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tv   Reliable Sources  CNN  December 28, 2014 8:00am-9:01am PST

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reliable sources and it starts right now. welcome to our u viewers in the united states and around the world, i'm brian stelter, it's 11:00 a.m. in new york and 8:00 a.m. in indonesia. 155 passengers seven crewmembers, it was supposed to be a short hop, a two-hour flight to singapore, just like every other morning, every other day. but the airplane disappeared just a short time after -- hoping for any information, in the warm stormy waters of the java sea, they're searching for any sign of the aircraft the
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search has been halted until daylight. unfortunately no new facts. but let me redo this statement from the airline's ceo. he says we will deeply shocked and saddened by this incident. we're cooperating with the authorities to the fullest extent to determine the cause of this incident. but meanwhile our main focus is keeping our families informed. let's begin with cnn's aviation correspondent richard quest, he joins me now, and i believe we have andrew stevens up. he's at the airport and he's been there for a few hours now. andrew how are officials and families dealing with what's happened? >> reporter: it's a very very tough situation as you can imagine, brian, the families have been gathering here. we understand that they have been taken to a hotel nearby. they are airasia staff, obviously with them. we're also being told that ceo tony fernandez, he touched down
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earlier, about two or three hours ago, and is also expected to be seeing those family members as well. but at this stage there is as tony fernandez kept on saying during his press conference here we don't have any facts to operate on so we're just sticking to what we know and absolutely no speculation at all. but it's interesting, the vice president, the number two person in indonesia, who's been quoted as saying it appears as if this flight suffered an accident. that's all he said but obviously indonesian authorities are now fearing the worst. and for the families as tony fernandez was saying they are the priority getting information to them it's frustratingly little information, an enormously tough time for everyone here. >> there was a report nine hours
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ago now of wreckage seen in the java sea, and p there's no evidence to back that up? >> reporter: absolutely not confirmed, and there has been no indication certainly, tony fernandez, not mentioning that at all at his press conference i have seen those reports and we have been asking here and we have been checking with indonesian authorities, they say they are not aware of them. but as you so rightly say, in the first few hours of any what looks like a catastrophe, there is a lot of information, indonesia, a lot of local media here reporting a lot of information. so we're being very careful about what we're saying serge nothing at this stage to back up those claims that wreckage has been sighted. >> you landed a few hours ago, what is the scene at the airport like. >> aren't you going to get -- >> they have put up a crisis
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center here set up beheaped me and there's really just a few journalists waiting here. waiting to see if anymore information comes out. the families did gather here a lot of families are from surabaya about 150 indonesian families who were on that flight. and a lot of those people taking that flight at 5:30 in the morning, were going to singapore for a new year's celebration. so as you can imagine, as the family members started to gather here, the shock, the sadness, the fears of what may be just rippling across this entire airport. when we flew in the airport is very much business as usual. smiling people still waiting to welcome people off of planes. you come out of the main terminal building and you move along a little bit to where this crisis center is it's a much different mood much more somber, we haven't spoken to any
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of the family members yet, they're being held in their hotel and not being made accessible to the media, locally or internationally for that matter brian, getting a couple of stories floating through the local media, the terrible stories of people waiting for their two children two other family members. but one story if confirmed sounds quite remarkable. a family of ten was supposed to be on that flight a family of ten in surabaya they missed it because of miss communication, they actually thought that flight was leaving two hours later. if that story is confirmed, that's a good piece of luck for that family. sort of overwhelming list of passengers who at this stage, search it doesn't look good for what happened or what may have happened to those passengers. >> business as usual in other parts of the airport.
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i imagine it's closing in on midnight there, i assume it's starting to trickle down there, it's less busy now? >> that's right, it is it's thinning out around this press center too, the crisis center it is thinning out as well. but airasia has been very active in getting information out, brian, so people are still waiting here waiting to get perhaps more information. but as we have been reporting, the actual aerial search has been called off. we understand there are ships in the vicinity where they think the plane may have gone down based on the final messages from the pilot and the flight path they have spotlights the conditions in that area are supposed to be pretty tough. i asked tony fernandez at that press conference was he aware that the weather could have been in any way responsible and he said that conditions were not good heavy clouds there, but he couldn't speculate beyond that. but certainly things are getting quiet here we're told there will be a press conference here
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early tomorrow morning, where we're hoping a little bit more information could come out. >> andrew stephens at the airport, thank you for being here. and we'll talk more about the weather conditions in just a moment. i want to share a heart wrenching piece of audio, one of the family members that andrew was just describing was speaking earlier in front of microphones and here it is. >> my fiance and his family was on that plane. and in the morning, we lost contact, but i didn't think of anything i didn't have any feeling at all. and when i was on my way to the airport, i listened to the radio, local radio and they said that his plane was missing. that's all -- yeah it was supposed to be their last vacation before us got married. which was to be his last vacation with his family. >> as andrew was saying some people there traveling to
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singapore for the new year holiday, let's go to richard quest, he is cnn's aviation correspondent, joining us via skype, what can you tell us about the pilot, about his amount of experience flying this aircraft and about the safety record of the aircraft? >> reporter: the pilot had six hours of flying experience the other pilot had 2,000 hours. certainly not inexperienced, quite often you'll see captains in the left hand seat going to 12,000 the, 14,000 15,000 hours of experience. so i would say you had a bhod rat moderately experienced crew but not terribly experienceded. the a-320, if you take the family of aircraft, that goes from 320, to 18, 19, 20 and 21.
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there's about 6,000 of them that have been delivered. it has an exceptionally good record it is the workhorse of the low cost carrier fleet across the world. and i think in terms of the 320 itself just a couple of dozen fatal accidents. also brian, note all the major u.s. carriers, united delta and american they also have 320s, 321s, 319s in their fleet. it has an excellent safety record. >> this plane and this airline, airasia, isn't it part of a story of modernization and globalization in this part of the world. >> southwest of the united states tony fernandez and airasia, did in southeast asia and he did it starting in kuala lumpur and in asia to get over
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protection and national laws he has expanded that and he has had to do it through -- for example, there's a tie of -- he's looking at one in india, one in japan, and of course there is indonesia airasia. so this airline, yes, it is indonesian by registration by ownership, but fernandez in asia owns about 48%, 49% of it, and de facto they run this airline, it's a hybrid if you like but the most part of this vast group of aviation has taken place. airasia itself has a pretty much perfect safety record. there is not a blemish against airasia. >> you would be wrong to link this to flight 370 that went missing 10 months ago.
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but as of this moment the search for this aircraft is exactly the same as 370. how so? >> because the plane is missing, it went down over water, you have to have assets heading in that general direction and they have to do the lowe overwater flights, so you've got to get ships there. so you start with the last known place of the aircraft when it went missing. now in the case of malaysia airlines it was between malaysia and vietnam, we'll remember that forever. in case of this it's over the java sea, it's -- we know roughly where it should be. it's a question of getting those planes and ships -- i heard in an earlier program, i heard peter talking about the java sea, the south indian ocean is
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thousands of feet deep, the java sea is 200 feet deep. if this plane did come down at 38,000 feet there will be a large debris field where it's pretty clear that that happened and relatively easy to find that which remains. >> did 370 change the way we talk about these incidents? we now talk about planes vanishing going missing, where in the past didn't we talk about them presuming to them to have crashed? >> 370 was put on to the table the very concept that you won't know what's happened and you won't know wrote the plane is. and brian, you raise a very good point, because besides amelia arehart, it's almost unthinkable that you wouldn't know where the plane is a modern airline. 370 put that into the domain. so now it is a legitimate question who say will we find
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it? people who cover these cases, vanishing is unique. this is different, since we're talking on reliable sources, what we do have that we never had before brian, is access to things like flight radar 24 and flight aware, we have a lot more information coming to us online these chatrooms for pilots. for instance for instance we know for example what flight the -- what altitude that the plane was heading for, we know it was radar tracked, we know it might have been go too slow these are facts now coming into the domain that we wouldn't have known in the past. >> a lot more to talk about and
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record report on in this hour we're going to talk about the weather in the region then and now, also the government's response we have a panel of experts standing by, so stay with us, we'll be right back.
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welcome back. what we're about to show you is the actual area the plane is said to have went missing. the flight was going to indonesia to singapore when it hit bad weather, the pilot then asked to increase altitude. now the whole world is watching as this situation unfolds. michaels o'brien cnn's science and space correspondent wrote that this flight -- beware the itcz it creates the worst thunderstorms on earth, no flying over them. he's referring to the area near the equator, the intertropical
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convergence zone the weather can be erratic and very dangerous. let's take a closer look at the weather in the region. with karen maginess in the cnn weather center. many planes fly this stretch of sea every day, something went wrong in this particular flight obviously. but what were the conditions at the time this flight went missing from radar? >> it was very treacherous. we have seen an enhanced monsoon season meaning we normally see this escalated precipitation event that takes place over the course of months and this is the monsoon season there. but over the last couple of weeks, this has been upped a little bit we have seen staggering rainfall totals in asian and indonesia. this is surabaya and singapore, this would be like if you're traveling from new york city to atlanta, georgia, that's correct, that's just about the
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distance that this plane would fly, it's a couple of hours in the air. you would think nothing of it except if you're the pilot, you see this these huge clusters of heavy precipitation, supercells that just kind of erupt, that's why more than likely the pilot asked for a diversion, and once it did, then we lost track of the airplane. no doubt it is in the java sea and that's where they're going to begin their search. >> brian, when the aerial search resumes in a little over seven hours, what will conditions be like then. >> during the early morning hours, we typically see those thunderstorms, they'll pop-up here and there, but they like the heat of the day, we start to see that warm moist air start to build and we see these huge clusters of thunderstorms. here's the south china sea, it dies down a little bit and then it flares up. that's the kind of thing that we're going to see. one other thing that we look at is the water temperature here if it is indeed a search and
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rescue rescue the water temperature is here running between 80 and 85 degrees. >> one possible bit of good news there. let me ask two aviation experts about this stet of facts that we have. a former farks aa safety management expert and former managing director of the ntsb. tell me peter, when we hear about this report that the pilot requested to guyhigher why would he do that and is that a normal thing to do? >> it's a normal procedure that a pilot will take. he's trying to figure out a way to get around the most serious storm clouds if he couldn't convert, i think he's going to make an attempt to fly over it. there isn't anything unusual about that at all. it happens on many flights every day. >> why would there have been no distress signal in a situation like this? >> during this time there's a
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lot going on in the cockpit, he's responding to whatever has happened as far as the diversion goes that's normal there's no reason to call a distress signal. what concerns me most we have reports that the adsb continued to transmit continued to reach out and send information during that time. if it was only a few minutes, i could see why the pilots wouldn't have had time to communicate. in this case if the aircraft continued to fly for almost 30 minutes, at that time you would have expected that if the pilots were able to communicate, they certainly would have made a distress call. >> richard was talking in the last block about how we get so much data on these flights these days how reliable is that data the information we get about altitude and latitude and longitude? >> it's very reliable the problem is it's not always current. peter mentioned this before when he was with the ntsb he
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recommended this and it's been recommended many times since then it needs to be streaming information, so when these incidents happen we know exactly where the aircraft wept and exactly where it went down. so we have a lot of information and as you said, brian, too, we have so much information but it's seems like so little at the same time. >> what is the answer for why we're not getting that streaming data yet? >> well there's a couple of reasons. >> go ahead, peter. >> as david was going to say, there's a couple of reasons, one is that the international civil aviation authority which operates out of montreal canada is painfully slow in adopting safety recommendations, they're still debating malaysia flight 370 and it takes unanimous concept p to the -- to implement
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it it. so airlines have to be more aggressive in spending their own funds and tracking their own aircraft over transoceanic flights. it's basic. >> david, what is the one question you have in your mind that you most want the answers to other than the obvious here? >> the atsb that's the first thing i would key in on that false information, if that's true then something very serious went wrong in parallel with what went wrong in 370. so that's the first thing i would look at. and on more of a laten'tt thing. >> what are the views going to be asking themselves? >> i'm suspecting that the asian air authorities are working through the night gathering up any technical data they can get
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their hands on filtering through any firsthand reports that they're getting, so when daybreaks, they're dispatching aircraft and vessels to the place where they think this aircraft went down. we can't waste time on this we need to get people out there in a likely area as soon as possible. >> david and peter, thank you for being here and please stay with us. a quick break here, but when we onlycome back we're going to go back to indonesia where families are waiting for any shred of news about their loved ones and what authorities are i saying, in a moment. ta for just 100 bucks a month. with any smart phone. including the samsung galaxy note 4, for $0 down. add more family members for just 40 bucks a pop. think the other guys have a family plan like this? think again. only t-mobile has an unlimited 4g lte plan for the whole family. that'll get your holiday bell ringing.
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welcome back. we are continuing to cover the disappearance of the airasia flight about 16 hours ago. and let's take a closer look now at the actions of the plane that we do know about as there's so much we still don't know. i want to bring in two guests that can talk more about this with us, mary schiavo is with us. mary let me ask you u about what you have heard so far, from this limited a lot of data that we have. what is your best guess for lack of a better phrase about what happened here. >> well i think it sounds very similar, with a very small amount of detail we have but it sounds very similar to a couple
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of other accidents that happened at altitude, at cruising altitude during thunderstorms, one being west caribbean 708, that was eight years ago and air france 447. and in both of those cases, the planes had encountered terrible thunderstorms, icing conditions and the pilots responded in a way that put the plane further at jeopardy and caused the plane to stall and literally fall out of the sky. so at this point, with a very sketchy information that we have that's what it sounds like given they were going through thunderstorms and then the plane disappeared from the radar. that's not a lot to go on and of course a lot more could have occurred. >> let me ask you more about 447, this was about five years ago, and it took many days for any sign of the plane to be found, right? >> right, that's correct. however they had a very important piece of information
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in that case. the plane sent system status update messages so the plane sent these messages to -- >> in this case we don't know if that data is available so airasia airasia? >> that's correct, we do not know if that data is available and if it is available they have not released it yet. that is a very sophisticated system and it's a system to which the airline has to subscribe subscribe, even if the plane is equipped with it the plane has sob subscribeded. >> you have had many years of experience flying into a wide array of conditions. flying into a thunderstorm like this sounds very dangerous to someone like me but for someone like you it actually happens all the time? >> it does and let me qualify your question we don't fly into
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thunderstorms, the whole objective is to deviate around the thunderstorms. the more experience we have the more we have a good idea of what each individual thunderstorm may do. it's a pure automation stand point from the radar, what it may show us however we're able to control that radar with some certain ---with dials and switches but we use a heavy select mode most of the sophisticated airplanes that we fly in this day and age, we do our best to fly around the thunderstorms to mitigate the turbulence, this is an important part of keeping the airplane safe. but this is something we do day in and day out in all types of environments. >> we were talking about air france 447. is that seem in some ways analogous to this given what we do know? >> let me qualify everything
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this is all pure speculation and assumption on our part if it is indeed related to the environment and thunderstorms, it could be related from the stand point of we haven't discussed the fact that the air france accident occurred as a result of the tubes freezing up giving erroneous information to the crew. >> tell us what those are? >> the pito tubes are instruments or they are tubes on the bottom of the airplane that pick up air speed, basically, related to air speed. and in addition to their static ports related to altitude. and this all ties into what we call an air data computer and the computer puts all this information together and combines it into the cockpit displays that we have. so that information, if it's erroneous and the pito tubes iced up during the flight those
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pilots have to act accordingly, and as we all know about that accident, their actions weren't necessarily appropriate to what occurred and unfortunately we had tragic results. so that may have also been a possible source of this airplane disappearing. >> mary when i first heard the news about this last night, on the east coast of the u.s. i thought about the plane that landed on the hudson river here in new york a number of years ago, that would feel like a scenario for any type of inflights emergency. that was an airline that was flying only a couple of thousand feet in the area we're talking about an airplane that was at one point 38,000 feet. but tell me about the possibilities that can give family members hope. tell us about the possibilities that can be hopeful. >> it is possible to make a water landing, of course credit to sullen burger and styles, the flight crew on that plane, they
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had both been trained on water landings the hudson river was very is calm there was nothing that came down to impede that landing. we talked extensively about this in the coverage of malaysia 370, that perhaps that plane had done that and that it was possible that people could be saved. however when you come in to do this you only have one shot, and if you u have wave action and the wing dips and catches the water at all -- there was a case like this many years ago where it was a hijacking situation and they forced it to land on the water and about half the plane survived. it is possible it's very rare it's extremely difficult and you would want your pilots to have been trained in it. >> mary and les, thank you both for being here, i appreciate it. stay with us i have one of the world's foremost aviation journalists standing by he's been covering this story for the past 16 hours and he'll join me
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welcome back to our viewers in the u.s. and around the world. let's reset now with this really haunting photo. this is the arrivals board at shanghai airport in singapore, flight 8501 is listed as go to info counter. and the logo has changed from read to gray on its website.
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8501 is missing in the waters off southeast asia. families are now gathering for any scraps of information about what has happened. andrew stevens is there and has new information for us now. andrew what are you learning? >> yeah brian, we're just hearing that malaysia is going to be sending three vessels to help in the search that properly gets under way tomorrow there are big ships in the area with lights but certainly there's no air searching environment. malaysia has had hard hard experience in -- as investigators try to find out exactly what happened to 8501. it's interesting, standings here brian, just in the last half an hour or so we noticed
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two women going into the building behind me which is the crisis center they are, they didn't want to speak to us they said they were obviously very very distraught so they may be very close friends or family members. so there are people still trickling in here trying to get information. most of the passengers' families have been taken to a hotel nearby they're being shielded from the media, but there are people still coming in in fact one of my colleagues spoke to the brother of one of the passengers and he said that he first heard about what was happening on television, he hadn't been contacted by authorities or indeed by airasia, the information is getting out, and getting out slowly. as you can imagine, absolutely distraught family members and friends across this country tonight. >> andrew stevens at the airport, thank you. we just received this sound from the ceo of the airline, he was speaking at a press conference where andrew was i believe in the last hour.
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let's take a look at it. >> we're very devastated by what's happened we do not know what's happened here as the investigations continue we hope to find out what happened. our concern right now are for the relatives, and for the next of kin, our crew's family and the passengers family. that is our number one priority at the moment. >> the connection to malaysia airlines the still missing airlines flight 370. let me show you what the malaysia -- he was commenting as someone who said praying for all of you, sir, he just replied with three words, can't believe it. history does not repeat itself,
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but it is rhyme occasionally. that's what the aerospace and boeing beat journalist for the wall street journal. tell us what you mean by that. >> whenever you see a situation like this unfolding again, there's always number one, intense interest and intense demand for new information. obviously right now we have very little of that the. but there are things that we do no in regards to the weather in the area that will remind people of these earlier accidents, most notably, it looks like an accident similar to air france 447 that in 2009 went missing right around the equator. >> this came up so many times in march and april as the whole world was captivated by flight 370. the idea that anything can disappear in this day and age is
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unthinkable. >> in that decade following september 11th, what we have seen is a steady increase in safety. there have been events that ultimately inflated the level of attention and interest in air accidents like the ones that we have seen this year so certainly, in terms of the ability to lose an airplane certainly what we have got is aircraft transiting over water, so certainly, it's an area that wouldn't have you know beyond surface traffic with ships, not really a whole lot of you know coverage just human population in the area to see anything happen certainly if there are storms, people are deviating around it. but getting back to the simple fact of your question how is it possible in 2014 for an airplane to disappear. there's been an enormous debate
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about aircraft tracking and there's been eous -- safety and reliability of the system and ultimately to make sure that there are answers in cases like this. >> the world feels so small and then this happens and it suddenly feels so big and unpredictable. people are are probably wonderering what the status of 370 is because it did fade from the headlines after a few months there's really no new reliable information about the status of that aircraft right. >> certainly in a year with so many high profile accidents, i think it's impossible not to include that in the discussion of this only because the year itself was so notable for the lack of answers we do have.
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let me go back to this current situation, kbharwhat are the key questions about this investigation right now. >> certainly we need to know where that the aircraft came to rest. what we have seen in recent situations most notably malaysia flight 370, the information we have now, we're about 12 hours, 12 plus hours beyond the actual disappearance of the aircraft. >> and beyond the amount of time where they have the fuel for flying. >> exactly, exactly. what we have right now, is whatever understanding of the situation is right now, it's going to evolve in the hours to come, certainly in the days to come as we look at what information we do have and really emphasizing, separating that from the similarities to other incidentses, and
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speculation, what we do know is that is going to be something that the investigation is going to look at. but again, it kind of comes back to wondering what was going on on the aircraft at the time. and that's really what you ask in any air accident investigation, whether it's this one, whether it's 370 and certainly going through accidents this year and in years past. >> we assume the weather was involved, but the weather does lead us down a number of different roads, doesn't it? >> certainly it does those are sort of the foundational facts that we have. so we know because of the publicly available information on thing like bright radar, we know where the aircraft was and generally where it was flying and that's what's available to us. certainly we have heard in the last half day, in regards of what the air navigation service of indonesians were aware of
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during the course of the flight. these become the foundational facts by which any investigation begins to use as a springboard. so certainly weather speed, altitude, all those p different factors. >> john thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> there were there are 138 adults on board, 16 children one infant and we want to humanize that in a moment. show you more about what we know about the passengers, so we'll be right back. 24/7 it's just i'm a little reluctant to try new things. what's wrong with trying new things? feel that in your muscles? yeah... i do... try a new way to bank, where no branches equals great rates.
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welcome back to the continuing coverage of the
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missing airasia flight over the java sea. i have a specific sound bite talking about the weather conditions. here it is. >> the weatherr conditions were not good but other than that we don't want to speculate anything more. obviously, there were storm clouds and the pilot had made a request to change altitude, and that is as far as we know, and we don't want to speculate about weather, and we don't really know and let's find the aircraft and then be doing the proper aircraft. >> find the aircraft he says. tom fuentes is former assistant director of the fbi and he ran the fbi's office of international operations until 2008 and he is joining us now. tom, it is almost midnight, and the aerial search has been halted. tell us from your interactions with the fbi, what sort of interactions the government would be having with the
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airlines and the governments. >> well, the interactions would be to the offer at every level, the ntsb and the u.s. military and the other assets if available, and the fbi has an office in kuala lum par and jakarta and so that would be offered, but the weather is the cause, there would be other tossability stoss possibilities. >> and what about sam werth for example would be offered the the government for example? >> well anything would be offered, if possible. the ocean there is not that large and it is shallow at the depth of 150 feet which is easier if that plane is located
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under the water to e recover it and find the black boxes and find out what happened. >> and our best sense is that there is no criminal sense or the terroristic connection to this? >> yes, yes. and i have been in consultation with the indonesian a ambassador here in washington and there is no indication of any kind other than the weather or the pilots or the aircraft possibly all of the above related to the weather. >> tom, thank you for being here. >> thank you, brian. >> and let me put on the screen the nationalities and what we do know about the people who were on board this plane. one from singapore heading home, and one from malaysia and two south korean and 157 ind neezonesian on board. and let me bringk with richard quest from skype. richard, are you there? >> i am indeed, brian. i am indeed. >> and as we wrap up the hour richard, i'm wondering what is the top question on your mind as
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an expert in this and what are you thinking that the viewers at home may not be asking themselves right now? >> the only issue right now is to find the plane and to find the wreckage and to find the black boxes. we have several pieces of the jigsaw on the table, the speed, the weather the altitude the last known communication are from the cockpit. they are pieces of a big puzzle. until we get that plane and that wreckage and those black boxes, we won't know anymore about it. but we do know, and we have a misty scenario that needs clearing. >> do you find yourself mystified by situations like this or do you tell yourself that this is how technology operates and how our world work s and mostly foolproof and fault-proof, but occasionally accidents do happen? >> i am not at all mystified by it, because fundamentally, you
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are talking about men and machines, and men and women and machines. now, the machines can fail and the men and the women can fail, and both can fail, and you have extraneous circumstances like weather, and we will never ever have a foolproof system of flight or of a ship or a car that can ap happenhappen and all we can do is to reduce the risks. and i can hear the viewers saying that here we go again, but aviation is the safest form of travel. >> thank you, richard quest. >> and before we go to break, let me show you this twitter note, our thoughts and prayers are for all of the families and
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sometimes the worst kind of news is no news at all. and that is where we are right now wondering if it is possible if 155 passengers and seven crew members are alive and healthy somewhere waiting to be rescued or if the worst fears of the world are realized. a flight full of families and friends on the way to new year's celebrations. and for us in the united states we will be back next week for
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another edition of "reliable sources." and you can keep up with the latest on, but stay with us for the latest on the missing airliner right here. "state of the union" begins right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. i'm dana bash and this is "state of the union" and breaking news this sunday and it is hard to believe that we are saying it again, but an urgent search is under way again for a missing jet that has vanished. this time it is a airasia jet that lost contact with ground controllers less than an hour after taking off from surabaya bound for singapore, and in the last message from the cockpit, the pilot asked to deviate from the flight plan due to weather. the search