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Piers Morgan Live
Mystery of Flight 370
Aired March 27, 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 HOST: This is Piers Morgan Live.
Tonight, breaking news, the search for Flight 370 is back on. A multi-national force of 10 planes currently racing to the search area about 1,500 miles of Australia's west coast. The same area where five countries have now picked up satellite (inaudible) like debris. Are we finally on the right track? Is it the plane? And can we get there in time? Every passing day, winds and currents could push the objects further apart. And the next few days could be our very best chance to find what remained of missing Flight 370.
Tonight, I'll ask my experts, why are they taking so long, what's the truth about all those eyes in the sky, who can see what and why are they being so secretive about it all?
Our Big Story is of course Flight 370, the mystery remains. We're covering every angle with CNN's reporters all over the globe. Kyung Lah is in Perth, Australia, Sara Sidner is in Kuala Lumpur, Richard Quest is here with me in New York.
I want to start with Kyung Lah. Kyung, it's 9 a.m. in Perth, the search is resuming, the U.S. Seventh Fleet sending a second P8 Poseidon patrol aircraft to Perth. How significant is that?
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What it tells us is that they know they're searching in the right area. It's another breadcrumb, all of these satellite images that we're getting out of this region. So they're getting close. And they want to have the best tools to go and try to retrieve them, to try to figure out and triangulate. Is this in fact the debris?
The P8 Poseidon is perhaps the best item in the toolbox for the U.S. military because it is a long range aircraft. It's an old weather aircraft. And when we were speaking to the P8 crew yesterday, we are embedded to go onboard the P8 today, what they were saying is that ice is a factor. It's starting to turn as far as the weather there, the cooler temperatures.
So this plane, Piers, is best equipped to deal with ice.
MORGAN: And in terms of the various satellite images, Kyung, are these images that they pick up anyway as a matter of course but they've just now looked and then thought they maybe a possible link? I mean, do you get this kind of imagery all the time? LAH: Well, the governments are being quite guarded about the movements of the satellites, about how they're obtaining them, they're being very cautious. Certainly, you can understand when you talk about this particular region of the world, Asia, Southeast Asia, all of these governments want to be very careful about exactly what they reveal about their military prowess, about what they're looking at with their satellites.
What we do know is that they're releasing these targeted images, they were low resolution pictures and they are trying to point them to the area so that they can best be able to help find this debris.
MORGAN: Kyung Lah, thank you very much indeed for now. And you will be with us for much of the rest of the evening.
Let's go now to Sara Sidner in Kuala Lumpur. Sara, tell me what's going on there now. Former and current Malaysian Airline CEOs both coming up and saying they knew the pilot Zahari Shah and they spoke out about it. What did they say?
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's interesting because you have all these sources one or two behind the scenes saying -- talking about the pilots in a very negative terms, in sinister terms, and then you have those who are putting their face on camera, who were coming out in person and saying, "Look, we knew this man. He was an excellent person and an excellent pilot."
Let me let you hear what the ex-Malaysian CEO said about pilot Shah.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AZIZ ABDUL RAHMAN, FMR. MALAYSIA AIRLINES CEO: He is an excellent pilot and I think also an excellent gentleman. I think they are going the wrong way if they're pointing fingers at him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: So there you go. He said they think they're going the wrong way pointing a finger at him. You know, the bottom line is, Piers, the investigation has to continue. They have got to find some proof as to exactly how this happened. They need to find evidence and then they need to show that evidence.
Until then, it is hard to believe anything when it's in front of the cameras, when it's in front of the lights, when it's down on paper and it's official and there's a name with it then we can go with it but I think a lot of this is conjuncture, a lot of this has to do with theories, people looking at any possibility. Of course, they have to look at the pilots but it is not fair to demonize him until there is proof and we can all see it.
MORGAN: We also heard from Captain Zahari Shah's son Ahmed Seth Zahari, he spoke with the New Straits Times. He defended his father too saying, "I've read everything online, I've ignored all the speculation. I know my father better." And it is important as he said that, Sara, to remind people that at the moment, there is nothing suspicious linking itself to either the pilot or the co-pilot. It is pure conjuncture that somebody may have taken this plane off and if they did it is a possibility it was one of the two pilots. But of course, it could have been if it was taken off at the behest of a passenger who broke into the cockpit. We just don't know, do we?
SIDNER: No. That's the absolute truth. And one of the things of course they're looking at is that conversation between the pilot and the air traffic control and they're saying they found nothing there. They're looking at the flight simulator as well to see if that gives any clues.
And I do want to mention that as for the family, you heard the son talking to one of the newspapers here saying -- defending his father saying he was a good man. We've also heard from the family at the very beginning and they said the speculation about the father is literally killing us, it is emotionally devastating.
Number one, they are missing this man. The father and a husband missing him, not knowing where he is just like all the other families. And on top of that, now there's this talk that he may have something to do with it and maybe responsible for this. So it is doubly devastating for these families of the both pilot and co-pilot because the co-pilot has also been looked out and there have been some harsh words about him as well.
I think what we all need to do is step back a bit and make sure that investigators do their job and that then we find out exactly what happen to Flight MH 370.
MORGAN: Yeah. I pretty agree. Sara Sidner, thank you very much indeed.
I want to bring in now CNN's Richard Quest and Geoffrey Thomas, the Editor-in-chief of AirlineRatings.com. Welcome to both of you.
Richard, we've spoken everyday basically for the last week about this and you've been talking about it now for three weeks or so.
Are we getting any nearer really solving this mystery? Because it's a mystery that I was walking around New York today, there are about five people come up to me assuming I knew more than people are being told and I don't, you don't.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: No. The Malaysians do and ...
MORGAN: Do you believe that?
QUEST: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I think there are clearly some facts out there that they are not revealing and nor should they. This is an investigation whether criminal investigation and an aeronautical investigation. And we'll find out in the fullness of time. Do I think we are any closer to knowing why? No. We have a variety of circumstantial evidence. It is -- I have never seen so much one on one plus one and we'll get it to half a dozen or more if we can.
This pilot business is just breathtaking. It's mind-boggling the way in which journalists are just throwing every rule that we've ever been taught from day one. Whoops out the window.
Now, while we are getting closer finding the wreckage, in the last 48 hours, 72 hours, we've had the Japanese with their 10 pieces, we've got the tides with their 300 pieces, the French with now 122 pieces. This -- it's not close to each other but it's not far from each other.
MORGAN: But could it all just wreckage out there anyway in the ocean is full of this kind of stuff.
QUEST: Well, yeah, but not at this level. I don't know. Not at this level sounds unlikely and the experts tell me it's got the right smell about it. It's in the right area. And all we now need is to wait for the time and tide and the availability to go and to get some which I think they're going to do in the next few days.
But on the pilot question, Piers, it is bordering on a witch hunt
MORGAN: Yeah. I think -- you got to be very careful because these guys may have been heroes. We don't know. They maybe trying to save this plane from some catastrophic fire or breakdown or whatever it maybe.
Let me turn to Geoffrey Thomas in Perth, Australia. Obviously, this is now the center of where this search is going on.
Geoffrey, what do you make of it all? Here we are nearly three weeks into this enduring mystery. A mystery that may never be resolved, we just don't know yet, but what is your take on it as we now talk tonight?
GEOFFREY THOMAS, EDITOR IN CHIEF, MANAGING DIRECTOR, AIRLINERATINGS.COM: Look, indeed, Piers, this is the most complex, the most baffling, perplexing any adjective you like and disaster that I've ever encountered. It's extraordinary and to lose an airplane for three weeks is in this day and age you just have to scratch your head and think how come. How can this possibly be?
But I agree with Richard, the debris pictures we're getting now, they absolutely have to be wreckage from this airplane. They're too big. There's too many of them. And certainly we get debris in the ocean unfortunately but not of this scale, not of this size and I do think that the authorities know a little bit more about this than they are telling us and of course the resolution of those images is very degraded, I think they know exactly that this is the airplane and hopefully in a few days we're going to get someone picking a piece up out of the water and say this is it.
MORGAN: Yeah. I mean, you have to assume that the U.S. Seventh Fleet would not be sending a second P8 Poseidon patrol aircraft to that area if people collectively involved in this investigation and the search. We're not pretty certain this is where the wreckage is going to turn up the problem I guess, Geoffrey, and you all know this better than most because you live in that area. That part of the ocean is extremely wild, it can be very rough, the weather can be extremely bad as we've seen in the last week alone, we're heading to winter.
And so even though they maybe in the right area, it still maybe a possibility they never actually get this wreckage because everyday it may be blown off, it could be in different directions.
THOMAS: Look, indeed, the challenge, Piers, of this cannot be understated. This is like a North Atlantic gyre (ph) 24/7, it's as bad as you can get.
And the person who found the HMS hood in the North Sea, David Mearns said this is as bad as it can get. The people who found 447, the Air France 447, they say this search is far, far more difficult. The positive side is we've learned a lot from the recovery of 447 and we're now deploying. In fact the equipment that found 447 that's been -- that hopefully will be onboard a ship tomorrow and en route to where we think the initial crash was. Because what we're looking for now is debris in the water to confirm it was. What we really need to find is the actual crash site and that's going to be just so much more difficult.
MORGAN: Gentlemen, stay with me. We're not going to do -- just refer of that U.S. Seventh Fleet setting second P8 Poseidon patrol aircraft to help the search for Flight 370.
Well, joining me now is Lieutenant David Levy, he's aboard the U.S.S. Blue Ridge command ship in the Southern Indian Ocean and he joins me on the telephone.
Welcome to you. Can you hear me, sir?
DAVY LEVY, LIEUTENANT U.S. NAVY: Yes, Piers. Thanks for having me. Just to clear onboard that command ship but we're currently in the western pacific. We're nowhere the search area.
MORGAN: I'm sorry. I was misinformed on that. Let me just ask you then, what is your knowledge of exactly what will be going on today in terms of this search.
LEVY: Well, what we've done in about a couple of hours, we have P8 that's going to be taking off out of Perth and do -- to conduct this search mission. It'll take about three hours to get on station. We approximately have about three hours of search time before having to return back to Perth.
As well, we're sending a second P8 that's coming from Okinawa being repositioned to Perth, Australia and left this morning and it should be arriving sometime later today.
MORGAN: It is a safe assumption that this would not be happening. You wouldn't be sending in the second P8 Poseidon if there wasn't really a general collective view that this is definitely where this plane has gone down.
LEVY: Yeah. I would say that that's safe to assume, you know, with the Australian government leading this search efforts right here to request to have another P8 to join the search effort was just a -- kind of confirms that their suspicions maybe right that they maybe locating this debris field.
But just to be clear that, you know, we will continue to search this debris field so we can, you know, basically reverse forecast the winds and the current sea state since the beginning to recreate (ph) the position. Because currently we have down there as you guys talked about earlier in the program the told pinger locater as well as the blue fin in the underwater autonomous vehicle that could use to help the search. But it's going to be critical to find the exact debris field to reverse engineer this, to find exactly where it went and -- because time is really not on our side. We have to get close to the area so we can actually hear the pinger from the black box so we can actually get a better find on it.
MORGAN: David Levy, thank you very much indeed. I really appreciate you joining me.
When we come back, the satellites are maybe our best hope of finding Flight 370. I've been told they can read a license plate from hundreds of miles from space. The truth about what they can and can't see next.
MORGAN: Thailand released satellite images today of about 300 objects in the southern Indian Ocean search area.
Meanwhile, a French satellite picked up images of more than 100 other floating objects on Sunday. Are they the same? Are they different? What's the truth about what these satellites are picking up?
Well, joining me now is Leo Romeijn, a Satellite Imagery Analyst, also Bob Baer, he's a Former CIA Operative and Geoffrey Thomas is back with me from Perth, also I have David Soucie with me now in the studio.
Geoffrey Thomas, let me ask you this, somebody has tweeted me just now, Daisy1158. "The solution to finding the plane is surely for the satellite images to be released immediately and not three to four days later."
What is the truth about this? Are these images when they're being picked up, are they given to the Malaysian authorities immediately and then perhaps released to the public days later? Or does it take several days for these images to actually be analyzed and I guess released properly?
THOMAS: That's what -- my understand is that it takes several days for them to be properly analyzed and then they are immediately released to the Malaysians and then down to Australia. And then I think later on in the day maybe 12 hours later, the Malaysians have been releasing it to the general public. MORGAN: Right. And I suppose the obvious question then is if these images have been released even to the Malaysian authorities say 48 hours after they're actually taken, how far can this wreckage of then, if it is the wreckage, how drifted in that particular part of the ocean?
THOMAS: We're told by the oceanographers down here that it's possible for some of those debris to move as much as 50 miles, 60 miles in a day. So, you know, we're looking at 120, 130 miles. Yeah. It's a fair distance that could move and it won't necessarily move in one direction either because there's three major currents down there, it can move north, it can move east, and it can even move southeast. So it just makes this situation so much more difficult.
MORGAN: Geoffrey Thomas, thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight.
I want to go to Leo Romeijn now. He's actually a satellite imagery analyst. The perfect person to talk to. Mr. Romeijn about where we are with these satellites. Explain to me this. Let's have some simple Q&A here. How many satellites are there in the world up in the stars there looking (inaudible). How many are currently engaged in this search and how powerful are they?
LEO ROMEIJN, SATELLITE IMAGERY ANALYST, SATELLITE IMAGING CORP.: Well, there are a total of about 1,600 satellites up in space currently but those are not all imaging satellites. The satellites that are being utilized currently are the optical satellites and DigitalGlobe has five of those then Astrium Defence and Space has four of those and all of those are being utilized.
Then there are the TerraSAR-X radar satellite, they're not the radar satellites that are being utilized and of course China has satellites, Japan, Thailand and it looks like that the Thai satellite image what was shown today or what was acquired yesterday is on the lower resolution, not the same like the 0.5 meter digital globe imagery.
And so depending on what is being passed currently but it looks like now that most of the satellite resources are being utilized and I had a conversation with DigitalGlobe earlier today and they are doing their best in trying to track the debris down and to provide us much information to the searching teams and the governments involved.
MORGAN: OK. Let me turn to Bob Baer. Bob, you've been involved in many military intelligence operations in your time. This was an American plane that had gone down. Would there be more use of say military satellites? How would the process work if this was a U.S. led operation?
BOB BAER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I don't think it's working any different. I mean, Australia and the United States share everything. U.S. military satellites are looking at this area. We can be certain of that.
The moment the images are available, they're sending it to Australia. They're high resolution. They're the kind of images you wouldn't want to send to Malaysia or anywhere else.
So they are seeing a lot better pictures than we are. I mean, it's not blurry like we're seeing. It doesn't mean you can recognize debris. I mean, satellites -- military satellites are not meant to -- it's not a search that you just -- you don't know what the pieces look like that looks for tanks and airplanes and things like that. So this is what's taking so much time, this is not what analyst normally do.
MORGAN: Let me go back to Leo Romeijn because you are a satellite imagery analyst, this is an area of expertise for you. How powerful are the best satellites at actually working out exactly what they're looking at?
In other words, if you have this volume now of different nation satellites all picking up 100 piece or 300 pieces and so on, with the highest resolution that some of them have, how sure can they be that they might be looking at plane wreckage?
ROMEIJN: Well, it's not the resolution as such the panchromatic bands and most of these satellites, they have a 0.5 meter pixel resolution while the multispectral bands have about two meter resolution. The multispectral bands are the bands whereas physically being utilize and analyze any kind of debris because it has the panchromatic scene unless it is pretty big. It's going to be quite difficult to say yes this is a piece of the aircraft.
The thing is that the spectral analysis of what is being performed on the material lets the debris of aluminum, wood or anything can only be defined with multispectral bands, not with panchromatic.
MORGAN: David Soucie, let me bring you in here. We've talked every night about this. It seems to me absolutely crucial that these satellite images are as accurate and it's up to date as possible given the wildness of the ocean where this search is going on and given the fact as Geoffrey said earlier that these could be moving potentially hundreds of miles at wholly hourly period.
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well, we talk a lot about it takes so long to get these satellite images but I talked to someone who used to be with DigitalGlobe and is now has its own company just this morning. And he would explain to me that these satellites he said are moving around the earth at 1,700 hundred miles an hour and it takes like 90 minutes for this satellite to go around. So it's snapping pictures. It only takes the pictures in the daylight hours and they're circling and focusing in on these areas. And the coverage here of this area of this DigitalGlobe is fascinating. They're very, very good -- well covered.
But then at night, it takes the resource in that satellite and it puts it down and does the download. It can take 24 hours at least just to get the download.
MORGAN: Stay with me David. Leo Romeijn and Bob Baer thank you both very much. I'm going to let you go.
When we come back, I want to know what lessons we can take for Flight 370. How can we make sure this never happens again? After the break.
MORGAN: We've got some breaking news and about missing Flight 370. The search is shifting tonight at 1,100 kilometers to the northeast.
Well, joining me now is Philip Baum, he's the Editor of Aviation Security International, and David Soucie is with me, a Former FAA Safety Inspector and Author of "Why Planes Crash", CNN Aviation Analyst Miles O'Brien, Mary Schiavo, the Former Inspector General of the DOT and represents victims of negligence by transportation companies including airlines and David Funk, a pilot and Former International Captain of Northwest Airlines. So an expert panel covering all basis here.
Philip Baum, let me start with you, we'll come to this development in this search area a little later. But in terms of lessons learned, if we think back to the Air France 447 crash have we really acted on the lessons that we learned from that? I mean, how can a plane and this is what many people say to me, how can a plane just disappear in the modern age particularly following incidents like the Air France 447?
PHILIP BAUM, EDITOR, AVIATION SECURITY INTERNATIONAL: Well, it is indeed absolutely baffling and until we find the aircraft and we actually find out what went wrong, we won't really know.
If we go back two weeks in the investigation, we had the Malaysians coming out and saying that there was a deliberate act that took place onboard the flight deck of that aircraft. And we need to better understand that act in order to try to prevent it happening again.
But, the important thing from an aviation security perspective because, you know, if we are talking about the deliberate act, now, it could be that it wasn't a criminal act. But if it was a criminal act, we need to think about how we're actually addressing airport security worldwide. And I'm afraid it's always reactive. We always try -- sort of put on the band aid off to the event when actually we can be much more proactive.
If you go back to Lockerbie, Pan Am we started doing whole baggage screening. The shoot bomb -- we started doing shoe -- taking shoes off, the underpants (inaudible). We started using body scans. We need to start profiling passengers, profiling crew, profiling cargo, and only by better understanding using intelligence can we try and prevent this incidence happening again in the future.
MORGAN: Let me bring in Miles O'Brien. Miles, you're aviation expert of many years standing. Interesting that the search here has moved quite significantly by over thousand kilometers now, what are you reading to that? And also, someone just tweeted me an interesting point, Chris Larson (ph), have they compare satellite pictures from before the crash to see if any of this debris was already there?
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, I don't know how much value there would be to that because debris is moving so quickly. I mean, picture taken the day before probably might not show given the way the currents go there. So, just to look at an image from a month ago and you see open ocean, I'm not sure how much value there is in all that.
As for the size of all of this, you know, it could be spread out over some distance especially when you considered the currents there and this is why I feel like the number of ships and planes that are part of this search right now is not adequate. There is 10 or 11 planes depending on how you count, five ships in the area. You know, when the Amelia Earheart went missing in 1937, there was an aircraft carrier, the battleship and everything that was deployed much of the 7th Fleet was detailed for that. There was two people.
And again, this is not a U.S. flag carrier but it was build in the U.S. There are Americans onboard and the U.S. navy is uniquely equipped to provide assets on station. And what I'm talking about is an aircraft carrier in the region. They will provide aircrafts that would have the range to be on site for a much longer period of time. We're running out of time there -- terrible as they are and they're only getting it worse.
MORGAN: Yeah. I mean, it seems to me quite remarkable. And maybe I shouldn't be surprised, but it's quite remarkable that we're just hearing now that moving search 1100 kilometers. I'm going to bring you back in David Soucie. That's a huge distance. They're now moving the focus of the search.
SOUCIE: Well, it really isn't. I think it has to do a little bit with the fact that before the assumptions were made that this aircraft was flying off 450 to 400 knots. Since then, we looked at the burn rate of the aircraft, it was determined that in 12,000 feet, it couldn't have made at that far, it couldn't have gone that far. But, in fact, just the officer (ph) is true. The range of that aircraft, if you're 12,000 feet and you slowed down to 250 to 275 knots, it has great range it burns fuel far less than we originally thought. So it maybe a reaction to that. I'm thinking it might be.
MORGAN: Mary Schiavo, what do you think about this development tonight because there is a pretty strange twist that they seem would be in so far out. What do you think of this?
MARY SCHIAVO, FMR. INSPECTOR GENERAL, U.S. DOT: Right. Well, I mean, if they're refining the search area and it's going to improve, that I think it's great that they're refining it. But what makes me think most of all is that it's unfortunate that we have to rely on the shifting pieces of debris. We have to rely on the winds and we have to rely on backtracking to find where the plane went in. And we have the technology and it's available and it's readily available, and we've then discussing it since September 11, 2001 as to why we don't do the data streaming and why we have to have this (inaudible).
MORGAN: Mary, I want to jump in because I just got some more details about the breaking news on this which is I just want to tell you guys about so we can get your reaction. Today's search will shift to an area 1,100 kilometers to the Northeast based on updated device provided by the International Investigation Team in Malaysia. So new information has led them to move the search. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Australia's investigation agency has examined this advice and determined this is the most credible lead to where debris may now be located.
The new search area is approximately 319,000 square kilometers and around 1,850 kilometers west of Perth. New information is based on continuing the analysis of radar data between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca before radar contact was lost. Now, some crucial information, the aircraft is traveling faster than previously estimated resulting an increase fuel usage and reducing the possible distance of the aircraft travel south into the Indian Ocean. The Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organization is retaking satellites image in new area.
David Soucie, let me just bring you in on that because that seems to be pretty significant new information. What can we read into the aircraft speed now being assessed radically different to what we thought?
SOUCIE: You know, I don't have an answer with that because you already have 450, that means that the altitude maybe have changed as well because to increase pass that mark, you know, you're going up against the mark. This limits that aircraft. So to be even faster than that, it surprises me.
MORGAN: Let me bring in David Funk because he is a pilot. David Funk, when you heard that new information, the aircraft traveling fast and then previously estimated resulting in an increase fill usage and reducing the distance it may have traveled, what do you make of that from a pilot point of view?
DAVID FUNK, PILOT & FMR. INTERNATIONAL CAPT., NORTHWEST AIRLINES: My initial guess is that their altitude probably was maybe 10,000 feet lower. You can fly to much higher mark number in the mid 20,000 foot range then you cannot in the mid 30,000 foot range. However, your fuel consumption goes up significantly. We do know how long the airplane flew approximately based on the pings. So that's going to give us an area.
But, frankly Piers, I'm pretty excited to hear that they are further narrowing the search area now because let's face it, until we get a ship with a helicopter or a small boat to pick something out of the water to get us our first point to start calculating backwards, we're not going to find the wreckage on the bottom of the ocean and the key here to (inaudible) is to get to the wreckage on the bottom.
FUNK: So the sooner we ...
MORGAN: I'm going to (inaudible) ...
FUNK: ... can get the ships with helicopters, far bigger deal than just another airplane flying over ahead a 3,000 feet.
MORGAN: Right. Let me just jump in because we're going to take a short break, and when we come back, because it seems to me a pretty dramatic development now in this search. We'll come back after the break and go through it again and get the expert panel to give their views.
MORGAN: Back to the breaking news now on missing Flight 370. The search area has shifted dramatically tonight some 680 miles of the Northeast. We now know the plane was traveling a lot faster than it was originally thought.
Back with me now is Philip Baum, David Soucie, Miles O'Brien, Mary Schiavo, and David Funk.
David Soucie, let's just recap on this because it seems to me pretty significant new information, plane was going a lot faster than previously estimated resulting in increased fuel usage reducing the possible distance. The aircraft traveled south into Indian Ocean by 680 miles. So they seem to now be homing in from new information they clearly received which they -- I'll take in very seriously to a much more specific area.
SOUCIE: Well, if you remember where those pings were, they were math (ph) in those pings based on an assumption and that's we were talking before about coming to a conclusion and then making the facts fit. This is a case of that. If this -- if they had not assume that speed, they wouldn't have this information before. But now, but that's good although they have adjusted it and now we're there.
MORGAN: Let me go to Miles O'Brien. Miles O'Brien, let's just clarify again, if the aircraft is traveling faster than previously estimated resulting in an increase fuel usage, tell me what that means in terms of how high the plan was likely to have been flying?
O'BRIEN: Yeah. Well, those, you know, there's kind of an equation here. What's missing from this report is whatever radar data they might have had about altitude and that's obviously the key point here. If it's going faster and lower, yes, you can have a quite fuel burn. If it's going lower and yet the throttles are pulled back and it's going slower, it has a lot of range. So, maybe this was a situation where it was in fact at that lower altitude we've been talking about and going much faster than thought and as a result would run out of fuel more quickly. The higher a plane like this goes, the more fuel efficient it is and that's why you get more range and (inaudible).
MORGAN: OK. And on that point then Miles, if that -- if it was flying lower as people have suggested before, what theory does that now lend itself more too of all the theories that have been out there.
O'BRIEN: Well, you know, lower and faster, you know, again, this is in the realm of some sort of deliberate act, human intervention would cause that to occur, the fact it might have been down to 12,000 feet at least initially could have been in sink with some sort of what they call high dive because of a decompression or fire or something. But staying at 12,000 feet, well, you know, flying around Indonesia and then heading down to the south, a human being have to be involved in that. MORGAN: OK. And David Soucie, you're shaking your head, why?
SOUCIE: Miles, with all due respect, I think that after that airplane went down, this has more credibility to me that their crew and the passengers were incapacitated at that time. And if the autopilot was on and it continued to cruise at that speed, at that lower altitude without changing altitude.
O'BRIEN: But what about those way points David, how do you think those way points got in there? Were they maybe some alternate way points that were picked up by the autopilot potentially? I guess, I can't think that ...
SOUCIE: I think that's what I'm trying to -- I think that would explain that but I don't -- I kind of see that he would have time to change all those way point either ...
O'BRIEN: Well, yeah.
SOUCIE: ... so you -- it does plug a whole in it but the fact that those -- that went down to 12,000 feet and it continued on that autopilot track, it makes a lot of sense to me and I just -- it feels to me more like it's incapacitated crew and that autopilot is taking over this just taking it along (ph).
MORGAN: Will they know from all this, I mean, nothing revealed in this report at the moment, but will they know the altitude, are they just not telling us?
SOUCIE: Well ...
MORGAN: If they have all this other information.
SOUCIE: Primary radar doesn't give you a whole lot -- reliable information altitude. It tells you (inaudible) ...
MORGAN: How would they, I mean, with this new information which has come from the International Investigation Team in Malaysia which the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has examined and determined is the most credible lead so far from the debris. They're obviously taking this very, very seriously. What could have led them to have the fact as information is factual that the aircraft is traveling much faster than they thought, what would they have (ph)?
SOUCIE: The assumption again was that it went back up to 35,000 feet and it went that far. So if you take that assumption and use it, you're going to discount other information which they -- and in this case, it sounds like they did. They discounted that Malaysia radar information. Now, they said, well, let's see, we're not (inaudible) success over here, let's relook at what we're trying to assess.
MORGAN: OK. Let me get to Mary Schiavo. Mary, in terms of the investigation, I would say that of all the stuff we've heard about this week is could be the absolutely most crucial piece now of the new information because maybe they're much, much nearer to where they needed to be. SCHIAVO: I agree completely. You know, the altitude information was always suspect and, you know, we heard 45,000 feet, we heard 5,000 feet. The altitude information has been varying quite a bit throughout this, you know, this whole last two and a half weeks. And with this development, perhaps they're able to hone in on a more accurate altitude. And if there was horrible event onboard, decompression of fire or explosion, whatever, the plane itself if there is an emergency motor (ph) that pilot could the input would make the turn descend to 12,500 feet, if that's the altitude, then we have a whole new set of facts here to consider and it's certainly doesn't necessarily lead one to assume that it was pilot suicide.
MORGAN: And let me go back to David Funk, our pilot here, very experienced pilot. Again, taking in all this new information, what do you think as a pilot is not the more likely theory to be correct?
FUNK: Like David and Mary, I lean towards the mechanical -- electromechanical problem that caused or whatever it was, captain turned left towards land, there's a (inaudible) way points out there around the world, Piers. So, your likelihood of flying by anyone at any given flight is very good whether you have programmed or not. He turned left towards land, towards the nearest airport, he probably used the mode call flight level change or FLCH which if you remember the Asiana crash in San Francisco, that was the mode that they had set the autopilot in. Now, that 12,000 feet hit it.
Now, somewhere around 27,000-28,000 feet, as he's descending that point Mach 83 or point Mach 86 whatever the cruise speed was programmed at, that airplane is going to revert to an air speed mode and it's going to drop in somewhere around 275 knots. And when it gets to 12,000 feet, it's going to level off on that heading, the throttles are going to come up and that airplane is going to hold 275 knots or whatever that handing (ph) is set until it runs out of gas if no one intervenes.
And that may very well explain why at the lower altitude they didn't have a real high power setting but they were going little faster than 250. If he's like and FLCH to do an emergency descent which is a normal procedure, Boeing (inaudible) that we use at the Northwest, every airline in the world uses it. That FLCH or flight level change, that gets you down to very fastest, the auto throttles will pull them back to idle and when it gets down to 12,000 feet, the auto throttles will come back up and that airplane will fly going at 12,000 feet.
MORGAN: OK. This is absolutely fascinating, I think, and very significant as keep everybody as they are -- come back after the break, get more into the breaking news about the speed of the plane and the new search area.
MORGAN: Joining my experts now is Aviation Attorney Floyd Wisner. We come to you David Soucie again. It's very significant breaking news in the last few minutes. The search has shifted 680 miles to the Northeast based on new information provided by International Investigation Team in Malaysia. The aircraft traveling faster than previously estimated resulting in increased fuel usage. Do you got an interesting new perspective on this?
SOUCIE: So, you know, what's good about this information, is now they can start plotting those pings a little bit differently. Remember there are -- assuming that you're 450 miles an hour in your certain altitude as this now changes, those ping locations change as well because you got a remap of -- that rescale them again which would take it north and to the east.
MORGAN: So this has dramatically changed, doesn't it?
MORGAN: Because they are nowhere near the area they previously been looking at.
MORGAN: They're 680 miles away.
SOUCIE: That's right.
MORGAN: Right, so -- and now they reconfigure, remap the pings, do you think that this information is as credible as I clearly believe it is, we could be much near enough to finding the wreckage?
SOUCIE: Without a doubt, without a doubt, I think this is a much more logical explanation for what's going on. I think it's feasible. It fits a lot of models. There's fewer holes, and there's still holes, and no matter what you look at, but I think there's fewer holes at least in my mind as to where (inaudible).
MORGAN: Miles O'Brien, do you concur with that? Do you feel like this is being perhaps the big breakthrough they've looking for?
O'BRIEN: It could be. I'm little bit incredulous that it's just now happening. Why on earth this radar information is just now available to these authorities and they're just now after all these days of searching realizing the speed of the aircraft, it doesn't add up to me, it's just like so many things in this investigation and completely miss the fact.
MORGAN: Let me remind you again of what they said in this new latest report, new information is based on continuing analysis of radar data between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca before the radar contact was lost.
O'BRIEN: Well, I mean, radar data is pretty straight forward, you know, there's a blip and it's going a certain amount of speed. New analysis, what do they have to do to come up with a different speed, I'm just -- I'm not quite sure, maybe somebody else on the panel ...
MORGAN: David Soucie, you want to jump in ...
SOUCIE: It's less, you know, it is straight forward when you got your transponder on, but when you don't, you're talking about little tiny dots in there that change in size, change in speed, it takes analysis, you know, it's not something that's it said (ph).
O'BRIEN: 20 days of analysis?
SOUCIE: Well, I know.
O'BRIEN: I mean, David. Come on.
SOUCIE: I agree with you there. To me, it's -- like I said, a classic case of that fact that, "Oh, we have this great clue over here so we're going to ignore all these other things until it's time to extinguish this idea and go to the other, you know."
O'BRIEN: And this seems to be the way this investigation is going.
SOUCIE: Yes, you're right.
MORGAN: It does seem completely extraordinary that after three weeks and now moving the whole thing 8700 miles. Let's take another short break. We'll be back with more on this breaking news. I'm getting some reaction, of what would have told (ph) to the families after the break.
MORGAN: And back with my experts and more on our breaking news. A major shift in the search area for Flight 370. What does this mean for the families? I want to bring in Floyd Wisner, Principal of Wisner Law Firm. You're an aviation attorney represented family members from many crashes. Have you've talked directly to the family members from Flight 370?
FLOYD WISNER, PRINCIPAL, WISNER LAW FIRM, CHICAGO: Some of my representative have talked to representatives of the families. I haven't talked to any family member directly. It's a little too early to be doing that, the families are still grieving. I do know what they're feeling and what they're going through and I know that also from representing families over the last couple of decades.
MORGAN: And obviously a very significant development potentially tonight with the search moving nearly 700 miles further Northeast. A new analysis of the data this could in fact, we would hope, lead to the discovery of the wreckage that will bring, I would imagine, at least some solace to the families who have no answers.
WISNER: Yes. In my experience, the families want four things, really, they want to find answers, find out what happened to their loved ones. Secondly, they want to hold those responsible parties accountable for their actions. Third, they want to bring about change to prevent any other families from suffering this kind of agony in the future. And only lastly, do they want compensation. Without the wreckage, Piers, they cannot accomplish those first three. They can accomplish (ph) the fourth and good compensation from Malaysia Air, but they can only accomplish ...
WISNER: ... the first three with the wreckage.
MORGAN: I agree, David Soucie, very quickly, I mean, people are making a point on Twitter here, piling in, does this mean all these pieces apparent debris floating in the other area we're completely erroneous?
SOUCIE: Not necessarily, I think they're still going to be looking for those parts and pieces down there. This is just another clue. So, and they've got resources as that Miles mentioned, maybe not enough.
MORGAN: To put into perspective Miles O'Brien very quickly. The search area, the new one is still 200,000 square miles, huge area.
O'BRIEN: Again, underscores my point, there is not enough assets on station. The U.S. navy should (inaudible).
MORGAN: Thanks to all of my expert panel with everything development in hour tonight.
But that's all for us tonight. Chicagoland starts right now. Stay with CNN.