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CNN Live Event/Special

World Leaders Speak at Press Conference; BEA Updates on Investigation into Germanwings Crash. Aired at 11:46a-12:40p ET

Aired March 25, 2015 - 11:46   ET


FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (via translator): -- in memory of those victims here in this commune, very close to the disaster area, a terrible disaster where 150 people died -- children, school pupils, entire families and also the crew. I don't forget them. I believe -- I think of the families and their relatives.

And on behalf of France, I would say to Angela Merkel and Mariano Rajoy expressing our deepest condolences. The French people are here at your side in this trial as it is for all countries concerned. More than 15 countries had citizens, nationals in the aircraft.

As soon as we were aware of the disaster -- in other words, very quickly -- the state services and the services of the counties and in particular the airport, all those forces mobilized. I would like to salute them, as we've done with the chancellor and the president of the Spanish government, those firemen and firewomen and civil servants, but also military personnel, which were there, and volunteers and the elected representatives from the relevant communes. It was both a great movement of solidarity, fraternity, and also very effective movement. Unfortunately, there was no possibility of saving anyone because there were no survivors. But those operations made it possible to make the site secure and to be able to work in an area in the high mountains, very difficult to reach, to do what had to be done in order to protect the bodies when that was possible, to protect the parts of the destroyed aircraft so that the investigation can achieve some results, and also so that there might be possible access for the families. Here, I will say that everything will be done so that we can find, identify and give to the victims' families the bodies. France will also take every care, and it's also our privilege, our hospitality, so that the families of the victims who will come should be not only welcomed but given support.

Once again, I would like to express how grateful I am to all those people working for this to be possible. I was overtaken by emotion when I saw all those people together in the Chapel of Rest ready to receive families. There's already one that has arrived. Others will arrive so that we can give them information, comfort and the essential welcome. Among those people and they also are indispensable, you have the psychologists, the carers, and also people from the National Education Service, from the College of Seine and other colleges who have come so as to make it possible to have interpretation so that the families can express in their own language their pain and their expectation. We need to understand what happened. We owe that to the families. We

owe it to the countries concerned by this disaster. So France has activated very significant means within the context of the inquiry so that we can know everything there is to know about the causes of the disaster. Unfortunately, we do have some experience in this. France has experts recognized at a world level in terms of analyzing the causes of this kind of catastrophe and accident.

Dear Angela, Dear Mariano, you can rest assured with the support you'll be getting from us that everything will be discovered and light thrown upon the circumstances of this disaster.

A black box has already been found. At this very moment, it's being worked on. Not easy. We have to be patient. And a second black box is being looked for. Its outside frame has been found but, unfortunately, not the black box itself. At this very moment, there are men in the field searching. They will search some more. And they will continue until they get to the result required.

I'd like to conclude once again saying that in trials -- and we've had a few in recent months -- there is also solidarity. Human solidarity is among us. And I'm proud that France can give this image at this very moment of pain. And the solidarities that of Europe, Europe subjected to trials, to this kind of disaster, of this magnitude, but also Europe, which is present, which is very concerned. And the presence of the president of the Spanish government and also the chancellor is one of the most vivid expressions of this. And finally, there is mobilization and once again, we bow before the memory of the victims. And we are at the side of all the families.

Thank you.

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (via translator): I, together with the state premier, came to this horrible site today. First, I would like to thank the president, Francois Hollande, and also everybody who welcomed here so much, and also the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy. We are very much united and connected. And then also, the victims of Germany and all other countries. This is a tragedy. And our visit confirmed this very much.

Being on the site of this terrible disaster, I would like to express my thanks to Francois Hollande and all the people from this region who received us so well, and also the president of the Spanish government, Mariano Rajoy, to whom I feel very close.

We bow before the memory of the German victims but also in the memory of the victims from other countries. This is a real disaster. And my visit today shows this in the most impressive way.

Not only my thoughts are with the relatives, the families of the victims and the friends of the victims. This is a very moving day that the thoughts of the French people, all the people here in this region are giving support, engagement, commitment and will give very much help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) MERKEL (via translator): I would like to say to all relatives and friends of the victims that they will be very much welcomed here. When they wish to come here where this tragedy happened, we will do everything here in order to clarify what has happened here. This will take some time because this is a catastrophe in a very difficult area, geographically.


MERKEL (via translator): I wish to all of them who are here, present and prepared to give support, all the volunteers and carers, everybody to help in this difficult time and wish all the best for all the victims, wherever they come from, from Germany or anywhere. It is a very good feeling that we are united in such a difficult time.

Mr. Hollande, many, many thanks. And this is real French/German friendship.


MERKEL (via translator): Thank you very much. Have courage.

MARIANO RAJOY, SPANISH PRIME MINISTER: (via translator): Good afternoon. I would like to express to you my condolences also on behalf of the Spanish government, also on behalf of the president, (INAUDIBLE), who's here with me today. All the Spanish people send condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of this dramatic accident.


RAJOY: We would like to be together with you in your pain. And we know it's not going to be easy because the worse that could happen to a human being has happened. Know that we are together with you. We would like to support you with all the means available to us in everything you need, and we would like, as Francois has said, to identify the victims, to sending (ph) -- bring home because we know that this is important. We are going to work together and we are going to do all it takes in such a difficult and complex moment as now, that so many people have gone through.


RAJOY: Many French citizens but also German citizens, Spanish citizens are going to work in order to help the families and the loved ones of the victims. We have seen that our interpreters, psychologists, police officers, firemen, military personnel, many volunteers. So I'd like to say to all of them, thank you very much indeed.


REMI JOUTY, DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS & ANALYSES (via translator): --German company and also the aircraft is registered in Germany. The German investigative authority, the CIAIAC, is also taking part in the investigation. In particular, to give us information on how the flight was prepared before leaving Barcelona. As is normal in any kind of investigation like this, the investigators from the various countries are assisted by various technical advisers who have technical data from the organizations they come from to assist. So there are technical advisers from the European safety agency, which is responsible for giving certification to aircraft and saying that they can fly. The manufacturers, Airbus, and also for the engines, CFM Snecma and General Electric, and also Germanwings and its mother company, so to speak, Lufthansa.

With respect to the internal organization for this inquiry, there's Mr. Arnold Desjardins (ph), a designated investigator, who will be the leader, the organizer. There will be an assistant, Omar Defia (ph), and the investigatory work who will be structured around three groups who will look for information on more specific themes. One group will look for aircraft, everything on the history of the aircraft, maintenance and its condition. Another group will work on the systems on board and on the ground. And that's where all the work will be done with the recorders. And then a group for air operation, which will look at the -- the way in which the aircraft was operated.

I've put here on the right a reminder that this organization involves various people who are not from BEA but from our colleagues, the BFU, Germany and CIAIAC Spain. So there are investigators from those two bodies who will be integrated into these investigation groups and also the technical advisers that I mentioned will take part in the investigations.

A few words on the site of the accident. Here's a general photograph. You may have seen others already. What do we see here? Well, mountain, very rugged, very difficult for access because it's a long way from any road. But also very steep ground and quite unstable. It's not possible to even go on foot easily. So this requires precautions both to get there and to move around on the site. So the conditions for investigating on site are very difficult.

And then you can see it here. The aircraft had an impact at high speed, a lot of energy into the flank of the mountains. And most of the pieces are therefore spread in some of the -- spread around -- very -- some very small, most of them.

The work on site started as early as possible. This morning already some BEA investigators with experts from Airbus, the manufacturer, looked at the site initially from the air to get a general view of how the debris were distributed. Some of the investigators were then dropped by helicopter on the site. And this takes us back to the earlier photograph. It's very difficult to be on the ground because they have to work tied one to another, which, of course, doesn't make it easier to look for parts.

The work itself on site -- well, first of all, looking for the parameter recorder. Work is also ongoing to try to identify and localize the main elements of the aircraft and then, according to how the investigation develops and also other information which might be received, for example, from the black boxes, certain choices may or may have to be made to try and get or analyze more specific items of the aircraft. But, of course, given the way the debris are distributed under high energy, we are aware that the analysis, the physical analysis with parts of the aircraft will be difficult and maybe fairly limited in nature.

To come back to the flight path, to try to show it a bit more in detail, here you have the south of France. The aircraft followed this path, which is in accordance with the planned flight path. And the next reporting point was here, (INAUDIBLE). It's spotting the right direction. It had been, for a little while, at its cruising height, 38,000 feet. And about 9:30, the last message broadcast from the aircraft to the control center with which it was in contact was routine, confirming the instruction given by the control tower saying that there was authorization to go directly to Irmar (ph), the point that you see here.

Roughly one minute later, the path the air radar shows, that the aircraft starts a descent and that continues until impact. The last radar position still continues to send, is very close to the site of impact itself. The descent lasts roughly 10 minutes, a bit less. And the last altitude recorded by radar is a bit more than 6,000 feet, a bit more than the average height of the impact site. In other words, radar was able to follow this aircraft virtually to the point of impact.

So now a presentation for the same flight path vertically. Here we see the altitude and, with time, of course, and also according to distance. So the same points as earlier. The last message sent by the aircraft, the beginning of the descent and the last position, we can see it here clearly. The altitude of the last position point, very close to the actual crash site.

And now, of course, we have no explanation or interpretation for the reasons which might have led this aircraft to descend and continue to descend, unfortunately, onto the mountain. All the reason, well, why it didn't answer the attempts of the air control -- air controller who tried to contact them.

So my last point, the recorders, we -- well, the sound recorder that you can see here, it was found on the site yesterday about 5:00 p.m. and it was quickly sent to the offices of BEA under seal. And it was then handed over to BEA here at Libersa (ph), still sealed, at 9:45 this morning. And this is a photograph of the recorder.

The part that you can see here is the base, the part which contains the memory module with the recorded data. And that part -- or this part is a connecting part, which for the investigation is not indispensable. So the important part containing the data that interests us is this. And here you have the sound sub water beacon, which in the event of an accident in water or on water gives out a sound. But in the event of a land accident, doesn't serve any purpose because the sound doesn't go sufficiently through air to allow us -- to allow localization.

Well, the work to look at this module, the memory lasted all day, from the morning. There was some problems to read the data. But, nevertheless, that is what I was saying at the beginning, because it was a good news and a relief for us, we have been able to extract an audio file that we can use.

And, well, we know that this is concerning this particular flight, but it's too soon to draw any conclusions with respect to what happened. Following this, with respect to this module, the sound module or file, we'll have to do some work to understand and interpret the sounds and the voices that might be heard on that audio file.

Well, that's it. Thank you for your attention. Forgive me again for being late on doing this. So, now, if you have any questions.

REPORTER (via translator): Artiel (ph), you're speaking -- Pier Juliel Artiel. You said that you were able to extract a usable file. In fact, does the data go up to the moment of impact?

JOUTY: The data contains the flight of the accident, yes, yes. We will be able to work on the accident.

REPORTER (via translator): The pilots, do they speak one with another?

JOUTY: I can't give you any more details at the moment. We haven't yet analyzed or established a particular time scale for sounds or words that can be heard on the file. I'll say it again, we've just been able to extract the file. We were able to check that it lasted the time it needed -- we needed and it contains sound. We can use it, yes.

REPORTER (via translator): Teri Jigabo Lupren (ph). How long will you need to be able to fully look at this?

JOUTY: Well, it's difficult to say now and also you have to remember that the CVR, we can seldom do that on its own. We also have to look at the details with respect to departure. But we haven't got that yet. There's some work I was mentioning earlier in terms of understanding sounds, alarms, voices, attributing the voices to the various people. That takes some time. And it's something that takes time. Normally after a few days, we get a rough -- a rough pattern but usually there are mistakes. And then once we understand the flight better, we can understand better and we achieve a transcription or record which leaves us convinced that it's as good as possible. And that takes several weeks, or even months.

REPORTER (via translator): Are they speaking in English or German?

JOUTY: I have no answers.

REPORTER (via translator): So we have the full timing of the flight on the record, that's what you're saying, isn't it? So, from departure to impact?

JOUTY: At the moment I can't give you very precise details on the duration of the beginning or end of the recording.

REPORTER (via translator): Can you say a few more words on the file? How many minutes recording, how much data? JOUTY: I have no specific data at the moment with respect to the

duration of the recording, types of voices, languages, so on. You needn't even ask questions of that kind.

REPORTER (via translator): Will we have to wait until you've analyzed all the sounds from the tape or will there be data on the content of dialogue between pilots?

JOUTY: We will try to communicate our progress as soon as we have information, whether coming from the CVR or elsewhere, which will make it possible for us to say clearly what we know at a given moment.

JOUTY: Hello. Yes, please.

REPORTER (via translator): (INAUDIBLE). There are continuous rumors on the fact that you may have localized the second black box but that it may be broken up into many parts and therefore unusable. Can you say a few words on that second black box?

JOUTY: Those rumors are not at all confirmed. We have not localized the black box. We have not found any debris of the black box and in the history of air accidents, we know about recorders that are very damaged or deformed but I don't remember any recorder broken into little pieces.

REPORTER (via translator): Can I --

JOUTY: Hello.

REPORTER: Can I allow myself to speak to you in English?

JOUTY: Please.

[12:20:00] REPORTER: So can you tell us exactly about the finding which -- what this data that you have found on your first black box shows and when we can expect additional information to be made available to the public?

JOUTY (on camera): As they say in French (INAUDIBLE). We just succeed in getting module file which contains usable sounds and voices. We have not yet fully restored (INAUDIBLE) in order to say, OK, this is (INAUDIBLE) matter of days and (INAUDIBLE).

JOUTY (via translator): Sebastian Yearoper (ph). For the sake of black box, the president, Francois Hollande, said that the outside had been found. I can't confirm that at the moment. We have no information on the box itself.

REPORTER (via translator): Could I come back again? So you are optimistic after all with respect to having already initial data files?

JOUTY: I'm fairly optimistic in terms of first of all we're convinced that we will at least have an audio file that we can use. The accident site is difficult to reach. It has one or two hectares, that's quite a lot, but it's not immense. So if we go through it carefully, we will find the parameter recorder and those recorders are designed to withstand serious crashes. So we are optimistic that we'll get a recorder parameters and those two things should enable us to understand what happened.

REPORTER (via translator): France TV (INAUDIBLE). Do you have any data on depressurization?

JOUTY: At the moment, no. Beginning of an idea. And without going into details, I can't elaborate intellectually and I wouldn't want to do it so as not to go along a path which might be wrong. A depressurization scenario, which might stand in depressurization scenario. I can't elaborate and I refuse to try. A standard depressurization scenario which might tie in with these elements.

REPORTER (via translator): Tim Heath (ph), Reuters. To confirm, you've been able to listen for a first time, even very quickly?

JOUTY: Yes. So, well, I didn't do it. Yes, my teams. My laboratory teams. Yes.

REPORTER (via translator): And you said that you heard voices. Were they conscious?

JOUTY: Well, I can't speak on that. I can't say anything else. I have nothing else to say on that.

REPORTER (via translator): And the curve, according to what you've seen on radar in terms of the descent, does it seem to you behavior which shows an aircraft under pilot control or not?

JOUTY: The curve is compatible with an aircraft controlled by pilots, except for the fact that we can't imagine pilots consciously sending an aircraft into a mountain. But it may also be compatible with an aircraft which is controlled by an automatic pilot. But at the moment, once again, no explanations. And to answer the other gentleman's question why you can't say more. Well, this audio file, we've only had it a few minutes. And in a few minutes, it's not possible, listening to voices -- it's not possible to say it's the crew, it's the captain, co-pilot. We need more time to check that out.

REPORTER (via translator): Can you say if you hear voices up to the moment of impact?

JOUTY: It's not that easy. So I have no other comment on that.

REPORTER (via translator): So you're not closing off the idea of a possible terrorist attack?

JOUTY: Nothing is excluded. I'm not in a position to confirm precisely.

REPORTER (via translator): (INAUDIBLE). In terms of the descent rate, 3,000 feet per minute.

JOUTY: Yes, you saw it on the chart. About 3,000, 3,500 feet per minute with a few variations. Fairly constant. That's what you saw on the chart. Yes, with a constant direction. Let me make clear, that information is not recorded parameters. This is radar data. So the precision is that of radar data.

[12:25:24] REPORTER: Some experts have been hypothesizing about what might have been in the cargo check (ph) of this plane. I wanted to know if you had any information. There was some rumor about lithium batteries being present in this airplane. Do we know at all what was in the cargo check? Do we have any analysis (ph) about what (INAUDIBLE).

JOUTY (on camera): At the present time, we have no information of that. Obviously, (INAUDIBLE) information, which will be collected over the course of the investigation. If there is any doubt that this could have been a factor in the (INAUDIBLE).

REPORTER (via translator): I have another question. So the investigation is taking place here and on site. But there's been a lot of movement of politicians and we saw also heads of companies and others speaking. Well, do you worry about the calm for the unfolding of the investigation? Haven't we today seen a political climate which might be awkward for your investigation?

JOUTY (via translator): Well, we've had a major disaster which triggers all sorts of emotions. And it happens after 2014 when there were throughout the world various accidents which, for various reasons, have affected public opinion. A few weeks ago there was a helicopter accident which also drew a lot of attention, especially in France. So all this creates a context which means that there's been an awful lot of attention focused on this disaster. But any air disaster triggers, it's quite normal, a lot of attention and emotion. And it's understood that we have to work in such a context.

However, the work of the BES is a technical work, independent, and everyone knows that we will take the time it takes to understand and explain independently of any comments or reactions off the cuff which arise from the (INAUDIBLE) emotion that we all feel.

REPORTER (via translator): France 24 (ph). Given the crash site and the way in which the pieces are distributed, are we sure there was no in-flight explosion? Do we have an idea how the aircraft was dismembered?

JOUTY: Well, let me come back to this maybe. The radar path goes to this altitude, given a few hundred meters. And we're here. In fact, we've exaggerated the difference to make it -- to highlight it on the map, within a few kilometers. So that's a first indication -- clear indication that the aircraft flew to the end.

Second indication, when you see this kind of site, the damage -- well, of course, the area seems quite big, but the debris are very small. And that's not at all characteristic of an aircraft that explodes in flight. That would tend to give debris spread out over many kilometers and large debris, several meters in size, which is not at all the case. So this kind of small debris --

REPORTER (via translator): So such small debris, is it normal? JOUTY: It's something that we do encounter whenever we have impact on

a hard surface with an angle between the aircraft and the impact which is fairly open and with high speed. We've seen these kind of small debris also in the case of the accident in Mali last summer.

REPORTER (via translator): You've explained that you have an audio file that is usable, and has been listened to by your technicians, so usable but very deteriorated, we saw the state of the black box.

JOUTY (via translator): Well, these recorders, it's a digital technology. So the file is an audio file which is recorded in a digital form. So if it's usable, it's unlikely. I don't have actual details because the work hasn't yet been finished. It's unlikely that there will be serious deterioration in quality.

REPORTER (via translator): And a second question. Apparently a cockpit window would have been broken before impact?

JOUTY (via translator): I have no data on this.

REPORTER (via translator): Madam (INAUDIBLE). You haven't spoken about the meteorological conditions. Is that something to be set aside? Or a quick analysis of the recorder, would it make it possible to quickly reach the conclusion of an accident, which has often been put forward as the probable cause?

JOUTY (via translator): Well, two questions actually. On the first question, the weather. In any investigation, including this one, we will get all weather data -- the data that the crew had when they took off and also in flight, and data such as we can obtain it after the event. And we'll see if that could have been a factor influencing the behavior of the crew.

At the moment, there's no information leading us to think that the weather conditions were particularly bad.

With respect to an accident, I understand your question is -- is this an accident in the sense that it might be linked to technical problems or is it an event which might be linked to intentional actions?

Well, at the moment, we have no -- nothing which allows us to decide.

REPORTER (via translator): Germanwings of Lufthansa, have they sent you any data on the aircraft?

JOUTY (via translator): We haven't yet tried to get it.

REPORTER (via translator): What is the precise role of the German experts?

JOUTY (via translator): Well, the German investigators of the BFU will take part in the investigation working closely with us. That's according to arrangements of an international investigation. So they will be involved in all our investigatory work, data analysis, and also drafting the report, because according to international arrangements, European arrangements, the draft report that we will prepare, they'll be consulted and they may be able to suggest changes.

So they'll be involved throughout the investigation and will take an active part throughout the investigation. That's for the investigatory staff of the BFU, the German body.

The technical advisers of the airline or the manufacturer, for example, they will be there to assist us in our technical work, to give us certain technical information or technical knowledge which is available in their various bodies.

REPORTER (via translator): Tim. On Akas (ph), is there any data? Did the aircraft have a contract?

JOUTY (via translator): Well, I have no data.

REPORTER (via translator): The experts of BEA on site, have they been able to look at the debris of the aircraft other than the black box which has been brought?

JOUTY (via translator): Well, some of them went by helicopter. Their work at the moment is not to look -- to want to look closely at certain debris. Their work is to look for the parameter recorder and secondly to try to determine what are the debris that are there. And in a second phase, they will try maybe, the depending on what's possible and what's necessary, they may try and go and look more closely at certain pieces or certain equipment from the aircraft or maybe to send them to a laboratory for more precise analysis.

Second question, you were talking about timing. We don't yet have the second black box. So long as we don't have it, given that the recording of the first can be used, we can assume within a few days we'll get an additional report on the data of that black box even if the second one isn't available. Without waiting, of course, for the second black box, we will start to transcribe what can be heard in that first black box.

I don't know -- it depends on what happened on what we don't yet know, whether those simple elements will allow us to understand enough to justify making public some further information on the basis of just that information. And I would add that I do hope that we find the parameter recorder fairly quickly so then we could work with both sources of information.

REPORTER (via translator): The flight path and the altitude that you showed us, can it give any possible indication on the way in which the engines might have worked during this ten-minute path? Did they slow down or engine failure -- can this give you any indication or no?

JOUTY (via translator): Well, a single engine breakdown, no. If both engines were to have broken down, it's too soon to say.

REPORTER (via translator): Bloomberg. I have a question on the names of the pilots.

No, normally in this kind of an accident, they give out the names of the pilots. Is there a reason why they've decided not to do that? JOUTY (via translator): Well, when you say they give out the name of

the pilots, who are you referring to? Because the policy of the BEA and of most bodies doing safety investigations according to international criteria is specifically not to give the names of people involved in whatever degree.

We will investigate also of course on the professional history of those pilots, how they were trained, and so on and so fort,h as part of the investigation. But there's no reason for us to give their names.

REPORTER: There was a 13-minute delay from Barcelona airport and authorities weren't able to give a reason for why there was a 13- minute delay to the take-off of the plane from Barcelona. Do you know? Could you comment on that?

JOUTY: We have no information at the present time of this. (INAUDIBLE). And of course all that information will be retrieved in the process of investigation. And we'll wait to see why I mentioned that we requested the help of our Spanish colleagues, because they will be in the best position to collect information related to (INAUDIBLE) of the flight of Barcelona.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, maybe we can stop. Thank you very much.