tv Lockup Raw MSNBC December 28, 2014 4:00am-4:31am PST
yeah. >> your mom. >> it's kind of a coping mechanism, i think. >> right now after the denial, after the years have passed? >> i miss her. good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt coming on the ware wi air with breaking news. flight 8501 lost contact with ground control shortly after taking off from indonesia on its way to singapore. both countries have launched a
joint search and rescue operation but there's no word yet on the plane's whereabouts. air asia recently releaseded a statement saying the crew asked for a change in flight path to avoid some rough weather that was right in their path of flight. the flight left at 5:35 a.m. local time. indonesia air traffic controllers lost contact with that plane at 7:24 a.m. now, the flight had been scheduled to land in singapore at 8:30 a.m. local time. live picture now from the singapore airport where a help center was set up for the families. three south koreans, one person from singapore, one from malaysia. 16 of those onboard are children. there was also at least one infant. air asia is a regional low cost carrier with presence in several southeast asian countries. president obama has been briefed on the situation. the ntsb is monitoring the search and stands ready to help
if requested. katie tur is joining me on the phone. i know you got there a short time ago. what can you tell us? >> reporter: everything that you just covered, alex. we're standing outside of this relative holding center. there's about 47 friends and family inside. they are distraught but they've been sheltered from the media and currently they are getting what little information that officials have to give them. as you said, this happened around 7:24 local time this morning and right before it happened air asia says the pilot asked for a different flight path. they wanted to go to 38,000 feet to avoid some weather and we do know there was thunderstorms in the area. weather and thunderstorms and turbulence aren't really known to down planes. now, if this all is sounding familiar, alex, it's because this is the third malaysian based airline to have a problem just this year alone. remember, there was in march malaysian airlines flight
disappeared. it is still missing. officials think it's somewhere under the indian ocean. there is also mh17 shot down in ukraine over the summer. this air asia flight is a malaysian based airline. two pilots, one of whom was french. five crew. most onboard were indonesian and a lot of family members, a lot of friends out there were waiting and hoping that there would be some answers but it's nighttime here and any sort of search operations that may be still going on are severely limited by the dark. >> what time is it there local time? we're trying to figure out how long that plane has been missing? >> reporter: it's 7:00 p.m. local time. i've been going through different time zones. it's 7:00 p.m. local time. >> that means the plane has been missing for coming up on 12 hours because you said it --
>> reporter: 8:00 local time. they do know about when it went off radar so that should confine the search and rescue operation to a small eer area. they believe it could be as far away as off the coast of perth in the indian ocean. >> another thing that makes this different -- we don't want to draw comparisons. i think there are a lot of people that will think about flight 370 as you mentioned. the fact is singapore jumped into the fray immediately. they offered assistance. that's been accepted. they are trying to look both on the ground, in the air. they put out ships so singapore navy is part of this rescue operation in trying to find that plane. that makes it different than
flight 370 situation when indonesia was handling it all on its own for at least the first couple of days, right? >> malaysia was handling it all on its own. there was a delay in reacting to that flight since nobody noticed it had even gone missing for quite some time. once they did figure it out, then that's when everyone started getting involved. australia didn't get involved until later. beijing and china didn't get involved until late even though most of their passengers were on that flight. they lost lead time to figure out what happened to it. this one they're pretty sure they have a better idea as to where it could be because once it dropped off radar, they knew its exact position. they weren't waiting around for it to land in singapore before they figured out it wasn't there. >> this plane was at least halfway into its flight. maybe a little bit closer to singapore than to surabaya. i want to confirm, you are
seeing no presence of family, friends, any concerned loved ones there? they've all been sequestered? >> reporter: we saw them shortly, a few hours ago, when they were coming into the airport. they were as you would imagine very distraught. since then in the past hour and a half, two hours, they have been sequestered inside this airport and being taken in now through a back door. it's being guarded by airport officials so we don't have any access to any of those family members. it's unclear if there will be a press conference and if anyone will want to come talk to us. we know during the malaysian disappearance, a lot of family members came out to speak and voice displeasure because they didn't know what was going on. this may be a different story because the airline and singapore and indonesia are taking very pro-active roles in how this is handled. >> you make a good point, katie.
i'll read a tweet that has come from tony fernandez, air asia ceo. this came through five hours ago. on my way to surabaya where most of the passengers were fro. we're hear from malaysia airlines proper where they write hashtag stay strong@air asia. our thoughts and prayers are with all of the family and friends of those onboard. tragically lessons have been learned but it's important to get the information out and communicate with people and that seems to be handled better in this situation than it was with mh-370. i'll give everyone details on the plane itself.
it's an airbus. airbus released a statement while confirming details of the missing flight. airbus is saying that the aircraft was delivered back in 2008. it had accumulated approximately 23,000 flight hours in some 13,600 flights. the a-320 is short to medium range narrow body jet. it can carry up to 180 passengers. it has a range of about 3,700 miles or so. this plane is a very popular plane in wide use around the world. there are 6,000 right now currently in service. joining me via skype, john cox, msnbc aviation analyst who also served for 25 years as airline captain for us airways. what the do you think is happening based on what we know? >> good morning, alex. i think we know so far that the pilots were dealing with
thunderstorms, which is not an unusual circumstance there. they requested a change in altitude and potentially a change in routing. this is a normal course of events. it's beyond that whatever occurred probably occurred quickly as they did not make any additional calls or statements to air traffic control. and i think that the steps that the malaysian government and the singaporean government are taking are the create and prudent once. in the is a well proven airplane. i flew it for six years. i have a lot of confidence in the airplane. so what we know right now is we don't have a lot of information but that the right steps are being taken. >> okay. john, i want to get to some information that's been provided to us by the weather channel. i'm just going to read right off what our msnbc hot note says. there's no indication weather had anything to do with it but the flight path took it over the java sea where numerous showers and thunderstorms were occurring including all of the way to near
and just south of singapore. the pilots as you reported here requested the deviation from the flight path due to weather before contact was lost. 50,000-foot thunderstorm clusters were right near that flight path over the java sea at the time of lost contact. explain to me what that means. these vertical 50,000-foot thundershowers. a plane is going to cruise at about 32,000 feet. would that be a normal cruising altitude? >> they requested 38,000 feet. the ceiling on a-320 is 39,000 feet depending on weight as to whether you can get there. 38,000-foot cruising altitude would be normal. when you're dealing with thunderstorms that are over 40,000 feet and as the weather channel is reporting something over 50,000, you don't want to get real close to them but you do have onboard weather radar. and thunderstorms that are that large are typically very easy to see on the aid yar and it allows you to plot a course around
them. when you fly a jet like this, you cover about eight miles a minute. you can make very large deviations very quickly so that you don't inconvenience the passengers as far as time goes and you can circumvent having to deal with these thunderstorms. one thing you don't do is fly into a thunderstorm. >> but talk me through -- i know this is speculation. when you get a pilot reaching out to air traffic control to say i need to deviate from the flight plan. three minutes later is the last time there's any sort of contact, radio contact with that plane and then one minute later it drops off the radar. envision a scenario there. if you are talking about thundershowers, i have flown in plenty of thundershowers, as have you, they don't bring down planes. >> no, they don't. what you have done, alex, is you have been around thunderstorms. i would be shocked if you ever
have flown through one. flying through a thunderstorm is a very, very violent experience. in 14,000 hours and over 40 years of flying, i have had one occasion where we inadvertently got into a thunderstorm and i would never do it again. i don't believe that they flew through the thunderstorm. it's just not something that pilots do. so i think they were trying to work their way around and that's the reason for the change in altitude. they may at 38,000 feet, they may have had better visibleablevisibleabl to correct the flight path. where are holes in the thunderstorms? they are looking to circumvent the cells themselves. >> john cox, thank you so much. we'll speak to you throughout the morning here on msnbc. we appreciate your expertise and insight into what's happening. we'll take a short break and be
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at 16 past the hour, i'm alex witt. we continue to follow breaking news story. airasia plan with 162 people onboard is missing. flight 8501 lost contact with ground control shortly after taking off from indonesia. it was on its way to singapore. both countries have launched a joint search and rescue operation but there is no word yet on the plane's whereabouts. airasia released a statement saying the crew asked for a change in flight path to avoid some rough weather. the flight left surabaya at 5:35
local time indonesia air traffic controllers lost contact with that plane at 7:24 a.m. flight was scheduled to land in singapore an hour later at 8:30 a.m. local time. airasia is a regional low cost carrier with presence in several southeast asian countries. joining me now, former ntsb investigat investigator. greg joins me on the phone. let's talk about possibilities here based on what we know and the fact the pilot asked for a deviation from the flight plan due to weather. you know what? i'm just getting word that greg has just dropped out. we'll try to hook back up with him in the control booth and get him back on. we should let you know that this, of course, everyone is the third incident this year involving a malaysian flight that has happened in that region. again, two were malaysian airline flights earlier, one
over the disputed areas in crimea and ukraine went down and then of course one there in the indian ocean mh flight 370. this one has gone down over the java sea if that's indeed what has happened. it's been now some 13 hours since anyone heard anything from that plane. there are joint rescue operations being launched in the sea and also in the air. the singapore navy and singapore air force joined forces with malaysia to do its best to try to find this plane. 155 passengers. five crew members. a pilot and co-pilot onboard this plane which can carry up to 185. it's a workhorse of a plane. i think we have greg back on the phone with us. greg, if you're with us, let's talk about what you think may have happened based on what we know here the fact that the pilot asked for a deviation from the flight plan.
path there. some three minutes later no word was heard from again. four minutes later has dropped off the radar. >> good morning, alex. well, i think right now based on early information, it's evident that the crew was monitoring the weather ahead of them along their flight path. they felt that they needed to not only deviate to the west to apparently circumvent navigate the weather but asked for a climb to get over the top of it. this time of year it's been reported the last week or so with the monsoonal rains and flooding that's taken place, we know that the thunderstorm activity down there, convected activity is extreme. you're talking thunderstorm activity that can blossom up , 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 feet and if there were a line of thunderstorms they were trying to circumvent navigate and they
were trying to pick their way through the smoothest ride of a line of thunderstorms, they may have gotten caught in one of the updraft or downdraft shafts and had an issue. >> john cox, our colleague, obviously aviation expert like yourself, he said that no pilot ever directly flies through a thunderstorm. that he did it once. it was a very frightening experience and he would never do it again. my question to you, greg, when you have something as described by the weather channel, we believe the thunderstorms were in a vertical line of about 50,000 feet. that's got to be a significant mass. doesn't that show up on a radar? wouldn't they see that with some advance notice? how does that work? >> you're right. they would see it on weather radar that are in aircraft. we have the capability of looking deeper into thunderstorms than in the past.
we had accidents 30, 40 years ago where airplanes had flown into thunderstorms because they were using an early form of radar so you were looking for shadows and holes in the line of thunderstorms if you will. now they can paint on radar various shades of green all of the way to red and purple to indicate the intensity of the thunderstorm. you can have a masking effect where you can have multiple thunderstorms. if they are looking at a thunderstorm in front of them, there may be a thunderstorm on the back side of the weather they are looking at they won't able to see. they may think they're getting through a relatively good area only to find themselves getting into another thunderstorm. we saw that with air france 447. >> okay. greg, i want to let folks know, we're putting banners on the lower screen there and we're
hearing from associated press that the search and rescue operations aerially have been suspended for now. it's approaching 8:30 local time. it's dark. if there is bad weather in the area they certainly don't want to add to the problems there. aerial operations are suspended at the moment. there are boats in the water being operated by the singapore navy trying to look for the area around which contact was lost. can i ask you about the a-320 in terms of how quickly and easily that plane will be able to maneuver itself? i mean, sharp turns and the like. how fast it can go. what kind of a plane is that for having to deviate quickly around a thunderstorm? >> the a-320 is airbus' version of a boeing 737 if you will. they're the same class airplane. single aisle twin engine airplane.
they are basically hundreds of them operating around the world. they are a popular aircraft. very maneuverable like any other commercial transport aircraft. has the best onboard equipment for pilots to be able to operate the airplane in all weather conditions. the key is you don't want to make abrupt maneuvers. the one thing we found in past accidents is the issue of trying to fly through areas of severe turbulence and thunderstorms, you want to slow the airplane down and not speed it up because it is all of the aerodynamic from adverse winds that creates the structural problem. >> understandably so. you don't want to deal with metal fatigue or anything like that. greg feith, thank you for weighing in. we'll count on you for further expertise coming up shortly on
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airasia flight is missing. it lost contact with ground control shortly after takeoff from singapore. we'll have more news at the top of the hour. ♪ my baby drove up in a brand new cadillac... ♪ ♪ look here, daddy, i'm never coming back... ♪ discover the new spirit of cadillac and the best offers of the season. lease this 2015 standard collection ats for around $329 a month. hurry in. offer ends soon. esurwhich means fewer costs, which saves money. their customer experience is virtually paperless, which saves paper, which saves money. they have smart online tools, so you only pay for what's right for you, which saves money.
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