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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  December 30, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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the establishment and authority -- >> there was something there. it was interesting to hear two people who knew what they were talking about talk about a movie. >> you can see more of ebert's amazing journey. be sure to check out "life itself" sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern here on cnn. top of the hour i'm ana cabrera. thanks for staying with us as we have cnn's special breaking news coverage for the search of flight 8501. luggage and bodies spotted in the java sea just 6 miles from the plane's last known location. now, below the surface, a dark shadow that could be the plane. this discovery confirming the worst fears of the families. in fact the wife of the captain speaking to cnn indonesia in the heartbreaking moments just after finding out the wreckage had been found. >> i must be strong and tough, and i'm here for my children and their future.
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so i must be strong and open with this situation. >> when the sunrises over the java seas in a few hours, search planes and divers will be out on the water searching for more wreckage and more victims. and it's not just the navy that will be out there. paula hancocks has been aboard a fishing boat as the crew heads out to search for the wreckage. >> the search and rescue operation is over for this particular boat. it's a local fishing boat that we've been on and it just shows how the local community all wanted to rally together and to try and help the efforts to find this missing plane. and certainly, the mood on the way back to harbor as opposed to on the way out has been a lot more somber. we know that obviously, they are members of the local community. they're not just people who were trying to help the search and rescue operation. and we did also speak to one man who is part of the local government who is helping the
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effort on this boat. and he said he was very disappointed at the news but also relieved there had been some news. >> i am very sad about what was found today. i want to send my condolences to the families. i only hope they can find the strength to get through this difficult situation. >> so for this boat it's now time to go back to harbor. obviously, this is a low-tech way of trying to find anything in the water. this is done simply by the naked eye. so all the assets that can be of use and now heading towards the area where that plane is believed to be. paula hancocks, cnn, indonesia. >> our thanks to paula. and it's not just the locals searching, a handful of countries. china, france malaysia australia, the united states, the uss sampson is in the java sea. and a second ship will join, as
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well. but how difficult will it be to recover this? walk us through what we can expect. >> well, the first thing you can expect is fairly favorable conditions. and by that this location where the debris has been spotted here is only about 100 miles offshore here. it is in an area that is generally shallow, 131 feet is the average. the area we're talking about is more like here about 100 feet down. that's all promising. now, that said don't forget that any kind of operation under water like this is always challenge ing challenging. at this level, you can have divers that could reach down to the bottom and help in the search for the flight data recorder the voice recorder, for big pieces like engines, things like that certainly, it's much easier to put a sonar array out there to catch the pinging off the flight data recorders and any sort of submersible robot to help
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search. yeah, all of that is much more operable in this level. but, here's a point of comparison ana. when twa-800 down off long island it also went down in about 100 feet of water. and despite the fact it took months ten months until they were able to find the last of the victims there and an awful lot of time gingerly carefully working up and down with divers and all this equipment to collect everything. the good news is in the end, they collected about 95% of that plane, and that gave them a tremendous number of clues as they built their investigation to explain why that plane went down. with some luck in this area, they may have a similar success rate in terms of collecting all the parts of the plane, all of the victims, all of which will give them clues as to exactly what happened ana. >> and they move into the recovery and the re-construction phase. tom, that diagram, that explanation is really interesting. we appreciate it. now, once the wreckage is indeed recovered, the grim task
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of trying to recover the bodies as well. and eventually the remnants of the plane. and that will begin recovery of the victims as the first priority. that job will mostly fall on the divers. with us now is david, the vice president of marine casualty and emergency response services for global diving and salvage. david, what will those divers be looking for? if you can walk us through the process of searching the wreckage? >> certainly. well, typically sonar survey would be conducted before the divers go down so there would be a good map of the debris field so you can see where everything is. once that's established, the divers will go down on specific tasks going to specific components of the plane the debris that's been recovered so far would indicate catastrophic damage to the fuselage. they're likely to go get the loose debris that might fall out when you lift them out.
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that would require the divers to go inside the plane potentially. of course they will be focusing in on the black boxes initially for part of the investigation. >> i know it's a slow process, put that into perspective. how long might this take? >> well really it's the care that needs to be taken and we're moving the pieces that really adds to the length of time. it would be fairly easy to go down and grab everything and pull it out. we're trying to maintain the integrity of everything as best as possible for the investigation and other purposes. for that reason, you're working in assumedly to 100 to 130 feet of water. the bottom time for divers is limited. ideally saturation systems are used so divers can work for lengths of time down there. but they're going to go down and carefully rig the pieces to be lifted up through the water and
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then into the air. it's the water air interface is when the pieces start to carry water into the air and get heavier. so it needs to be very carefully done. >> what kind of toll -- i can only imagine, that this is a difficult process for the divers not just physically but emotionally. what is it like for them knowing so many lost their lives? >> it's something that it comes with the job for a particular type of commercial diver. it's something you have to view as something that needs to be done. you work carefully, but always respectfully as you're dealing with wreckage and remains. >> all right. david, thank you. up next our experts are going to analyze each piece of debris. what the images tell us about the plane's final moments. plus the son of a passenger on flight 370, which, of course is still missing is going to
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join us with his emotional advice to the families waiting inside the airport. and in a major story developing right now, i'll speak with one expert who agrees with a security firm that says the sony hack was an inside job. not north korea. this despite brand new cnn reporting that suggests otherwise. (vo) nourished. rescued. protected. given new hope. during the subaru "share the love" event, subaru owners feel it, too. because when you take home a new subaru we donate 250 dollars to helping those in need. we'll have given 50 million dollars over seven years. love. it's what makes a subaru a subaru.
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so far, there's precious little evidence of what happened to flight 8501. for now, investigators are sifting through what we have, including air traffic control audio, the last known recordings of the pilots' voices. >> singapore you want alpha departure?
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>> 7005, alpha departure 8501. >> what else can we learn from the debris found in the java sea? author of malaysia airlines flight 370 why it disappeared and only a matter of time before this happens again, written before the latest missing plane. also with us jeff wise science writer and author of "extreme fear." thank you, both, for being here. david, let's start with you. we have some pictures of the debris they've collected so far. when you take a look. you've seen some of them from other reporting we've been doing, what strikes you about what they've pulled out of the water? >> well appears to me what they have here. we thought that was a baggage from the passengers. after talking with some mechanics who work on that aircraft that's actually a go bag or an air flight bag.
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what's contained is extra lightbulbs oil, if the aircraft had to land in a place where there was no maintenance and had to go again. so it's the bag that contains that stuff. >> almost like a first aid kit but more technical. >> like in your car you have the extra lightbulbs, things like that. in addition to that the bottle that came out there is a bottle that is used to inflate the slide that goes over the top of the wing. and that slide that goes over the top of the wing is what i think the other object is, as well. it appears is what happened is the door that came off was in the baggage area. because all of these things are contained in the same area. so something happened in that area. >> so that would be in the back of the plane underneath? >> correct. >> now, based on six miles from where the plane was last located according to the radar and the communication back at air traffic control, what can we learn from sort of how the
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debris field is now defined, jeff? >> well bear in mind of course what we have now is just the beginning of the data that's going to allow us to define the debris field. so you know as the day continues in indonesia, they'll be gathering more material. they'll have a sense of probably more a circular scatter pattern and then they'll do a drift analysis and i presume they've been dropping buoys and know how the water is moving through this body of water. and they'll be able to narrow down the area where presumably the black boxes will be under water. >> does a larger debris field mean one thing versus a shorter debris field? does that tell us how the crash happened? or is it more about currents that it tells us? >> it's both. listen if you have a massive depressurization at altitude or decompression that, you know, blasts the material into a wide area from altitude, then that itself is going to give you a debris field. if you have an intact airplane
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that's hitting the ground at high speed, you can get a very compact debris field. then as you point out, you then have the environmental effects through the water currents, always generally make a larger and larger pattern as time goes by. now, compared to some of the other recent incidents, this debris field will be located much more quickly than some of the others. like air france 447, for instance, it was five days before debris first was located. and so it should be more compact. but, yes, there are these multiple factors. >> and it's obviously very sensitive how they go about doing the search. >> very much so. >> right, david? >> everything has to be documented where it is. as far as 20 years ago we're using gps to document every piece of wreckage at every accident site i was at. so luckily we could do that digitally. before that it was flags and buoys and things. >> i want to read you something about the black boxes that we heard from i guess, the president of malaysia excuse me not malaysia but the air asia
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flight. and leading all of this. if i can find the piece of paper where i put it. and of course i can't at the moment. i'll paraphrase what he said. he talks about how once they find where the black boxes are if they indeed find those elements they don't actually extract them from the water immediately. they basically say, okay they're here but there's a process, he says in terms of removing them in order to contain the clues they may hold. >> yeah it's a very sensitive operation, really and more susceptible than people would think. it's like a laptop being dropped in the water. mostly what it's about is the corrosive material. mh-370 we worried about pressures. if it's low pressure and we bring it to a high pressure it can affect it structurally. we're talking about the build-up of salt. and the salt that's on the components inside can actually short those components out and cause transfer of static electricity. so you want to make sure you rinse that thoroughly and maintain the same pressure as you bring it up and rinse that
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thoroughly and get all of the salt water out to where you have clean, pristine water to move everything out of there if it indeed was breached which most of the time it is. >> and of course, there's a little bit of a time limit on how quickly they'll find that because of the pings that those transmitters put out on the black boxes. >> there was a great race against time to try to locate the black box pingers before the batteries ran out and, indeed, they were never located before the time, 30-day limit ran out. in this case, you know, we've got a much better situation, shallower water, much smaller search area. and so i don't think that's going to be a problem in this case. i think, you know people with memories are going to be fresh as david can attest that you know people were really thinking if only if only these batteries had been mandated to be longer. you know it would have been so tense. i don't think we're going to be worrying about it here. >> it's tough to talk about the
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victims of this flight. it's obviously such a tough situation for those families. and we know that three bodies have is now been recovered. there were 162 people onboard the flight. one of the bodies that was pulled from the sea was of a woman. and she didn't have any clothing on, but her undergarments. i understand that tells us a little bit about, perhaps, the crash impact. >> it's a little early to talk about that stuff for me. but there are some very strict statistics that i wrote about in the why planes crash book about how as an accident investigator we can determine the speed and the impact. the only reason that we talk about those things and understand them so thoroughly is so we can understand exactly how it hit the air, the water in determining the initial cause. if we can't figure out the root cause, these are all simply clues. it's important to point out when we talk about these things and we have been today talking about these things, it's not for the
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purpose of making it difficult for other people. and so, i think it's best that at least for me i'm going to back off on that question until it's pertinent to exactly what it is trying to accomplish. >> i think, you know we talk about it in the goal of trying to find answers for the families, as well. if you're a family member everybody wants first and foremost to know where their loved one is. is it surprising that we've only now learned of finding three victims where there are 162 people on board? >> it is a process, it takes time. this is a fairly normal pace of after a plane goes missing takes time to locate the wreckage and then to locate the black boxes and so forth. there was a case in 2007 that was very similar in many respects to this air crash which a plane was flying also in a very similar part of indonesia.
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it took 12 days before wreckage was discovered. a lot of money and energy being expended. in the wake of mh-370 there was a lot of concern about another plane going missing. can this really be happening? and i think everyone wanted to move this out of category of missing airplane to trying to understand what happened trying to get a grip. as david says the reason that we apply all of this brain power and manpower to understanding what happened is so it doesn't happen again. we want to understand so that no other families have to go through this again. >> exactly. and i guess i'll let you have the last word on that note. how does finding these different pieces and providing answers for families and the rest of us help to prevent another disaster? >> well, we talk about the root cause. the approximate cause is the last thing that could've
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prevented the accident. we look for that and that's what the ntsb is finding, how could it have been prevented? what the clues lead us to is back up that chain of events through the swiss cheese is what we were talking about before. the defenses are the swiss cheese and the holes in those defenses -- when they line up and failures occur, that's when an accident happens. the ability to trace that back and find out what was the latened causes? was there a failure in the system of being able to identify the storms? or was it a decision-making process? a distraction in the cockpit, perhaps. all of those things are taken into consideration on every accident because we're at a really fine detail now. we're not just saying we're trying to reduce accidents and deaths. we're trying to reduce the potential for an accident or death, as well. so we're really really working on those fine fine details. >> david, jeff thanks to both of you for being here. just ahead, richard quest is going to join me live on how this airline is handling the
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investigation and also important, how the airline is treating the families. plus developing right now, a security firm says the sony hack was an inside job that a former employee would be to blame and not north korea. brand new reporting from cnn says otherwise. you don't think much about it... you never dwell on how it was made... it's just a blanket after all... but when everything else has been lost, the comfort it provides is immeasurable. the america red cross brings hope and help to people in need every 8 minutes every day. so this season give something that means something. support us at redcross.org you're driving along, having a perfectly nice day, when out of nowhere a pick-up truck slams into your brand new car. one second it wasn't there and the next second... boom! you've had your first accident. now you have to make your first claim. so you talk to your insurance company and... boom! you're blindsided for a second time. they won't give you enough money
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now to the mega hack of sony. and a cyber security pro says it comes from a disgruntled ex-employee. he blames an ex-worker with the code name lena for leaking the mass amounts of data. he says lena worked with sony security for several years and had the means and motive. >> and the suspects have at least one had ties to critical knowledge of sony systems, ip addresses, credentials, et cetera. and also had motive for being what i would say would be upset at sony due to re-organization that happened within the department. >> so the ceo says north korea
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did come into the picture eventually, but it was after the data was stolen. multiple administration officials with the white house, with the state department, including president obama himself have all been placing full blame on north korea. >> the fbi announced today, and we can confirm that north korea engaged in this attack. >> as the fbi and the president and everyone has made clear, we are confident that the north korean government is responsible for this destructive attack. we standby this conclusion. >> in the most recent example of its recklessness the dprk carried out a significant cyber attack on the united states in response to a hollywood comedy. >> joining me now, mark rash who used to prosecute cyber crimes for the justice department. and also here cnn's evan perez. let's start with you. met with the fbi. what does the fbi think of their claim this was an inside job? >> well they're not buying it. this was a meeting that you know i thought was very
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strange. i asked some folks about this. you know a lot of times fbi comes out with a finding and then you have people who poke holes in it. and the fbi doesn't normally give them the time of day. in this case they had a three-hour meeting in st. louis with this company. and i asked them why it is they would even have it if they are so sure what their own findings have found. and what i'm told is you know the fbi wanted to make sure they heard they're not accused of not hearing out everybody who believes they have evidence. now, i'll tell you this the fbi's findings, i'm told are based not only on the fbi's own forensic work but also on stuff they probably will never release. stuff we'll never be able to see. stuff from the intelligence community, especially the nsa which has, i'm told very good visibility on the internet traffic in that region. they have a lot of focus on that region obviously. and so that's one reason why they believe they know where this is coming from.
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>> so norse is just one private security firm that is pointing the finger to an insider within sony. and i know mark you too, believe that could be the case. this was an inside job of some sort. why? >> well sure ana. i'm not saying it can't involve north korea. the problem is the evidence we have right now doesn't definitively point one way or the other. you have to keep investigating. you look at this attack, and it's insanely personal. it's really personally attacking specific sony executives. that's not the kind of thing you would expect to have from a state-sponsored attack. it showed a knowledge and a deep understanding of how hollywood works and how this studio works. again, pointing to an insider. it shows what the pain points are of the studio. again, pointed to an insider. it shows knowledge of how the organization was structured. so there's a lot of things that point to an insider. it doesn't mean it can't have been north korea, but it means that the attrition attribution
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is hard to do. >> so they point out that the first demand by this hacker was ransom. it wasn't to pull the movie, which points to a potential motive from an insider. so what is the fbi saying about that kind of argument? >> well they're also not buying that there was a really much of an effort of a ransom effort. look it's a big problem, a growing problem on the internet. but, you know people are usually -- who are doing that are trying to steal a few thousand dollars, you know, there's an instance of small police department in massachusetts that got its files all locked up and had to pay to get it reopened. these are people criminals who want to do this stuff and do it again. and you're talking about terabytes of information. what ransom could have been asked for. it's not something the fbi thinks was ever really feasible. the issue here in going back to mark's question, comment.
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the insider thing was very much looked at by the fbi. and they concluded that they didn't find any credible evidence of this. they thought there was a lot of indications that the north koreans or whoever was behind this. you know did a lot to try to pretend like this was coming from elsewhere. and so they even -- they use credentials belonging to i.t. professionals inside the company, for instance you know. so those are the types of things that they say point to north korea, you know the possibility remains that north koreans might have hired outside help. >> if a former employee is working with north korea in some way, you're a federal prosecutor. what kind of charges are we talking about here? >> of course it's always possible. the charges here, you wouldn't have the normal kind of charges like espionage, you would have
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computer fraud and computer theft. theft of property. theft of information, destruction of property extortion is another possibility, the -- there's a statute called the economic espionage act or theft trade secrets. there's lots of things people could be charged with in this kind of a case. again, i'm still not convinced it was north korea. the way we look at it, we say, look, they use tools that the north koreans have used. well the hackers share tools all the time. they had a motive. north korea had a motive. so did an insider. and the final thing that the fbi says is well, we have secret information that we can't share with anybody that points to north korea. and make it difficult to argue against that because you can't see the secret information. >> you don't know what you don't know. thank you, both. appreciate it. we saw after flight 370 how a disaster can be made worse by how the officials handle it. we're looking at air asia's
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we're just a couple of hours away from daybreak where the hunt for air asia flight 8501 has turned from search and rescue to search and recovery. debris from the airbus a-320 has been found 6 miles from the last known location. and the outline of what appears to be the plane on the ocean
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floor. bodies. at least three of them according to the head of the national search and rescue agency. and as wreckage and bodies are pulled from the sea the hearts of the passengers' families are just breaking. one family especially heartbroken with four family members aboard that ill-fated flight. >> translator: i saw her name on the manifest and wondered if that was really my daughter's. first, i saw my son-in-law's name. i didn't tell my husband because i didn't want him to panic. it was only after i saw my daughter's name and my two granddaughters' names on the list that i told him. when they explained that not only did they find debris but also found bodies floating in the water everyone became hysterical especially the mothers. one mother even blacked out. deep down in my heart, all i can do is accept the situation and
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give this to god. i know this is a big tragedy, but why did this happen to my daughter? i know everyone dies when it's time but i believe in an afterlife so my way to cope with my loss i will pray more often and give this to god. >> airasia ceo tony fernandez has apologized for the crash. he promises the company will honor its obligations to the families. i want to bring in our aviation correspondent richard quest. fernandez, he's been out front since the beginning of this crisis. what do you think, richard? how is the airline handling it all so far? >> tony fernandez is one of those ceos that is right out of central casting. he's larger than life. he's very colorful. i've known him for many years, and interviewed him lots and lots of times. but what's interesting here is that it's his first full-scale airline crisis for the airline that's been around for 12, 13 years.
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and he's in shock like everybody else. but what he's done and it's typical of tony he has come to the forefront. if you look at the tweets he has sent out. first of all, he's a modern ceo, so he's using social media. and what he's been tweeting. this is crucial this one. i as your group ceo will be there through these hard times. we'll go through this terrible ordeal together. in other words, i ain't a corporate suit. this is my airline. and i'm going to see it through and make whatever's necessary. and if you listen ana, if you listen to what he said it becomes clear how much he's been affected. >> well he's definitely taking responsibility. >> the only slight benefit is that for the people in there, there is some closure. this is a scar with me for the rest of my life. it doesn't change anything. and -- but, very little percent,
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there is at least some closure as opposed to not knowing what's happened and holding out hope. >> now, here's the interesting thing, all airline ceos are told to prepare for the day. the day when they get a phone call in the middle of the night. they practice they have routines. they know what their role is. but i tell you nothing. i've spoken to them when they've told me. nothing prepares them for the moment when they have to sit down and realize that hundreds of people have died because of their company. >> and he has not shied away from the cameras. he's not, you know tried to hide any information. and as you mentioned hade's used all platforms including tweeting. it's responding on the web page turned the logo gray. and it's that circle there in the upper left corner. there's also a box where you can click on to get updated
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information. so richard, do you think these small steps have an impact? >> oh, no question. no question at all. airasia built its reputation on its slogan now everyone can fly. it is the southwest of southeast asia. you know the easy jet. and it's air asia in that part of the world. so very much reputational issues are crucial. tony fernandes is also the president of the football club. he's also a formula 1 team. he has two hotels. so this man's pr instincts are supreme, but also he knows that the future of his airline depends on how he and his colleagues respond to this crisis. and, i have to say, from what i've seen, it's been exemplary. >> interesting. richard quest, thank you as always.
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up next this is what it looked like when crews recovered an old plane from the bottom of lake michigan. how they did it and how it might relate to flight 8501 next.
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at some point, crews will have to go below the surface of the java sea to start looking for the wreckage. and cnn got interesting insight into what that might look like
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from a much smaller search on this side of the world near chicago. this is a story we first brought to you in may. here's cnn's george howell. >> reporter: from up here the waters look vast and the horizon seems endless. but for this team of salvagers and divers. >> airplanes kind of look like airplanes. we're looking for an image of an airplane. >> reporter: in no way is this the proverbial search for needle in a haystack. because like flight 8501, the crew here knows roughly where to look. and after years of searching charts and records, they find themselves on the verge of a big find. >> the worst of the crash, it proves how good they are, they put it back together. >> the depth of lake michigan not more than several hundred feet in this area. the team uses sonar to find the exact location. and within a matter of minutes. >> right there. right there. see it? oh yeah. mother.
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look at that. >> they find what they're looking for. divers drop in. and take us down below. they capture these stunning images of a world war ii bomber that crashed into lake michigan nearly half a century ago. >> you know the engine sank first right away the other part floated a little bit. and the pieces are there, but about 100 feet apart. >> reporter: back then, the great lake served as a training ground for aircraft carriers and pilots. this sbd dauntless dive bomber crashed, though the pilot survived. salvage expert hopes to raise money to raise the plane and put it on display in chicago. >> you show one of these things a 6-year-old the first time they see them their eyes light up. >> a successful mission finding the submerged plane. but he still hopes to recover the wreckage before locating and raising more planes from the
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world war ii era still sitting at the bottom of the great lakes. the one thing this team knows for certain, persistence and patience do eventually pay off. >> george howell's joining me live now. i know you reported this story in the spring and one part of your story that caught me is the fact that water is even deeper in parts of it then where this plane wreckage may be for 8501. what's the status of that other search you profiled? >> well you know we reached out to the national history and heritage command. and we found out that the effort to raise this plane and others ana. it's temporarily suspended. mainly because of cost. the cost to recoup and maintain these planes. but as you mentioned, we're looking at something very similar here. the search here in lake michigan as basically shallow waters. it will be very similar for crews there in the java sea. >> all right, george howell, thank you. up next we'll talk with the son of a passenger onboard
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flight 370 who has some advice for the families of flight 8501. and for the first time he talks about the voice mail his mother left for him just before getting on flight 370 that is still missing. (vo) nourished. rescued. protected. given new hope. during the subaru "share the love" event, subaru owners feel it, too. because when you take home a new subaru we donate 250 dollars to helping those in need. we'll have given 50 million dollars over seven years.
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love. it's what makes a subaru a subaru. you're driving along, having a perfectly nice day, when out of nowhere a pick-up truck slams into your brand new car. one second it wasn't there and the next second... boom! you've had your first accident. now you have to make your first claim. so you talk to your insurance company and... boom! you're blindsided for a second time. they won't give you enough money to replace your brand new car. don't those people know you're already shaken up? liberty mutual's new car replacement will pay for the entire value of your car plus depreciation. call and for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first
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accident. switch to liberty mutual insurance and you could save up to $423 dollars. call liberty mutual for a free quote today at see car insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance. families of the victims aboard airasia 8501 are grieving their loss after the flight crashed into the java sea. and there is one group of people who know all too well what those families must be going through.
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flight mh-370 vanished ten months ago without a trace. now cnn explains those affected by the mh-370 tragedy feel empathy even as they must now relive their own pain. >> reporter: anguish -- becomes anger. for the families of malaysia airlines flight 370, days of waiting turned to weeks and now almost 10 months. for them, the news from indonesia brought everything back. >> the fear about losing someone, the pain, and maybe the desperation. >> steve wang feels for the families of air asia flight 8501. he knows what it's like to sit at the airport and wait for a plane that never comes, to hope against all odds the person you love may still be alive.
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yes. though it is painful, but i don't want to give up. >> reporter: wang's mother was only 57. he hasn't spoken her name since march when mh-370 disappeared. >> no i never said it. >> reporter: you've never said your mother's name out loud? >> yes. >> reporter: he still listens to the voice mail she left him just before boarding the plane. >> she want me to pick her up from the airport. and to bring her coat. it's hard to believe that a man my age will cry suddenly. >> reporter: so you just turned 26 and your mom wasn't there for your birthday for the first time. >> yeah. >> reporter: of the 239 people on mh-370 154 were chinese. hundreds of relatives spent weeks at the beijing hotel. in the grand ballroom walls
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became giant message boards full of messages for their parents, their children to come home. today, it's all gone. >> nobody talks about it. what will they do? will they keep on searching for the plane or just give up? i don't know. >> reporter: wang prays for the families of flight 8501. >> i just want them to be strong. because you are not alone. >> reporter: he also prays every day for his mother one of 239 souls on mh-370 still missing. will ripley cnn beijing. up next a republican congressman now responding to the revelation that he spoke to a proud white supremacist. he is getting support from an unexpected source.
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and hear the phone conversation between president obama and the couple that had to move their wedding because of his golf game.
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president obama gave these couple of newlyweds a pretty good present after he affected their plans initially. they had to move their ceremony at the last time because of the
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president's tee time. the president wanted to play the course and they got booted. they had to move the ceremony. but after wardwards, the president was apologetic he didn't know that they had their wedding and called the couple personally. >> sorry for the change of plans, but it sounds like you guys are going to have a good wedding. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. you're more than welcome to come to the reception at the officer center. >> everybody would have to be named. >> okay, mr. president. >> congratulations and thank you both for your service. >> a lot of laughter there. the couple went on to joke with the president that they actually saw him playing to which he replayed that must have been kind of painful. well sticking with politics but switching gears a little
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bit, house speaker john boehner is standing by house speaker steve scalise for a speech he gave to a white supremacist leader in 2002. he said he didn't know who the leader was at the time and he condemns their view. joining us now with more on potential political fallout is rachel cnn digitals executive editor of politics. thanks for being here. the congressman issued a statement this afternoon about the time speaker boehner came out in support of him. >> i will let you do the pleasure of telling us what was said. >> speaker boehner is putting his full support behind congressman scalise, trying to put this matter behind them congress is coming back next week. republicans are preparing to take over both chambers of congress and this is not the way they wanted to do it not the story that they wanted to be
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dominating the news and the headlines. congressman scalise today says he deeply regrets speaking before this white supremacist group 12 years ago. it's not clear whether he knew at the time he was speaking in nt front of this group at the time or not. this is not likely to be the end of the story here. >> he said i spoke to a bunch of groups at the time anybody who would listen to me basically. do you think the statement is going to call on the critics? >> it's not likely to. it's short on details. yesterday he said he likely spoke to this group. today he issued a more assertive statement and said right around the same time speaker boehner put out a statement giving his full support to congressman scalise, so clearly trying to put this behind the republicans before the new year begins. democrats are not likely to let that happen and it's important to note it's not just democrats
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who have been criticizing the congressman. a number of republicans, including conservative republicans, have criticized him as well. >> house speaker john boehner has said that's the number three republican there, scalise, is going to keep his position asthma majority whip. i understand there's some support coming from an unlikely source. explain that. >> there is. congressman richmond the state's soul democratic legislator in the congress said that congressman scalise is not a racist. he knows his character and they have worked together. he is etgetting the state support. we'll see if it holds out if there's another incident that comes to light or more details that come to light about that incident. that could change things. >> does this have any, you know implications for the new republican congress starting this year?
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>> well it does in terms of slowing down the momentum. the republicans hope to have coming off a very successful midterm election for them has now been blunted by this. they had congressman grimm resigning this week and as they were getting past that we have the episode that came to light and has dominated the news. they really want to be talking about president obama and cutting taxes and keystone. we'll see if they can get their footing back as the new year begins. president bush was released from the hospital today. bush 41 as he is known, has been in the hospital since last week after experiencing shortness of breath. the former president is now 90 if you can believe it. the family spokesman says he's very grateful to the doctors and
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nurses for their superb care. that does it for me. thank you so much for being here. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. the hearts and hopes of friends and family now sinking as wreckage and bodies are pulled from the scene. jake tapper. this is "the lead." the world lead. the worst all but confirmed as search teams spot remains from the missing airasia flight. what is the wreckage telling us about how this passenger jet may have gone down? families suffering unthinkable grief for the 162 victims. now hoping for answers that eluded so many when flight 370 vanished. we will hear their stories. parents, children a husband to me and more are likely lost in this tragedy. and in national news, president obama threatened a cyberattack north korea