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CNN 10

Explosion in New York City; Search for Missing Plane; How Flight Data Recorders Are Designed; Creative Writing for Underserved Teenagers in Los Angeles

Aired March 13, 2014 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for taking ten minutes for CNN STUDENT NEWS. We`re glad to be part of your Thursday. First story we have is from Manhattan in New York City. Wednesday morning a large explosion collapsed two buildings, a church and the piano store. Officials aren`t certain why this happened, but a utility company said it got a call about a gas leak just after 9 a.m. New York`s mayor says that was the only indication there was any danger. Dozens of fire fighters arrive to search for survivors. At least two people were initially confirmed dead, but because some were severely injured, and others were missing, the death toll may be higher.

Natural gas doesn`t have a smell. Utility companies add an odor to it, so that people can detect a leak. If you ever think you smell it, calling the gas company or 911 is a good idea.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can I.D. me. I`m a method of gathering information. I`m usually done online with help from the public. I`ve been used in crime investigations and the search for asteroids. I`m crowd sourcing, a way of getting info often without paying for the help.

AZUZ: Crowd sourcing may be able to help in the search for a missing Malaysian Airlines plane. A company called Digital Globe has posted satellite images of the area online, thousands of people are scouring them, trying to help. Malaysia Airways Flight 370 disappeared early Saturday morning. Less than an hour after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the plane`s transponder was either turned off or it just stopped working. The transponder sends signals about altitude, locations and direction of a plane. There are conflicting reports from Malaysia`s government about whether the plane turned and flew in another direction. Last night, a Chinese satellite image was released showing what might have been wreckage, but it couldn`t be confirmed immediately. The search area is bigger than the state of West Virginia.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look at what we know. Here`s what we actually know about the situation there. If you look at it the plane took off. We know that it left from down here and went up here. And that all the transponding stopped at about 1:30. That`s really all we know. We were getting signals that there was a turn that was leading the plane this way, and then it was spotted by radar over here somewhere around an hour later.

We know more about this right now. This wasn`t some kind of tracking of it. We don`t even know for sure that it did turn, because authorities are now saying that`s not clear either. What we know is that there`s single radar reflection over here. Why does it have the word reflection in here? Because if the transponder is on the plane, when the radar pins the plane, the plane essentially answers back. It says who are you, and the plane says we`re this Malaysian air flight. If the transponder is off, all the radar can do is say there`s something out there. And this is what we are talking about. So, this becomes very confusing, as where this had anything to do with what was going on over here. But, the result - boy, you cannot miss the results here, because the result is a sure thing here.

Look at what happens to the search areas. They were focused right over in this area. Now they are having to add all these other territory out here, which just complicates it further and further because every bit of that will now have to be searched, a piece at a time you`ll have to grid it off, the say you would for any search. And fly over each area until they illuminate each little cube to figure out where they are going.

The families of the missing are grieving. They are frustrated. They are tired of waiting for answers. Malaysian police are searching the home of the pilot. They are also questioning the friend if two Iranians who boarded the flight with stolen passports. So, they are not believed to be terrorists. Still, finding the plane itself may be the only way to find out what exactly happened.


SUSANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How can Malaysia Air Flight 370`s transponder fail? The cockpit voice and flight data recorders will tell us.

(on camera): It surprisingly looks kind of primitive. What does it do?

ROGER CONNOR, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION: It essentially has an armored shell and even within that there`s what`s you call an armored bathtub that houses the memory chips that record all the flight data.

MALVEAUX: The crucial last 30 minutes of conversation between the pilots is captured on way device: the air craft`s altitude, speed, direction and hundreds of other parameters measured on the other.

CONNOR: On the further box, we see a radio beacon allows that the box to be located after a crash. This is housing the solid state memory chips that are recording all the flight data. So, that`s the critical part of the unit that needs to be salvaged after an accident.

MALVEAUX: This so called black box is an older, but similar version of the Malaysian plane`s recorders. The newer models are about half the size and collect more than 1000 pieces of data, which makes them so unique, is their ability to survive just about anything.

CONNOR: The box is designed for impacts of over 3,400 Gs. This is about 7,000 times what would be a fatal car accident for a human. So, incredible impact. In terms of temperature, it`s designed to withstand temperatures over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for short duration. So, this would cover scenarios where it`s sitting in the middle of burning jet fuel for an hour or so.

MALVEAUX: What is more likely critical for the Malaysian Airline, is the recorder`s ability to withstand the tremendous pressure from the depth of the sea.

The technology has come a long a way now. Aircraft of this era, like this Boeing for 1954, didn`t have flight data recorders. It was shortly after the start of the jet age, that they became common. Aircraft like the Concord, which had a major accident benefit from the advanced technology.

But the problem is getting to the recorders fast enough to make them useful. The box emits a signal or beacon in fresh or salt water from as deep as 20,000 feet below. But the battery often runs out in just 30 days.

But the Air France flight that went down in the Atlantic in 2009, it took searchers two years to find the data recorders, because they were far from the wreckage.


AZUZ: East Coast, West Coast and in between, it`s time for the CNN STUDENT NEWS roll call. We`ll start in Marco Island, Florida, home to the Eagles in Marco Island Charter Middle School. Good to see you.

As we move across the country, we`re taking roll in McAlester, Oklahoma, it`s where the buffaloes roam, at McAlester High School. And in the Pacific northwest, this suns are up, they are shining bright at Southridge High School in Kennewick, Washington.

This Woman`s History Month, we are honoring people like Keren Taylor. She`s doing something a lot of your English teachers do. She`s giving young people a way to express themselves the creative writing. But the way she got there is a little different. Taylor was a sales executive laid off from her job who used her severance pay and savings to start "Write Girl," it`s a non-profit organization to help teenagers in Los Angeles.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I blossom with each pen mark.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I found myself in the words.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every girl has a story to tell.

KEREN TAYLOR, CNN HERO: Some of our girls are facing some of the greatest challenges teenagers could ever face - pregnancy, incarceration, violence in their family, at school. Those girls need a mentor. They need to be inspired about their own voice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Life in the light can be so bright. Nothing can be so pure.

TAYLOR: Writing in self-expression can give them a tool for moving forward.

Say something that nobody else has said before. Because you have your own way of saying things.

TAYLOR: We matched underserved girls with professional women writers for mentoring and group workshops.

I want to match you, Christa, with Christie.

The moment you ask a young person, tell me about something you`re passionate about, they are writing and the ideas just flow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what you`re going to read today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was kind of scared - like I`m really quiet, and I keep to myself, but Emily - and she`s so excited and enthusiastic about writing. I absolutely love her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Writing gave me that position in life like I`m grown, I have a story to tell.

TAYLOR: Their senses are deluded by the sparkling things across their eye.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to help girls see that their voiced matters.

TAYLOR: And he`s got a lot of good stuff here, and what I like to hear more is about you.

To give a girl tools to be able to be positive and thrive and rise above whatever challenges she`s facing, what`s better than that?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRLS: Never underestimate the power of the girls and (INAUDIBLE)


AZUZ: We`ve seen a lot of cool basketball shots, some in game, some just because they are trick shots, and they are awesome. Thanks to YouTube, this is the first we`ve seen in golf. First, Dude chips it up, sets it up, second dude spikes it or drives it. Might have sliced it. First dude takes credit, says that was cool. That was cool.

In golf, you are not allowed to hit the ball twice with one swing. But if two guys hit the ball with one swing each, they are part of a rare club. Their synergy is like iron. They put teamwork over cuddliness, making lesser golfers green with M.B. I know, I know the puns are sometimes tough to putt up with, but we always take a shot at ending on the up note. That`d be a hole in one show without them, and their fans would be really teed off. We`re going to golf for now, but I hope you`ll make tea time for us again tomorrow.