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tv   CNNI Simulcast  CNN  December 28, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PST

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search and rescue operations gear up in the disappearance of airasia flight 8501 but a senior official says they presume the worst has happened. we are also covering this a nightmare passengers stuck on a burning ferry in the adriatic.
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hello, again, everybody. we'd like to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm john vause. >> and i'm natalie allen as we continue our coverage of the missing airasia flight. >> helicopters are combing a vast area for any trace of the missing airliner. singapore and indonesia are sending planes but indonesia's top official has a grim expectation. >> translator: if the target is on land it is easier than an underwater location. because of the coordinates we've received the presumption is that the aircraft is under the sea. >> has to be so hard for these families to hear words like that. they hope, they wait for any word that could be positive about their loved ones.
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airasia ceo met privately with some of the families in indonesia. he has made it clear the relatives are the airline's main concern, but right now all they can do is wait. >> let's go to cnn's paula hancocks. she joins us from nooetsz where some of the operations are being launched. for now they say it is under the sea, has that refocused the search efforts? >> reporter: i just spoke to the first marshal in charge of the operation here on this island. and he said at this stage they haven't managed to narrow down the search. he basically said it is still very random. he gave us an area that is being looked at at this point, 240 by 240 nautical miles, so an immense area. it is being cordoned off to make sure that they don't miss any
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areas. there's also 12 different sections sorry, five by air, 12 by sea and three by land. and now with the null of ships, helicopters and planes has increased significantly, we have the latest figures here. there's more than a dozen ships out there at this point in the java sea trying to find any indication of this plane. it's just from the indonesian side. we also know that malaysia and singapore have given assets to try and help this search. australia and south korea have promised or at least australia has and they'll be coming very soon. so it certainly is a very significant search but also significant that the first marshal told me at this month they haven't managed to narrow down the search. now i did ask him if he thought that there may still be survivors. he said that if this plane had landed in the water, it is unlikely but if it has landed on land, and it could be in one of the areas, one of the islands
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or in a jungle area to the east, he said then it is possible there could be survivors. john? >> paula, do we know if this search will continue into the night? how much daylight do they have left? and will they essentially do what they did yesterday, which is suspend the search into the night hours? >> reporter: well it's just after 2:00 local time. the assumption is that the same that happened last night will happen tonight, at least from the air, the search will have to be postponed as soon as dusk falls, so they do have maybe four hours, a little less of searching time still but ships can search on the water. they can keep those lights on in case they find anything. but of course once you lose the light, it gets increasingly difficult to try and find anything. of course it's important to have as many eyes as you can on the sea, but the first marshal says
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they're also looking on land. they're not discounting the fact that this plane could have landed on land. the concern is the weather is not going to be cooperative. he said it is going to be raining, and that's going to affect visibility from the air. these planes want to fly as low as possible to see what they can, and also the cloud cover. he's concerned with saying that could hamper the search operation as well. >> paula, thank you paula hancocks live for us with the very latest on this search operation. >> the ceo of airasia says the disappearance of 85010 is his worst nightmare. tony fernandes was briefing distraught family members about the missing plane. that is where the flight originated. he's been active on social media since news broke of the plane's disappearance. he said he is touched by the massive show of support, especially from fellow airlines. this is my worst nightmare, but
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there is no stopping. >> this is a nightmare for the families of those on board flight 8501 and we are learning more about the passengers and the loved ones who are hoping to hear from them again. nick valencia has the details. >> reporter: we want to try to give you meaning to these numbers, 162 souls on board this airasia flight that disappeared. 162 people all with their own unique individual stories, and we know that they were from a variety of backgrounds. the majority of them on this flight were from indonesia, with a handful from south korea. others from laid, singapore and at least two people from europe. one u.k. national. one french national. the name of the co-pilot has been reported and local media is also saying french authorities are working hand in hand in collaborating with the indonesian government to try to find the whereabouts of this
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missing plane. another name ha that has been confirmed is the european national cho chi man. now earlier, one of those who had a loved one, her fiance was on airasia 8501. she spoke to local media and talked about how she found out that the plane disappeared. >> i listened to the radio, local radio, and they said that his plane was missing. that's all. and, yeah. it was supposed to be their last vacation before us got married. was supposed to be his last vacation with his family. >> at daybreak the search did resume. for all of those who had loved ones on this plane, it is for all intents and purposes wait and see.
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nick va nick valencia. cnn. they are plucking people off that burning ferry in the adriatic sea. nearly 200 people waiting to be removed from a ferry that's been burning for more than 24 burning their shoes off. >> it takes about 15 minutes to pull these people off the deck there. and over the last few hours, 290 people have been taken from the norman atlantic. and some of them are starting to arrive on the italian coast at this hour. the coast guard said a man died after he jumped or possibly fell from the ferry. >> you were saying that his wife had just been rescued, and the man perished. so tragic. the fire is believed to have started in the ship's garage area early sunday morning after leaving port in northwestern greece. >> the italian navy says the fire is contained, but smoke and weather conditions continue to
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hamper those operations. >> translator: obviously, our thoughts go to those who will have to spend many hours in these weather conditions, and now it is raining on the deck of the ferry, risking very grave consequences with possible hypothermia. >> let's get the latest on the rescue and how it's going from rome. barbie nadeau has the latest. as we were just saying they are able now to speed up the herpt airlifts is that right? >> reporter: neither. they're moving a lot more efficiently to get them off the ship. but still they've got a long way too go before they get everyone off the ship. the fire, though, is contained for the moment. that's very good news. the seas are very, very rough. and they were worried earlier the jostling of the ship would reignite the fire and make things more complicated. one of the problems they had
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yesterday was the low visibility because of the smoke. there were several oil rigs in the bottom of that ship that had produced very thick, black smoke. and the way the winds were working it was very difficult for anyone on board to escape the smoke. and it was also very difficult for the helicopters to get close enough to lift anyone safely off that ship. they're expecting really stormy seas later this morning, and they're working very very quickly right now to get as many people off as they can so they can keep that ship secured in some way before they figure out what to do with that. the next move once the passengers are off the ship is what to do with the ship whether they should take it to albania, which is about 13 miles or when they should bring it all the way to italy, which is about double that. the ship is still burning, obviously that's going to put its harbor at risk.
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so there are lots of concerns about what to do once these passengers are off. the priority right now is to clear that ship of any humans. >> absolutely. because they've been sitting and waiting and waiting. they've been using their cell phones to call back to greece to ask people what they should be doing, should they try to get off themselves? they were in the dark for so long. what have they been saying about the conditions on that ferry while they've been waiting? >> caller: well, a lot of people were able to call. there are more greeks than anything else. and a lot of them have been talking to the greek media. some of the stories are horrific. they describe themselves as mice running around on a burning ababb doned ship. some would describe themselves as prisoners. one of the worst things was the heat of the ship and people's feet were burning because the decks were so hot from the fire below. the fire was so hot. there were hundreds of vehicles in the bottom of the ship. and there were calls standing
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out in the elements. and as the rescue boats and the fire brigade was trying to put out the fire insides boat, they were spraying water, obviously, on top of all these passengers standing outside on the deck. they couldn't go in. there's no safe area to go in. so it's a terrible situation for the people waiting to be rescued. and they airlifted many of the women and children yesterday, and they arrived on its italian soil earlier yesterday. right now they're waiting for the first boat to arrive with passengers but even that they've had problems trying to dock in a harbor. they tried to dock at midnight local time last night, but the seas were too rough. so now they're moving their way up and expect to make landfall. so those passengers who are arriving by boat and have been rescued from that burning ferry. >> i tell you what the video that we've been seeing, i can't imagine what ift's like spending
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so much time on a ferry burning. there's no risk that this ship is sinking. they've already attached vessels to it to make sure that doesn't happen. >> it's incredible to think there's at one point, 400 people out there. for the flying public it's another case of an airliner missing over the sea. that is our top story that we continue to follow. for family of passengers of 8501 no end in sight. we'll have more on the search for the missing airliner right after this. just in time for the holidays. t-mobile introduces america's only unlimited 4g lte family plan. get two lines of unlimited 4g lte data 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.
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welcome back to cnn's continuing live coverage. no signs of airasia plight 8501 more than 30 hours after it disappeared. >> ships, planes and helicopters are searching a massive area. but one official says the early signs indicate that the jet is at the bottom of the sea, even though that assessment has not yet been confirmed. >> as you well know this has been a difficult year for regional airlines. mh 370 went missing march 8,
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flewing from kuala lumpur to beijing. despite an extensive search flight 370 has never been found. on july 17 malaysia flight mh17 was shot down over ukraine, killing all 298 on board. that crash still under investigation. and days later on july 23 transasia airlines flight 222 crashed during an aborted landing in taiwan killing 48 of the 58 people on board. >> okay. let's go to captain desmond rogers. he is with dra professional aviation services. captain ross thank you for being with us. the word that we're getting now from this indonesian official is that this plane is most likely at the bottom of the ocean. if that is the case what does that tell you about what may or may not have happened to this plane? >> well, one of the things that's been concerning me since
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yesterday is that we've heard no reports of an emergency transponder beacon going off. that beacon should be triggered on impact whether it's on land or water. they should be sensing with satellite and be picked up with a number of stations around the world. that tells us there's an emergency and also gives a rough location of the accident so they can home in on it as well. i suspect this is one of the reasons that the indonesian official is saying it might be at the bottom of the sea. because that has not been heard, it could suggest that the aircraft has gone into the water very quickly and gone straight under. if it had gone on the surface of the ocean and floated for a period of time it should have transmitted and would have been picked up. if it's under the water, it's essentially very difficult. the significant that will will not be received at the satellite. so i'm thinking that this is part of his reasoning and that
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the aircraft may have gone into the water very quickly. >> officials in indonesia say this is conjecture at this stage. but to come out and make a public announcement like that, they would have to be fairly confident, wouldn't they? >> i don't know. i've lived in that area for some ten years. i know the area the general weather conditions and the people. i'm not sure that their mightedia technique is quite as sophisticated as it is in the u.s. or australia or some other countries. i'm a bit disappointed that he has made that statement so early. i think it's a bit early. i'm not so certain that the weather caused the accident. there could be some other catastrophic incident that took place coincidently. but the weather is a part of life especially with the monsoon. you can't avoid that. but you can avoid flying into
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it which obviously, the captain of that aircraft attempted to do by trying to fly over it. maybe he should have gone around it left or right, maybe there was something else that went wrong. we don't know this yet until we find the flight data recorders. >> a lot of people are looking at the possibility of ice accumulation on the plane. how could that fit into what may or may not have happened here? >> it's a possibility. look on the way from brazil to paris, a lot of lessons were learned from that aircraft that went down. when they recovered it they discovered that it wasn't just weather, and it wasn't just icing that caused the accident. it was actually a lack of training in the use of some of the sophisticated equipment on board the aircraft in such circumstances. now that has been corrected.
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and airbus pilots now undergo more specific training in handling of the aircraft in unusual circumstances, unusual situations which we might surmise has appeared on this occasion. i, i am not sure that icing, icing can be a problem, of course there in the tropics. the temperatures are much higher down there than they are here especially in a thunderstorm. also you've got a flight management system on board that eric, three aircraft. and if it knows that it's losing speed, it's likely to stall. there are so many warnings going off that the pilots would know about it and they should take corrective action. >> what about the possibility that this plane actually ditched in the ocean and then sank? do you discount that? >> no. it's just again, total
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speculation that if we're not hearing the elt, the emergency transmitter, then it would mean that if it's gone into the water, it must have sunk very quickly or it's gone nose in or gone straight under the water, otherwise, we should be hearing the emergency transmitter. look the, with the state of the weather up there, the strong winds, heavy seas big waves, it's unlikely that the aircraft would have remained in tact and made a smooth landing. it would have landed in excess of 100 miles per hour when if hit the water, and it would have broken up. there is no question. it could not have remained in tact. when you hit the water at that speed, you might as well be hitting a brick wall. >> okay. captain ross we appreciate you being with us giving your assessment from sydney. very valuable insight as to what is coming out of indonesia. captain ross we thank you for
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that. >> as he said, if that were the circumstances of how this plane came down there would be pieces of the aircraft. >> which they haven't found. >> haven't found yet, but they are searching for anything right now in the java sea. weather in the area hammeredpered efforts. we'll have the latest when we return for the search of 8501.
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>> translator: dear brothers and sisters. my thoughts go to the passengers of the airplane when it went missing as well as the passengers of the ship that has been involved in incidents in the past hours in the adriatic sea. i am close to their family members and those living through these difficult situations with apprehension and suffering as well as those who are involved in the rescue operations. >> pope francis commenting on both of these disasters that we continue to follow the rescue in one area and the search for the plane in the other. pedram javaheri to talk to us about the conditions first of all where they're searching the java sea. nothing's been found and we're talking about how the conditions they're working under are not
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good at all. >> and the search area is narrowed down to some 240 nautical square miles. you're looking at an area ten times the size of manhattan. so it's still an expansive region in this narrow zone now for the search and rescue efforts. this is ha we'rewhat we're talking about with the indonesian rainy season. tell me one area of the world you can count on for tremendous rainfall over the next months i would say right here. indonesia, malaysia. we've seen on the order of 2 to 3 feet in the past week over this region. and that is expected to continue. that will put the plane in perspective. that's the area where the last known point of contact was. as we pause the satellite imagery for you, thunderstorms really beginning to develop across that area what would be the search zone. south of it clearing north of it clearing and behind it more
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thunderstorms, this is going to be the pattern the next couple days. this is the best you're going to see. flights across this region plentiful at this hour. we have a lot of flights going the similar route from surabaya across to singapore. this is the large complex, this thunderstorm just to the east of that line. that was the initial concern. then we have a little bit of clearing. that is where we think some of the downdraft may have been in place. as far as what you expect for the remainder of the week. as we head into tuesday, it's pretty quiet. into wednesday, more thunderstorms again develop. and the search area the last known point of contact with the aircraft. weather going to be active. this is what you, pekt expect this time of year.
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an an i do expect it to pick up in intensity. >> we have this ongoing rescue with the ferry. and we know the weather there has been atrocious. >> absolutely. it has been atrocious. right there at the incident we had thunderstorms rolling right through that region pretty active front coming in, right there on the border of the adriatic sea, we have albania, italy, that's where the ferry was when we had the wave heights as much as 3 meters over 10 feet high and winds in the 25 to 30-mile-per-hour range. the air temperatures were down around 39 fahrenheit so around 4 celsius. this is not the type of weather you want to be on the deck of a ferry, let alone how windy and wet it is even if there was no fire this would be a very rough sea to be aboard this ferry, traversing through this region.
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as we head into tuesday, the weather goes downhill again. these are the water temperatures in the region. the green indicating water temperatures somewhere 55 to 59 fahrenheit. at those water temperatures you have one to two hours at best when it comes to survival if were you to be inside that water. monday looks like the best day for any search and rescue to take place. >> there is a lot going on. the weather is playing a very big factor in places around the world right now. planes and ships from countries are searching for that missing airliner. after the break we will have the latest for the search for airasia 8501. plus we'll take a look at the similarity and differences between 8501 and another air disaster earlier this year.
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welcome back everyone. thank you for staying with us. i'm john vause. >> and i'm natalie allen. more than half the passengers on board that burning ferry have now been pulled to safety but there are a lot left. some of the passengers that have been rescued are now finally arriving on the italian coast just this hour. they've been at sea since they were rescued nearly two hours ago. they were endureing freezing temperatures while sitting on a ship that's bushrning. the fire is believed to have started in the ship's garage
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area early sunday morning as the ship traveled from greece to italy. the only good news here is that only one person has died in this disaster and there is apparently no danger of the ship sinking. meantime our other big story, ships and planes from four countries are combing the ocean looking for any sign of flight 8501. the airline disappeared on sunday. a senior official believes that the plane is most likely in his words, at the bottom of the sea. >> the passengers' family members waiting for word on the fate of the flight. the words from the ceo, certainly were not comforting to them. after hours of waiting, the ceo, mr. fernandes did meet with some of the families privately there at the airport there in surabaya where the flight originated. there were 162 people on board the plane, and that number
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included 18 children and one infant. let's go now to will ripley. he joins us now live from beijing. you've been getting the reaction there, will that after they have been through the mh 370 disaster and you covered that story as well in malaysia and here we go again, different circumstances, but certainly a missing airliner with no trace so far. >> reporter: what's so tragic about this natalie, is that for many of the families here in china, this new disappearance brings them back to the day that they were at the airpt, sitting, waiting for word. there are obvious differences in the way the two cases were handled, as far as the flow of information, we've seen a lot more efficient flow of information flow directly to the families whereas 370 families
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were hearing from news reports. there was a lot of speculation, a lot of questions. and it added to the emotional trauma of the situation for so many people in china and kuala lumpur. we saw people reach their, reach their boiling point and then spill over in front of television cameras that were swarming around them. it was a terrible tragic thing to see. and thankfully we're not seeing that on the ground right now in surabaya. instead, we're seeing what appears to be an orderly process of distributing information, but still it's painful, ten months later, it hurts even more knowing that another group of families are going through this. >> i saw you holding up newspapers earlier, people have been -- this is a chance for them to talk yet again about their ordeal and to help people appreciate what families go through in situations like this. >> reporter: oh, yeah. absolutely. some of the articles. some of the reporting here even
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just reading the printed word never mind what some of the networks are showing on television. people are sobbing as they think about their loved ones and this one quote really stands out here saying a woman, "what i want is for my husband" who was on mh 370 "to return home and bring us the truth" ten months later, and she still has hope that her husband might come home from 370. so imagine the kind of anguish right now that the families of 8501 are going through, continuing all these months. that's the situation for the families here in china. >> and we know you covered that extensively and now we have another story that we will likely be covering for some time. will ripley out of beijing, thanks will. >> that does feel like deja vu. another plane vanished not far from where the other plane disappeared almost ten months ago.
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>> jim clancy explains the similarities and the differences. >> there's some disconcerting similarities between mh 370 and 5801. but there are important differences as well. flight 370 vanished less than an hour after it took off. the airasia flight likewise lost contact an hour after taking off. neither plan sent a distress call. but in the malaysian airliner it was a moonless perfectly clear night. the passengers of airasia 85 850were experiencing very bad weather. the search was pressed in the south china sea for the better part of a week. >> breaking news on cnn -- >> cnn broke the news barely48 hours after the plane had gone
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missing, that malaysia's own air radar showed it was gone from that area within an hour of takeoff. the government had hesitated, critical information was withheld. malaysia airlines didn't tell families flight 370 was even missing until the time it was supposed to be arriving in beijing. many hours after it vanished. families felt deceived. many accused malaysian authorities of a coverup. conspiracy theories exploded on the internet even as officials were belatedly trying to set the record straight because weather couldn't be a factor for mh 370, many of those theories centered on terrorism, although no link to terrorism was ever uncovered it was too late. and whatever was released by malaysian authorities seemed contradictory and meaningless. most passengers were chinese nationals and china took the unusual selle step of allowing their families to take to the
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veets in protest. airasia appears to have learned lessons from the mh 370 tragedy and moved quickly to inform families. indonesia's transport ministry also responded. a passenger manifest and load list were online within hours. critical questions remain. in the hours and days ahead, radar records and search efforts may yield answers for the families of airasia flight 8501. the final similarity, neither plane had the kind of gps locater so many experts advocated after the disappearance of mh 370. nearly ten months later, that may be the lesson we haven't learned. jim clancy cnn. we'll take a break now, but when we come back we'll bring you the very latest on the search effort that is going on this hour off the coast of indonesia, looking for the missing airasia flight.
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part of your holidays. catch all the hottest handpicked titles on the winter watchlist, only with xfinity from comcast. welcome back. an indonesia official not offering much hope for the fate of airasia flight 8501 based on current information, the official says the jet is likely at the bottom of the sea. one of our guests said that
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conclusion may have been reached because there has been no beacon from the airplane. the search is in very early stages. >> the plane disappeared more than 30 hours ago traveling from surabaya to singapore. search planes and helicopters have been searching a massive area. >> let's bring in alastair rosenshine. he joins us from sussex england. thank you for joining us. you and i talked 24 hours ago, alastair about this mystery, and it's still a mystery. what does it say to you, first of all, that you've got an official from indonesia talking about the likelihood that this airplane is on the bottleom of the sea and why perhaps they're saying that at this time? >> caller: well they're saying
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that because the aircraft's obviously run out of fuel. given an hour and a half after the disappearance, that would have been the occurrence. the airplane would have gone down somewhere. it could be on land. there are islands on both sides. and some of these islands are quite densely, there's dense vegetation. so it could have disappeared there as well. but one thing is certain. this aircraft will be within a range of 800 miles. because of its fuel range. i suspect it's tasteless to say it's probably at the bottom of the sea, it's probably the likely scenario that we're looking at. >> we still don't know what was going on that caused this plane to presumably crash.
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we've been talking about the weather so much but what does it say to you, alastair that there was not any kind of mayday any kind of communication. that, of course is the third thing that pilots are to do. but there was nothing. >> caller: well, pilots will make a mayday call the main reason to make a mayday call is to request help assistance. and in the event there's a control problem or something catastrophic which you try to deal with you want to try and control the aircraft first. and the last thing at the end is to make a mayday call. so you will make a mayday call if you have time and require assistance but you first, absolutely first thing to do is control the aircraft. it takes the control of the airplane ift is possible to make
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a mayday call but it's going to be the bottom of the list of priorities at that point in time. >> we've been talking about the weather. everybody keeps saying that they have citysophisticated radar, that the pilots would be able to know what was coming their way and what intensity. but isn't there some conditions in severe conditions where the radar could be knocked out and they could be flying blind so to speak? >> caller: i've had radars fail myself. if you know it's failed then you don't fly through ariasirreas of thunderstorms. i think that's a less likely scenario. the radar is a good thing to have but it's not going to
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prevent you from flying through a thunderstorm. and i am'm saying why, one, you have to use the radar to see the weather, whether it's below you or in front of you. if a thunderstorm is growing rapidly beneath you, it's not on the radar, but by the time you get there it's reached the level that you're flying into. you go to the top of the thunderstorm. but the other thing is the ground. you could go to the left or the right of the aircraft. that also would be painting on the radar. it's not going to you know save you. the only thing about the radar, it does show where the thunderstorms are. there can be scenarios where there are so many thunderstorms
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or they're so large, you end up going through them. that actually is not a problem. >> and we were told at the time of this call about changing their position that there were three thunderstorms kind of converging at that time. we appreciate you joining us again, alastair rosen1450i7b from sussex. we'll take a break and have more after this. ♪ ♪ ♪ wellllll... ♪ ♪ earlyfit ♪ ♪ latefit ♪ ♪ risefit ♪ ♪ fallfit ♪ ♪ ballfit ♪ ♪ wallfit ♪ ♪ pingfit ♪ ♪ pongfit ♪ ♪ pingfit ♪ ♪ pongfit ♪ ♪ rowfit ♪ ♪ throwfit ♪ ♪ slowfit ♪ ♪ olliefit ♪ ♪ oopsfit ♪ ♪ otisfit ♪ ♪ thiswayfit ♪ ♪ thatwayfit ♪ ♪ daddyfit ♪ ♪ pappyfit ♪ ♪ datefit ♪ ♪ weightfit ♪ ♪ goalfit ♪ ♪ gooooooalfit ♪ ♪ stepfit ♪ ♪ stairfit ♪ ♪ smartfit ♪ ♪ heartfit ♪ ♪ spinfit ♪ ♪ bikefit ♪ ♪ hikefit ♪ ♪ yikesfit ♪ ♪ wheeeeefit ♪ ♪ wowfit ♪ ♪ whoafit ♪ ♪ findyourfit ♪ ♪ it's all fitbit ♪
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well the search goes on around the java sea for the missing asia airliner. nobody knows what happened to it. nobody knows the fate of the passengers and certainly the flight data recorders, if this flight is found, would answer a lot of questions. >> those flight data recorders actually have their own beacons, once they hit the water, they should start sending out the -- >> pings. >> the pings. but these are crucial. rachel crane explains what can be found out if they do manage to recover the plane's black box. >> following a plane crash, the search for survivors always comes first. but just as important is the search for answers. the why and the how. often those answers are found in the black box. since the '60s, all commercial airplanes have been required to
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have one on board. now the name is a little misleading because they're actually orange. and when we're talking about a black box we're talking about two different boxes, one being the cockpit voice recorder the other being the data recorder. they weigh anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds. they can survive almost anything. forces 3400 gs. they're waterproof and they can save recorded data for two years, and it's a lot of data. the cockpit voice recorder records the crew's conversation and background noise. by listening to the ambient sounds experts can discover whether a stall took place and the speed the plane was traveling. when these are cross-referenced with conversations, they can help searchers locate the crash
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site. then there's the data recorder. it records several thousand discrete pieces of information data about the airspeed altitude pitch, acceleration roll fuel and the list goes on and on. but to make sense of the data first you have to find it. not an easy thing to do when a plane crashes into the ocean. both black box components are outfitted with underwater locater beacons which self-activate the moment they come into contact with water. they send pings once per send and can transmit data up to 30 days. when their batteries run out. investigators have to sift through wreckage until they find it. >> and of course there are some reports, some people that think that there is the possibility that this airplane came down on one of the many many islands there that pepper this area.
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so we just don't know whether we're listening for pings or not right now. >> we're told it would be like hitting a brick wall. of course all of this isependant. pedram is following all that. >> this region plagued by very heavy rainfall in recent weeks and months. this is the current perspective around the world, satellite imagery, the complex of storms in place south of that area at this moment. and you take a look at the global perspective, very quiet indeed. so it shows you how significant the weather is across this region. this is the last point of known area for the airplane. and this is the complex of thunderstorms that we think was problematic when it comes to the top of this storm reaching some 52,000 feet. this particular airbus has a max ceiling of roughly 40,000 feet. so certainly not a storm you can
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fly over. we know they received permission or at least asked to get permission from 32,000 up to 38,000 feet. average thunderstorms around the world span between 20,000 and 30,000 feet in height. this particular flight last known area took it around 36,300 feet. again, not something you could climb over but if you were to go into the storm you would have downdrafts and updrafts. look how quickly if literally phased out and went up. that's akin to taking a balloon, filling it with water to maximum capacity and watching it explode. a tremendous amount of energy released from that storm would have been remarkable to be flying past that and this could have played a role in the aircraft's disappearance. >> thank you, pedram. we'll continue our live coverage right after this.
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and you're watching cnn's breaking news coverage of the missing airasia passenger jet, and right now these are the images of family members waiting for word -- any word -- about what has happened to flight 8501. right now, though