tv CNN Newsroom CNN March 28, 2015 7:00am-8:01am PDT
spell smerconish. i'll see you next week. investigators continue their search for answers behind the secret life of germanwings co-pilot andreas lubitz and why he would steer a jetliners into the mountainside. >> what authorities say the co-pilot actually did inside the cockpit moments before the crash. we'll take you inside a plane simulateder to show you what it looked like. and bowe bergdahl new inside from the u.s. soldier as to why he says he left his unit in afghanistan. will his strategy keep him out of prison? this is cnn breaking news. >> good morning. i'm alison kosik in for christi paul paul. >> i'm victor blackwell. we're in the cnn "newsroom" and you're starting this hour with breaking news. cnn is now able to confirm the identity of the captain of the
germanwings flight 9525. >> let's go to cologne, germany. fred, what have you learned about the pilot? >> reporter: yeah good morning, guys. this comes from a relative of patrick zondeheimer. he confirmed to a cnn crew that met him there that indeed his relative patrick sondenheimer was the captain of the flight the man who attempted to get back into the cockpit after he was locked out by andreas lieu bits. he was described as a man with a lot of experience about 6,000 flying hours in total-. been with the company for ten years and we know his name is patrick sondenheimer. he is the man who attempted to get back into the cockpit. >> fred you're from cologne, germany. you know a lot of the officials. there have been some new revelations coming to light that
the co-pilot who authorities say crashed the plane had an illness. there has been speculation about whether it was a mental illness. what are the companies saying germanwings and lufthansa. >> germanwings is saying they had these sick leave notes that apparently he destroyed saying he had this illness, saying he was unfit to fly. all they're saying right now is they never received the notes. they're saying what the public prosecutor is telling them that he was trying to hide this illness illness, appears to be true. we don't know what that illness was. and there's a lot of speculation right now, some information coming from "the new york times," other publications, that apparently it was some sort of mental disorder that he might have sought a second diagnosis. we have been in touch with the university hospital in dusseldorf which is one of the places where he lived. they said yes, he came for diagnostics but they said it wasn't for depression. they didn't say however whether it might have been for some sort of other mental disorder. >> it's interesting a look at the dichotomy between the french prosecutor who came out a couple days ago with all of this information. the german prosecutor in
dusseldorf has been a little more tight-lipped. you're from germany -- >> reporter: they are very tight-lipped. they don't like giving out a lot of information. they keep things secret for a very long time. you have to say from having worked in this country for a very long time by german standards, the statement that they put out about the co-pilot a couple days ago or yesterday was very blunt by german standards. the fact they said he had been trying to hide this illness, the fact they came out with the information that the doctors' notes had been destroyed, that they found all of this shows that they feel they're under pressure shows they feel they need to be more transparent than they have been in the past and it might also be the fact they're working with the french who give more information as well but certainly they are being very very blunt about all of this and i think they realize i think that germanwings realize they need the utmost transparency in how they're moving forward. >> reporter: absolutely. we hope to get more information from the officials in the coming hours, the coming days. thank you so much fred flight again. allison and victor, back to you. >> thank you so much. let's bring in now we've got les
abend, a former commercial pilot and peter gols up with us. hopefully we can get peter in on this conversation as well. butles i want to start with you. we talked two hours ago about the initial psychological test the examinations before a pilot joins an airline. what about the background checks in the context of the reporting from this german magazine that an ex-girlfriend said that he said he was going to do something so heinous people would remember his name. relatives, people close to the pilots, these applicants are they interviewed at any point. >> it's a great yes and a small correction i'm still actually flying so i'm aware of some of these things that are done backgroundwise. when he came into this country and apparently, you know some of these records are a little sketchy, but when he came into the country and apparently went to phoenix, he would have got a
background check just by virtue of the fact that he was foreign to the country when he came to the u.s. so the tsa would have got involved. he never would have been able to begin his flight training number one. so that was more a nefarious type background check. they would not, more than likely have looked into anything by way of medical issues or mental disorder type issues. you know in this day and age hiring a pilot does require some pretty serious background checks. most of us go through even a step further because we utilize customs and it's a lot more of an expedited process if we use the global entry. we're even screened beyond that but, you know, as far as the issues with physical or mental problems not necessarily. >> so for the most part it's just criminality they're searching for. >> for the most part that is correct, but that being said an initial applicant at least in
the united states have to provide some health backgrounds all the way back to grandparents. so, you know if there's any indication of physical ailments and even mental ail ailments that has to be provided. >> we have peter with us former ntsb managing director. peter, i think there are a lot of people who are listening to this conversation a bit surprised that these investigative or background checks especially in the wake of 9/11 do not go as far as speaking with relatives, people who are close to these people who are applying to be pilots with airlines. >> well i think les pointed it out, that the background checks particularly since 9/11 are focused on criminal or terrorist contacts. potential criminal acts. they're very rudimentary when it comes to psychological issues and i think the aviation industry is resistant to policy
changes based on a single accident. we've seen that after even malaysia flight 370 where they still haven't put into policy tracking procedures but in this case i really sense that the aviation industry has been shaken by this accident and you're going to see some substantial review and changes in how pilots are screened psychologically and what their obligations are in reporting it. >> you know we think back to the day that this crash happened and we heard from the ceo of lufthansa that this co-pilot was 100% fit to fly. that was the headline that came out from the interview with the ceo. two days later these notes discovered deeming him unfit to work on the day of this crash. i mean how can the news media hear from this investigator in just a couple days what it appear that is lufthansa did not
know or did not pay close enough attention to over the entire work history of this co-pilot? >> well that's right. it was a very unfortunate use of words, but, you know, i should point out in at least one of the branches of the military if you have sought -- if you're a pilot and you have sought medical care or treatment or even purchased over the counter medicines, you must check in with the flight surgeon, your unit's flight surgeon, before you fly again and discuss what kind of treatment you got, what kind of medicine you purchased, and he has to clear you for flight again, and that may be something that the air carriers are going to have to consider. there appears to be a tragic breakdown between those who were treating the co-pilot on a private basis and the company. >> all right. les abend and peter goelz, stay with us, we'll continue the
conversation throughout the hour. thank you so much. we still have lots of questions as i'm sure you have about this crash. send them to us on twitter. it's @cnn, use the hash tag germanwings qs. the fbi has asked to assist in the investigation. we'll explore what that entails with cnn law enforcement analyst tom fuentes. later we'll go live to switzerland for new developments with nuke talks with iran. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ great rates for great rides. geico motorcycle see how much you could save.
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gathered for a memorial for the crash victims. they're right now walking toward that scene. just one of many memorials that we're seeing come out of this really devastating crash several days ago involving this co-pilot who deliberately crashed the plane into.alps the alps. cnn has confirmed the name of the pilot of the aircraft. patrick sondenheimer is believe to have been locked out of the cockpit by co-pilot andreas lubitz, and he could be heard on the cockpit voice recorder trying to break down the locked cockpit door as the plane went down. this information coming in as investigators continue looking for clues in co-pilot andreas lubitz's apartment. a german newspaper is reporting he had been treated for mental illness, and investigators found a ripped up doctor's note several of those actually in his home. let's go ahead and bring in tom
fuentes, the former fbi assistant director and cnn's law enforcement analyst. gorm tom. >> good morning. >> with this new information about the co-pilot what are the next steps? >> they will keep looking at his background but in this case really most of the effort is going to be done by the german police as we've seen so the germans have already searched his apartment, his parents' home. they've removed documents. they've removed probably other media, if he had laptops or other equipment there. they took that and a key portion of that has already been transported to the prosecutor's office in versailles, france. in the european system of justice, law enforcement doesn't lead the investigation. an investigative magistrate or an investigative judge. so that's why you see the prosecutors out front in both countries. >> what more now that this has happened this has really opened up a lot of discussion about internal safety and, yes, the
pilots are under scrutiny, but what about the flight attendants? several years ago there was a flight attendant on a jetblue fight that got into a fight with a passenger. clearly there's a lot of stress on these flights. how closely are flight attendants being looked at as well. >> that's a good question. we don't know if they're getting anywhere near the scrutiny pilots are getting as they're going through flight school and getting assigned and flying. now we're going a policy where a flight attendant will now sit in the cockpit with one of the pilots if the other one leaves to -- for whatever reason leaves the cockpit. so how well are they checked out? so you have every issue that comes up you might be able to solve one thing and then you create another vulnerability and we've seen that with the locked cockpit door the fortified doors. now they keep good guys out and protect the bad guy that's already in the cockpit. now you're going to let a flight
attendant come in and sit.will the remaining pilot kill the flight attendant. there's so many possibilities that come up as far as who can you trust on an airplane. >> with the things that investigators are finding in the apartment, can we rule out terrorism for sure? >> we can only go by what the authorities have said and the germans having searched that apartment have said they have found in sign of it so we can only take their word at this point, and any investigative assistance provided by the fbi or other police agencies interpol would be provided confidentialally to the germans, to the french and it would be up to them to disclose what they want to and so far they've been very forthright but they haven't talked about that issue as being a possibility. so for now we can only take them at their word. as fred flight again has mentioned, the german prosecutor has been unusually candid in
involving details. however, they don't have a potentially live defendant at this point, so they're not as concerned about pretrial procedures prejudicial information because the person that they're pretty convinced did this is dead. >> all right, cnn law enforcement analyst come fuentes, thanks. >> you're welcome. in all the breaking news there's another big international story we can't forget about. nearly down to the wire for getting a deal on iran's nuclear program. washington says the ball is now in tehran's court, but what are the sticking points? we'll get some answers to that question in a live report straight ahead. also what it looked like inside the cockpit moments before the tragic crash in the alps. we'll go inside a plane simulator to illustrate what the co-pilot is accused of doing that brought the plane down. ssive insurance here and i'm a box who thrives on the unexpected. ha-ha! shall we dine? [ chuckle ] you wouldn't expect an insurance company to show you their rates and their competitors' rates but that's precisely what we do.
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21 after the hour now, and there are just a few days left to strike this deal with iran over its nuclear program. the u.s. is putting pressure on iran to make what it says are necessary compromises. secretary of state john kerry says negotiators are making progress but they are not there yet. cnn global affairs correspondent' leasecorrespondent elise labatt is in switzerland. what are the sticking points still on the table? >> well victor there was a lot of optimism when the u.s. and
the parties came into these talks that a framework political deal could be reached by tuesday. now, you know this isn't the final accord. that would have to be negotiated by the end of june. the sticking points center around the amount of advanced research and development iran can do on nuclear technology while this deal would be in effect and also the pace and scope of lifting those sanctions against iran also while this deal would be in effect. iran wants those sanctions lifted immediately, but the u.s. and the other parties are saying listen they should be lifted in phases phased out as iran continues to comply with its deals. as i said a lot of optimism coming into the talks, but diplomats telling me iran now in this new round of talk is remaining very firm is not budging. yesterday was a very difficult day of talks, very serious, and now the u.s. and the parties really putting the onus on iran to make what they're saying are the decision do they want the deal or not, and now the other
ministers, the ministers of france and germany, are here to try to lock in that deal. the ministers of britain russia and china should be coming over the weekend, but it is getting down to the wire and right now things very difficult victor. >> so we're hear being this optimism optimism. we're hearing about progress. is there enough optimism is there enough progress if the deal is not done at least this phase of it by tuesday to give them a little extra time? >> reporter: well i think if there's another day or two that they need i don't think anybody is quibbling about that but what officials say is it really comes down to the fact does iran want this deal or not. it seems talking to officials that pretty much they can quibble about some remaining points but the world powers have put the best deal that they can on the table for iran. there are some things that iran is just not going to get in this deal. it's not going to get those sanctions lifted right away. there are going to be certain curbs on the amount of technology it can develop while this deal is in effect and if
iran isn't willing to back down on what the u.s. and the world powers are saying is the red line, it doesn't look like that would be able to be overcome. march 31st is an important deadline not only for iran because iranian foreign minister wants to be able to take something home to his public but also in the united states congress is talking about imposing new sanctions sometime in april if this kind of framework pact is not reached. so while it's not a firm hard deadline in terms of the legality of it it is really a critical milestone for both the u.s. and iran. >> all right. elise la bot in switzerland. thank you so much. alson? would a second person in an airline's cockpit at all times save passengers from harm. in the wake of the germanwings tragedy, airlines across europe are revamping safety measures and we will show you what being done and if it will keep you safe. that's coming up next. first this week's "ones to
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welcome back. bottom of the hour now, and you're watching our special coverage of the deadly germanwings plane crash. we now know the name of the plane's captain. cnn spoke to a relative who has confirmed he was patrick sodden himer. >> two helicopters have been deployed above the mountainous crash in the french alps. recovery teams have found bodies but they tell cnn tu are intact. a remembrance ceremony for the victims was held in a nearby town today. >> new details are emerging about the co-pilot who allegedly flew his plane into a mountain on purpose killing all 150 people aboard. according to this german tabloid "built" an ex-girlfriend says andreas lubitz the co-pilot's name he woke up screaming from nightmares and the paper says he
suffered a serious depressive episode sometime in 2009 and then spent more than a year in psychiatric treatment. that has not been confirmed though. we do know from what prosecutors have said that the co-pilot was alone in the cockpit when the aircraft went down as the captain banged frantically on that door. >> cnn national correspondent key young law joins us. cockpits are being recommended to be staffed by two crew members at all times. the autopilot was programmed in the cockpit to change the altitude from 38,000 feet to 100 feet. now, even if a flight attendant were in the cockpit would they even know have they been trained to know if the altitude had been changed? >> reporter: well let's start by explaining what you're talking about, which is known as a two-person rule. i want to introduce pilot buck
roger, a current commercial pilot. you have 20 years flying in commercial airlines. we're actually in a simulator, correct? >> that's right. we're in a-320 simulator, the same type of aircraft same cockpit that germanwings was using. >> and let's talk about the lock on the door and what this two-person rule, why it's coming into play. >> with the reinforced cockpit door we have to have people come in and to go out. when somebody is on the outside of the door and wants to come in, they will enter in a code or call on the phone, and the pilot that's inside would answer and respond to allow the person in. now, how is he going to verify that the person on the outside of the door is really the pilot? so somebody has to look through the peephole or through a camera. some of these airplanes do have cameras, and then verify that the person trying to get in here is really the right person. if he was alone, he would have to get out of the seat go to the door which would not be safe. so we have a two-person rule.
so that second person is in here -- >> the flight attendant for example. >> would be in here and could verify the person on the outside of the door before opening it. >> so she doesn't touch this. >> no this is the cockpit door lock. this is for pilots and pilots only. this switch is so i can -- if somebody is at the door i don't want them to come in i can take the switch to lock and that would completely lock out the electronic keypad on that door. i also have a mechanical lock i can go back to the door and lock it. >> reporter: and this -- quite a bit of discussion has been on the altitude of the autopilot being set at 100. >> right. >> the altitude is here correct? >> this is our mode control panel. this is how we manipulate the autopilot on the airplane, and if i wanted to change altitudes, i would take this knob and i would dial it down to the altitude i'm cleared to. now, in this case we have -- it's been reported that the co-pilot set in 100 feet and then he would pull the button and the airplane would just start down and it would be as
simple as that. >> reporter: and we're already starting to move down in the simulator. >> just because i did that action and pulled this button two steps, the airplane is now descending. >> reporter: it is such a simple move. >> it is. >> reporter: do most flight attendants know if they're standing there, it's at a crisis would a flight attendant know to turn it back to 38 thoub? >> a flight attendant would not touch this panel. i will tell the flight attendants we're changing altitudes. i will say i'm changing altitude to 1,000 feet. pilots before we touch this knob we verify between each other that i'm changing that knob. if atc were to clear us down let's say 1,000 feet let's say we're at 28 and they clear us down to 27 they can acknowledge on the radio. i'd say i'm setting 27,000 feet verify the other pilot would verify and we would make it happen.
>> we're flying over very much -- we're flying other the alps in this simulator. >> right now we are. >> tell me about that -- the thought process of turning this to 100 over the alps where there is clearly nowhere to land. >> right. so this is a very difficult subject, right, because why would any pilot put in 100 feet over the alps and there's only one reason and that's to descend the airplane into the mountains. once i set 100 feet here i can stop it immediately. we're in a descent right now coming through 18,000. i will set it to 18,000 and pull the button and this airplane will stop descending at 18,000 feet. so by setting in an altitude below the terrain, this airplane if you did nothing, would impact the terrain. >> pilot buck rodger thank you so much. >> thank you. >> back to you victor and alison. >> i have a question before you go. would the passengers on this plane as soon as that was turned from 38,000 to 100 obviously by the time they got to the level
of mountain peaks they would know that they were going far too low, but initially would they have noticed such a subtle change. you said you felt it was it dramatic? >> it's not dramatic. we're having some issues here. it's not dramatic but what you do feel is you do feel it slightly dropping. we've talked about this for quite some time. >> that descent -- assuming the co-pilot just set in a new altitude and pulled the button that descent would have been a normal descent just like you were climbing or descending. nothing out of the ordinary would have been felt by the passengers. >> thank you so much. >> amazing to see that. >> i'm glad they were able to show us some of the things we've been talking about for the past couple days. really scary to think this airline could hire pilots intent on crashing airplanes. maybe not the intent when he
took the job, but from the reporting certainly the intent that day in the cockpit. now many safety experts are calling for cameras to be placed in all cockpits but would that have changed anything here? and bowe bergdahl we're learning new details about why the u.s. soldier says he left his unit in afghanistan, but is his defense strong enough to keep him from spending years in prison? ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ if you want a paint with no harsh fumes. if you want a paint without harmful chemicals. if you want a paint that's safer for your family, and the environment... only this can. natura from benjamin moore. paint like no other.
flight 9525 has reignited this debate over cameras inside airplane cockpits. some say it's a good idea. others consider it a violation of pilot privacy. >> reporter: andreas lubitz had locked himself alone in the cockpit as the captain pounded on the door. now, safety experts are calling for a bold move to avoid another disaster. cameras in the cockpit. >> the cameras would not be on the face of either of the pilot or the co-pilot. they would focus on the instruments and on the manipulations that are made. >> reporter: former ntsb chairman jim hall said cameras in the cockpit would be a be deterrent to bad behavior. what could cameras detect? >> you can see the instruments. you can see what they're seeing on the screens. you can see what they're doing with their hands. >> reporter: cameras on the instruments wouldn't necessarily give investigators much help in the germanwings crash probe.
they already know how that plane went down technically. but former commercial pilot lynn spencer says cameras trained on pilot's faces could catch certain moments that cockpit voice and flight data recorders might miss. >> was the pilot choking? is the pilot having a seizure? >> reporter: the technology is already on the market but one manufacturer told us no airlines have bought their cameras. cameras are already used to monitor key missions like friday's launch to the international space station. they're used to watch some train operators, taxi drivers, and bus drivers, including this one caught looking at his phone, then crashing. cockpit video could even be live streamed back to controllers on the ground in real time. although the expense of installing and streaming thousands of live cameras could be prohibitive. spencer says cockpit cameras could have provided key evidence in some of the most infamous disasters in aviation including 9/11. >> if we had had cameras in the cockpits on 9/11 we would have
been able to see how the hijackers took over the cockpit, how they killed the pilots how they tried to manipulate the controls. >> reporter: the top pilots union in america is staunchly against the idea. in a statement to cnn, it says cockpit video quote, is subject to misinterpretation and may, in fact lead investigators away from accurate conclusions. pilot union officials also say they're worried about a video leaking. they say voice data recorder clips have been made public in past cases, especially overseas and no pilot wants their final moments to be posted all over the internet. brian todd, cnn, washington. he's been accused of desertion, but sergeant bowe bergdahl says he was not planning to leave his unit for good. a u.s. general is going to weigh in on that. and later -- >> you saved my life. >> amanda knox gets very emotional after learning her murder conviction is overturned by an italian court. you will hear it play out.
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not trust his own commanders to deal with his concerns over quote, order and discipline problems within his unit. he fell into the hands of the taliban after he left. >> now, let's get some analysis on these new details. joining us is cnn military analyst lieutenant colonel rick francona and cnn correspondent erin mcpike. let's go to colonel francona. the question is if he went awol or if he is a desserter. what's the difference in terms of potential sentencing against bergdahl and will his time spent under the taliban count in that sentencing as well? >> yeah i think so. the difference is awol is absent without leave. it just means you're away from your post with the intention of returning. des ertion means you leave your most with no intention of coming back. desertion is much more difficult to prove and it carries with it much more dire consequences. you can in prison for life and in some cases even the death penalty could be used for desertion.
so a lot of times these are just pled out as awol and most people say i intended to come back. very difficult to prove discertificationdis desertion. if he's found guilty, we don't know where it's going, assuming he was found guilty they can take into consideration the five years he spent in the hands of the taliban. that should have no bearing on whether he deserted or not. they're going to concentrate on the actual departure from his duty station. >> is this a strong enough defense he walked away to go talk to somebody? >> i have to tell you, this sounds like a legal ploy to me. i'm not a lawyer. i have only been on one court-martial. it sounds like he's trying to say why he went away. he's not denying that he left. i think that's a pretty foregone conclusion. now we have to delve into why he went. i tend to not believe this because you don't put your weapons, your night vition gog-vision goggles
goggles, and your combat vest down on the ground and walk away. if i'm going to go anywhere in a hostile area i will have my weapon with me and be fully outfitted for self protection. i'm having trouble accepting that as the reason. >> erin, let me turn to you. it was just ten months ago that president obama was celebrating bergdahl's return with his parents in the rose garden. how is the obama administration reacting not only to these new developments in the case but also criticism on how the administration essentially handled his return knowing that he swapped bowe bergdahl for five taliban terrorists out of guantanamo guantanamo? >> alison first, the white house is not commenting on any of these new developments because it's an ongoing investigation and they want that to play out. as far as securing the release of bowe bergdahl white house officials continue to keep saying that of course they would do that because they don't leave any american behind on the battlefield, and last as far as president obama celebrating with bowe bergdahl's parent josh
earnest said earlier this week that the president seized that opportunity because he wanted to show that america always stands behind all of its military personnel, alison. >> cnn correspondent erin mcpike, lieutenant colonel rick francona thanks so much. we have a lot coming up after the break, including amanda knox's emotional statement to the press after finally being cleared of murder charges. just about anywhere you use sugar, you can use splenda®... ...no calorie sweetener. splenda® lets you experience... ...the joy of sugar... ...without all the calories. think sugar, say splenda® i am totally blind. and sometimes i struggle to sleep at night, and stay awake during the day. this is called non-24. learn more by calling 844-824-2424. or visit your24info.com. nobody told us to expect it... intercourse that's painful due to menopausal changes it's not likely to go away on its own.
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this week cnn hero may be 74 years old but she still can go off-road like she's 16. for almost three decades marilyn price has used mountain biking to introduce a world of nature and possibility to city kids used to living in a world of concrete. in the end children in her program see more than just beautiful vistas and mountaintops. they see the potential in themselves. >> i've been riding since age 4. i will never forget my father when he let go of my seat and i was there on my own and that was 70 years ago. a lot of kids have never really
left the city. to them everything is concrete. is everybody excited? i decided to take kids who have never had my kind of experience on these mountain bike rides. okay you guys let's hit the road. >> i was getting straight fs. i got expelled. i kind of feels like it clears my mind. >> looking good. i have been doing this for almost 30 years. you bring them where there are no buildings. it is like wow, i didn't know that this existed. and then we have our earn a bike program where kids in the community come after school. what's wrong with it? >> the chain. >> so the chain is loose? >> yeah. >> they learn how to work on bikes and they earn points towards bikes of their own. that look great. they learn good job skills.
this bike is getting quite an overhaul. >> now i get as and bs. they're like a guide to a better life. >> there is opportunity to see that, yes, i have been able to accomplish what i thought i couldn't. it is not just biking. we are imparting life lessons. >> so you say you know of someone who should be a cnn hero let us know at cnn heroes.com. >> fredricka will have more on the germanwings plane crash investigation but right now let's take a look at other developing stories. >> after eight years a grateful amanda knox can put her high-profile murder trial behind her. she made a brief statement after italy's supreme court overturned her murder conviction late friday. >> i'm incredibly grateful for what has happened for the justice i have received for the support that i have had from everyone from my family from my friends to strangers to people like you.
you saved my life and i'm so grateful and i'm so grateful to have my life back. thank you and that's all i can say. right now i'm still absorbing what all of this means and what comes to mind is my gratitude for the life that's been given to me. >> knox and her italian boyfriend were accused of murdering her roommate in 2007. knox had been facing 28 1/2 years in prison. a st. louis man is violently attacked on a train ride all because he refused to weigh in on the controversy in ferguson. you see the cell phone camera rolled as three men punched and kicked him. he said one of the men asked his opinion on michael brown. he told him he was too tired to think about it, and that's when
he was sucker punched. police are using this surveillance video to find the men. each face a third degree assault charge which is a misdemeanor. astronaut scott kelly has set out to spend 342 days on the international space station, the longest stretch of time any u.s. astronaut has spent in case. kelly along with two russian cosmonauts blasted off last night. they will perform parallel studies on scott kelly's retired twin brother, mark kelly. >> thanks for watching. >> we turn things over now to our colleague fredricka whitfield whitfield. >> good to see you both. we have a lot straight ahead. as you know you've had a very busy morning, too. it's the 11:00 eastern hour. i'm fredricka whitfield and the "newsroom" starts right now. and we begin with the latest on the crash of germanwings flight 9525.
cnn can now confirm the identity of the captain of the doomed flight. it was patrick sanden himondenheimer who tried to desperately to get back into the cockpit but to no avail. recovery teams are battleing treacherous terrain and high winds. the weather is more favorable today and officials say they are making some progress. also continuing today, the search for the critical second black box which contains the flight's data recorder. and prosecutors have been sifting through the apartment of co-pilot andreas lubitz. they're trying to find out why he apparently brought the plane down deliberately killing all 150 people on board. we go to germany right now where cnn's senior international correspondent frederik pleitgen is tracking all of the newest information. what more do we know about the captain, patrick sondenheimer? >> reporte