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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  March 25, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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right now on andrea mitchell report, eight-minute mystery. what caused the germanwings flight to descend and crash into the mountainside in less than ten minutes? investigators are hoping to get some clues from the damaged voice recorder. the recovery efforts are slow and challenging. >> the only way to reach the crash site is by walking up the mountain or by helicopter but this morning bad weather is hampering that search effort. america's longest war. afghanistan's president gets a hero's welcome from both sides of congress as the u.s. now delays the troop withdrawal. >> we owe a profound debt to the 2,315 servicemen and women kill killed and the more than 20,000 who have been wounded in service to your country and ours. and medical checkup. obamacare gets its annual physical, and you'll never believe who's going to sign up.
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>> it's working, despite countless attempts to repeal undermine, defund and defame this law. we have been promised a lot of things these past five years that didn't turn out to be the case. death panels doom a serious alternative from republicans in congress. and good day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. we're continuing to follow the breaking news on the crash of germanwings flight 9525. the leaders of france spain, and germany are speaking right now. just a short time ago, they surveyed the staging area where for the last 24 hours, search teams have deployed to the crash site. president hollande of france said he was overwhelmed with emotion. and his country will do everything in its power to recover the victims and return
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them to their families. at any moment french officials will be holding a news conference to give an update on the investigation. nbc news can confirm two americans were among the passengers on board. they are ivan and emily sulky, a mother and daughter from virginia. what is the latest you're hearing? we know that the rescue operations are really difficult. they can only get a certain number of helicopters up there at a time. >> reporter: well of course the search operation continues. you can see the helicopters right behind me just landed. that's been happening since the crack of dawn. there are six helicopters the rescue operators and emergency workers are using to get on that crash site. one at a time. the quickest way to get there, because the plane crashed on a very steep ravine very hard terrain, difficult to reach s to either walk down from the mountain top.
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pretty dangerous downhill hike. or as i just said it is quicker to go with a helicopter of course the search operation continues today. it will for a number of days. >> we'll both want to know, as will our viewers, the latest on the investigation. these are the french investigators now briefing. >> translator: the plane was on its scheduled route, in transit. it was 3,000 feet high in the air. the controllers who are following this plane started noticing a bizarre descent of the plane, so they contact the plane, or at least they try and contact the plane without any success. then finally navigation services were able to pretty much immediately release a distress
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signal so they started deploying rescue missions. so the area is extremely mountainous. we'll talk about this in a little bit. so another few words of the protocol on this investigation. we were very very quickly informed by those who released the alert about 11:15 a.m. local time yesterday. so immediately we created a research team an investigation team. they immediately begin traveling to the accident site. they arrived at the end of the afternoon yesterday, so they're all on site now. based upon the organization of our actual investigation, security and investigation are based upon international
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protocol and law. and then there's also european regulation that goes into that that's a little bit more detailed. so the investigation is being conducted by us the pe.e.a., since this occurred on french territory. our german partners at the bfu are cooperating. given that this tragedy includes germany, since it happened on a german plane. meanwhile, the spanish investigation team the ase, is also participating. namely, they're trying to get us some information on what actually occurred in barcelona before the flight took off. so all of the investigators, all
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of the researchers from these various countries are all being helped by a few technicians who are offering of course technical support in whatever way they can. more precise details, and we also have a security and air traffic security agency on the european side. we also have reached out to people who construct airbus airplanes. as well as of course employees of germanwings and lufthansa. so those are all of the partners included in this investigation. in terms of our internal investigation, let me try and explain this quite simply. there's one person who's kind of the leader of this entire investigation.
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we have one person who's assisting him. and then we have three primary groups that are going to be a little more specialized. one air traffic group that's going to be researching the history of this plane, its maintenance, the state it was in, one group that's going to be taking care of what happened on the ground and then of course one group for the air operations. how the plane was being conducted while it was in the air. so i'd just like to remind you all that this organization has also called in a number of people who are not members of our organization. but again, our partners in germany and in spain. so we have researchers.
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we have investigators from those two other organizations who will be present. and as well the others who i just mentioned earlier will also participate on our larger team. so here are just a few words on the site of the accident. here's a photo. you can see it's an extremely mountainous site very hilly. so these are extremely steep terrains, very unstable. we can't walk around on foot very easily which is why we need very specific precautions here. which means that an investigation on the terrain is actually quite difficult. so the plane hit impact very very quickly.
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which means that most of the pieces of the airplane are actually very scattered and are very small in size. so starting this morning, b.e.a. investigators alongside specialists from airbus did kind of a first look at the site a more global holistic view of the debris. some of these investigators then took helicopters on to the actual site to start working on the terrain itself. but then again, like i remind you, these conditions are pretty perilous pretty complicated.
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so now our main task is trying to figure out where the actual pieces of the airplane are. we're hoping that this can provide the maximum amount of information and then we're also looking for other information that can, of course, be provided by things like black boxes. so we're trying to more closely examine various elements of this actual plane. again, like i said the fact that the pieces are so dispersed makes it very difficult, and the examining portion of this investigation is going to be difficult and probably pretty limited. so i'm just going to return to the flight trajectory so we can illustrate a little bit more precisely what went on there.
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so if you see the south of france here the plane followed this route. it was the route it was supposed to be following. it was flying in the right direction. so it was supposed to be at an altitude of 38,000 feet. at about 9:30 in the morning, that was when the last message came from that plane that the control center received. it was a routine message confirming the instructions that the control center had given, that it was allowed to be pursuing this route, that it was going along on its earmarked path. so about a minute later, or about eight minutes later, the control center starts sending radars because they see the
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plane is starting to descend. and that we see means the plane started descending at that same spot because that radar site is extremely close to the area of impact. and the last altitude that was recorded by the radar was about 6,000 feet so that's really just a little bit more than the altitude at the site of impact. so here's a little bit of a presentation on this same trajectory but on a chart. so here's a little bit on how far this plane traveled. so the last message that the plane transmitted, we have that
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first point as well as the point at which the plane actually fell. so at this stage, we don't actually have that thorough of an interpretation of how or why that plane crashed. we don't have reasons for which the plane wasn't able to respond to the air control traffic center's attempt to contact the plane. so here's my last point on the black boxes. so in terms of a voice message, the first black box was found yesterday around 5:00 p.m. local
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time. this was rapidly sent to our headquarters. you can see the picture here. we have it here. at 9:45 this morning, we took this photo. so here you can see where you have all of the memory space for what was recorded. and then this other part that's cut off you don't actually really need. so the important part that's going to provide any information to us is here and it's relatively intact this circular shape. so this is the type of thing that if it's in the sea, in the water, is emits an actual sound.
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but these sounds actually can't be propagated far enough for us to localize them easily. so as soon as the black box arrived, we immediately began analyzing it. we've been analyzing it all day. but we have encountered a few difficulties to read the data. but again, it's a huge relief we have found this black box, and we have been able to use some of the audio from it. so based upon this -- so we know this black box corresponds to the flight we are discussing. so soon we'll be able to provide a much more detailed report that
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will be able to interpret the sounds, the voices that we can hear on this audio recording. so there you go. thank you very very much for your time. i'm sorry again for the delay. so i will take any questions. >> translator: so you're saying that you were actually able to extract something usable? >> translator: again the data we have contains this actual flight, this actual accident so we are going to be able to use them. >> translator: are the pilots talking to each other? >> translator: i'm sorry, i don't have enough information on that yet. we have not yet analyzed the actual voices. we don't have every sound and every word analyzed yet.
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again, we have analyzed this preliminary information. we hear sounds from this flight. we can be exploiting them. we can be analyzing them but it needs more time. >> translator: how much time is it going to take you to do a more thorough analysis? >> translator: it's difficult to say at this stage. we also have to remember that all of this analysis has to be done in cooperation with the airline. so first there's this task of analyzing voices sounds of all these different people. this takes a certain amount of time. it's a very interactive type of work. so hopefully we can gather, you know, our first bit of information after a few days. but we really do need to fine-tune this over many many days. because it's going to take a while to produce an actual
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transcript that is as detailed as possible. so this is going to take a few weeks or maybe even a few months. sorry i don't have an answer to that at this time. >> translator: so do we have the entire length of this flight recorded on the black box from the start, takeoff, up until the crash? >> translator: i'm sorry. i don't have that information. i cannot provide that information yet. >> translator: i'm sorry. i don't have enough precise information on this yet. i don't have the type of voice, the language. i don't have any of that yet. >> translator: do we need to wait for you to analyze every single sound on the black box to receive any information? because perhaps we could get some dialogue on the pilots a little bit quicker.
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>> translator: as soon as we have enough information -- >> translator: do they come from a cvr or anywhere else we will offer them to you. go ahead. >> translator: so there's some persistent rumors that you have potentially located the second black box. but it could be actually scattered in various pieces so it might not be useful. can you comment on this? >> translator: these rumors are not at all confirmed. we have not at all localized the second black box. we have found dispersed debris everywhere but it's not of the black box. so we know that there may be types of boxes that are damaged
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or deformed but we haven't heard anything about any reduced to tiny little pieces that are scattered. >> can you tell us exactly, specify in english, what this data you have found on the first black box shows and when we can expect additional information to be made available to the public? >> as i said in french earlier, we just succeeded in getting an audio file which contains usable sounds and voices. we have not yet fully understood and worked on it to be able to say, okay this is starting at this precise point in flight. this is at this precise point in flight. we hear such person saying this. it's an ongoing work for which we hope to have first rough ideas in a matter of days.
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and having a full understanding of it in conjunction with all the other information coming in particular from the other recorded parameters will take weeks and even months. >> translator: so we've heard that the envelope has been found. can that be confirmed? >> translator: no, i'm sorry. i cannot confirm that. i can't confirm having found any actual element of this black box. >> translator: you seem optimistic despite everything. after the basis of what you've heard from this first black box, can that be true? >> translator: i am optimistic. number one, at least we have this audio file that we can exploit and analyze. and even though the site is extremely difficult to access and it's two hectares wide it's
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not immense either. it's not impossible. we're going to figure out where all of this is. it seems reasonable for me to be relatively optimistic on this. >> translator: do you have any information on the depressurization of this plane? >> translator: at this point, i don't even have the beginning of the scenario. i can't even construct a narrative. actually i would rather refuse to go off in any type of direction or hypothesize about a scenario of that kind about depressurization of the plane. >> translator: so i actually refuse to construct any kind of
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scenario that would include depressurization of the plane. we just don't have that information at this point. >> translator: so just to confirm, you have listened a first time to the audio recordings. >> translator: it wasn't me. it was my team. i'm sorry, i can't comment on that. >> translator: you said earlier today that you heard voices. were those the pilots' voices? >> translator: i'm sorry. i can't add -- i'm sorry. i have nothing to add. >> translator: so based upon what you've seen on the radar, the actual trajectory of the descent, does this seem like a plane that was conducted by pilots or was it on autopilot? >> translator: i mean the trajectory is compatible with the plane that was being conduct
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by pilots with the exception of the fact i don't think pilots would have consciously sent a plane to its descent on to a mountain. we don't know whether it was on autopilot or not. i have zero explanation at this point. i can't say anymore at this point because we only have -- we've only had this audio recording for a few minutes now. based upon hearing these voices we can't actually say this is the pilot, this is the co-pilot this is the captain. we need more time. can we deduce one from the other? no, i'm sorry. it's not that easy. i don't have anymore to say on this. >> translator: so you're nixing the hypothesis there was a potential attack? >> translator: i have zero comment on the matter. i can't confirm anything.
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>> translator: so in terms of how quickly the plane descended, are you saying 3,000 feet per minute? >> translator: he said yes with a few fluctuations. i showed you on the chart with the trajectory that it's correct. >> translator: so this information, this hasn't actually been recorded. we are just trying to be more precise based upon what the radar has determined. >> i wanted to know if you had any information. there was some rumor about lithium batteries being present in this airplane. do we know at all what was in the cargo check? do we have any hypothesis about what that might have influenced? >> at the present time we have no information of that. obviously, this is information
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which will be collected in the course of the investigation. if there's any doubt that this could have been a factor in the event. >> translator: so the investigation on the site it seems like there's actually been a ton of movement of political figures and just various other officials, namely a major press conference that occurred almost simultaneously with this. has today's political climate actually shrouded your investigation in any way?
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>> translator: this is a major, major catastrophe. especially after last year 2014, throughout the rest of the world, a variety of other accidents have more or less kind of tainted the public's perception perception. all of this actually creates a certain context the means we need to devote to this catastrophe catastrophe. obviously this elicits very serious emotions so all it mean is we need to be working with these specific parameters in mind knowing how tragic this is. so again, the b.e.a.'s work is
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independent, and everyone knows we're going to take the time that's necessary to understand and explain independently political commentary political reaction public's reaction, or even the tragic emotions we're all experiencing at this time. >> translator: so at the scene of the crash, based upon how the debris is scattered everywhere do we know anything about how the plane was dislocated or dismembered? >> translator: so i'll show you again. the radar trajectory shows us that the plane arrives at this specific altitude with just 100 meters to spare.
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so the difference is even a few kilometers. that's a first and primary indication that the plane was flying until the very end. also when we see this type of crash site it's a shame that it seems like it's actually scattered in a larmgge area and the debris is of extremely small size but that's not characteristic of a plane that would have exploded midair. the debris would have been much larger. each piece would have been, you know, a few meters long for example. >> translator: so debris that's this small, is that actually normal? >> translator: it's something we witness every time we see an impact on a very hard surface.
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impact of the plane on to a hard surface with very high speed impact. so we've seen this type of very small size debris in the plane accident in mali for example, last summer. >> translator: so you've explained you have audio recording that is usable that is useful. you've also seen the state of the black box. >> translator: this black box i'm speaking of has numeric data. the file is audio that's been recorded digitally. so when i say it's usable i don't actually have any more precise information -- on the quality of it since we need to delve more deeply into that now. >> translator: would the cockpit have ruptured or crashed before
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everything else? >> translator: i have zero information that would allow me to confirm or deny that. >> translator: so you haven't actually spoken about the weather conditions. is this something that we should delve into further? is it important? and does any of the data on this first audio file allow us to label this tragedy as an accident? >> translator: so to answer your first question about the weather, in every investigation, and this one is no exception, we are going to be looking and analyzing every single piece of data we can, including weather, especially at the minute of
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takeoff to the minute of the crash. we will analyze all of this so we'll be able to determine if that was even a factor that influenced how the crew acted. at this point, there isn't really much that leads us to believe that the weather was an issue here. about the question your second question about the accident what i understand is you're asking me whether this is an accident that is either related to technical difficulty or intentional actions. again, at this stage, i have zero information on the matter. >> translator: is germanwings or lufthansa providing any type of information to you? >> translator: we haven't actually collected anything. >> translator: what is the exact role of the german experts in
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this investigation? >> translator: so the bfu german investigators are participating in our investigation as one of three partners. they're going to be associated with all of our own investigations in terms of analyzing the data in terms of presenting the data. again, this is based upon european and international protocol. so the report that we're going to then provide, they're going to play a role in that. so they're actively participating through the entire information. this is for the actual investigators from the bfu. then we also have technical people who are providing advice and counsel to us. so they're really here to just help us on the technical side
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bring us any technical information that might be useful. so they're just available to us in their respective organizations whenever we may need their help. i'm sorry, i don't have any information on whether this airplane had any other information. >> translator: so have the investigators actually investigated any of the debris on the site yet? >> translator: so some of them have been transported to the site via helicopter. at this stage, they're not really responsible to kind of precisely inspect the debris. their work actually consists more of localizing these black boxes as well as figuring out what the different pieces of the
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debris correspond to. so over time hopefully, they will be able to more closely examine certain pieces of debris, certain elements or to bring them back to a lab and to do some more thorough analysis. so like you mentioned before, we don't actually have the second black box in our hands. given the fact that the data from the first black box is usable when can we expect the first report even though we don't have the second black box? >> translator: so without awaiting the second black box, we're absolutely going to begin transcribing what we can hear on the black box. it's going to all depend on what has happened which we don't actually know yet. so we're going to have to wait and see whether this
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transcription is actually going to be able to inform us in any way that would justify making complementary information actually public. so i'd also like to add that i hope we can find the second black box. i hope it won't be too long before we find it. so hopefully we'll be able to work with both sources of information. >> translator: so based upon the trajectory and altitude you were mentioning earlier, does this offer any type of indication on the motor or the way the actual motor would have reacted? did the motor slow down? did the motor stop anything like that? do we have any indication on that? >> translator: so a motor completely stopping i can't really say. it's way too early to say.
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>> translator: so normally in these types of accidents, you provide the names of the pilots. is there a reason for which you've decided not to? >> translator: so when you say they give the pilots' names, i don't know who you're referring to. our protocol and most similar organizations who all operate on international law, the rule of thumb is to actually not give the name of the people implicated no matter their title in the accident. so obviously we're going to investigate what the professional history of these pilots consists of how they were trained, et cetera, et cetera. that's all going to be part of the investigation. but we have zero reason to disclose their names. >> there was a 30-minute delay to the flight from barcelona airport. authorities weren't able to give
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a reason why there was a 30-minute delay to the takeoff of the plane from barcelona. do you know? could you comment on that? >> i have no information at the present time on this. so no. >> we don't know if there were technical problems with the plane? >> the priority at this stage is to get the recorders. but of course other information will be retrieved in the course of the investigation. by the way, this is why i mentioned that we requested the help of our spanish colleagues because they will be in the best position to collect information related to the preparation of the flight in barcelona.
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>> translator: thank you, all, very much. >> and that was the french air safety director. nbc's claudio lavanga is still with us at the crash site. also with us john cox, a retired airline pilot who has flown the a-320. john, the important information we got was that the voice recorder is being analyzed. it may takes weeks or months. they've found some data. they have not been able to identify the actual voices yet. he went through details. they have not found the second black box, contrary to some reports that the envelope or the casing for it was found in pieces. they have not found it but the round part of the voice recorder the first black box, is intact. despite the damage to the surrounding casement they have been able to start analyzing
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that data. what else did you pick up from your vantage point as an expert? >> well a couple things. one, the fact that the data is able to be extracted from the cockpit voice recorder. that means that they'll probably get most of it even if some of the chips are damaged. they'll probably be able to get it put together. one thing that they did not say was whether the crew during the descent was talking to each other. that's one of the central questions that will come up early. i expect that b.e.a. which is one of the premier accident investigation organizations in the world, i expect they'll releases that information fairly quickly. he verified that the descent rate was in the approximate 3,000 foot per minute range for most of the descent. that says the airplane was under control. it wasn't in excessive descent as we've seen in some other accidents. that adds to some of the
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credibility that the autopilot may have been flying the airplane. the track that it maintained, it maintained that all the way to impact. that's another piece of evidence that says that the autoflight system may have been flying the airplane. what he said very carefully was that the airplane impacted the ground at high speed. that was evident from the pictures, but he verified that. so i think the comments from b.e.a. were appropriate and correct. he wouldn't be drawn into speculation. and he wouldn't commit to a timeline. in this case it's more important to be accurate than to be quick with the release of information. accuracy matters here. >> absolutely. and as we've been reports, nbc news has confirmed the state department has announced two americans were among the passengers on board. they've been identified as ivan and emily sulky, a mother and daughter from virginia. "the washington post" is
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reporting that emily was a 2013 graduate of drexel university in philadelphia. she served as vice president of the school's gamma sigma sigma sorority. the sorority posted this picture of her on its facebook and twitter feeds. and this is reaction from one their neighbors just moments ago. this is about 45 minutes outside washington, d.c. >> real shocking. life can be over in a flash, you know. they were good people. the mom probably had 30 more years left. the daughter probably had, like 40 50. shocking it can be over like that, you know. >> emily's sorority sisters also posted this message. we're mourning the loss of our beautiful alumni. emily and her mother were aboard the plane from barcelona to dusseldorf that crashed yesterday. emily served as our membership vp and she was an integral part of our growing chapter.
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she embodied the spirit of gamma sigma sigma. as a person and friend emily always put others before herself and cared deeply for all those in her life. emily will be greatly missed by her fellow sisters. please keep emily, her mother and their family in your thoughts and prayers during this heartbreaking time. and john cox is we me and tom costello in our news room. tom, john just pointed out the very careful briefing from the french aviation official to all questions about the possibility of an attack from the voice recorder information. he said, i have zero information on that hypothesis. >> yeah i think it was very clear that he was trying to avoid hypothesizing on any scenario whatsoever. other than to say that the wreckage is not in any way consistent with a midair explosion. that seems obvious that this plane did, in fact crash into a mountainside. and it appears the plane was on a very deliberate and programmed
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descent all the way down. and there was no deviation from it. the flight went straight into a mountain. i thought that it was also important to note and just underscore that the recording from the first box that they now have recovered, while the box is significantly damaged, they can say it's a digital recording and they have had success in getting some of that data off of the digital recording. so he would not characterize what he was hearing, if anything, whether we were hearing cockpit voices or bhoz voices we might have heard. none of that. he just said the data is retrievable and they have some of it. now they want to compare that. i thought this was very telling. it really speaks to how deliberate the french are as it relates to this kind of investigation. they don't yet have the second black box. specifically, they don't have any of the recording from that second black box. they're still looking for that even though the french president said they'd found the casing but not the recording. i think the disconnect there is maybe the french president is
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closer to the scene than the b.e.a. officer is. but nonetheless, they still need that flight data recorder recording. then they want to listen to that, look at the data listen to the cvr and compare both of those pieces of data and see how they fit together. it sounds as if only then will they try to lay out some sort of a narrative and release it to the public. i think they're going to be very very deliberate and very slow as they release this information. they want to know how it fits together before they just release it. i think it's going to be days or as he suggested, even weeks before they start to release that. >> and claudio is still at the crash scene. we've seen the steep ravine where this crash took place. so that is such a challenging effort for the recovery effort. these choppers have to drop the recovery or rescue experts into
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the ravine. how many at a time can even get down there to try to recover the remains for these grieving families? >> reporter: well, indeed andrea. you can see the last helicopter that has been flying back in. now we've seen two in a row. that means they've probably taken the emergency workers back here on the airfields. i can hear another one coming. obviously they're all coming back because it's about to get dark here. but it's very difficult to get there. as you just said they have to go there with one helicopter at a time. only 20 emergency workers were on foot, on the ground. certainly they're bringing everybody back right now, as you can see. there's another helicopter about to land. as tom was saying earlier on the rescue operation of the debris mainly, of course, and the bodies and body parts is made very difficult by the
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strength of that impact. of course, this was a plane that we heard from that press conference in paris that smashed against that mountain at high speed and possibly speeds of 500 miles per hour. pulverized completely. these pieces can really help very little to reconstruct what really happened. as you heard that we were hoping those recordings from a black box, the voice recordings of the pilots will help them to understand what happened. you know, as we heard, it may take days if not weeks to get some real information out of that. >> and john cox, from what you heard, you're talking about how careful these french investigators are and how expert they are and they're not going to talk about hypotheses until they know what they're talking about. but the central mystery is why that controlled descent, slamming into a mountain. he acknowledged there'ses no explanation for that. why anyone would consciously fly into the side of a mountain.
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>> well i don't think anyone would consciously do that. and that's part of the questions they're going to have to answer. the airplane reached its cruising altitude. it did not stay there very long. it started the descent. that's one question. why did they need to come down? but once they started that descent, why didn't it level off at a 10,000 foot or some altitude there that formnormally you would preset the autopilot to level off. why did it not do that? that's a second set of questions. and thirdly, once the airplane gets close to the ground about one minute you get a caution alert that says caution terrain. at 30 seconds before impact, you get a second warning that says terrain ahead, pull up, pull up. so there's a series of warnings that occur that pilots are trained carefully to react to immediately. so the question arises why didn't they respond? in some way were they
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incapacitated? couldn't they respond? so there's a series of questions that have to be answered. but let me also touch on one other point. the french president made comments about the framework of a box. there's a number of electronic boxes that are in the airplanes. radios, computers. there's a number of those. the investigators are going to have to be very careful when they see these frames of these components that have hit and been subjected to this kind of force to accurately identify them. i think that may be the disconnect between what the b.e.a. is saying. we do not have the second recorder. and what the information provided to the french president was. because there are so many of these electronic component boxes that are in the airplane. >> very good point, john cox. we're going to be back with much more on all of this in just a moment. take a quick break.
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and in other breaking news, the crisis in yemen is reaching
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a new flash point. the country's embattled president has fled the palace to an undisclosed location. nbc's richard engel joins me from istanbul. richard, this situation is going from bad to worse. >> reporter: it's going from bad to worse for the u.s.-backed government and the u.s.-backed president who still claims to be president of yemen. although, his exact whereabouts are unknown. there are conflicts reports. some reports he's fled the country entirely. i spoke a short while ago to a senior yemeni official who said president hadi remains in yemen. but where he is we really can't confirm at this stage. whether he's in the palace in the city of aden or some other secure location. and he's been forced into this small pocket of yemen. one of the few places the government still controls as houthi rebels who are backed by
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iran, continue to advance and continue to take territory almost unopposed. and just across the border, saudi arabia is watching this closely and has sent reinforcements to its boarder to make sure the advance doesn't jump over the yemeni border and threaten the saudi kingdom. >> richard engel thanks so much. before we wrap up today, let's go to tom costello for the latest on the germanwings plane crash. >> i would say the headlines at this hour, the director of the b.e.a. says they don't have the slightest idea what caused this crash. they now have the first black box, the contents of the voice recorder. they haven't been able to ascertain what's on that recording, whose voices are on there, if any, and what it tells them. that's too early. the plane did, indeed slam into the mountain. it was flying all the way until the end. it did not break up in the air. and i would also make the point they continue to look for the
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flight data recorder. now, you're seeing the cockpit voice recorder. it's been pounded, as you can see. a very very heavy impact. they want to find the flight data recorder. that's about 25 hours worth of data. 1300 pieces of data that will tell them what was happening to the plane at the time. >> tom costello thanks so much. thanks to john cox and claudio lavanga. our coverage will continue. we should point out the sadness of the confirmation that ivan and emily sulky of virginia were among the passengers two americans on that fatal flight. thank you. that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." remember follow the show online, on facebook, and on twitter. tomorrow leon panetta. thomas roberts is here with what's next. >> coming up the details about what we're learning from the
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plane crash in the french alps including what's happening with the black boxes as well as a look at the americans who were on board that plane as remembrances pour in. plus robert durst is being eyed in connection with a missing person from vermont. what police say he might be involved with there. and the situation in yemen. that's escalating out of control. as we've just learned, the country's president now on the run. so where did he go? then on a lighter note, we are talking to the crying piccolo girl. seriously, remember her? she was a little upset with villanova villanova. she was on fallon. but anyway, we're going to talk to her. it's all coming up on "msnbc live with thomas roberts." i'd steer clear. straight talk. multiplied by 13,000 financial advisors it's how edward jones makes sense of investing. [ male announcer ] at northrop grumman, we've always been at the forefront of advanced electronics. providing technology to get more detail...
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i'm thomas roberts. another busy day here on "msnbc live." we have breaking news in the recovery efforts going on in the french alps as investigators struggle to find the contents of the plane's second black box. plus new developments in the amanda knox case.
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will an italian court uphold murder convictions for knox and her one-time boyfriend? and the growing push to put vice president joe booiden in the white house. why? being democrats' second choice could be to the vice president's advantage. but we begin with the crash of that germanwings jet in the alps. new details coming in after a news conference that wrapped up last hour. contrary to reports, the second black box, that is still missing. but french officials do have one of the black boxes in their possession. they say it is badly damaged, but the critical voice recorder from that black box is still intact. it could take weeks, if not months, to analyze the data. >> we just succeeded in getting an audio file which contains usable sounds and voices. we have not yet fully understood and worked on it to be able to say, okay this is starting at this precise point in flight. this is

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