tv Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield CNN March 24, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PDT
better. house speaker boehner here would be another volley essentially against the white house. >> oren, thanks so much. thanks so much for joining us "@this hour." >> great to see you all. "legal view" with ashleigh banfield starts right now. good afternoon, everyone. i'm ashleigh banfield. this is "legal view." our breaking news is a flood of brand-new images and some new information as well from the crash of a german airliner in the alps of southern france. the airline germanwings now says its airbus a320 was at cruising altitude a mere one minute before it started falling. flight 95 a 25 was en route from barcelona to dusseldorf with at least 150 people on board, including babies. also including high school students.
for some unknown reason it began a catastrophic eight-minute descent which no one at this point is believed to have survived. recovery teams and investigators are scrambling to reach the crash site at this time while devastated families are converging on several airports. at a news conference in germany, the airline's ceo said both the captain and the plane were in seasoned condition. >> translator: the captain of the airliner was a captain who had been working for lufthansa germanwings for over ten years. the model airbus, he had actually flown with over 6,000 flight hours. >> our live coverage begins this hour with cnn's karl penhaul
who's live in barcelona and jim bittermann who's live in paris. let me begin with you, jim. set the scene for me now. what is happening in france to locate that damage and get people to the scene? >> reporter: well, in fact, there are about 500 people around the scene trying to get to the actual crash site. just in the last hour or so, ashleigh, we've heard from a french member of parliament who was with the interior minister, the french interior ministry went down to the site and flew over the site in his helicopter. and the member of parliament described it this way, he said there are no more pieces of the plane, only debris. the remains of men, women and children on the site. it's a very high-mountain grade, no trees, sad and dark. he said that there was absolutely no reason for him to believe that anyone survived this crash. and we have seen some still photos from the site and from that helicopter pass which just
show very, very small parts of the plane indeed, a couple of bits of fuselage and some bits that are scattered over a very wide coverage, something between four and five acres, it's estimated. in this very mountainous site. the gendarms couldn't land in the area. they had to be dropped down on ropes. there are investigators there now. and there are looking around to see if anyone could have possibly survived. but at this point, it's more a question of recovering the bodies, i think. >> and a four-acre crash site, jim, that is just a harrowing thought what those rescuers are going to come upon. can you also explain the weather situation? as i understand it, there could be more snow coming to this region which would make it so difficult to find anything.
>> reporter: it's going to complicate things indeed. there's a front moving in there this evening, even right now, i believe, it's started to rain down there. and the rain could turn to snow, which will make finding the remains and also parts of the aircraft difficult. one of the french officials here said that in fact it could be an effort that would take two to three days before they would recover the bodies from the site because of the instances and the drops involved on these sheer mountain cliffs they're having to work with. >> jim, stand by for a moment. karl, i want to bring you in with any reports you may have been able to gather about the people who were on board this aircraft. >> reporter: absolutely. i'm in terminal 2 of barcelona's international airport where this flight set out from. we're not hearing too much about specifically which nationalities are on board. we know several different nationalities are on board.
germanwings, the airline, says at least 67 germans. we have seen arriving at a crisis center set up for family members here, spanish relatives arriving of presumably the spanish passengers on board. we also understand there may be a number of turkish passengers on board. but among the german passengers, we've heard over the last few moments from the city hall in halten, north of the destination of duflsseldorf, that 16 high school students were booked on this flight with their teacher. they had been in spain on an exchange program, on a student exchange program. we're still waiting to hear whether in fact they did check in for that flight and were on board at the time. but bear in mind that barcelona is a very touristic city. it has a number of main attractions here for both
longer-term and weekend tourists and also barcelona is the gateway to spain's costa brava region, a major tourist destination, especially for northern europeans heading to spain for some winter sun. so over the next hours, we do expect to get from germanwings a better breakdown of the passengers who were on board, their nationalities and also whether they were here for pleasure, for tourism, for business. up to 16 exchange students from germany could have been on board that flight, too, as well, ashleigh. >> jim, if i can bring you back into this conversation with regard to the mobilization of the rescue attempts, if the weather isn't good and if there is low-hanging clouds, low cloud cover, presumably a lot of this is going to be done by helicopter. is that even safe? and can they get those helicopters in there with rescuers or even people who will do the recovery? >> reporter: well, they've got a
landing zone prepared about ten kilometers away from the crash site and there are now about a dozen helicopters parked there. not all of them are operating simply because there's not a place for them to land. they are lowered by ropes, some of the investigators who are trying to comb through the debris, what debris they can find. if the still photo that we've seen is indicative, it's basically a scene of very steep ravines with bits of the airplane scattered throughout this area. and some of this, the size of the pieces, they're very small pieces. there's nothing that would look like an airplane. in one still photo, we saw one section of the fuselage, you can see maybe four windows on the fuselage, a section that would be maybe five feet by five feet or something like that. but nothing to indicate that there's -- that this was a
plane. so the people combing there this are going to have a very difficult time indeed. the black boxes have pingers on them so they'll be able to track them down probably fairly easily. but even that could be difficult especially if it starts snowing and this all gets covered with a couple of inches or a foot of snow or something like that. it's going to be a very complicated effort. and you have to hike in here. this is not a place -- i understand from some of the locals that you have -- you can drive to a point about 45 minutes away on foot from where the crash site is. so the rescuers and the searchers will have to walk in -- or else be dropped from helicopters as they were a few hours ago. ashleigh? >> right. it's those helicopters that you have to be so concerned about when the weather is inclement like this. you have a low cloud ceiling, you have to be extraordinarily careful of that. karl penhaul, jim bittermann, thank you for that. stand by. i have a comment from the white house. we are getting a comment from
the national security council spokesperson. she is the assistant to the president for homeland security. this is what she is advising. she says that the president has been briefed on this crash, that u.s. officials have been in touch with their french, german and spanish counterparts, the authorities. they have been offered the assistance the united states. also this spokesperson sending thoughts and prayers saying that our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and the loved ones. they are also referring all inquiries to the french authorities for updates on the investigation. and here is maybe what the most critical aspect of this statement is. there is no indication of a nexus to terrorism at this time. let me repeat, there is no indication of a nexus to terrorism at this time. this is from the national security council spokesperson with the comment from the united states white house. there were at least 150 people on board that plane, two babies,
possibly even a group of high school students. instead of greeting them at the airport, their relatives are now gathering to grieve as authorities try to determine what went wrong. 40% of the streetlights in detroit, at one point, did not work. you had some blocks and you had major thoroughfares and corridors that were just totally pitch black. those things had to change. we wanted to restore our lighting system in the city. you can have the greatest dreams in the world, but unless you can finance those dreams, it doesn't happen. at the time that the bankruptcy filing was done, the public lighting authority had a hard time of finding a bank. citi did not run away from the table like some other bankers did. citi had the strength to help us go to the credit markets and raise the money. it's a brighter day in detroit. people can see better when they're out doing their tasks,
young people are moving back in town, the kids are feeling safer while they walk to school. and folks are making investments and the community is moving forward. 40% of the lights were out, but they're not out for long.they're coming back. ugh... ...heartburn. did someone say burn? try alka seltzer reliefchews. they work just as fast and are proven to taste better than tums smoothies assorted fruit. mmm... amazing. yeah, i get that a lot. alka seltzer heartburn reliefchews.
enjoy the relief. boy: once upon a time, there was a nice house that lived with a family. one day, it started to rain and rain. water got inside and ruined everybody's everythings. the house thought she let the family down. but the family just didn't think a flood could ever happen. the reality is, floods do happen. protect what matters. get flood insurance. call the number on your screen to learn more.
continuing with our breaking news right now, the coverage of the crash of the germanwings flight 9525, there are 210 french police that are working the crash scene of the airbus 320. it left barcelona, spain, about 5:00 in the morning eastern time, by it crashed it french alps about 45 minutes after take-off.
that plane came down in the mountains in the southeast of france. and the problem right now, it is extraordinarily remote, it is so hard to access. here with me in new york is cnn aviation analyst, a 777 captain and contributing editor for "flying" magazine. also joined by mary schiavo who's live in our london newsroom right now. les, let's talk about the flight path. it was headed to dusseldorf, 45 minutes into this flight, all of a sudden, no contact at all. and yet we're getting a notification from the white house that there's no suggestion that there's a nexus to terrorism. but there's no indication from the pilots what happened. what's your best estimate from the smattering of information we have right now? >> it's conflicting information. we don't really know exactly -- there must have been some sort of communication, that area of the world is very sophisticated with radar, tracking of airplanes.
something was happening. what it says to me is something was happening in that airplane that got their attention. st they got some sort of warning and they were responding to it appropriately. it's been discussed now the drop in altitude. i wouldn't even call it a drop. it sounded like a normal descent. we do that every day typically on an arrival. >> not when you're in the alps, though? >> well, when you're at 38,000 feet, you're still -- there's still no issues with terrain. you have a good point when you get down to lower altitude. but what it citizsays to me is need to divert somewhere, something's going on in that cockpit that we have to handle on the ground. >> mary, jump in on this. that is a very unusual set of facts where we have a plane that originally was at 38,000 feet. it dropped 14,000 feet in six minutes which might seem to the layperson like a terrible
descent. but as les just said, that's not so precipitous. >> right. and i checked the descent rates for this aircraft, looked at the charts and the tables and this is one that's allowed. now, at this altitude, though, the recommended descent rate is less than that. but it's not the kind of a descent rate that would cause pieces of the plane to come apart. it wasn't an uncontrolled descent rate and the plane wasn't dropping from 38,000 feet at terminal velocity. but this is higher than what's recommended for the airbus at that altitude but certainly not something where the pilots were causing damage to the plane. but it's significant in that they were getting down in a hurry for whatever reason or possibly an uncommanded reason. >> that is what is intriguing, les, that they had these six minutes to descend to 14,000 feet and yet no information was sent back to any air traffic control anywhere that there was a problem.
the distress call came from the ground to the plane, not from the plane. >> that's my understanding. with a lot of emergencies, we've talked about this before on air. it's aifuate, navigate and communicate. that may have been in the process of navigating so they weren't getting themselves into a terrain danger because they know, i'm sure, they're situationally aware of the terrain in the alps. and then they wanted to communicate. something stopped them from communicating directly because maybe they had a compound problem. 12k3w >> it's not as simple as hitting a button so that air traffic control can listen in on the emergency you're trying to get a handle on. >> correct. there's nothing you can do if you can't get control of your airplane. >> les and mary, thank you for that. if you could both stick around, we have a lot more questions about what exactly happened. there are some images from around this crash site that are only now just coming in. the area is only accessible by air and for those who are
extreme hikers. and the weather is now another terrible obstacle for any of the crews who are trying to get in there to rescue if there is anyone to rescue or recover if there's anything even left to recover. just ahead, a virtual look at the plane and then that remarkable terrain where it went down. when you ache and haven't you're not you. tylenol® pm relieves pain and helps you fall fast asleep and stay asleep. we give you a better night. you're a better you all day. tylenol®. first impressions are important. you've got to make every second count. banking designed for the way you live your life. so you can welcome your family home...
for the first time. chase. so you can. i have great credit. how do you know? duh. try credit karma. it's free and you can see what your score is right now . i just got my free credit score! credit karma. really free. nobody's hurt,but there will you totstill be pain.new car. it comes when your insurance company says they'll only pay three-quarters of what it takes to replace it. what are you supposed to do, drive three-quarters of a car? now if you had a liberty mutual new car replacement, you'd get your whole car back. i guess they don't want you driving around on three wheels. smart. new car replacement is just one of the features that come standard with a base liberty mutual policy. and for drivers with accident forgivness,rates won't go up due to your first accident. learn more by calling
saying? >> reporter: that's right. the president's been briefed on this investigation. and the white house at this point, they're leaving this to the french authorities to lead the investigation on this. but let me tell you about a statement that we've gotten from the national security council spokesperson at the white house. as far as the u.s. knows, there's no terrorism connection to this plane crash. here's what she has to say, lisa monaco briefed the president on the crash. u.s. officials have been in touch with french, german and spanish authorities and have offered assistance. our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and loved ones. we refer you to french authorities for an update on this investigation and the key phrase here, there is no indication of a nexus to terrorism at this time. so, ashleigh, obviously they're going through their investigation over there in france. the french authorities are on top of this. but as far as the white house, as far as the obama administration, as far as the u.s. government is concerned,
they don't see a terrorist link to what's happened out there. >> jim acosta reporting live from the white house, thank you. we may not know what caused germanwings flight 9525 to crash, but we certainly from information about that very aircraft. the plane was an airbus model a320. the twin engine single aisle aircraft. it was carrying 150 people. we can confirm that is the final number, 150. it was delivered to lufthansa from the production line back in 1991. and it had just a little more than 58,000 flight hours on it. joining me now with a virtual look at the flight path and the very rough terrain where that plane crashed is cnn's tom foreman. can you walk me through everything that we know technically about this plane and where it crashed? >> well, we know, as you said, it wasn't a particularly old aircraft, not by industry standards. it was inspected by lufthansa engineers just the day before this flight. they're very good engineers. it was piloted by a very capable
captain. this is a workhorse plane, not a plane known to have tremendous problems. it has problems but nothing out of the ordinary as far as we know. if you look at the flight pattern of this plane, ashleigh, that's where the mystery comes in because everything looked normal. this is the speed of the plane here in red. the blue is the altitude of the plane. and all of this looks perfectly fine. along in here, the plane was going somewhere around 500 miles an hour plus which is perfectly normal. it lost a little bit of speed right in here. nobody knows exactly why or what that was about. and here even when it stopped, when it hit the ground, it was still going about 400 miles an hour. the big mystery is why this? why this descent here that we've been talking about all morning long? a long descent where at this point, i'll say, right here, that's where it was in the range of the tallest of the alps. so around 13,000 feet, a little bit shorter than the colorado rockies. at this point, they are very
deeply in the danger zone. and as you've had experts say all morning, no pilot is willingly to go go there unless they have some alternative that is even worse. and we heard no call from the cockpit, no trouble. so that's why this is such a mystery right now. >> it is so odd to see that speed so high at the time of the impact. can you talk a little bit about those questionable pitot tubes now, what they are and how that could have been a contributing factor and i stress may have been. >> that's right. sometimes when you get on a plane, you'll see these. they're like this. this is a device that measures basically static air pressure with what's happening outside, it compares the two and calculates what the speed of the plane is. these have been known in the past to have problems with icing. they're heated so they shouldn't
ice over. but sometimes at altitude they ice over anyway. it's just a natural artifact of being up there. when that happens, if you're in the cockpit of this plane, you would no longer know precisely how fast you're moving. and that affects a lot of things because, believe me, when a plane like this is flying, the thing they're relying on is the instrumentation, not looking out the window to tell them where they are. that raises the possibility -- not necessarily a probability, but the possibility that this plane could have been descending very rapidly toward the ground, smoothly and the people in the plane did not know it was descending. that's what happened with the air france crash over the atlantic ocean. that's something they have to certainly look at. >> and then, tom, just to the right of you on the viewers' screen right now, we're getting some of the first live pictures coming in from the rescue staging area. this is seyne-les-alpes in france.
we're seeing some of the efforts now to stage and plan for what will invariably become a recovery operation, one of the more harrowing facts that's emerged just from the bird's-eye view that they've been able to get from the crash site. there is not a piece of this plane left that is larger than the size of a car. and that may be one of the reasons why authorities were so quick to say it is likely that there will be no survivors. and that will likely not be a rescue operation for long, even if it is now. this is quite a critical look. as you can see, this may look like a mountain plateau, and a mountain valley area. but make no mistake, the place where that plane crashed is extraordinarily difficult to access. it can be accessed on foot. it can be accessed by helicopter. but the weather is terrible and it's only getting worse. less than an hour after take-off, it was pretty clear that something went really badly
the families of 150 people on board a plane that went down in the french alps are wondering not only where are their loved ones but what happened? what happened to bring that plane down relatively quickly and what happened that authorities announced fairly quickly that there were likely no survivors? i want to get back to jim bittermann who's live with us in paris. jim, i understand we're getting information from one of the provincial presidents in the region who seems to have some information from those flying overhead. what are you finding out? >> reporter: the president of the local regional government reports that the plane is totally obliterated. he said there's no single section of the plane that's larger than a small car that remains. and there are human remains scattered all over the mountainside. he also said he did not believe that any human remains would be
brought down the mountain tonight. he said that night is starting to fall down there. but it's also weather conditions that would probably impede the people -- the searchers who are looking for the human remains, those that have done it, the gerndames can't land because of the precipes itous terrain. the ground is frozen making it necessary for them to use special equipment to get in to bring down the bodies of those who lost their lives. >> so distressing, one quick addition to that, jim is that they do not believe rescuers are going to be able to retrieve any of the bodies tonight. so that leaves tomorrow. and as you said, jim, snow is forecast for tomorrow which can be extraordinarily difficult to locate anything. so troubling, the report that
there have already been human remains strewn as far as several hundred meters from the wreckage. jim, let us know if you pick up any other details on this for us. this is in the french alps, this is a flight that was bound from spain to germany. what you're seeing here are some of the first pictures of the rescue staging area that has been set up not far from the actual crash site. this location, seyne-les-alpes in france. you can see some of the other perspectives of these live pictures, there are numerous different rescue vehicles, most notably helicopters, lots of them. the helicopters presumably doing just about all of the work right now, flying over the crash scene just to get an idea of what it is they're going to be working with. these are where these initial reports are coming from, that the pieces of debris are no larger than a car. and in fact one of the quotations we've got here is that the plane has been
obliterated, dislocated was the word used in translation, that effectively there is just nothing left of this plane. and of course the sighting of human remains but no sightings so far of any survivors. and the announcement early that it is unlikely there will be any survivors. what you are seeing on your screen right now is exactly what it would look like in the united states if there were a crash. there would be a staging area that looked exactly like this, with responders and tents and emergency vehicles at the ready, a large zone set up and ready to go for whatever it is they come across. tragically, though, the weather, a huge problem, even the helicopters will struggle against that low cloud ceiling and the inclement weather that's coming in. let alone being able to spot anything once that snow falls. back right after this. mensure active heart health.r heart: i maximize good stuff, like my potassium and phytosterols which may help lower cholesterol. new ensure active heart health
supports your heart and body so you stay active and strong. ensure, take life in. intthe new banking rewardsrds fprogram that rewards our customers, every day. you'll get things like rewards bonuses on credit cards... extra interest on a savings account... preferred pricing on merrill edge online trades and more... across your banking and investing get used to getting more. that's the power of more rewarding connections. that's preferred rewards from bank of america.
continuing our live coverage right now of this plane crash in the french alps. i want to bring in senior cnn meteorologist chad myers who's standing by. one of the big headlines in this crash is the weather conditions as that plane went down and the weather conditions still moving in for those who have to go into this. >> and when we see the ceilings lower down below that 6,000-foot level with rain and snow, those helicopters that are going to be so instrumental at least for now will be grounded. they're not going to be able to fly in the alps when you can't see the ground. and maybe that was part of the problem today. we don't really know. this is what the weather looked like at the time of the crash. going back 24 hours. we see that most of this snow, most of the rain was south and into parts of the mediterranean. i know you've seen this graphic a lot of the day. the flight path where it was,
over the alps. but also this map here where you saw the flight altitude go straight down. let me give you a better indication of what that truly looks like from our guys at flightwise.com. the flight path, the distance, the pingers and all the data we get, able to put right onto a map showing the plane coming out of barcelona and climbing, finally leveling off and very close to marseilles starting its descent. the descent looks more like this. not that big sharp drop-off. about 3,000 feet per minute. the irony is here, is if the pilots had a problem and they were ascending down to here, this is 100 miles from that spot to here. they coasted or whatever for 100 miles. marseilles's airport, 11,000 feet long was only 30 miles away. they could have diverted to that airport. but they didn't. did they even know they were on their way down? if the clouds were in here and
this pitot tube issue was really the problem and the pilots didn't know they were descending somehow, like the 400 flight over the caribbean, then there could be the problem. they couldn't see the ground because you can't see the tops of those mountains because of the cloud cover and the fog today. >> chad, i'm just going to throw this out there. but you can't defend on a plane without equalizing your ears, you would at least know from the feeling, right? >> you know there must be something else going on here and i don't know what it is. but this thing appeared to just fly and keep its speed up, keep the speed up at 400 miles per hour but not dive out of the sky at 600 miles per hour. it flew and it flew at a straight line at 26 degrees, just to the east and northeast, flew there for about eight minutes. so they didn't even try to move the plane around. something's going on here that we don't know and the black boxes, i know they're painted orange, but they will know
what's going on. this one we'll get to the bottom of. >> bizarre. chad, thank you. our ask our aviation experts about this right after the break. and there's the issue of 200 french police working the crash scene. and that's just the beginning. there are 350 more on the way if they can get there. right now, they're being lowered by cables from helicopters, helicopters that pretty soon aren't going to be able to even fly in there. how on earth are they going to manage this crash site? that's next.
the promise of the cloud is that every organization has unlimited access to information, no matter where they are. the microsoft cloud gives our team the power to instantly deliver critical information to people, whenever they need it. here at accuweather we get up to 10 billion data requests every day. the cloud allows us to scale up so we can handle that volume. we can help keep people safe, and to us that feels really good. cough if you can hear me. don't even think about it. i took mucinex dm for my phlegmy cough. yeah...but what about mike? (cough!) it works on his cough too. mucinex dm relieves wet and dry coughs for 12 hours. let's end this.
right! now you're gonna ask for me my cmy credit card -free... - so you can charge me on the down low two weeks later look, credit karma - are you talking to websites again? this website says 'free credit scores'. oh. credit karma! yeah, it's really free. look, you don't even have to put in your credit card information. what?!
credit karma. really free credit scores. really. free. i could talk to you all day. i've got a nice long life ahead. big plans. so when i found out medicare doesn't pay all my medical expenses, i got a medicare supplement insurance plan. [ male announcer ] if you're eligible for medicare, you may know it only covers about 80% of your part b medical expenses. the rest is up to you. call now and find out about an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. like all standardized medicare supplement insurance plans, it could save you in out-of-pocket medical costs. call now to request your free decision guide. i've been with my doctor for 12 years. now i know i'll be able to stick with him. [ male announcer ] you'll be able to visit any doctor or hospital that accepts medicare patients. plus, there are no networks, and virtually no referrals needed. see why millions of people have already enrolled
in the only medicare supplement insurance plans endorsed by aarp. don't wait. call now. continuing our breaking news coverage of the flight germanwings flight 9525. search and rescue crews using helicopters to try to get to the crash site. we've got pictures sent to us from one of our cnn international reporters. it is proving terribly difficult to access the scene because the plane, an airbus a320, went down in the mountains in the french alps. complicating the matters is the terrible weather, weather that's moving in. temperatures currently below freezing, expected to drop and a very low cloud ceiling. the flight took off from barcelona, spain, about 5:00 a.m. eastern time headed to dusseldorf in germany with 150 people on board including two babies. after about 45 minutes into the
flight, air traffic controllers lost communication with this plane and on the ground, the controller declared an emergency. with me, cnn aviation analyst les abend and in our london newsroom, cnn aviation analyst mary schiavo. les, something chad myers was just talking about, the possibility that these pilots may not even have known that they were descending. is that something that made sense to you, especially with these pitots that are being problematic lately? >> let's take it a step at a time. no, i don't think they wouldn't have known. but the profile that was shown, the bottom line, it did not look like an extraordinary descent rate. it looked like a fast descent rate but nothing that looked totally out of the ordinary. this is an airplane with wings, even if the engines weren't functioning, they could still glide the airplane. as far as the pitot tubes are concerned, we're really
speculating on this one. the important thing about the pitot tubes if indeed this contributing factor to it, if they froze up, this not only feeds information to the pilots and the autopilot itself, but this is a computerized airplane. it's all flied by wire. that information is required by the computers for all the air data information. >> we also know that apparently that plane had been checked out well. it was in, quote, good repair -- being checked out just yesterday as well, whether something was missed won't be known until we get the black boxes. mary, could you join in on this, on the issue that it appeared when chad was giving that report, it appeared -- actually, i don't even know if it was chad or tom. but between the two, we learned the crash site, that plane may have been going as fast as 400 miles per hour. and that sounds just extraordinary to me. does that sound like that to you or not? >> no, that's actually not even
the typical speed, probably be cruising at a speed in excess of that. so 400 miles an hour on that rapid of a descent means it was a controlled descent. and i'm sure les has had to descend over the time faster than that. so 400 miles an hour does not sound particularly alarming to me at all. >> but i would imagine, les, that the obliteration of this plane -- and i'm now quoting from the president of the region in france who has described this as an obliterate, translated from something he said dislocation, but effectively obliteration of this plane makes sense when it hit. >> with my background, that's a high air speed impact event which means that airplane impacted terrain at a pretty high speed. >> another confusing aspect that chad just showed us is it seemed to bypass marseilles.
marseilles didn't seem so far away with an extraordinary landing capacity, a large airport with long runways. how does that equate? >> true. but they may have been very focused on the terrain and trying to be situationally aware of how close they were -- in other words, you can't just dial in marseilles and have the airplane head for it. you've got to know where the threat of terrain is. and that airport may not -- it may have had weather issues possibly. that's on the computer as an alternate, i'm certain of that. >> quickly, mary, chad reported the cloud ceiling is expected to be upwards of, i think, 6,000 feet. what is your prognosis for the possibility that helicopters are going to have to stop all work at that kind of a cloud cover? >> well, they would have to because the elevation of the wreckage and of much of the wreckage debris field exceeds that. and particularly the photos from the wreckage scene are just
breathtakingly horrific because it's really, really rugged terrain. and it's so widely dispersed. to get a chopper down in there and land it and plus with deteriorating weather, it's not feasible. they did say -- i saw some reports here in london that they have flown over enough to know that they don't see any signs of life, terribly sad news, of course. but they cannot risk the lives of the chopper pilots setting down if they don't think it is a rescue mission, a recovery mission. so i suspect they will have to wait. the big mystery here is of course the reports that there were from at least two other pilots in the area saying that the weather was not bad at the time of the crash. so regardless of what the situation with the pitot tubes, if the pilot had any visual clues, if they could see out those windows, the question is why departmeidn't they divert t course? >> yeah. and whether the weather was
inclement causing this crash, without question, we know that bad, bad weather is settling in in this area. and that is hell for helicopters. it's just awful. mary and les, thank you for that. if you're watching and wondering if there's a way to help, there certainly is. cnn would like to help you do this. go to our website, cnn.com/impact, plenty of information there for how you can reach out and help those who are affected by this tragedy. we're following all the developments on this crash. we'll bring you every bit of new information we have. and another top story, secret service director joe clancy facing blistering criticism today on capitol hill. lawmakers taking aim for this incident that involved two allegedly drunk agents who were driving and bumping into a barricade at the white house and questions about whether they actually did that or not. also finally seeing some video of this embarrassing incident. we'll show it to you after the break.
in very rugged terrain. we have news that we can tell you from reuters. and that is this -- it is being reported by the french interior minister that they have found at least one of the black boxes, make no mistake, they are orange. this is something they may have been able to spot from the sky as there is no reporting that anyone has been able to land. there has been some reporting that rescuers. >> reporter: at least recovery agents have been able to lower via cable from helicopters but no helicopters are landing but there is news that one of the flight reporters has been found, whether it is the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder is unclear at this time. but one of those recorders has been found. whether it's been retrieved is also another issue as the weather is terribly inclement and terribly difficult for those on the ground to recover anything at this point given that they've been lowered in. anyone who may be on the ground did not land.
they were cabling down from hovering helicopters. we're continuing to watch that story. we're also watching these tense moments that developed on capitol hill this morning where lawmakers were grilling the director of the secret service, joe clancy. only on the job for a couple of months now. and it's about that incident this month that involved two allegedly intoxicated agents and the disruption of a suspicious package investigation at the white house. you're seeing video perhaps for the first time you're seeing this. it is the first look at the surveillance footage of the incident. the most recent embarrassment for the embattled agency. cnn's chris frates joins me live now with more on what happened in that hearing. so that is new video. is it telling us anything or is what happened on capitol hill, that blistering question-and-answer period that's really enlightening? >> reporter: it's really the blistering answer period because lawmakers took clancy to tasked, hammering him for his leadership and his own willingness to let the agents on the scene that
night testify today. and as you said, for the first time, we saw video of the two agents hitting that barricade and driving around an act bomb threat investigation. that video came from the metropolitan police department because so far director clancy has refused to release the secret service video to the committee. we also saw for the first time an anonymous e-mail that helped set the whole story in motion. the tipster details how two senior agents drove through the crime scene tape after returning from a retirement party. they said that officers at the scene were extremely intoxicated and that the officers were going to arrest both of those senior agents but the watch commander said not to. here's what elijah cummings, the top democrat on that committee, had to say about the e-mail. >> but you know what really bothers me as i read this, i kept reading this e-mail this morning over and over and over. and you know what i concluded? it appears that we have an agency at war against itself.
we're better than that! and some kind of way, we have to take advantage of this transformative moment. if we don't, it can only get worse. >> reporter: cummings' frustration palpable there. and it was shared by a lot of other members on that committee this morning. >> wow, even after they cleared up that it wasn't a barricade that was smashed. it was barrels that were nudged. chris, thank you for that. i'll pass the baton now to wolf blitzer picking up our special coverage now. hello. i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. 6:00 p.m. in barcelona. 6:00 p.m. at dusseldorf. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. let's begin with the breaking news. we're getting new detai a