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tv   The Rundown With Jose Diaz- Balart  MSNBC  March 24, 2015 6:00am-8:01am PDT

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gedy on our soil. stay with msnbc for continued coverage of this break story with "the rundown," straight ahead. good morning, i'm jose diaz-balart. first on "the rundown" this morning, breaking news, a commercial passenger jet has crashed in a remote area of the french alps. airbus a320 was on its way from barcelona to dusseldorf. there you see the area where it went down. this is an actual pickture of the plane that went down taken in 2014. a total of 150 people were on board. there are reports the pilot made a distress call before the crash at 5,000 feet, very low altitude. the president of france speaking a few moments ago said it is likely there are no survivors. we're just getting these pictures in from the airport in dusseldorf. the destination of the flight showing some of the reactions
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there. tom cost tell e low joins me now from washington, d.c. what's the latest? >> this plane left barcelona at about 9:32 in the morning headed for dusseldorf. the plane headed out over the mediterranean sea and came over southern france, as is normal for this route. we're told at about 10:47 a.m. local time the pilots declared an emergency. they then began descending from 38,000 feet cruising altitude down to about 5,000 feet. it was a rather orderly descent, 4,000 feet per minute over ten minutes. and then they went off radar and lost contact. the plane, at some point, the pilots managed to transmit a code of 7700, which is saying we have some sort of an emergency on board that we're dealing with. that is not the same code as a hijacking. but when they transmitted that
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code that should have told air traffic control there's a situation involving this particular plane that we need to clear the air space and get red ready for them to make an emergency landing. what is concerning and hard to explain is how the plane made an orderly descent from 38,000 feet and didn't level off at 10,000 feet if it was having a pressurization issue, but continued that descent and crashed into the foothills. the german airline is trying to ascertain all the information it can. 150 people were on board. this was a budget airline of lufthansa called germanwings, an airline that has never had an accident before and lufthansa not had a crash since 1993. in france this is the first plane crash since the concorde back in 2000. a good safety record overall for
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not only those countries, but also this particular plane which is used around the world, flown around the world in the united states, latin america central america, down all the way into across the world in arab ya asia and europe. the fatal accident rate on airbus a320 is remarkably low. it's 0 .14 per million takeoff ls which is a very good record. at this point, they are anxious to find the debris field. they need to determine how big of a field it is. it's in a remote area that's going to take some time to get to. they want to isolate the data recorders, the black boxes, which should give them some sense of what was going on. >> i was just hearing a press conference with the president of france and he was there with the
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spanish king who happened to be visiting. they are now canceling that trip. it is a very remote area very mountainous. i'm struck by this information that you're give. ing us that it descend eded 5,000 feet in ten minutes. that doesn't seem to show -- >> more than that. 38,000 down to 5,000 feet over the course of ten minutes, which actually if you're descending at 4,000 feet a minute, that would be an orderly descent. >> so that's a very interesting development. it seems as though they had control of the aircraft at least for those ten minutes. >> that's why think really confusing. we are in the very early stages of this, as you know. search teams are not even in their full capacity on the scene yet because it's such a remote area. it's going to take them some time. by one account i read these are even snowy foothills in the southern alps.
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their challenge is to get in there. they believe based on the helicopter surveillance that nobody survived. there are conflicting reports as to how wide the debris field is but clearly the challenge now is going to be to pick up all of the pieces of this plane and clearly the most important and pertinent parts as it relates to the investigation they have to zero in on the black boxes. to have a distress call transmitted digitally and not verbally would suggest that the pilots were still very busy trying to maintain control or deal with the emergency at hand and did not have time to even key their microphone and tell controllers what the problem was. >> tom, thank you so much. stay with me throughout the program. we're going to be covering this very close to the the ground. but bill neely is following the latest in london. what's the latest you're hearing? >> good morning, jose. as you can imagine, very distressing scenes indeed.
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from photographs sent from barcelona and dusseldorf airports as the people waiting for flight 9525 are counselled. as you heard from the french president, it doesn't seem like any survivors are expected. there is a very large group of several hundred search and rescue people including more than 200 firefighters on their way to the scene. but it is a very remote scene. it's said to be two and a half hours hike from the nearest village. the massive debris according to the people in the police helicopter, the debris is in a crevice in a mownuntainside at at least 5,000 feet partially covered with snow. i suppose the good news if there is any of that to report, is that it is highly likely that the flight recorders will be recovered. it's simply a mystery why this plane plummeted from 38,000 feet. it was a controlled descent, but
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it was a descent that had no stop. it wasn't a stall. it didn't fall out of the sky like some planes have when they stall, but there's still a mystery as to exactly why this happened. germanwings, which operates the plane, said in the last hour that 150 people were on board. 144 passengers, 4 crew and the 2 pilots. spanish authorities say 45 people on board are believed to be spanish. from the german authorities, no specific numbers, but they are saying most of those on board appear to be german or turkish. this is a holiday period barcelona, a popular holiday destination in europe. many people may have been returning to dooususseldorf from a vacation there. as to exactly what caused the flight, we don't know and we're expecting a news conference from the german chancellor within the next hour. >> it's interesting, as tom was telling us there was no
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communication directly by the pilots themselves. erg was communicated through digital signals. so clearly very focused and involved on what was going on during those ten minutes that the plane was descending from 38,000 feet. bill stay with me because i have i want to voe you video about the general area where this plane went down in the french alps. as bill was saying partially snow, ice, but as you know, now it's getting -- the winter has passed so there's been some snow melting. this is a general idea of where it is that we're talking about. these are the french alps. take a look at this. there's still a lot of snow. there's a lot of fog and just general difficult conditions. in no way are we saying that's
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what caused this, but this is an idea of the rugged nature of the french alps around the area where the plane has been lost. how difficult it must be for these 200-plus officials, firefighters, first responders et cetera that bill was telling us about, how they have been dispatched from paris to this area. bill, this is a remote area of the alps. >> yes it really is. the other interesting thing is there are several airports nearby. rather large airports like nice and marseille and smaller ones that service ski resorts, so it is possible that the pilot was desperately looking for a safe place to land. clearly, it was a controlled descent, if we are to believe the idea that it went down 3,000 to 4,000 feet a minute that is a normal approach to an airport. but at some point, he simply ran
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out of a safe place to be. with terrain like that this could be a very very large debris field indeed. it's not like thinking back to the crash where it crashes in a a tight area and the debris can be recovered quickly. this can be a long drawn out process. >> it was close to nice, which can and does receive a320s all the time. they couldn't do it. bill, thank you for that report. stay with me we're going to be updating this news. i want to go to former commercial pilot jay rollands. he's with us this thunderstorm warning. tell me what you see when you see this large area the plane was going down. tell me what you think was happening when it was going from 38,000 feet to just over 5,000 feet in ten minutes.
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. what does that tell you? >> i agree that it appears to have been a controlled descent. when we first get these stories, there's always a lot that we don't have. we don't have correct information a lot of times, it gets changed. but based on what i have heard so far, it is perplexing as to what could have been going on. normally in a catastrophic situation, the plane wouldn't have come down that slowly. if it were an auto pilot malfunction, you wouldn't expect it to come down that quickly. they would correct it. but something else comes to my mind that no one else has mentioned. this aircraft is highly computerized. this is the same aircraft that was involved with the airasia situation. there's one possibility that no one has brought up and i wonder, could this be a hacking incident? this is very similar in my mind, to what happened when the
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u.s. lost that drone over iran. the same thing, suddenly the aircraft was responding to outside forces. if something like that were going on, it would be very distracting for the pilots. they probably would only have a chance to put in 7700 and all the time trying to figure out what is going on. >> talk to me about the 7700. what does that exactly tell air traffic controllers? >> that you have an emergency. it's not specific only that you have an emergency, and i believe that's what they actually told the controllers told the end, but they never said what was going on perhaps because they didn't know. >> tom costello was reporting they didn't say it, but they punched it in. so the 7700 was received but as essentially a text. . it wasn't that they were able to call it in. this is preliminary, but we're betting information as we speak, that dropped from 38,000 feet to
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5,000 feet in those ten minutes. they had punched the 7700 but at no time during that process, did they get on and speak with anyone on the ground. as you're saying something is going on on that plane that they are far too focused on dealing with it than anyone having the time to call somebody on the ground. >> i think we'll learn a lot with the black boxes because we need to know what they were seeing in the cockpit since we can't hear what they were thinking otherwise. that would tell us a lot. also we need to know whether the descent was constant whether there were turns involved or a steady descent straight ahead. that's very worrisome. >> why? >> it makes me think about hacking, some sort of interference into the computer system. there's been discussions about this for some time now, but we still haven't gotten any resolution whether these aircraft are protected from that
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or not. >> let's say there is a malfunction either manmade or just the computers just malfunction. is it not possible for the pilot and the co-pilot to take that plane back from all this computerized system that runs and flies the plane? is there not a manual override for the pilots to be able to take control of that plane regardless of what the instruments and the computer are or not doing? >> well, this is the brave new world that we're entering as we use more and more computerization in an age when people are hacking and otherwise with the system. the older aircraft, the boeing aircraft in general use hydraulics. so even though you may have an auto pilot, if it malfunctions you can disengage that auto pilot and regain manual control.
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in a fully computerized setup like what you see in the airbus and also the boeing 787, these are are aircraft that are controlled by computers. so when the pilot puts in any sort of change for the aircraft flight controls, it first goes through the computer that mediates it and then tells the controls what to do. i find it problematic, actually. >> to distill this there's no real manual override on the a320? >> i cannot absolutely confirm that at this point, but i know that it is an electrically driven aircraft and you would not have a hydraulic override. >> thank you for your perspective perspective. i want to go to meteorologist bill karins. we were just seeing this picture. i asked the folks to show that picture again. it looks like it's very foggy. it looks like there's not a lot
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of visibility. tell me exactly, there you see that, be what is the weather like in that area when this incident occurred? >> just from that picture, you can tell that obviously the ground conditions are not good. there's a lot of low clouds. everything is still snow covered, still a lot of melting to be done. once you get below 8,000 feet the weather wasn't good. but above that it was all right. here's the view of the region. the plane took off from barcelona and went down somewhere in this region. it did reach cruising altitude of 38,000 feet. we know in 13 minutes it dropped to 6,000 to 5,000 feet and that's the same elevation that a lot of the mountains have. as we look through the region, what possibly could have been the cause, a closer view of the weather shows some of the low clouds. but up above, there was no problems at all. when we had the flight at 34,000
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feet, here are the the winds. there was a tail wind with the flight between 50 to 60 miles per hour tail winds. there's nothing that hints to us that the weather was any problem at all. no thunderstorms in the flight path, no nothing. then the plane as it went down into the lower elevations, it encountered this very extreme terrain. so here's a look at the terrain. this is the alps as they extend through southern portions of swit swit switzerland and italy. the equivalent of a plane went down in our rocky mountains. high peaks, valleys, very remote terrain, not roads through the region. that's what they are dealing with. these are snow-covered. unfortunately, the weather is not great now, but it's okay for the helicopters to fly. there's a storm coming in in about 12 hours from now. as far as rescue operations go they have about 12 hours and
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then rain and snow is moving into the e region. >> take me back to the wider shot of the map. i want to show where it was coming from and heading. going from barcelona on the coast of spain. >> let me back up here. >> it was going to dusseldorf, which is on the other coast. it's a very arc kind of flight. >> it's very common. our planes do that too. they will do it on the next map. sometimes they will divert their routes based on the wind to save fuel. if they see the winds are howling from the south, they may took a different route. that's common in our country too. you may do a different route depending on the winds. the flight path was an arc. >> live coverage and breaking news, but if you can, we were talking with bill neely in london pretty big airports near
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where the crash site is. we're talking about marseille, nice, those are airports that handle a320s very frequently. they are all very close to where this incident occurred. >> earlier during "morning joe," they had some of the aviation experts on and said if at 38,000 feet, which it was somewhere in this vicinity if they had two engines go out at that point, in theory experts say they should have been able to make it to one of these airports. obviously, they didn't for some reason reason. add that to the list of your mysteries. >> look at that map. there's marseille almost directly on the flight path between barcelona and dusseldorf. there's nice, turin, geneva these are all areas where an a320 normally can land al within a couple hundred miles from where this crash occurred. >> another thing, jose. we're all caught up in what
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happened to the plane, are we gok to get the black boxes. i'm trying to picture the passengers on this plane. they were at 38,000 feet everything is cruiseing normal. then 13 minutes later, the plane was lost at 5,000 foot altitude. there's 13 minutes that most likely these people on this plane knew that something was wrong and i can't imagine in a period like that anning a nating period like that and to end the way it did. >> the pilots were too busy to talk to ground control at any time after that 7700 was punched in even though they never spoke to anybody. so they would have been clearly focused on saving this plane. bill, thank you so much. we'll be back with you throughout the program. we now have a former adviser with us. tell me what you're seeing. >> i want to pick up from the
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previous conversation with bill in terms of the mantra the pilots have. it's about navigate and communicate. when the pilots sense there would be an emergency, what they have to do is get the aircraft under a condition where they can then start looking at a navigational airfield. if they are traveling at 400 knots and have an emergency, the pilot wants to convert speed to height. they will get it into a glide profile. i'm not sure of the speed for the glide on the a320. >> they are at cruising height cruising speed, so they should be in good shape at the time it happens. >> they will be looking to climb. i was speaking with christopher dickey. nice is about 50 nautical miles away. that said, the pilots will have to start taking into account
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things like wind. if there's a southerly wind flow, does the pilot want to turn the aircraft into wind. that's going against the aircraft. or is it like toulouse or somewhere to the north. next is the communication. it happens in two areas. the first is a radio transmission call that can be form in the may day and pan. >> 7700 was the one punched in. >> you have a radio call and then a transponder communication message, which is the 7700. that forms part of the third aspect of this emergency mantra they have to do. this looks at the altitude, speed and time profile. what we can see is it's started at 9:33. then they have a period of ten minutes it descended to around
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5,000. and the speed, this is the important bit, there was a speed reduction from over 600 nats to 200 knots. that gives a rate of descent of 3 to 4,000 feet per minute, which isn't unusual. >> or dramatic. it's occurring, but it's not a dramatic fall. >> so the interesting bit for me in terms -- >> let me interrupt you. tease are pictures of the alps. . . i wanted you to e see this. this is our friends at france 24. now some video, very clearly showing the rugged aspect the difficult area that these responders are going to have to be going through. >> the interesting bit about that footage is the cloud base. so if you have an emergency at 38,000 feet we don't know you can't use instruments, but you could use the instruments, but
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going back to that navigate bit of the mantra, pilot looks up, looks at his equipment and says where's the nearest airfield. . the chances are the airfield is going to be concealed by cloud. you can see if the pilot is trying to land this aircraft the airstrip if it's within the proximity of the region will be covered by cloud up until whatever the cloud base is. the cloud base is on the peaks of the mountain. it's going to be an incredible difficult situation because the pilots are not going to get visual potentially if they have a diversion airfield. they are not going -- they are going to have a late visual. >> talk to me about the communications aspect. we're just learning as we are right now, this is breaking news. we're giving you the news as we get it. let's talk about the communications from the plane to ground control. if the only. communication that was sent out from that plane was 7700 no audio communication between the
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pilot, anybody on board and ground control. if during those 13 minutes they go from 35,000 feet to 5,000 feet, it wasn't dramatic but clearly they are dealing with it. is it unusual that at no time between 9:33 and when this happened 13 minutes later, there's no communication with ground control? >> if the pilots manage or the crew manage to get the aircraft into a stable configuration, what i mean by stable configuration is they brought the speed under control, they are pointing towards the destination, the diversion airfield technically they should have a time to put out a call. if you've got time to get 7700 on the transponder, technically there should be time to put out a quick mayday call. it's mayday, mayday, mayday airbus and they will say mayday
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call acknowledged, whatever the call sign was, request your intentions. that's when the pilots will say intentions diversion, nice or wherever it is. then they will alert the destination airfield and then they will clear the circuit. they will tell all of the jets in the area to clear occupantut of the way. >> i want to go back to jay who is an experienced pilot. jay, talk to me about what is going on. we were seeing the weather, now you're seeing the actual conditions on this from france 24 our colleagues there. talk to me about when there is an emergency on board and you're dealing with it what does this tell you as far as the conditions, the visibility? >> well we don't really know. again. again, we don't know what kind of a profile they were flying
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other than there was an average descent of 3,000 feet per minute. we don't know if they were returning or changeing the air speed deliberately and that was an average or held straight at 3,500 feet a minute all the way down. the notion that it could be two engines out is a strong one and this is not unheard of. it's not very common obviously, but if that were the case and there was an undercast where they couldn't see the ground that would really move the stress level up in the cockpit and they would be doing everything they could to point towards an airport and all at the same time trying to make sure they are going to have ground clearance. yes, they would also be preparing to use any approach that was available and set up for a controlled descent. >> when you see these pictures that we're showing from france 24, it's just very very rugged
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very mountainous area that this plane has gone down. jay, were you going to say something? >> yes, they would also need to try to get out some sort of a radio broadcast because you would want to let the airport know and the radar controllers know because that way they could assist in getting you on the best heading towards that airport. >> yeah christopher dickey joins our coverage. we were talking, when you see this area an area that is so part of -- that part of europe and italy and france this is very difficult mountainous conditions that rescuers are having to go into. >> they are putting hundreds of rescuers in. they are fire and rescue crews in, everybody is going in, but they are having to hike in hour after hour into that terrain. it's extremely difficult terrain. >> let's talk about what the president of france said just
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moments ago. he was with the president of spain, who was making his first state visit to france. that's been cancelled, but he says that his information is that there were germans, spaniards and turks on board. as of right now, the president of france is saying he doesn't believe any french were on board. >> it is the worst crash in 40 years on french territory. it's a huge disaster. it's the only major crash since the concorde went down in 2000. it is a huge french tragedy, even if there were no french citizens on board. >> this is a dusseldorf-based plane company. >> it's the low-cost airline, what they have created to compete with other low-cost airlines that fly all over europe. barcelona is a vacation destination. you have people going in both directions for various reasons. and it is just a horrific
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tragedy. it's one of those things where you have shown probably footage of people waiting in the airport. >> and in barcelona as well. >> i have done a lot of flying up in the north of norway, a lot of flying in this particular region of the alps and as a pilot and as a crew, when you talk about surviving, actually surviving the tragedy or the crash, the major aspect is how do you survive the conditions? you're talking about on the tops here, highly unlikely that anyone would have survived given the nature of what we're looking at. even if someone did, they are stuck on a 10,000-foot peak with no way to get off it. all the odds are against you. >> we were talking earlier about training pilots to fly in the hin due in afghanistan in these alps.
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>> tom costello, you're keeping a close watch on what is developing out of that part of europe. what's the latest? >> listen just to add to your discussion here, and i think everybody is asking what could have occurred at 38,000 feet that would have created this orderly descent at 4,000 feet per minute down to 5,000 feet. then the evidence right now would suggest especially based on the aerials we're seeing that the plane may have flown into a mountain. would that suggest that the plane was on auto pilot on descent? is it possible the crew was incapacitied or overwhelmed and what kind of an event might create that? i think the realm of possibilities here as we have discussed, would be a loss of cabin pressure. the crew would have been able to dawn their oxygen masks. for the people in the back if they had a cabin pressure event at 38,000 feet, they are going to be unconscious within 30
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sexds seconds. 20,000 feet, the typical adult can survive breathing in air at 20,000 feet but above that you risk of high pox ya. how did this event transpire? what other event might have occurred? might it have been a fire, smoke event, all of these things are on the table here. we may not know the answers until we get that cockpit voice and flight data recorder coming off of the orange boxes when they are able to recover the actual wreckage from this crash. >> we can't rule out anything. >> although i would say this. it is unlikely you would have this kind of event if you simply lost one engine. a modern aircraft can fly on one engine. it seems to me whatever happened was in some way catastrophic.
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veteran safety and crash investigators will tell you it is rarely one thing that causes a crash these days. planes are built with so much redundancy and so many backup systems, it's usually a cascading series of events that occur that creates the situation in which you simpley can't overcome it. it's not event one, but one and two and three and four and suddenly you have a terrible tragedy. >> yeah, jose in terms of the analysis as an investigator i would be looking at is firstly, we're trying to identify where the point of impact was on the peak. but given the fact that the transponder code 7700 went out at 10:47, i would be trying to work backwards. the point of impact the crew has had an emergency x amount of minutes before that.
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i would be looking at really what the flight track was in terms of where the transponder code went out versus where the point of impact actually is. that will tell us if the pilots were heading towards what we think might be a diversion. >> what jay was talking about, we have to see if it took turns if it tries to make a turn back, which way it was heading and trying to go. >> it would have been so easy to go. to nice. >> there are a number of them. marseille, switzerland or italy. we have angela merkel we have pictures of that. clearly, it is a crisis and there she is right now speaking i understand. this is live. there were no french people on board. she just spoke very briefly, as
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did the spanish prime minister and as did hollande. limited in their comments and to express solidarity for a horrible tragedy. chancellor merkel says she is shaken and will be traveling to the scene and the minister of transportation were already on their way over there. so what is next? clearly, the whole issue of the black boxes. the fact there was no communication from these pilots to anyone on ground control is something i still think is important because it wasn't a quick descent. it was 13 or 15 minutes and never did they hear from these people. >> i think what's sblesing about the analysis on this jose is in situations like this where
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the pilots will be under immense pressure, they are schooled in terms of the simulators. they have to go through a a rigorous simulator where every emergency will be thrown at the crew. what's really fascinating is that the flight conditions over this type of terrain, over cloud, makes it incredible difficult. the reason for that is because we have a thing called a safety altitude that you work to. if you get into an emergency, the priority for one member of the crew will be tos aeration exactly where they are and exactly the altitude of the terrain between where they are and where they are trying to get to. because if they are in a forced descent, they will have to negotiate exactly how high the terrain, and they will have to pick their diversion accordingly. one of the big things for us as pilots is whenever you get an emergency, you convert speed to height, look for the diversion airfield but turn away from high terrain. even if there was an airfield over a 10,000-foot peak on the
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nose you have to balance that with if the aircraft is going to make it over the peak versus heading into low ground. >> tom costello? >> mike is 100% correct. that's why i think we need to be looking at the scenario where the crew was incapacitied. . if you had that kind of orderly descent, it was possible this was auto pilot and they never transmitted on a radio frequency over that course of ten minutes, you're right, navigate and communicate. >> but 7700 was put out, which is confusing. so there was a form of communication. >> but they would have picked up the mic and said we have lost an engine. we have a pressurization issue. at some point in that ten minutes, they didn't do that. so that suggests to me this crew
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may have been incapacitated. it's possible all of those could have been a possibility here. again, let's emphasize, these are very early discussions about a very strange situation. >> i want to bring in this bit of information into the conversation. this is from the associated press report. this is quoting the owner of a campground near a crash site. he said he heard the plane making curious noises shortly before it crashed. at 11:30 i heard a series of loud noises in the air. there are often fighter jets flying over so i thought it sounded like that. i couldn't see any fighter planes. he said the noise i heard was long, maybe 8 seconds, as if the plane was going more slowly than a military plane speed. there was another long noise after about 30 seconds.
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it crashed near his place. this is according to the associated press. gentlemen, stay with me. breaking news we're following here on msnbc. i have some pictures to show you of another vantage point of the area where the plane crashed. this is all new video coming into. msnbc. you can see the area where this incident occurred. we're going to take a short break and continue with this breaking news. a passenger jet has crashed in southern france. 150 people on board. the president of france says he fears there are no survivors. we'll be right back with this continuing, breaking news on msnbc.
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. welcome back to "the rundown." we are following breaking news this morning. a passenger plane has been lost in the french alps and the president of france says that he believes all of the people on board have lost their lives. 150 people on board.
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so far the maker of the germanwings airbus says it's unclear what caused the crash. a press conference is expected at 10:00 a.m. eastern time. the plane took off from barcelona just before 10:00 a.m. local time. the crew sent out a distress signal about an hour later just before the plane went down in the french alps. search crews are on their way. this is the area they are having to go through to find this plane. the king of spain, who was in france on his first official visit to the country, says there were a number of passengers from spain, germany and turkey on that flight. we just heard from the german chancellor who says she's deeply shaken and said she will head to the crash site tomorrow. reports from the french government are that no one has survived. that has yet to be officially confirmed. i want to bring in michael kay,
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retired british officer and christopher dickey, editor for "the daily beast"." gentlemen, we're looking at the map. and during the break, we were just looking at -- christopher, you were showing us the area where the plane was flying from to dusseldorf. that little dotted line that is just above marseille. >> it seems to have gone just above marseille on its way o to dusseldorf. we don't know if it tried to turn around. but you would have thought ten minutes before the crash they encountered some kind of emergency that caused them to flip the switch on the emergency, you would have thought they would have veered over to nice, which was about as far away from the point of the emergency as the place where they crashed. nice is a huge airport. >> i would go as far to say, just following on from chris's analysis on that we know the
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aircraft started a descent ten minutes before its impact from 38,000 feet. they will be converting speed to height and bringing the speed back from cruise speed down to around 240 knots. that's around three to four miles a minute. that tells us before the point of impact they will have known around 30 to 40 miles and they would have been in the descent before the impact. what we can see from flight radar 24 is that during that ten minutes, it appears that the aircraft has continued in the same direction, which is a little bit strange. if you have an emergency at 30 to 40 miles from the point of impact, that puts you over the region of nice, which would be a perfect diversion airfield to descend in the overhead and get into. this is a little perplexing. >> let me pick your brain and your experience. if you're not incapacitated, if
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you're able to deal with the crisis would it not be fundamentally important to communicate that you're having a problem and that you need the airports that are near where you are cleared immediately. wouldn't that be something that would be part in parcel of ayou have to do? >> the man ta, avenueuate navigate, communicate. you have that ten-minute period in the descent where you get a quick call. the call is mayday mayday mayday airbus sign and then everyone goes quiet. air traffic controller will say request your intentions. then the crew should come back with, for example, intentions nice and then the controller will by land line ring up ground control in nice and say we have
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an emergency inbound flight approximately ten minutes and will clear the circuit. that's the protocol we should expect. >> people have to see this area where it is rugged there's a lot of mountains, there are a lot of airports right nearby. >> there are, if you're at 38,000 feet. if you're dropping and you're on automatic pilot and the crew is incapacitated, which seems to be the theory that's growing on air, but seems to be credible then no, there are not that many you can get to if you're on that stralgt route into the mountains. once you drop e below 10,000 feet in those mountains, you're dead. >> just to answer that when you're in the descent, there's a huge, huge point here of if you're in the descent in cloud versus if you're in the descent and you have visual conditions, because that will increase the workload of the pilots tenfold if they are in cloud. they will be on instruments and
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trying to work out where the diversion airfield is through instruments and they are not visual. the other point is the all the tuld of the mountains in the region, around 10,000 feet that's pretty high from 38 to 10 that's 22,000. that cuts down the amount of time that you have to sort the emergency problem out. >> we're getting new video in and showing you this video as we get it in. you're seeing the latest coming out of the area there in france. i want to go to faa pilot anthony roman. anthony, thanks for being with us. we have been discussing with our experts this 10 to 12-minute period between 38,000 feet and 5,000 feet in this mountainous area. what do you think is happening in those 12 minutes when we did not hear from anybody on that flight? >> well, there are a number of anomalies on this aircraft that have occurred over the years.
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most of them due to the fly by wire system. with regard to what happened during that period of time, during the course of accident investigations that we conduct, we look at several proposals at once. we try not to suffer from investigative bias. so let's look at what happened from the inception of the original mayday call. we have a mayday call. >> dono, we had a 7700. >> that is equivalent to a mayday in aircraft. they trigger the transponder to the code 7700, which is a mayday. there is no communication from the pilots however they have taken the action to notify air traffic control that there is an extreme emergency. then all goes silent. several things could have happened. we could have had a
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passenger-induced event. in other words, a terror attack. we could have had a fly by wire system failure. we could have had a pilot pilot inkpas tags due to depressurization, or some other event, man-made or mechanical. or we could have a cascading series of failures. in other words, one catastrophic failure which causes many of the other systems to systematically shut down. >> anthony, right now we can rule out absolutely nothing. anthony, mike christopher, stay with me. taking a short break, breaking news continues to unfold. seeing different images of an airport nearby where the alps in france, where this incident occurred, it is a smaller airport, but partly one that the rescue crews are utilizing to get to the area. but as christopher dickey was telling us a lot of the work
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has to be hiking into some of the areas and trying to go through crevasses that are still covered in snow. this germanwings a-320 from barcelona to dusseldorf disappeared in the french alps. 150 people on board, 150 feared dead. we are taking a short break with a lot more on "the rundown" on msnbc. ♪ oh hey, neill, how are you? how was the trip? with nearly 7 million investors he's right here. hold on one sec. you'd expect us to have a highly skilled call center. kevin, neill holley's on line one. ok, great. and we do. it's how edward jones makes sense of investing. there's nothing more romantic than a spontaneous moment. so why pause to take a pill? and why stop what you're doing to find a bathroom? with cialis for daily use,
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and we continue to follow breaking news on the airbus plane crash in the french alps. we are expecting an update from germanwings airlines. all 150 on board are feared dead. want to bring in nbc's angie gof with what we know. >> we want to map it out. we know the plane took off from barcelona, around 4:55 eastern time, and it was headed as we have been reporting to dusseldorf germany. about 45 minutes into the flight it is believed it rapidly
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descended, crashing into the foothills of southern france and southern alps. wanting to take a closer look here. this is where it went down. remote town we have been reporting, sparsely in has been ted region. at this point it could be another hour and a half. debris was found 60 miles north of the french riviera city of nice. tom costello talking earlier, until they know how big the debris field is and collect information from data recorders, everything is on the table as far as what went wrong. want to show you bullet points things we were able to confirm. 144 passengers on board. 6 crew members. france's president saying the
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victims, a lot of them were german spanish, turkish. no french on board. 45 victims are believed to be spanish. germanwings aircraft was 24 years old. jose, up until today's tragedy, the budget airline had an excellent safety record. >> thank you so much. a relatively new plane if 24 years old. coming up taking the turn on "the rundown." we are going to follow breaking news from the french alps. watching for a news conference from the airline top of the hour. we will take a short break, be back. there's the area we expect to hear from officials of the plane company that had no problems in the past. it is part of the love stanza group. this is the equivalent of the sugar in one regular can of soda. and this is a soda a day for a year. over an average adult lifetime that's 221,314 cubes of sugar.
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begin at any moment following the crash of german passenger plane in the french alps happening in cologne, germany. could be starting any moment. 150 on board this germanwings airbus 320 when it went down in the southern french alps. it took often route to dusseldorf in germany. germanwings says it does not have yet any information on what caused the crash. the president of france francois hollande spoke saying there are likely no survivors, although that's yet to be officially confirmed. the chancellor of germany, angela merkel speaking a short time ago saying her thoughts are with the victims, she will be heading to the crash site tomorrow. the human impact very evident with families and loved ones of those on board gathering at the airport in barcelona where the plane took off and the airport in dusseldorf where it was scheduled to arrive. joining us live from paris ann curry for nbc news. we await this press conference.
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thank you for being with me. talk to me about what's the very latest? >> reporter: the very latest as we just heard word that search and rescue teams have now arrived on the site as you have been reporting this morning. this is a very remote location for the plane crash, and as a result we do know there were hellicopters flying over the site reporting the debris area was something like five miles in circumference. the fact that search and rescue teams arrived is an important moment chapter in this story. we also can tell you, jose that of the 144 people who were on board the plane, they were men, women, children including babies, and as we have been reporting, there is some doubt as to whether any will be find alive by rescue teams. also a question raised about why this would occur. there was not a weather problem, it was sort of kind of cloudy in
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the area wasn't a storm that was reported and we have been hearing about this rapid descent from 38,000 to about 5,000 feet in about ten minutes. we understand this is a steep decline but it is a kind of decline that many of us experience who are on planes in terms of going down quickly, but there was also no distress signal as reported by the french aviation authorities, so a lot of questions, jose, about what happened. what went wrong aboard this flight. >> ann as we continue to piece this information as you well put it, it is just developing just getting word thanks to you that the officials are finally reaching the area but this press conference is starting. i am going to as soon as it begins, we are going to go to it ann. we have to point out according to some officials in germany, there was some initial distress texted essentially when a 7700 but there was as you say ann no verbal communication between the
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pilot or co-pilot and anybody on ground control either in germany or france or spain. this is the press conference that is just beginning. we are going to get our translator on board on this so that we can bring you this. it is a press conference by officials germanwings speaking. and the french president, francois hollande says probably no french citizens on board this flight. >> reporter: well that's right. but we know the majority of people aboard the flight were german as well as spanish. german people by the way, during this time of year do travel to barcelona for vacation. this was a budget airline. it is coming back on a tuesday, which indicates probably was a long weekend or a nice holiday for these people these families, that they were experiencing in barcelona to get away from the cold. there's a lot of -- from dusseldorf is a common trek to
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barcelona. but absolutely there are going to be a lot of questions asked as to what went wrong and as you have been reporting that the twitter handles for these particular germanwings and lufthansa, germanwings is a subsidiary of lufthansa, both their twitter handles or icons turned to black and white, presumably in mourning because of this great tragedy. >> indeed ann curry, thanks so much in paris. stay with me through the remainder of the program. we are going to continue monitoring breaking news. 150 on board this germanwings airplane that took off from barcelona on the coast of spain, heading back to dusseldorf when this incident occurred. gentlemen, we are seeing this
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press conference is getting under way. we will keep monitoring for you. back to the facts. at least as ann curry now reports, french officials have reached the general area but it is going to be a trek. >> yeah. i think i want to follow this notion of analysis on the crew being unaware if you like that -- >> incapacitated somehow. >> i don't want to say inkpas at a time i want to say unaware. incapacitated would suggest there was a physical problem with the crew. i want to look at the interesting case study when we talk about the crew being unaware because air france 447 flight from south america to france that went down in the atlantic, the reason that occurred was because of icing in the pete oh tube. it gave erroneous readings in the cockpit, which the pilots misinterpreted. what happened was from a high altitude the pilots read one thing and the aircraft was doing
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another. what effectively happened pilots put the aircraft into catastrophic storm, lots of lift over the wing and the aircraft descended into the sea. >> not knowing the information was wrong because it was frozen over. >> they weren't aware what was going on in the cockpit. when we talk of this notion of the crew being unaware incapacitated may be one, but also an interesting case study of a flight profile they weren't aware of because of automated systems. >> correct me if i am wrong, that case they were flying over the ocean, since they didn't know they were experiencing the problem, didn't call it in. this is a crew that dialed in the 7700 knew there was a problem, then descended all those feet from 36,000 to 5,000, although mountain ranges there go up to 10,000. but did so over a period of time. during that period of time there was no communication saying i got to get to marceilles, or
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another airport. what are the airports to deal with this. that 10 or 12 minute period different from in the air france they didn't know. >> you are spot on with that point that the kind of conflicting pieces of information we have at the moment is the fact that emergency communication from the transponder, which has to be inputted by a member of the crew was 7770. that's the only piece of information at the moment which differs from air france 447 piece. good point. >> and in fact civil aviation authority in france is underscoring the fact there was no verbal may day call. i think that's obviously something they're focusing on now, just as we are, because it seems extremely unusual, no matter how hard the pilot and co-pilot were fighting to control the airplane. >> 12 minutes.
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>> that they said nothing. tom costello is back with us. what's the latest? >> reporter: i would concur with you. pardon me. i was over doing cnbc and west coast today, so i missed part of the discussion. that's what stood out over the past hour. as bits of information come out this was an orderly descent, 38 down to 8, no radio transmission. all we had was a transponder emergency code that went off. to me that would suggest, and this is all preliminary, would suggest the crew may have been incapacitated. the question is how? could have happened from a pressurization, from smoke in the cockpit, or criminal or all of the above. i think there are many scenarios they're trying to game out to determine what might have happened here. i can assure you that police and intelligence agencies are right now looking for any evidence that something nefarious may
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have happened here. in the absence of that you have to look at some sort of event on board that took out, incompetent kpas tatd the crew maybe had time to get on auto pilot, make an orderly descent, and couldn't pick it up after they got down to whatever the altitude was, 8, 5, 6, not sure what the final altitude was. >> gentlemen, this is the information getting from the press conference on part of the screen officials at germanwings. saying among other things the captain had been flying this had ten years experience with the lufthansa group, with lufthansa and germanwings. this airplane which was relatively new when you talk about airplanes, 1991 it had just been checked by lufthansa engineers and technical just yesterday and everything was seen as being fine. checked just yesterday. the pilot ten years experience. some reports that actually people on board may be more than
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150. i am hearing the possibility there were 152 on board. still to be determined. officially not saying everyone lost their lives, as the president of france said it will be very difficult to think that anyone was able to survive. >> one problem with the number of people on board may be the fact there were two infants on board, may have been counted differently. >> what do you pick up on what tom costello was speaking about. >> yeah tom, just prior to your good points we were talking about the notion of the crew being unaware of what was going on inkpas tags being potentially one scenario.capacitation being potentially one scenario. i think the 447 was a case study, given the fact that crash was icing of that tube that gave erroneous readings in the
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cockpit. and then once that happened the crew were flying near a plane, assuming one scenario and the aircraft in another scenario and got into a catastrophic stall. so there's a couple of scenarios here which i think could play out, but all centering around unawareness if you like of the situation. as jose rightly pointed out, there's one anomaly, transponder code of 7770. >> and the other thing, the descent was so orderly, it flies in the face offer at rat i can flight behavior on 447 the crew we know was making terrible decisions, making wrong inputs trying to fly the plane and werer rat cli flying until they crashed into the ocean. this plane today appears to have been in an orderly descent, yet they still would appear flew into a mountain. i would pick up on two points. jose, you were talking about the fact that the plane was 24 years
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old. that would be late middle age for an aircraft. we certainly have planes that old flying today, but that's about the time here in the states they start cycling out those planes because they want something more fuel efficient that's less heavy on maintenance. so somewhere 24 to 28 years, they start cycling them out. i would also be interested to know exactly what they did yesterday f the plane was literally in for maintenance check yesterday, did they do anything. was there any sort of mechanical steps taken. let me tell you a quick story. i was in a helicopter on a friday and it crashed monday killed everybody on board. that same helicopter i was in. what happened is the day before i was in it it had gone in for a maintenance check and somehow in that maintenance check, it was a full overhaul actually and a piece of metal shaving got
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into the fuel line and by the time i got out of the helicopter the next day, that metal shaving worked its way all the way through the fuel line caused a blockage. on the next trip crashed and killed everybody on board. >> what a tragedy. >> my point is mechanical overhauls sometimes leave issues. we have to see what exactly happened. >> you're absolutely right, it is middle aged. but look i was speaking to somebody the other day, they're still flying md-80s, and they stopped being built in 1969. >> no, no, no, no, no. i am right now doing a story, flying them to the bone yard the md-80 rolled off the line in late '80s, early '90s, and are being cycled out of the fleet. >> tom, thanks for clearing that up. the press conference is in english. let's go to that. >> there's no issue with the age of an airplane.
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>> back to german on that. just one question in english. among things that the official from germanwings and part of the lufthansa group we are talking about, he described the descent, mike christopher, tom, everyone with us this morning, he described that as a steep descent. i want to go back to faa pilot anthony roman with us. we have been discussing possibilities what was or was not going on in the cockpit for 10 to 12 minutes. this is a computerized flying experience. >> the a-320 is a fly by wire
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system simply meaning the joy sticks that the pilots use to control the aircraft are not directly linked to the aircraft flight surfaces on the wings and tails. simply what that means is the control stick is electronically linked to a series of flight computers that interpret pilot inputs. then if those inputs fall within the parameters programmed into the computers, it allows the pilots to in fact obey that command. in other words, the aircraft will follow the pilot's command. however, we have something very interesting developing here. it appears the debris field as reported earlier is approximately five miles in diameter. and fly by wire system was primarily developed to prevent structural failure of the aircraft as a result of kind of
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being man handled by the pilots in certain circumstances. however, a debris field of five miles suggests and i say suggests because it is so early in terms of developing the facts, suggests that there may have been an in flight air frame failure. when we have impact of an aircraft that is in a state of flying into the ground it just does not leave a debris field that wide and that diffuse. i think perhaps the pilots attempted to save the aircraft and overstressed it or perhaps there was an explosive device on the aircraft. those two factors have to be ruled out. >> and jay rawlings joins us an experienced pilot. jay, we just can't rule anything out now, right, jay? >> no. every direction that we look at
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this there's unanswered questions. it will be critical to get the black boxes and voice recorder data recorder will give us a lot of information exactly how the plane was being maneuvered, where it appeared to be turning, if at all, what that rate of descent was, whether it was steady or there was changes to it. i believe we talked about last hour that air speed was fairly consistent slowly bled off, which would be aero dynamically consistent with steady descent. but until we know those things nothing totally makes sense. we talked about the pilots why wouldn't they get on the radio. at the same time they sent out a 7700 squawk. doesn't take long to get on the radio and say may day, we have flight control failure. >> stand by. i want to go back to the press conference. doing a little english.
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let's see. >> it is too early, we are speculating. we have a successful airplane and more than 9,000 of this model in this world and it has a fantastic record. in the history as well as products -- we have to find out what happened as fast as possible, but properly. we have a question. what kind of accident if it took eight minutes for the airplane to descend? has the pilot had control over the airplane? >> please forgive me i cannot give you answer to that because there are many reasons why this could be this way. whether he was aware of it or not, it is speculation and it is
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hard for me to give explanation why it started descending. i cannot answer the question at this point. we really have to find out what the reasons are and we need the black box for those, need the information from the location and then we have to find out together with the authorities, the french the spanish, and especially the german authorities and we will do those and quickly. we will have to find out whether the pilot knew what he was doing or not. we cannot speculate. those are the data we had through the radio, but right now only few hours after the accident we don't have any further data that we can use.
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the polish passengers we will publish nationalities of victims as soon as we confirmed them for every individual without a doubt. at the moment i cannot answer this question. how many a 320 are you using in the current group. the exact number i cannot give you but i know it is several hundred, which are used for lufthansa, for germanwings, it is about a little more than 60 at the moment that are flying for germanwings. for the overall lufthansa group, several hundred. and since the aircraft has been launched, several thousands put in the air. from what we know there's a group of students on the airplane. do you know anything about that? as you can understand we don't
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want to give any information before all of the relatives have been informed. as soon as this has been completed, we will publish more information. if you can find data from use online and tv how important is that? our primary source of data are from the radio control we got from france of course. everything else has not been validated and i don't think after further looking at the valid radio data from france it is not going to be used for our research. this is going to be last question. the information about the
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location of the accident is it accessible? the group, research groups far away, people on the way to get there, what's happening right now. i can say something about this. currently we have so-called mission flights being organized right now. our colleagues from lufthansa are being transported there by means of an aircraft and will probably use a helicopter from there to get to the location of the accident so yes, it is hard to access so we have to use measures like this. the last question please. could you give us some information about the last five to ten minutes of the flight
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what kind of communication did you have. the times we have available now departure was 1:01 p.m. in barcelona. cruising height was 40 past 10:00. this is an approximate time. they flew at this height approximately one minute before the airplane descended. the current information we got is that there was no communication for the descending flight, so the french authorities were not contacted and asking for starting into descending flight. we are trying to look at
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everything. i hope we go back to working over will confirm when we have information. i assume later today. we will likely invite you back today, hopefully within the next few hours. thank you. >> we just heard part of a news conference by the lufthansa group, which is part owner of germanwings saying and tom costello is back. tom, we have been talking about all morning, what does strike all of us the fact that once the descent occurred apparently cruising height was one minute in when they started this descent, no communication from on board that flight to the ground. >> yeah. boy, you know you don't want to jump to conclusions this early on i certainly think something here suggests that the crew was incapacitated somehow. i think it is far too early to
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know what happened but for them not to communicate verbally would suggest they were unable to for some reason. i find this just really a strange mystery. i would also make this point, and this is heart breaking. several german media are reporting a school class was on an exchange program and was on board that plane. german school children who were apparently returning from spain according to several german media reports this morning. >> what a tragedy. just gets worse and worse. tom costello. thank you very much. we continue with breaking news of a passenger jet that crashed in southern france germanwings, with 150 plus on board, including children lost in the alps. all feared dead. we are going to take a short break and be right back. ♪ ♪
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you can call me shallow... but, i have a wandering eye. i mean, come on. national gives me the control to choose any car in the aisle i want. i could choose you... or i could choose her if i like her more. and i do. oh, the silent treatment. real mature. so you wanna get out of here? go national. go like a pro. continuing with breaking news out of southern france. this is the command center
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that's set up at the foothills of the alps part of the alps that go through france where this plane, very near where the plane went down a short time ago. more than 150 people on board. it is a germanwings, part of the lufthansa group from barcelona spain to dusseldorf and it was lost just after the marceilles airport cleared. talking about a steep descent. we are covering this from all angles on breaking news. there you see the map flying between france germany, switzerland as it headed to dusseldorf. i am joined by mikey kay, and with extreme knowledge of
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airplanes, jay rawlings and anthony roman and christopher dickey in with me this morning. thank you so much. i want to start with you, mr. roman. the fact that the plane, this is according to the press conference that we just heard minutes ago had just been at its ideal cruising height one minute before the descent occurred and there was absolutely no communication during descent, 8 to 14 minutes. no communication between anybody on board that plane and any control center either in france or germany or spain. what does that tell you. >> it starts to paint an initial scenario of what was happening on the aircraft. during the climb, it appears that everything was proceeding as normal. the pilots hadn't communicated an emergency. they had not yet entered the
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emergency code 7700 into the transponder that communicates directly with air traffic control. they reached cruising altitude. it appears when they reached cruising altitude that's when the event was precipitated. whatever happened happened there, and whatever happened appears to have been catastrophic in nature. >> jay, the fact that once they punch in that 7700 and that descent occurs it was from 8 to 12 minutes, it seems as though under most possibilities or circumstances those folks if they were able to physically deal with the crisis one issue would be to communicate with ground control to let them know they needed to land in an airport, nearby airport, go to
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marseilles or nice or in italy or switzerland and they didn't do that. >> exactly. that's what's lending to the theory that tom put out there that they were probably somehow incapacitated, but maybe they were confused. maybe there was some sort of toxin in the air that would confuse them because why would you not make attempt to make a quick radio call over 8 minutes and eventually put in a 7700 emergency code. so they were somewhat conscious, yet there's no evidence to point to them looking for another airport. you really needed air traffic control in on this one because they could have given them an immediate steer to say nice which was an excellent choice and near the coast. >> i am wondering if they're on automatic pilot, where would the automatic pilot be taking them?
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it is not going to automatically take them into a mountain top. would it continue to dusseldorf try to continue to dusseldorf or would it have some other programming in it. >> it depends upon how they set it up. if they put in the descent, what made it begin to descend in the first place, if they put in the descent, but didn't change routing, the aircraft would continue to fly the route. >> and mikey, the question is it was just a minute in to cruising altitude and had to descend. >> looking at this the question that's perplexing me at the moment is that we know the aircraft is in descent around ten minutes, from flight data radar, 24 information, the speed was bleeding back from over 600 knots to below 200 knots over that ten minute period.
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if you take the mean around 300, 360, that's around 5 to 6 miles a minute. over ten minutes of five to six miles a minute that's 50 to 60 miles. if you come back 50 to 60 miles of impact what's perplexing at the moment the aircraft appears to have continued on its track, which goes to jay's point, which is the point that chris mentioned in terms of automated systems, if the crew weren't aware what was going on the aircraft would have continued to follow that track rather than as we see if we go back on the map 50 to 60 miles, that place is marseilles to the left and nice to the right. >> and this responsibility the first response and entire scene is the responsibility of france. ann curry is in paris. ann, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, jose. listening to all of this i was thinking about the people who were aboard the plane, as you are reporting, 144 people, men,
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women, children strapped in their seat belts presumably because they had just taken off and had presumably the light had not come on to say they could move around the cabin. we know that they were not just children but babies aboard the plane. there are reports that there also may have been students groups of students because this is a school break period in germany, and the majority of people aboard the plane were german in addition to significant number of spaniards and people from turkey. i was thinking about that. also i was wondering what it says that early reports, while the search and rescue teams have just when we reported earlier at the top of the hour had just arrived, something like four hours after the crash, that the ground rescue teams just arrived. even though there was a
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helicopter aboard excuse me in the air able to spot the plane. it makes you wonder this information, that the circumference of the crash site is something like five miles in i think it was five acres made a mistake, five acres. what does it say that it is a contained crash site. is that because of the mountain or the fact there was a mountainous region or something about how the plane landed. >> important question you're bringing up ann curry, glad you brought up the fact that so many lives that are apparently lost on this. ann curry in paris, thanks so much. taking a short break. continue on breaking news a passenger jet that crashed in the french alps as it took off from barcelona to dusseldorf, part of the lufthansa group. germanwings, you see the plane. it had just been through a technical checkup one day
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before. pilot had ten years experience with lufthansa. lufthansa, a group, has a number of a320s. have more than 70 of these a320s in the germanwings group, and hundreds was the term that the lufthansa group representative used in the lufthansa group. 144 passengers 6 crew members. back with more on msnbc. great. how about over tennis? even better. a game changer! the ready for you alert, only at i need to look for a used car. but i just keep putting it off. it's daunting. what if i make the wrong choice? it's like, if i buy a t-shirt and then change my mind i can return it. but a car? you don't reeeaaa eeeeeaaaaaly know until you've driven it a few days. i just want to be sure. ♪ ♪
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this descent for 8 minutes and crashed. officials say teams from lufthansa and germanwings will head to the crash site to assist authorities in the investigation. french officials say there are likely no survivors. there you see the general area where the plane crashed. i want to bring back mikey kay, christopher dickey and anthony row main and jay rawlings. i want to start with you, anthony. talk about the a320 it is pretty much run by computers. >> that is correct. and there have been the critics of the a320 fly by wire system. there have been accidents that have been attributed to it. there's the famous demonstration flight that air france had many many years ago when the aircraft was debuted for many of the dignitaries dignitaries. that plane was flying at low altitude, an a320 and actually crashed into the tree line.
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when reviewing the tape you can see the pilot is attempting to raise the nose power the aircraft up to climb, but aircraft systems, those computers overrode the pilots' signals, according to the information that has been reported. there is another incident in which a strong cross wind landing was being attempted. the wind was approximately 45 knots, direct cross wind across a runway. an a320 aircraft was attempting to land, and the aircraft almost went off the runway during touchdown phase. it was later determined that the programmed flight computer parameters didn't allow the type of pilot inputs that were used by the pilots at the time the aircraft was attempting to land, and that was subsequently corrected. so although the fly by wire
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system has really improved the safety record overall, it is computerized it is software programming, and it occasionally has its gremlins. >> thank you for that. i want to bring in the latest information that i am getting this morning from associated press. the prime minister of france says a helicopter has managed to land near where the passenger plane carrying 150 people crashed in the alps but found, quote, no survivors. also a local council member being quoted by a newspaper, getting regional and local on the newspaper and coverage this council official told the newspaper the plane is disintegrated, the largest debris is the size of a car. and we talking about probably a french car which isn't very large. mikey kay, christopher dickey
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anthony row main and jay rawlings, let's continue the conversation. the fact that mikey, it was now apparently not 10 or 12 minutes as initially reported probably 8 minutes between the moment that plane got to cruising altitude, lost that cruising altitude altitude, and 8 minutes later went into part of the alps. at no time was anyone on board communicating with the ground. >> no. and i think the two big things that come out of that are first, there was no rt call radio transmission, may day or pan put out. and secondly when you look at the time taken for the descent to occur, around 8 minutes, and you look at the speed bleed off from about 600 to below 200, the aircraft would have traveled in that time anywhere between 25 and 50 nautical miles, so if we come back to where the impact point was, 25 to 50 nautical miles, it places the aircraft in good position in terms of
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altitude and marseilles to the west, nice to the east for diversion. there's a big question as to why if there was a problem identified 50 nautical miles before impact point, why the aircraft wasn't turned off original flight path to divert to marseilles or nice. >> and i am looking at the latest information coming to us from associated press. they're saying that again, associated press saying that the weather in the area you can see it on the pictures that we are showing you that we are just getting into msnbc, the weather in the area has deteriorated a chilly rain has begun to fall. i imagine that rain is mixed with wet snow. bill karins, talk to us about conditions now. >> we are expecting in the next 12 hours, going to continue to see weather deteriorating. when the plane went down the weather was much better. now as we are going into recovery, maybe get lucky a rescue operation, clouds have lowered. now temperatures are low in the valleys, it is a light rain. appears where some of the
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wreckage is higher peaks will be mixed with snow. jose, you have your pilots there, i was having a conversation with a lot of weather experts off line and many of them are wondering about clear air turbulence. was going to ask, any of you guys heard of clear air turbulence causing a crash? i know we have seen instances of it with injuries and minor damage, but what about a crash. is that out of the realm? there were reports of moderate to light turbulence in the area but that was all i could find. >> yeah i mean bill clear air turbulence is effectively extreme vertical updrafts and down drafts usually found with inside clouds thunderstorm clouds where they're the most extreme. in terms of any that led to a crash, i can't think of any off the top of my head but there are lots of examples where aircraft lost significant altitude during one of these experiences but recovered.
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>> anthony and jay, i would like to bring you in on the conversation to answer bill's question. >> yes. regarding the possibility of a clear air turbulence doing this i can't think of any crashes off the top of my head either, and if that had happened and caused such damage that they were unable to fly the aircraft it was -- now you're saying coming down faster than we thought, maybe 4,000 feet a minute. that being the case i am still wondering about the debris field. was it actually five miles or five acres? we've got a little confusion there. >> and it is not as large. right now, you know what i have seen differing news reports on that from the site. i don't think we can right now say how large the debris field is because we just don't have enough confirmed information to give you that exact size but take a look where it happened. by the way, going to a break on this but french aviation
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authority is saying germanwings did not issue a distress call. controllers declared distress phase. the controllers declared distress. >> they were the ones that did the may day. they were the ones said there's distress, but the transponder apparently -- >> the 7700 yes. just quoting reuters, dgac says germanwings jet did not issue distress call controllers did the distress phase. we will continue with breaking news on the passenger jet that crashed in southern france. it is feared all 150 people on board have lost their lives. we will be right back.
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smartphone or tablet from comcast. visit to learn more. we continue with breaking news out of southern france where a germanwings passenger plane, a320 has crashed in the alps region.
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i am with christopher dickey mikey kay, and joined by steve clemons, washington editor at large for "the atlantic." steve, this is a multinational response required but france is clearly in charge. >> france is clearly in charge because the plane went down there and also the airbus is a multinational effort. all of europe now is holding its breath that the cause of the crash is identified soon and people can know whether it was a technical, sad to say, if it was a technical disaster that doesn't make the challenge much better, but there are concerns across europe that are tense. i returned from brussels last night, and the security situation in europe has everyone on edge. something like this just ratchets up emotional tension many notches higher. >> christopher? >> i think steve is right. everybody has been worried in europe about the possibility of some kind of terrorist attack.
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there's no indication there was a terrorist attack and shouldn't go too far down that road. >> can't rule anything out. >> but can't rule anything out. steve is right. i lived in paris of course and it is very tense there. there's a lot of anxiety about what's next and a lot of anxiety, airbus a320s are flying all over if there's a problem people haven't detected with the plane, obviously that's an area of considerable concern as well. >> spain also has its own concerns about terrorism as well. mikey, when you see this we are seeing some of the staging area the mountains are very difficult to get to. >> yeah talking about search and rescue at the moment, but that will rapidly go into search and recovery, given the fact that christopher pointed out early on lines of communication into the region are sparce if not there at all. only way to get access is through helicopter. the debris field will be key to this. >> talk about it. it could be not just limited to
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one part of a mountain range, it could have been -- >> let's look at the factors. the factors are did the aircraft break up if it did break, what speed was it going, if it did break, what altitude was it at. usually it would hit a flat area you have components and undercarriage traveling miles and miles, and you have the carbon components fairly close to the impact points. there are a huge amount of factors. >> crevasses on the sides of mountains. >> topography is key, and flight data recorder and cockpit recorder are key, flight data recorder gives us the mechanical aspects, the cockpit voice recorder will tell us communication in the cockpit and if they align. >> i take you back to the conversation we started having two hours ago, the fact there was no communication from that plane from the pilot or co-pilot no one on the plane during that eight minute period where the plane went from
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cruising altitude to crashing into mountains. during the eight minutes, no one communicated with the ground. >> yeah pick up on that jose it is hard to tell. one of the things i think appears reassuring is reaction times of search and rescue teams and air traffic. you look at air asia or air france 447, there were a lot of questions raised in terms of time taken for air traffic to raise the emergency and launch search and rescue services it appears in this case things were done fairly expeditiously. >> 144 passengers and also some crew members. nbc reports two babies among the 150 on board. that's the reality. that's the human toll that this is taking. and people in dusseldorf and barcelona, people throughout europe there's reports that there were even turkish residents on board. people throughout the area are having to deal with uncertainty, lack of information as to who
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exactly was on that plane. but everyone who was on the plane feared dead. we are continuing to cover breaking news here on msnbc. thank you for the privilege of your time. i'll see you tomorrow. but, i have a wandering eye. i mean, come on. national gives me the control to choose any car in the aisle i want. i could choose you... or i could choose her if i like her more. and i do. oh, the silent treatment. real mature. so you wanna get out of here? go national. go like a pro. in small business you have to work hard, know your numbers, and stay focused. i was determined to create new york city's first self-serve frozen yogurt franchise. and now you have 42 locations. the more i put into my business the more i get out of it. like 5x your rewards when you make select business purchases with your ink plus card from chase. and with ink, i choose how to redeem my points
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that really is you? if they're not a cfp pro you just don't know. find a certified financial planner professional who's thoroughly vetted at cfp -- work with the highest standard. good morning, everyone. i'm tamron hall. this is "newsnation." we are following breaking news this hour out of france. we are now learning that the germanwings plane that crashed this morning in the french alps was carrying 152 on board. 146 passengers including two infants, and a group of school children, as well as six crew members, all are feared dead. those details coming from a news conference given by the company moments ago. germanwings says the captain was flying for the company for ten years and the last routine check of the plane was just yesterday. the airbus a320 left barcelona at 10:00 a.m. local time. it was on the way to dusseldorf
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when it transmitted a digital distress code an hour later, and then disappeared from radar, crashing at an altitude about 6500 feet. emergency helicopters could be seen near the crash site near the town 65 miles north of nice france. joining me anthony row main investigators from france and ann curry reporting for nbc news. let's start with some details that we know here. at this point i should point out, we got a statement in, a spokesperson for the town of haltern, 40 miles from dusseldorf, they confirmed to my colleague that 16 students and two teachers from a school there were booked on germanwings flight, but it is not yet confirmed they were all on board. classes at the school finished early today, there's a team of first aiders and counselors helping f