Thursday: April 24

Tune in at 4 am ET: See latest developments on the search for Flight 370
April 17th, 2014
04:53 AM ET

Captain to Families: 'I Am Sorry'

Of the 46 lifeboats attached to the sunken South Korean ferry, only one was deployed, CNN affiliate YTN reported Thursday.

CNN has not been able to independently confirm the report. If true, the report will add to the anger and desperation of families still waiting for word on the fate of 287 missing passengers.

Video acquired by another affiliate JTBC showed at least 12 of the white survival capsules still attached to the ferry even as it was keeled over in the water. The survival capsules hold lifeboats.

The five-story, 6,800-ton ferry sank Wednesday morning, with only its white and blue hull remaining above water.

The death toll stands at 9. At least 179 passengers have been rescued.

But no one knows whether the missing 287 are alive, perhaps on the ship, or if they succumbed to the water about 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit.)

"I am sorry," Lee Joon Suk, the captain of the ship, said Thursday when reporters asked if he had any words for the family members of the missing.

"I am at a loss for words," he said as he sat at a Coast Guard station, facing possible charges of negligence and accidental homicide.

No one knows exactly why the ship started to sink.

Some analysts had said that it might have gone off course - speculation that South Korean Oceans and Fisheries Ministry quashed Thursday.

The agency approved the ferry's intended route, and "there was no huge difference between their plan and the actual track chart," spokesman Nam Jae Heon said.

At one point or another, the massive rescue efforts has included 169 boats, 29 planes and 512 divers.

Crews will next use cranes next to stabilize the ship.

"Since there is the possibility of survivors, we cannot waste any time," South Korean President Park Guen-hye said.

The cold, dreary scene

At the Peng Mok Harbor in Jindo, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the site of the accident, family members spend the hours staring at the water.

They have camped out here since Wednesday. Mothers and grandmothers huddle together, crying and comforting each other.

Chang Min, whose son is a second-grader, said he was furious that search officials are using the word "investigation" and not the word "rescue."

"If the government cares for the people, our family, our children, please rescue our families and our children," he said.

He, like many others, are angry at the pace of the process.

Rescue officials are at the mercy of the elements. It's drizzling, making for poor visibility. The water currents are powerful, making for dangerous operations.

Three divers who took it upon themselves to go look for the missing were momentarily swept away by the tide Thursday, CNN affiliate YTN reported. A fishing boat eventually picked them up.

On Thursday afternoon, rescue crews were trying to get a crane out to stabilize the ship.

"The maritime police told them they will start the rescue process again today," Chang said. "I'm going to wait and try to trust them and believe in them. But if they say they can't, I'm going to grab them and drag them into the sea. We'll die together."

See the latest developments on CNN.com.

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MH370: After Aborted Underwater Search, Crews Hope to Try Again
April 15th, 2014
04:30 AM ET

MH370: After Aborted Underwater Search, Crews Hope to Try Again

Time to try this again.

The first deployment of an underwater vehicle to hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was aborted early, sending the drone back to the surface 10 hours before expected.

Search officials analyzed data from the Bluefin-21's six hours underwater, and found no objects of interest, the U.S. Navy said Tuesday.

Crews will try to send the Bluefin-21 probe back into the Indian Ocean later Tuesday, weather permitting.

So what went awry the first time?

"In this case, the vehicle's programmed to fly 30 meters over the floor of the ocean to get a good mapping of what's beneath and to the sides, and the chart we have for the area showed that water depth to be between the 4,200 and 4,400-meter depth," said Capt. Mark Matthews, who heads the U.S. presence in the search effort.

But the water was deeper than expected - about 4,500 meters.

"Once it hit that max depth, it said this is deeper than I'm programmed to be, so it aborted the mission," Matthews said.

David Kelly, CEO of the company that makes the Bluefin-21, said the device's safety mechanisms have triggered such recalls have happened.

"Although it's disappointing the mission ended early, it's not uncommon," Kelly said. "We've operated these vehicles around the globe. It's not unusual to get into areas where the charts aren't accurate or you lack information."

Mathews said the initial launch Monday night took place "in the very far corner of the area it's searching, so they are just shifting the search box a little bit away from that deep water and proceeding with the search."

It is unclear how much of the area - 5 kilometers by 8 kilometers (3.1 miles by 4.9 miles) - the Bluefin scanned during its first attempt. It could take up to two months to scan the entire search area.

MORE on CNN.com.

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April 7th, 2014
06:01 AM ET

Malaysia Flight 370: New Signal Sounds 'Just Like' One From a Plane's Beacon

After weeks of searching vast swaths of ocean, investigators now have their "most promising" lead yet in finding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

A pinger locator in the Indian Ocean has detected signals consistent with those sent by a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder, the head of the Australian agency coordinating search operations said Monday.

The sounds were heard at a depth of 4,500 meters (about 14,800 feet), retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said.

"We've got a visual indication on a screen, and we've also got an audible signal. And the audible signal sounds to me just like an emergency locator beacon," Houston said.

"We are encouraged that we are very close to where we need to be."

But it could take days before officials can confirm whether the signals did indeed come from the plane, which fell off the radar on March 8 with 239 people on board.

"In very deep oceanic water, nothing happens fast," Houston said. "I would ask all of you to treat this information cautiously and responsibly. ... We haven't found the aircraft yet."

At least one investigator has described the search not as finding a needle in a haystack, but rather trying to find the haystack.

"It's very exciting, very exciting," forensic audio expert Paul Ginsberg said Monday. "I think we have finally found the haystack."

And Malaysian authorities are hopeful there will be a positive development in the next few days, if not hours, acting Transportation Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters Monday.

But some relatives of those on board haven't lost hope, despite Monday's news of the promising signals.

"If the plane is there, its there. We can't change it," the husband of one passenger said. "But I am still hoping for a miracle to happen."

But time could be running out in tracing the sounds. In a few hours or days, the pingers aboard the plane stop transmitting for good.

The batteries inside the beacons, which are designed to start sending signals when a plane crashes into water, last about 30 days after the devices are activated.

Monday marks the 31st day of the search.

What happens after the Malaysian plane's pingers die?

New flight details

While searchers may be getting closer to the plane itself, a fresh mystery has emerged about what happened during the flight.

The aircraft skirted Indonesian airspace as it went off the grid and veered off course, a senior Malaysian government source told CNN on Sunday.

After reviewing radar track data from neighboring countries, officials have concluded that the plane curved north of Indonesia before turning south toward the southern Indian Ocean, the Malaysian source said.

Whoever was flying the plane, the source said, could have been trying to avoid radar detection.

But why?

Like most details in the case that's baffled investigators ever since the plane dropped off Malaysian military radar, it depends on whom you ask.

CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes cautioned against assuming a nefarious reason for steering the plane around Indonesia's airspace.

"I think the plane's being intentionally flown there, but I think it's still a mystery as to why. ... I think they would probably guess they're not avoiding anybody's radar, because there's a lot of radar in the area," he said. "I think they're avoiding getting shot down or colliding with another airplane."

CNN aviation analyst Miles O'Brien said the new route includes designated waypoints that pilots and air traffic controllers use.

"This particular route that is laid out happens to coincide with some of these named intersections," he said. "So what it shows is an experienced pilot somewhere in the mix on this."

Investigators haven't said who they think might have flown the plane off course or why.

But Hussein, Malaysia's acting transportation minister, said Monday that Indonesian military authorities told the chief of the Malaysian defense force that they had "no sighting" of the plane the night it disappeared.

The possibility that the plane was hijacked by someone who knew how to fly a commercial jet is still on the table. Authorities have also been investigating the plane's captain and co-pilot. And they haven't ruled out mechanical problems as a possible cause of the plane's diversion.

So far, no physical evidence of the plane's eventual whereabouts has been found, leaving many relatives of those on board trapped in uncertainty.

Zeroing in

The HMS Echo, a British navy ship equipped with advanced detection gear, sailed into the area of the southern Indian Ocean on Monday morning (Sunday afternoon ET) where a Chinese crew had detected two audio signals.

The area of detection is roughly 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) west-northwest of Perth, according to coordinates reported by Chinese state media.

The arrival of the Echo will be critical to the search for the missing Boeing 777. It has state-of-the-art sonar and is capable of mapping the ocean floor, which is about 4,500 meters (2.8 miles) deep in the focused search area.

It should be able to help determine more confidently whether audio signals picked up on Friday and Saturday by the Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 came from the plane.

The Chinese said the electronic pulses – detected only 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) apart – were consistent with those emitted by pingers on an aircraft's black boxes.

Sounds travel long distances underwater, Houston said, making it difficult to ascertain their sources. If detectors were near a pinger, they would pick up the signal for a more sustained period.

Houston also said that search authorities were informed Sunday that the Ocean Shield, an Australian naval vessel equipped with sophisticated listening equipment, has detected "an acoustic noise" in another area of the ocean to the north.

'Most promising lead'

The Ocean Shield, which has a high-tech pinger locator borrowed from the U.S. Navy, will continue to pursue the sound it heard. If that lead turns cold, it will move to the other detection area, a journey that will take at least a day, officials said.

On Monday morning, the Ocean Shield was "continuing investigations in its own area," Australian authorities said.

"At the moment, the most promising lead appears to be the one associated with Haixun 01," Houston said.

The pulses registered by the Chinese ship are of particular interest because they occurred in an area that fits with the latest calculation by experts of roughly where the plane is likely to have entered the water, Houston said.

April 1st, 2014
07:14 AM ET

New Last Words From Flight 370 Cockpit

They were words heard around the world as investigators searched for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.

Weeks ago, Malaysian authorities said the last message from the airplane cockpit was, "All right, good night."

The sign-off to air traffic controllers, which investigators said was spoken by the plane's copilot, was among the few concrete details officials released in a mystery that's baffled investigators since the Boeing 777 disappeared with 239 people aboard on March 8.

There's only one problem. It turns out, it wasn't true.

On Tuesday, Malaysia's Transport Ministry released the transcript of the conversations between the Flight 370's cockpit and air traffic control. The final words from the plane: "Good night Malaysian three seven zero."

Malaysian authorities gave no explanation for the discrepancy between the two quotes. And authorities are still trying to determine whether it was the plane's pilot or copilot who said them.

The final quote is routine and is not a sign that anything untoward occurred aboard the flight, said CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo.

But the change in wording weeks into the search for the missing plane raises questions about how Malaysian officials have handled the investigation.

"It speaks to credibility issues, unfortunately," Schiavo said.

"We haven't had a straight, clear word that we can have a lot of fidelity in," said Michael Goldfarb, former chief of staff at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. "We have the tragedy of the crash, we have the tragedy of an investigation gone awry and then we have questions about where we go from here."

Malaysian authorities have defended their handling of the situation.

Read the cockpit transcript

Acting Transportation Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Monday that authorities were not hiding anything by declining to release some details of the missing flight. Some details are part of ongoing investigations into what happened to the plane, he said.

"We are not hiding anything," he said. "We are just following the procedure that is being set."

Hussein said the transcript released Tuesday offered "no indication of anything abnormal."

January 15th, 2014
05:12 AM ET

Asiana Crash Video: Firefighters Saw Injured Girl Before She Was Run Over

Teenager Ye Meng Yuan didn't die from a plane crash at San Francisco International Airport last July. She actually survived the impact - only to die shortly later when a fire truck ran over her.

Now, newly released video obtained by CBS suggests emergency workers saw Ye's injured body on the ground before she was fatally struck - challenging earlier claims that she was accidentally run over because she may have been covered in firefighting foam.

In the footage, one firefighter tried to stop an emergency vehicle racing toward the scene.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Stop, stop, stop! There's a body ... there's a body right there. Right in front of you," the firefighter told the driver.

The video was captured on a camera attached to a firefighter's helmet. CBS said it obtained the footage from a source close to Ye's family.

Another video from a fire truck shows a firefighter on the ground directing the truck around a victim, who was not covered in foam at the time.

Ye was eventually run over by a fire truck, San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White said last July.

"I particularly want to express our condolences and apologies to the family of Ye Meng Yuan," the chief said. "We're heartbroken. We're in the business of saving lives ... There's not a lot of words to describe how badly we feel about it."

A California coroner ruled that Ye was alive when flung from the plane but died of "multiple blunt injuries that are consistent with being run over by a motor vehicle."

"Those injuries she received, she was alive at the time," San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said.

The 16-year-old girl's parents have filed a claim against the city and county of San Francisco, saying emergency responders "were grossly negligent."

Attorneys for Ye's family say emergency workers who spotted Ye on the ground "failed to move her to a safe location, failed to mark her location; failed to protect her from moving vehicles in the vincinity of the Aircraft where it was known that vehicles would be traveling; failed to alert commanders at the scene; and/or abandoned Ye Meng Yuan in a perilous location."

A court may eventually have to decide whether fire crews in the video were negligent and should be held accountable for the girl's death.

The San Francisco Fire Department has not responded to CNN's request for comment. CBS said the fire department wouldn't comment on their report due to pending litigation.

Two other people died when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash-landed at the San Francisco airport. The National Transportation Safety Board said the jet descended in altitude faster than it should have, and had a slower forward speed than intended.

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December 27th, 2013
06:04 AM ET

Beirut Blast 'Kills ex-Ambassador'

Mohamad Chatah, a former Lebanese minister of finance and ambassador to the United States, was killed Friday when a car bomb struck his convoy in downtown Beirut, Lebanon's National News Agency reported.

Four others were killed and 71 were wounded, Lebanon's health ministry said. Cars were burned beyond recognition as a wall of flames and thick black smoke shot up from the blast site.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Chatah's last tweet, posted about an hour before his death, talked about Hezbollah - the Lebanese-based Shiite militant group that Chatah was at odds with.

"#Hezbollah is pressing hard to be granted similar powers in security & foreign policy matters that Syria exercised in Lebanon for 15 yrs," Chatah tweeted.

Chatah was known as a staunch critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom he accused of meddling in Lebanon's internal affairs. Chatah also opposed Hezbollah, which has sent fighters to help al-Assad's forces in the Syrian civil war.

"A united and peaceful Syria ruled by Assad is simply not possible anymore. It has been like that for some time," Chatah wrote in his last blog post. "The status quo ante cannot be restored. Iran and Hezbollah realize this more than anyone else."

Chatah graduated from American University in Beirut and served as Lebanon's ambassador to the United States from 1997 to 1999, according to his blog.

He also served as a senior adviser for former Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Current Prime Minister Najib Mikati posted a tweet saying he is calling off his vacation and heading back to Lebanon.

"I condemn this assassination, which targeted a political, an academic, a moderate and an upscale figure who always believed in dialogue and the language of reason, logic and the right to have a different opinion" Mikati said.

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December 9th, 2013
06:47 AM ET

Nelson Mandela Death: 91 World Leaders Head to South Africa

More than 90 heads of state are on their way to South Africa for what is expected to be the largest gathering of world leaders in Africa's history.

It's a clear sign of what kind of impact Nelson Mandela left on the world.

Mandela, the activist who spent 27 years in prison before becoming his country's first black president, died Thursday at the age of 95.

U.S. President Barack Obama heads to Johannesburg on Monday for Mandela's official memorial service, which will take place Tuesday in the city's soccer stadium. But the 90,000 seats probably won't be enough to house the many mourners wanting to pay thanks to the great anti-apartheid leader.

A state funeral will be held Sunday in Mandela's ancestral hometown of Qunu in the Eastern Cape province.

At least 91 heads of state and 10 former heads of state have said they're coming to South Africa this week, government international relations spokesman Clayson Monyela said.

In addition to Obama, former presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton will attend. More than two dozen U.S. lawmakers are also scheduled to attend.

Other guests include the Prince of Wales, British Prime Minister David Cameron and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as celebrities such as Bono, Oprah Winfrey and Naomi Campbell.

Out of the public eye, friends who had not seen each other in years have been coming together with Mandela's family in his home, said Zelda la Grange, Mandela's longtime personal assistant.

Mandela called La Grange his "rock" even though she seemed an unlikely confidante. She was a white Afrikaner and an employee of the former apartheid government.

In her first interview since Mandela's death, she described the mood in his home to CNN's Robyn Curnow on Monday.

"Obviously there's sadness in the house," she said, but also, "People are celebrating Madiba's life. They are grateful."

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November 25th, 2013
05:31 AM ET

Massive Storm System

The wicked wintry weather that pummeled the West Coast is now barreling across the country, threatening to ruin millions of holiday travel plans just before Thanksgiving.  CNN Meteorologist Indra Petersons has the forecast.

More than 300 flights have already been canceled in the Dallas-Fort Worth area - not exactly a bastion for snow storms. Sleet and freezing rain will keep blanketing parts of the Southern Plains and Southern Rockies on Monday.

"It's going to be so close to freezing, that's when we're anticipating it to be bad," Sgt. Lonny Haschel of the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

And after the storm deluges parts of the South with rain Monday evening, it'll start zeroing in on the Northeast, the National Weather Service said. And that could spell more travel nightmares.

It's not just the bad timing that has travelers riled up. In many of the places, this kind of weather isn't supposed to happen.

"This is not Texas weather, man," driver Ron Taylor told CNN affiliate KTVT. "This is Alaska, or Idaho."

Even parts of Lubbock, known for its warmth and flatness, turned into a snowboarding park as several inches of snow blanketed the western Texas city.

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November 20th, 2013
06:14 AM ET

Search and Rescue Underway For 2 Survivors After Plane Crashes Off Florida Coast

A throng of rescue workers scoured the coastal Florida waters early Wedenesday morning looking for two people missing from an air ambulance crash. CNN's John Zarrella has the latest.

Authorities have already found the bodies of two others in the Atlantic Ocean, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said. The four passengers - two pilots, a doctor and a nurse - had just dropped off a patient at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and was headed back to Mexico, airport spokesman Greg Meyer said.

By early Wednesday, the debris field and search area for survivors had stretched to 20 square miles of the Atlantic, the Coast Guard said.

A distress call from one of the pilots came just moments after takeoff. An air traffic controller asked him to turn left and keep a certain altitude.

"Not possible," the pilot responded.

The pilot asked to turn around. Seconds later, he said: "Mayday, mayday, mayday."

Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney said the bodies of a man and woman were located just off the coast of Fort Lauderdale.

The two medical staff members worked for Air Evac International, said Albert Carson, the company's director of operations. The pilots worked for a chartered company. Carson said it was not immediately clear who was killed and who was still missing.

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Filed under: Aviation • News • Plane Crash
November 19th, 2013
06:44 AM ET

After The Storm: Midwesterners Try to Recover After String of Deadly Tornadoes

Now the long, arduous road to recovery begins.

Hundreds of families in the Midwest must find a way to rebuild their lives after 76 reported tornadoes destroyed almost everything they had.

Here are some of those accounts – stories of those who survived, those who didn't, and those left devastated by the twisters.

Amy Tippin and her two boys survived the tornado that tore through New Minden, Illinois, by huddling in a creek bed. When it passed, she rushed next door to look for her grandparents.

She found her grandmother, 78-year-old Frances Hoy, under a pile of rubble.

"She just kept saying, 'Get me out, get me out," Tippin tearfully recalled to CNN affiliate KSDK. "I just was holding her. I told her how much I loved her."

Hoy didn't make it.

Neither did Hoy's brother, 80-year-old Joseph Hoy. His body was found in a field about 100 yards from the decimated home the siblings shared.

"They'd do anything for you," neighbor Bill Funke told the Belleville News-Democrat.

"They were friendly, outgoing and really liked exotic animals," he told the paper.

In addition to the Hoys, the storms claimed the lives of four other people in Illinois and two in Michigan.

In Washington, Illinois, the body of 51-year-old Steve Neubauer was found near his home, Tazewell County officials said.

And three people in Massac County - Kathy George, 58; Robert Harmon, 56; and Scholitta Burrus, 63 - were killed when the storm struck southern Illinois.

In Perry, Michigan, 59-year-old Phillip Smith was found dead, tangled in live power lines. Officials said a 21-year-old man was killed in Jackson County, but didn't release his name.

See more at CNN.com 

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