tv Early Start With John Berman and Christine Romans CNN December 29, 2014 1:00am-2:01am PST
the desperate search for flight 8501. investigators say they believe the missing plane and 162 passengers is now at the bottom of the sea, but nothing is certain and no clear evidence has yet emerged. we will bring you live team coverage on the latest investigation and the search and what went wrong. good morning. welcome to "early start." i'm john berman. >> i'm christine romans. it is monday december 29th. it is 4:00 a.m. in the east. welcome to our viewers around the world. let's start with flight 8501.
this flight disappeared with 162 people on board. the tragic early indication from the indonesian agency leading the search and rescue efforts is quote, on the bottom of the sea. early conjecture from authorities. ships and planes have been combing the waters but no sign of the plane or wreckage. it is not known if bad weather is a factor but the pilot requested a higher altitude to avoid storm clouds before the plane disappeared from radar. andrew stevens has the coverage this morning from indonesia. >> reporter: good morning, christine. at this stage, hopes have to be fading. more than 30 hours since the plane disappeared and no firm sightings. unconfirmed reports of items in the search zone but nothing firm to go on. christine, we have been joined
by the vice president of indonesia. i would like to ask mr. vice president, first of all, could you tell me is this a recovery and rescue operation? >> this is a search and rescue. this leading sector is our rescue team. now there are ships from navy and police and customs and from our airmen. there are 15 airplane. >> reporter: there have been reports of objects in the search zone. do you know if they are linked at all to the missing plane? >> until now, not yet. some reports from australia. it is not clear.
>> reporter: not yet clear those objects from the plane. you have been speaking to the families of the victims. what have you been saying to them? >> we say that the president and all people have sympathy for all families. we are working hard and our people are working hard to find the objects and the plane. we are humans and expect that we can find and we expect. >> reporter: the plane has been described as okaybeing on the bottom of the ocean. is that your assessment that the plane has crashed and at the bottom of the ocean? >> now it is 30 hours from now.
more than 30 hours. of course predictions. if they don't find land they are in the sea. if they don't find more than 40 hours. >> reporter: difficult to find survivors. final question vice president. when do i think we will have an assessment of finding the plane? >> we are trying as fast as possible of course. operations with vessels and airplane and helicopters. air france in the atlantic and
malaysia airlines. >> reporter: vice president of indonesia jusuf kalla, thank you. christine, speaking to the vice president there. obviously the search continues. as he says after 40 hours, very, very difficult to see any survivors coming from this. there is that assumption that the plane crashed into the sea. we don't know if it is weather-related, but weather played a role in the pilots asking to be diverted 40 minutes after it took off. that is where we are at the moment. the families are still here christine. still waiting for some sort of news. >> andrew the vice president of the country stopping by with you. what was he saying about a wreckage? they have been seeing things floating in the ocean. they cannot say it belongs to the airplane. >> reporter: that is right.
the australian search aircraft spotted objects in the search zone. that was being sent out. that is an unconfirmed report here in indonesia. he has confirmed objects have been spotted by the australians, christine. at this stage, he said we don't know if it is related to flight 8501. remember mh-370 there were multiple reports of debris off the coast of malaysia. that turned out to be not related. the plane did not come anywhere near the area where the debris was being seen. a very very inn exact science at the moment until they can get eyes on and pull the debris out of the water and get a clear picture, it will only be speculation. >> i think mh-370 has given us a healthy dose of skepticism in the early hours after a tragedy. andrew stevens, thank you.
>> remarkable from the vice president of indonesia live with andrew. a rescue operation. as the hours tick on the hope of finding anyone alive dwindles. it has been more than 30 hours since the last contact with flight 8501. we have paula hancocks joins us with the latest. >> reporter: john we are seeing the search and rescue operation grow. we have seen additional ships and helicopters. the helicopters and planes have come here to the airports on the island in belitung. this is the closest land mass to the area where the plane lost contact with the controllers. this is the area where the helicopters are coming to refuel and briefing and where they should go next. we spoke to the head of the
search and rescue efforts here in belitung. i asked him, does he think there could be survivors still. he said if the plane did land in the water, it is very unlikely. if it did manage to crash or land on land there is a jungle area. he mentioned to the east of here. he said it is still possible. the area that they are searching is large. 240 nautical miles by 240 nautical miles. they sliced it up to be systematic about it. they have to make sure there is no overlap and they are not missing any areas. they are combing through that area. not just at sea, also on land, to see if they can find any sign of it. john. >> paula, is there word that an australia plane spotted some debris within that wide search area. we know there is a lot of debris in the ocean to begin with.
are you hearing anything about these reports? >> reporter: we asked the first marshal about that. he is the main person here at this particular staging area. he hadn't heard anything about it. we should caution there are often these reports in the early hours and days of this kind of incident. he did actually say to us at this point, they have not narrowed the search point down. they have not managed to hone in on any particular area. in his quote, it is still a very random search. talking to the first officer here, it appears it is still a random search and they have not had any significant breakthroughs. >> paula hancocks here in belitung island reporting for us. thanks to you. >> what role if any, weather conditions played in the disappearance of airasia flight 8501.
we know that the pilot requested and denied a higher altitude before the plane vanished. we have a report of a radar showing the airasia jet climbing and perhaps stalling out. radar showing that. here is what he said. >> this appears as though it will be a weather-related upset. we do know some concrete facts here whereas in the case of mh-370 we were flying blind. we know the captain requested from 32,000 to 38,000 feet. we know he asked to go left of track from the route to avoid thunderstorms. and we know there were severe thunderstorms in the area. we have seen the radar printouts of those. that is absolutely crystal clear they were severe and there were many of them. so we do know that. we know exactly where we lost
contact with him as well. it is a fairly defined box for the searchers to look. whereas at mh-370 we had no idea where it went. and what we also have been able to obtain from some pilots is radar printout of the aircraft. what it shows is this particular flight at an altitude of 36,000 feet and climbing but traveling at approximately 105 miles per hour too slow to sustain flight. it looks like on this radar evidence that we have that he was involved in some upset, high altitude upset. >> flying too slow at that altitude to maintain flight. that is one area we will follow to see if there is more evidence
that emerges. the weather, though as we know, may have played a role. certainly the pilots were talking about that before they disappeared before last contact. so what role might it have played? let's go to cnn meteorologist pedram javaheri. >> good morning. the conditions across the java sea and indonesia this time of year is not the best time. this is when we have monsoon weather and rainfall in the order of several feet in the matter of several days. this is the flight track. this is the last known point of contact. that is the storm we are talking about. an average thunderstorm spans between 20,000 feet and 30,000 feet. the tops of the thunderstorms reach 53,000 feet. the airbus not capable of climbing those altitudes. certainly headwinds and very dangerous scenario. we don't think weather by itself
played a role. it is several scenarios to cause these devastations and tragedies. this particular storm as large as you see it on our planet over portions of indonesia. >> crucial details there. airasia has had a nearly flawless safety record. what about the aircraft itself? we have rene marsh with more on the safety record. >> reporter: this is a newer aircraft. delivery date is october of 2008. as far as flight time we are told by airbus it has 23,000 flight hours. it is what you would call a workhorse for commercial aviation. the safety record for the a-320 is pretty good when you consider the millions of flights this family of aircraft has made. at this point, airbus is careful with the language it is using. it is not dipping into the arena
of speculation. they are waiting and collecting information. they are making it very clear they are ready and willing to work with investigators once it moves on to the investigative stage. we also know here in the united states the national transportation safety board, they have opened up the lines of communication. they have been in contact with airbus the manufacturer of the aircraft. they also been in touch with the french he equivalent of the ntsb and the indonesians. the indonesians will likely lead the investigation. at this point the ntsb says they are monitoring the situation. they are ready to provide some technical assistance if they are asked for it. back to you. >> the company reeling this morning. airasia shares getting hammered. the stock of the company that flies that aircraft shares are down 8%. the biggest one day drop in eight years. the missing jet is damaging the
reputation of the low-cost carrier. the airline has had no fatal crashes in more than a decade of operations. it is regularly named the best low cost airline in asia. the ceo tony fernandes has been reaching out to the public through social media since the jet disappeared calling this quote his worst nightmare. my heart bleeds for all of the relatives of my crew and our passengers. it is low cost airlines like this that have opened up travel and convenience to millions of people in asia. 20 years ago, it was difficult and cost prohibitive for the average person to fly. >> indonesia is a huge nation made of hundreds of islands. >> before that it was long and dangerous ferry travel. a different landscape because of the low cost airlines.
a $90 million airliner disappearing. >> so many questions remain this morning. we will follow this breaking news on missing flight 8501 all morning long. first, a frantic rescue at sea. hundreds on board a burning ferry. a dangerous situation that has already turned deadly. we are live as some survivors make their way to safety right after the break.
we are following breaking news for you this morning in the search for airasia flight 8501. indonesia's vice president telling us moments ago it is still a search and rescue operation, but hope is fading of finding survivors. the plane disappeared sunday with 162 people on board. it was headed from indonesia to singapore singapore. it vanished over the java sea. in the plane's final communication, the pilot requested higher altitude but was denied because of traffic above him. the officials believe the conjecture is the plane is at the bottom of the sea. the researchers have spotted debris but it is not clear if it is related to the airasia flight. many time those loved ones are waiting for answers.
and breaking news. efforts to reach a smoldering greek ferry following a fire that broke out on the ship off the coast of italy. the coast guard says one person has died. nearly 300 passengers have been rescued. rough weather is hampering efforts to get many others off of that ship. cnn's linda has the latest. >> reporter: about 324 people have been rescued according to the latest update. 154 more remain on the ship. another effort had been made to tow the ship, but that was abandoned to the weather conditions which are severe in the area. at the moment it is helicopters
operating. progress is slow. doctors and rescuers have managed to get on the ship and providing assistance. what they are saying is that people overall are well in health. they seem to suffer minor problems with eyes or throats because of the smoke. there is still a lot of smoke and many are suffering from hypothermia. many have spent over 24 hours by now sitting on the deck of the ship and waiting for the rescuers to arrive. people from the boat have been calling in greek tv stations and talking about their ordeal and asking for help. there is more calm this morning. the people calling in are a bit calmer. they are still very worried about what is happening. they have seen rescue arrive. they know a number of the passengers have managed to get to safety. at least 49 passengers on board the ship have now been transported to facilities in
italy italy. >> the fact there is any calm is remarkable. elinda thanks very much. >> smokey freezing and cold and 55-mile-an-hour winds. some of the video, a mother with two young children as this basket is swinging trying to get off that. wish them well as the rescue continues. meanwhile, north korea berating president obama over the release of "the interview." the film pulling in millions of dollars this weekend. we are live with the latest after the break.
north korea blasting president obama firing off a personal ugly insult blaming washington for internet outages and release of "the interview" after canceling, sony made box office lemonade with more than $15 million from digital downloads and plans to expand. now a lawmaker is suggesting north korea may have had help from china in hacking sony pictures. >> you cannot talk about north korea without talking about china. you need to have a heart to heart with the chinese. i cannot imagine anything this massive happening in north korea without china involved. >> that is quite a charge. cnn's will ripley is in beijing following this for us. will china is a neighbor and
partner to north korea but it also blunts north korea and the un influence of the world. >> reporter: this is an issue we have been looking into for several days christine. here is the reality. north korea relies on china for internet access. up until four years ago, north korea had to dial in to go online. now north korea has a small fragile connection. to launch the complicated cyber attack like the one on sony it requires a stable high speed connection. as we saw with the fact that the north korean internet has been unstable in recent days is there a possibility that chinese servers were involved? that is something u.s. law enforcement is looking into and they asked the chinese government for help in the investigation. to say china is involved beyond that we need to keep in mind
that united states law enforcement suspect no other country other than north korea orchestrating this attack. this infrastructure is stronger and faster in china than north korea. >> will ripley thank you for that in beijing. 27 minutes after the hour. we are all over the breaking news. the desperate search for missing flight 8501. disappeared in mid flight. 162 people are board. we will have live team coverage on all the new details we are learning this morning next.
>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking news this morning, a massive search happening for missing airasia flight 8501. it disappeared with 162 people on board. what went wrong? we are breaking down the latest on the big story this morning. good morning. welcome back to "early start." i'm christine romans.
>> i'm john berman. we want to welcome you. new information on the missing flight 8501. it disappeared with 162 people on board. indonesian officials this morning not offering families much hope. those leading the search and rescue efforts say they suspect that the jet is at the bottom of the sea, but indonesian vice president just told us it remains a search and rescue operation. that happened a few minutes ago here on "early start." a search asnd rescue operations. ships and planes have been combing the waters. no sign of the plane or any confirmed sighting of any wreckage. still not known if bad weather was a factor but the pilot requested higher altitude to avoid storm clouds before the plane disappeared from radar. cnn's andrew stevens is joining
us live from surabaya. you spoke to the vice president for latest on the search operation. >> reporter: that's right, john. good morning to you. i must admit i asked him about what he was telling the families of the passengers here. he said basically we're doing everything we can to try to find this plane and to keep praying. they are not expecting a good outcome here. we have to be honest here. vice president kalla said after 40 hours of this the chances of finding any survivors has to be very small. i also asked him john there have been unconfirmed reports of objects of interest spotted by an australian plane. air force plane. listen to what he had to say. >> there have been reports of objects floating in the search zone. do you know if they are linked
to the missing plane? >> until now, to answer not yet. some report from australia. so far, we are not yet clear the object is from the plane or not. >> reporter: not yet clear, john, whether these objects are linked to flight 8501. remember after 370 disappeared, there were a lot of sightings of objects in the water. oil slicks which were misleading. not a lot into this sighting john. >> looking at the map, andrew this is a vastly different situation than 370. deep in the ocean. thousands of miles from the australian coast. planes flying overhead and shipping shipping lanes and major cities nearly. do they hope that fairly soon they could see signs of concrete
evidence? >> reporter: they are cautious about what they are expecting and as you put it there john this is a much more heavily traveled area both on the surface of the sea and also over air as well. there has to be just a lot better chance of finding this plane if it is where it is thought to be. if they are judging the search on the last known coordinates when it made that radio message about requesting a different flight plan to avoid bad weather, they are extrapolating from there. it is in shallow water. the problem for the indonesians they don't have the sophisticated equipment that is needed really to find this wreckage quickly. they will need help there. the australians and singaporeans
and indonesians sent 30 ships. 15 aircraft now searching this area. we have two or three hours of daylight before they have to call off the air search. ships stay on-site. they need more sophisticated equipment. that will likely be the next step. compared with mh-370 as you say, 1,000 miles offshore in depth of ocean four to five miles. extraordinary deep ocean. a lot completely uncharted. they knew more about the surface of the moon than the undersea of the indian ocean. a lot more is known about it. they do have a fairly wide area but area of interest nonetheless. they have a lot of vessels here. you have to assume that they would find at least something in the next two or three days. a lot of obviously would depend on the weather conditions. they cleared today.
they hope to stay clear for the next few days. >> we are running out of light there. andrew stevens in surabaya thanks. >> running out of light. it has been more than 30 hours since the last contact with flight 8501. more ships and planes and helicopters are joining the search. cnn's paula hancocks is joining us on the telephone from the staging area in indonesia. paula, describe what is happening there. >> reporter: christine, it is quiet now. it is certainly circling down for the night. obviously there is only a bit of light left. we understand that there won't be more helicopters coming in here. we have seen them coming in throughout the day. they have been refuelling after searching over the area. they have been having a quick briefing to see where they go next and then going off. i spoke to the man in charge of the search and rescue operation
at the airport. he said they are looking at the area of 240 by 240 nautical miles. he said to me they haven't narrowed down the area yet. they are looking within that year systematically. they are still looking at the whole area. they have not managed to hone in on one particular area because he said simply they don't have the data. they do have the data available, assuming they will have a more specific search. the concern for the next few days is the weather. it has held pretty well today, but we understand over the next few days it will deteriorate. there will be rain which is a problem for visibility for many of the airplanes and helicopters that fly quite low. we understand there will be significant cloud cover which could hamper the search and rescue operation. christine. >> so many challenges.
paula hancocks for us in indonesia. thank you. >> what was the weather when the plane lost contact with the ground? we have cnn meteorologist pedram javaheri who takes a look at the weather search and rescue and the weather the teams are up against. >> the weather across the java sea finally innmproving. there are storms in the area at the last known point with the aircraft. to the north, partly cloudy. to the south, similar story. when you talk about an area in the wet season december is the wettest time of year. you know storms are blossoming in the next couple days. tuesday into wednesday, storms develop again toward the last point known of contact region. that is where we think more strong storms and gusty winds and reduced visibility is something to be worth noting in the next couple of days. good news is when you take a look at the surface temperatures at java sea, 82 degrees
favorite. survival in the waters is a possibility, but the longer time passes the more unlikely scenario that becomes. back to you. >> pedram thank you. i want to talk more about the search for airasia flight 8501. joining us now is alastair rosensheim. i know you have flown this particular route. can you tell us what the pilot has been facing? we know monsoon from october to april. can you tell us what can happen there and what it looks like in rough weather. >> good morning, christine and john. this particular area and there are other areas like this one around the world. you can get these build up from the storms. they are worst mid to late afternoon. because of the hot sea conditions they consist during
the night as well. they build up to the major storm cells can build up to 55,000 or 60,000 feet. it gives you some idea of the extent of the clouds. the vertical winds in the clouds are quite violent. they can reach speeds of over 100 miles an hour vertically. when the aircraft is traveling horizontal through this you get buckling. there is icing, hail heavy water. in fact there have been occasions that clouds have extinguished the engines. they are effectively jet engines burning fuel in an air flow. if you get a lot of water in them the engines can cut out. normally you can pick your way around the thunderstorms and have a fairly smooth ride.
if the storms are very close together, then the ride can be rougher because you are getting closer to the storms. sometimes the cells, the individual thunderstorm cells can actually merge. that does cause major problems for the pilots and crew because there is no easy way through it. in those occasions, you are warning the crew to strap in and the passengers to put away the bar trolleys so nothing is flying in the aircraft. you grin and bear it. you use radar to pick your way through the lightest return. >> alastair an aviation analyst speaking to cnn earlier today was talking about the screen image from an unconfirmed aircraft control that maybe this plane was flying too slowly approaching a higher altitude at
36,000 feet. maybe going 100 kilometers too slow per hour. what might that do to an aircraft and what would cause a plane or pilot to not have the plane be going fast enough? >> well when an aircraft climbs it trades some of the air speed for the climb. you know, this is a sophisticated aircraft. they would be flying at the correct speed for the climb. it would be using the auto flight system auto pilot. the problem is as you climb higher you are margin for error is reduced. there is less -- put it another way, you can only fly a little bit slower when you reach the point of which the aircraft might stall. if the wing loading is increased through turbulence or vertical winds you fly through in the thunderstorms, that can actually
increase your stalling speed. in lay terms, that means the aircraft can stall actually at higher speed if there is this increased wind loading. this is a problem flying through the area of turbulence through the thunderstorms. it is a judgment tack by the pilot. do you go up high to go over top of the weather with the reduced margin of error. do you descend and go through the bad weather where the aircraft can withstand bigger fluctuation in speed. having spent 30 years flying myself i tried both methods on numerous occasions, it is uncomfortable descending a bit, it does give you the reassurance
the aircraft will remain pliable. >> with no mayday call, you have to wonder if the pilots were struggling to control the aircraft and try to talk to air traffic control and figure out the best way to get out of the crisis. thank you, alastair. airasia shares are down 8% right now. biggest one day drop for the stock of the company that flies the plane. malaysia airlines took a similar hit. the stock was taken off the stock market as part of the government plan. airasia, in a different position than malaysia. it is regularly voted the best low cost air carrier. ceo tony fernandes called this
his worst nightmare. he tweeted this keeping positive. my heart bleeds for the relatives of my crew and our passengers. you just think about how these low cost asian carriers have transformed the landscape for the last 20 years. the $100 million aircraft can transform your economy. >> it is interesting to hear from tony fernandes. a different level of engagement now than from nine months ago. >> it is sad to having to make the comparisons. we will continue to follow the latest on the airasia flight 8501. first, happening right now. a ferry on fire with hundreds on board. a painstaking slow rescue already turning deadly. we are live as survivors make their way to safety. that's next.
another breaking story this morning. the effort to reach passengers aboard a smoldering greek ferry following a fire that broke out off the coast of italy. the coast guard has said one person has died and nearly 300 rescued. rough weather is hampering efforts to save others. cnn's elinda labropoulou is live for us. you have over 300 cars on the
ferry. it is very difficult to get people off this ship with strong winds and very cold temperatures. what do we know right now? >> reporter: this has been the case for the last 30 hours since the fire broke out. the rescue operations began quickly, but because of the severe weather conditions we have been facing it has been extremely difficult to get out. about two-thirds of the people have managed to leave the ship and rescued, but 150 remain on the ship. progress continues, but it is slow because for the time being people are removed by helicopter. those who have reached safety they have had medical checks and it seems that most of them are finding their health a few minor problems. more to do with their throats and inhaling a lot of smoke from the fire. few problems with vision. overall, they are in good shape. a medical team is now also on the ship. they are taking care of the people there.
they are waiting for more rescuers to arrive so they can continue the operations. the truth is that the conditions in the area remain particularly difficult. >> unbelievable. elinda thank you. the helicopters, john are bringing people up two at a time in a basket. it takes 15 to 30 minutes to get two people off the ferry. you have hundreds of people on the ship. the smoke billowing and fire still burning in there. they were trying at one point to tow it to a point in albania. it drifted in albanian waters. incredible effort. ten minutes before the hour. north korea's racial attack on president obama. that country lashing out after sony's release of "the interview interview." this drama is not disappearing anytime soon. we are live with that after the break.
film. they will distribute further online. now a prominent lawmakers suggests north korea may have had help from china in hacking sony pictures. >> you cannot talk about north korea without talking about china. you need to have a heart to heart with the chinese. i cannot imagine anything this massive happening in north korea without china being involved. >> stark accusations right there. cnn's will ripley is live in beijing. this includes harsh, personal racist attacks by north korea on the president. >> reporter: we are trying to confirm the accusations. i reached out to the embassy and reached out to a contact in pyongyang. they said they don't want to talk about it. they are comparing president obama's actions, i'll read you
the quote. reckless and words indeed like a monkey in a tropical forest. you can see they don't hold back with their own propaganda. >> no admission they were behind the hacking attacks on sony. what are they saying about their internet problems in north korea? >> reporter: well they blame the united states for the instability of their internet. you heard senator graham that china is somehow involved. there is a connection that north korea relies on china for internet. that is the case. we have seen how unstable it is. these attacks are pretty sophisticated sophisticated. two hacker groups have taken the responsibility. the dprk continues to blame the united states. >> will ripley thank you.
investigators searching for the missing jetliner and 162 people on board. an "early start" on your money is next. it smoking with chantix. people who know me they say 'i never thought you would quit.' but chantix helped me do it. along with support chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. it gave me the power to overcome the urge to smoke. some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. some people had seizures while taking chantix. if you have any of these stop chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of mental health problems, which could get worse while taking chantix or history of seizures. don' take chantix if you've had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it. if you develop these stop chantix and see your doctor right away as some can be life-threatening. tell your doctor if you have a history of heart or blood vessel problems or if you develop new or worse symptoms. get medical help right away if you have symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. decrease alcohol use while taking chantix. use caution when driving or operating machinery. common side effects include nausea trouble sleeping and unusual dreams. i'm a non-smoker, that feels amazing.
let's get an early start on your money. u.s. stock futures barely moving so far. remember stocks right here near highs. s&p and dow closed at records on friday. the dow above 18,000. it crossed that last week. it has been a year of broken records. dow is up 9% this year. the s&p 500 doing better. up 13%. the nasdaq has climbed a stunning 15%. that is on top of two years of fantastic gains. really a remarkable remarkable year for stocks once again. investors are selling shares of airasia this morning as the search continues for the missing jet. the stock is down 8% right now. the biggest one-day decline in three years. the crisis is a blow to the airline's good reputation as a reliable low-cost carrier. airasia had a spotless safety
record with no crashes in more than a decade of operations. it is best low cost operations. airasia's ceo is using social media. in a series of tweets tony fernandes called this his worst nightmare. keeping positive and staying strong. my heart bleeds for our crew and our passengers. those posts have been retweeted thousands of times. a new way of dealing with the public in a crisis i think. social media. also a new way for dealing with the crisis in a year with several very high profile crises and different reactions. "early start" continues right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> grim news this morning in the search. the desperate search for airasia flight 8501. investigators revealing now they believe the