March 21st, 2014
09:45 AM ET

From One Lead, A Sea of Questions Emerges

Images of possible debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have been captured on satellite in the southern Indian Ocean. The best lead yet on where the missing plane might be has prompted a massive search in the area more than 1,500 miles southwest of Australia.

The Boeing 777 took off from Kuala Lumpur March 8 with 239 people aboard, bound for Beijing.

When will we know whether the debris that's been spotted in the southern Indian Ocean is from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?

John Young, general manager of emergency response for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, says it will be a lengthy process.

"We have to locate it, confirm that it belongs to the aircraft, recover it and then bring it a long way back to Australia, so that could take some time."

Satellites captured images of the objects Sunday about 14 miles (23 kilometers) from each other and about 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) southwest of Australia's west coast. The area is a remote, rarely traveled expanse of ocean far from commercial shipping lanes.

Would pieces of the plane still be floating?

If the plane crashed into the water, large pieces would not still be floating by now, according to Steve Wallace, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's former director of accident investigation. But pieces of lightweight debris, not aircraft structure, could be floating days after the aircraft struck the water, he said. That could include life jackets and seat cushions.

Is it possible that the plane would have gone that far?

Mitchell Casado, a flight instructor on a 777 flight simulator, said that running out of gas would be a big concern. "There's such few options," he said. "As long-range as this aircraft is, it's a long way to any suitable airport out there. There are some small islands, you know, that you could possibly land at, but that would really be pushing your - the limits of the airplane. So I would really be worried about running out of gas."

The 777, when fully fueled, can go 16 to 18 hours. Flight 370 wasn't.

Some planes flew over the area, and a ship went there. What did they find?

Four aircraft - two from Australia, one from New Zealand and one from the United States - flew into the search area but found nothing of note. A Norwegian cargo ship also arrived in the area Thursday afternoon but had not found anything as of nightfall. The searches were hindered by low visibility and rough seas in the region, a wild and remote stretch of ocean rarely traveled by commercial shipping or aircraft. A second merchant ship is steaming to the area, as is the HMAS Success, an Australian naval vessel that is still several days away. China and Malaysia are also sending vessels to the area, they said Thursday.

If it's not the plane, what else could it be?

Almost anything big and buoyant. The objects were spotted in a part of the Indian Ocean known for swirling currents called gyres that can trap all sorts of floating debris. Among the leading contenders for what the objects might be, assuming they're not part of Flight 370: shipping containers that fell off a passing cargo vessel. There are reasons to doubt that theory, however. The area isn't near commercial shipping lanes, and the larger object, at an estimated 79 feet (24 meters), would seem to be nearly twice as long as standard shipping containers.

If it is the plane, would its location tell us anything about what happened on that flight?

If it really is the wreckage of the Boeing 777-200, its far southern location would provide investigators with precious clues into what terrible events unfolded to result in the disappearance and loss of the airliner, according to Robert Goyer, editor-in-chief of Flying magazine and a commercial jet-rated pilot. "The location would suggest a few very important parameters. The spot where searchers have found hoped-for clues is, based on the location information provided by the Australian government, nearly 4,000 miles from where the airliner made its unexpected and as yet unexplained turn to the west," Goyer wrote. The first obvious clue is that the airplane flew for many hours.

What do the satellite images show?

Two indistinct objects, one about 79 feet (24 meters) in length and the other about 16 feet (5 meters) long. Though they don't look like much to the untrained observer, Australian intelligence imagery experts who looked at the pictures saw enough to pass them along to the maritime safety agency, Young said. "Those who are expert indicate they are credible sightings. And the indication to me is of objects that are reasonable size and are probably awash with water, bobbing up and down out of the surface," he said.

How old are the satellite images?

They were taken by commercial satellite imaging company DigitalGlobe on Sunday.

Why are we just hearing about them now?

Basically, the Australians say, it's because the Indian Ocean is a very big place. The maritime safety authority said it took four days for the images to reach it "due to the volume of imagery being searched and the detailed process of analysis that followed."

How did they know to look in this area?

This southern area is where searchers believe there is the most likelihood of the plane being found. U.S. officials have also said the southern corridor is where the plane is most likely to be.

The searchers used mathematics to narrow the likely area to a square - and that is where these images have emerged.

Who is running the search?

The Australians are in charge of the search in their area of responsibility, which includes a large area of the southern Indian Ocean off Australia's west coast. Malaysia remains in overall control of the search.

How long does the flight data recorder ping?

It would be difficult to pick up ultrasonic "pingers" from the data recorders. In this vast expanse of ocean, the range of the pingers in the best conditions may be about 2 miles. If they are at the bottom of the ocean, that really limits how far they can go, especially in warm waters. The warmth of the water may impede the pingers because of the presence of thermoclines, or layers of different temperatures in the water that affect the ability of the pingers to be heard. The recorders' batteries die after about 30 days.

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March 13th, 2014
08:23 AM ET

Death Toll Mounts From Manhattan Blast

One minute, Colin Patterson was watching TV. The next, he saw pianos flying through the air in the shop where he works as an explosion tore through the building.

"They flew off the ground," said the piano technician, who also lives in the building in Manhattan's East Harlem. He told CNN affiliate WABC that he crawled through the rubble and managed to escape unharmed.

At least seven people were killed in the massive explosion and fire Wednesday that leveled Patterson's building and the one beside it.

Nine people remained missing hours after the blast, city officials said. Firefighters were still frantically picking through rubble in search of survivors.

Authorities say they think a gas leak was to blame, but they haven't determined an official cause yet.

The massive explosion and fire leveled two five-story apartment buildings. More than 40 people were reported injured, firefighters said.

More fatalities appeared likely. Fire officials reported that two survivors suffered life-threatening injuries.

Near 116th Street and Park Avenue, once the heart of New York's large Puerto Rican community, about a dozen firefighters tore at two-story-high mounds of bricks in a search for survivors from the two buildings, which housed a piano store and an evangelical church in addition to apartments.

As gas and electric utility workers tore up pavement in an effort to shut gas lines, people gathered in the streets, many crying.

"This is a tragedy of the worst kind," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "because there was no indication in time to save people."

See more at CNN.com. 

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January 13th, 2014
10:00 AM ET

Alex Rodriguez Suspended for Entire 2014 Season

An arbitrator Saturday upheld most of New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez's 211-game doping suspension, keeping him out of the 162-game 2014 regular season and the postseason.

The ruling by Major League Baseball arbitrator Fredric Horowitz will not only cost Rodriguez $25 million in salary, it also further clouds the groundbreaking career of a player who will turn 40 during the 2015 season.

The 162-game suspension - which is the most severe punishment in baseball history for doping - highlights baseball Commissioner Bud Selig's recent high-profile crackdown on performance-enhancing drugs.

Arod's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, spoke to Chris Cuomo on "New Day" Monday and defended his client's innocence saying "'I believe that he didn't do it."  He went on to say his client shouldn't get "an inning" of a suspension – let alone the 162-game punishment.

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Rodriguez, one of the best players of his generation who was once considered an automatic Hall of Fame candidate, was defiant in a statement released Saturday. He will likely appeal in federal court.

"The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one," said Rodriguez, who has struggled with hip injuries in recent years.

The former Seattle Mariner, Texas Ranger and now New York Yankee player then took a swipe at Selig, whom he has claimed in the past had an unjustified vendetta against him.

"This is one man's decision that was not put before a fair and impartial jury," Rodriguez said, "does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable."

When the suspension ends in 2015, Rodriguez will be owed $61 million in a contract that runs through 2017.

Major League Baseball did not release details of the arbitrator's decision, which the players union said it "strongly disagrees" with.

The Yankees said in a statement that they "respect Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the arbitration process, as well as the decision released today by the arbitration panel."

Saturday's ruling stemmed from Rodriguez's appeal of a his suspension by MLB, which accused him of taking performance-enhancing drugs and having ties to the now-shuttered Biogenesis clinic in South Florida.

Biogenesis was a former anti-aging clinic that MLB said supplied steroids to at least a dozen baseball players.

Rodriguez, one of 14 players suspended in the Biogenesis scandal, was the only one who appealed his suspension. Though he was suspended in August, Rodriguez played out the 2013 season because of the appeal.

Rodriguez, 38, is fifth on MLB's list of all-time home run leaders, just six behind Willie Mays.

Rodriguez, who has claimed he was the target of a MLB "witch hunt," probably will appeal Horowitz's decision in the courts or to seek to delay the suspension.

"No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players' contracts and rights are protected through the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me," Rodriguez said in a statement.

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Small Plane Makes Forced Landing on Highway
January 5th, 2014
10:38 AM ET

Small Plane Makes Forced Landing on Highway

A small plane with apparent engine trouble made a forced landing Saturday on a busy highway in the Bronx, injuring three people, authorities said.

The 1966 Piper PA-28-180 aircraft landed about 3:20 p.m near the East 233rd Street exit on the Major Deegan Expressway, authorities said.

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