as we're -- and we're talking about at here right now, it is a global issue, the whole world wants to know.

And there are lot of Boeing 777in the air right now. And God forbid there is some sort of mechanical issue that has come to light in all of this that we don't know about.

MORGAN: Well stay with me -- when we come back, I want to play a little clip from an interview with President Jimmy Carter specifically about this and get your reaction to that.


MORGAN: Back with me now my aviation experts David Soucie, Keith Wolzinger and Miles O'Brien, and joining us James Halpen, a professor of Psychology and Counseling at Suny in New Paltz and the author of "Disaster and Mental Theory and Practice".

Welcome to you. What is the way that these families in particular can deal with this appalling situation where three weeks have gone by, you have the Malaysian Prime Minister declaring effectively it's over, the plane has crashed, everyone is believed dead but there are no bodies and no wreckage.

JAMES HALPEN, PROF. OF PSYCHOLOGY AND COUNSELING SUNY NEW PALTZ: Yeah, I mean these families whether it's the plane crash or the landslide it's strange that in fact they have that common characteristics of being severely traumatized where their fundamental assumptions about the world and themselves and other folks is just shattered. And there is also this uncertainty and ambiguity where they can't even begin to grieve this lost because they're hoping for a miracle.

MORGAN: Let me come back to you David Soucie, you had some addition information that you got from your sources.

SOUCIE: Yes, as well from this lead auditor of the maintenance division or maintenance department for Malaysian Air. What he was very concerned about and we talked about this air where in as directed before around the SATCOM antenna, where it's mounted. And it's kind of bit discounted and said, "Well, that didn't apply to this aircraft or maybe it wasn't that problem."

Well, he disagrees with that. He says that the way that they're inspecting that piece of metal up there is that the antenna is mounted and that the metal is covered with the ceiling. They do a visual inspection, if they don't see corrosion, they let it go, they said, "OK, that's good to go. He doesn't think that works because the cracks are hidden underneath that area.

MORGAN: We've just got some breaking news from the press conference into the landslide. Two additional bodies have been recovered from that landslide today in Washington.

Chief Travis Hots says that brings fatality rate to 16. But in addition, he said the teams have located another eight bodies, they're not being recovered yet from the (inaudible) that would take the death toll to at least 24 people. Obviously it dramatically increases that toll from the earlier numbers.

So we'll keep on top of that as the night goes on. Back with breaking news on the search for flight 370 we go live to Perth for final update after the break.


MORGAN: We'll go back to CNN's Kyung Lah who's live in Perth, Australia. Kyung, what is the latest now with the search that's been going on for the last few hours?

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now the very first of the plane should have reached the search area. They're circling, looking for any signs of debris from the air. On the sea, the Australian Naval vessels steaming to an area where debris was spotted on Monday, from the sky, from the sea hoping to retrieve some debris for this families and peers, they're working against a ticking clock.

Today's weather is good, tomorrow is expected to take a turn for the worst. Piers.

MORGAN: And if it takes a turn for the worst, Kyung, what is that mean in reality? Does that mean that no planes can go into that vicinity whatsoever?

LAH: Possibly and that would be extremely disappointing, because yesterday planes are grounded. If the weather is severe tomorrow, if the winds are high, if the waves are too high and the clouds are too low, they simply cannot fly.

MORGAN: Kyung Lah, thank you very much indeed for that report. David Soucie thank you, Keith Wolzinger thank you and Miles O'Brien, good to have you back as well.

That's all for us tonight. CNN Special Report, oil and water the Wreck of Exxon Valdez starts right now.