TODAY

TODAY   |  March 20, 2014

Experts weigh in on possible Flight 370 debris

Greg Feith, a former investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, and Tom Casey, a former American Airlines pilot, join TODAY to discuss the potential Flight 370 debris found in the Indian Ocean.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> is a former pilot for american airline ones. greg is a former investigator with the ntsb. greg , let me start with you. it's the australian prime minister who makes this announcement. that is significant. he's not going to get in front of the camera unless he thinks there's credibility. and the second thing that raises our attention is this piece of debris or wreckage or object was found in one of those arcs that was mentioned by the ntsb as a possible location where this plane could be found. what's your gut reaction ?

>> cautious optimism. it gives us hope that we finally found at least some traces of the airplane. again, the -- you know, with the coordinates and the fact that they've narrowed that search zone down in the southern part near australia, it was one of those things that was to be expected and that with the wreckage being so close, it could be that this airplane, where it ran out of fuel because that's why the search zone was narrowed finally came to fruition, that we may, for the first time, have some credible evidence that we haven't really seen in about the last ten days.

>> we're talking about a lot of hypotheticals here, greg . but if, in fact, they can identify that object as a piece of debris from flight 370, then they have to start to do math and calculate currents, don't they?

>> absolutely, matt. and they also have to look at not only the sea state , but the direction and, of course, wind because those parts could have moved any direction. and they probably moved not only hundreds of miles, but thousands of miles over this 13-day period.

>> thanks very much. tom, let me turn to you. let's talk about the size of these objects, again, i'm going to stand up for a second, go to the corner of the studio here. we're talking about an object that is about the length from this side of the studio to the other corner over there. what's your gut reaction ?

>> well, it's something, isn't it? it's an image taken from a satellite in seas using the best radio technology that is available. you're not going to find something with the naked eye out there, but the focus of the investigation has obviously narrowed. that's important. and the area is -- it's in accordance with fuel exhaustion if they were on a direct heading from their last known position.

>> if they can get a ship on out there, they can get a plane to fly directly over one of these objects and get a close up picture of it, they'll know instantly.

>> they will. they will. but they're flying a distance roughly equal from new york to denver and then they're doing their search. then they have to go back that distance again.

>> we look at this map here. we know the plane took off from kuala lumpur . it went up, made a left turn . then there are these two arcs. based on this location, where this object was found, what does it tell you about flight 370? did it run out of fuel or was it ditched intentionally?

>> the main thing for me, there was no mayday call. there was either an intervention or the crew went rogue. and where this satellite has found the debris, it's in accordance with the fuel exhaustion graph. it's likely.

>> do you think this is a situation where someone took over that plane and then it simply ran out of fuel?

>> well, i think the people who are closest to the investigation think it is.

>> tom casey , tom thank you very much. greg , as we mentioned, thank you, as well. clouds and rain are limiting the visibility of those search planes. al, what are the crews dealing with?

>> well, the good news is, matt, we will see an improvement in conditions. we're in the southern hemisphere . generally, in our hemisphere, winds around high pressure in a clockwise direct. however, we've got some areas of high pressure both here and here and those areas of high pressure you can see the counterclockwise flow of air around that possible wreckage and you can see high pressure building in over the wreckage site over the next 24 hours . that's good news. winds will start to die down. right now, we think there is some fog and there is also some haze there. let's look at the satellite imagery and show you exactly what they're dealing with. a front did move through, but the good news is that has cleared out. you can see some light haze now, maybe fog, even, associated with this. but as that high pressure moves in, we will saturday to see some clearing. that will mean better conditions, lower seas. so that should really help the search going on.

>> and they need all the help they can get. al,