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On Saturday, just after noon in New York City, yet another crash took place in the Hudson River as a tour helicopter and small airplane collided in the air and then dropped into the river, killing 9 people.
The latest reports indicate that 7 of the 9 bodies have been recovered, along with the fuselage of the crumpled Liberty Tours helicopter and the black box; the small Piper PA-32 plane remains underwater. This tragedy took place near the same spot on the river where US Airways Flight 1549 safely landed after a mid-air bird strike causes it to use the river as a runway. However, that incident was tagged "Miracle On The Hudson" for its incredible story including no loss of life; this last Saturday's accident is instead branded "Horror On The Hudson."
Two Marriott hotels were attacked yesterday in Jakarta, Indonesia by suicide bombings that killed eight people and left more than 50 injured. It is now believed that the suicide bombers actually checked into the JW Marriott Jakarta and the Ritz-Carlton Jakarta. A third bomb was later found on the 18th floor of the JW Marriott in one of the guestrooms.
Times Online has details from the blast sites:
Bleeding victims, including foreign businessmen who had been in breakfast meetings, crawled and staggered out of the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels in Jakarta’s Mega Kuningan business district after the explosions struck two minutes apart shortly before 8am.
Footage from a security camera at the Ritz-Carlton showed a suited man wearing a baseball cap, and carrying a backpack and a wheeled suitcase, entering the hotel’s first floor restaurant just before the explosion, which killed two people.
We don't know about you, but we're tired of hearing about all the deaths in the last month; from the tragedy of Air France Flight 447 to the passing of famous faces like Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson and yes, even Billy Mays. Perhaps the world joins us in this exhaustion over bad news, because yesterday night's crash of a Yemenia Airlines flight off the coast of the Comoros Islands hasn't unleashed a media frenzy.
To fill in the details, the Yemenia Airbus 310, originating in Paris, was en route from Yemen's capital Sanaa to Moroni Airport in the Comoros crashed into the ocean after making a first attempt at landing. The crash was so close to the island that it was witnessed from land, and yet a police official admitted "we really have no sea rescue capabilities."
Nearly 4-5 hours later, rescue boats began finding debris from the airliner and bodies of the crash victims. Up until this morning, it was believed that none of the 153 passengers had survived, but then a toddler was pulled from the ocean and taken to a hospital.
It was a bad week to be a celebrity last week. We spent the weekend mourning Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon but it turns out we've still got some more mourning left to do. Famous pitchman Billy Mays, who you probably remember from the Oxiclean commercials, died at his home in Tampa, Fla. yesterday, hours after a rough landing at the Tampa airport where the US Airways plane he was on blew out a tire as it touched down.
Mays had told news reporters after he got off the plane that something had hit his head. He also complained about not feeling very well before going to bed later that night.
Tampa police initially said that any connection between his death and the landing was "purely speculation." Indeed, the results of an autopsy where just released moments ago and the Hillsborough County Coroner said heart disease, not the rough landing, was to blame for Mays' death. Either way, the world has lost its best "pitchman."
While Mays only had about 4,000 Twitter followers before his death, that number has jumped to 10,000 today. But we can't imagine US Airways is too happy about his last ever tweet which he wrote just after landing:
Just had a close call landing in Tampa. The tires blew out upon landing. Stuck in the plane on the runway. You can always count on US Air."
[Photo: NY Daily News]
With just over a week left to retrieve the black box of Air France Flight 447 before it gives up the ghost, search teams and airline authorities are beginning to wind down and instead turn their focus onto the families of the victims.
Although they've recovered approximately fifty bodies of the 228 on board and whole sections of the aircraft's galley, CNN reports that the "head of the French accident investigation board, Paul-Louis Arslanian, said this week that there is a chance the entire aircraft may never be found." Aircraft wreckage or not, Air France will begin compensating the families of the deceased, to the tune of $24,500 per victim regardless of class flown.
In addition to the money, Air France has sent counselors to the aid of some 1,800 relatives of the victims, who were of 32 different nationalities. The Wikipedia page on the tragedy has a graph of these nationalities and how many were on board, showing some from Gabon, Estonia and Lebanon even. This next week should bring the conclusion of major searches, but we're far from having questions answered.
· Air France pays $24,500 to crash victims' families [CNN]
· Air France Black Box Search Borrows The Titanic's Sub [Jaunted]
· Flight 447 Coverage [Jaunted]
It's been exactly a week now since the mysterious disappearance of Air France Flight 447 somewhere off the coat of Brazil. At first, it seemed as though the search parties were running around like chickens with their heads cut off, with no definite search area and not even a solid guarantee that the flight had hit the ocean.
Earlier last week, what appeared to be debris from the fatal flight had been found, but this was determined to be run-of-the-mill ocean trash on Thursday. As of this weekend, be-logoed Air France airplane pieces have been found along with the bodies of 17 passengers, therefore confirming that the plane met with a tragic fate.
It's a small consolation, but the families of two victims of last Sunday's crash of Air France flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris will at least have some closure, as searchers announced they had recovered two bodies from the otherwise scarce wreckage in the Atlantic Ocean. The BBC reported Saturday afternoon that two male bodies had been found, along with objects linked to passengers known to be on the flight, including a leather briefcase with a ticket for the flight inside. The bodies and objects were found several hundred kilometers off Brazil's northern coast, not far from where the flight emitted its last signals.
Naturally, after hearing reports of a passenger jet going mysteriously silent from contact over the Atlantic Ocean with electrical failure hints, one thinks of the huge enigma that is the Bermuda Triangle. Rest assured, however, that the fate of Air France Flight 447 definitely will not include an entry into the disappearances of the Triangle, since it was no where near the area.
After setting out from Rio de Janeiro, the plane encountered storms and lost contact somwhere around the equator, where now search teams are finding airplane seats floating some 350 miles northeast of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago.
Still the skeptics would like to heighten the drama by associating the Bermuda Triangle with this recent mystery. What's nextasserting that the Triangle is now some sort of giant trapezoid? Perhaps the mysterious area got bored with hanging out off the US coast and decided to journey to Brazil for some caipirinhas?
Although authorities haven't yet confirmed that the floating seats are indeed from the missing Air France jet, it's pretty easy to see on the map above that for once, this possible tragedy has nothing to do with aliens or electromagnetic fields or the ghost of Amelia Earhart. It does, however, have everything to do with freak accidents and airplane safety.
[Air France photo: caribb]
This morning's beautiful weather quickly turned sour as the world learned of the possible loss of Air France Flight 447, traveling from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Paris with 228 people on board.
Around 10pm EST, the twin-engine Airbus hit turbulence caused by storms over the Atlantic Ocean, causing an automatic message "signaling electrical circuit malfunction" to be sent out from the airplane. According the AP, there has been no other information regarding the fate of the plane except for the simple admittance that Brazil's air force has begun "searching near the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha," an area 1,500 miles northeast of Rio.
Flight 447, which was supposed to have arrived at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport at 5:15am EST, is feared to have been hit by lightning. If lost, this possible crash would be the first for Air France since the tragedy of the Concorde's 2000 crash, which killed 113 people. Now however, we're looking at double the loss of life and a much more difficult location and recovery area.
We simply can't hold back: is anyone else thinking of Oceanic Flight 815? We'll be hoping for the best and watching the news as it rolls in, attempting to banish thoughts of Lost from our heads.
· Air France Missing Plane May Be First Fatal Loss Since Concorde [Bloomberg]
· Missing French jet hit thunderstorms over Atlantic [AP]
· Tragedies Coverage [Jaunted]
[Air France photo: caribb]
Ninety-two people are believed to be dead after a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck towns and cities across central Italy yesterday. The closest city to the epicenter of the quake was L'Aquila, a town about 60 miles away from Rome in the Abruzzo Region.
According to news reports, between 3,000 and 10,000 buildings in the medieval city may have been damaged. Between 40,000 and 50,000 people overall are believed to have lost their homes.
The quake struck around 3:30 a.m. and could be felt as far away as Rome, some 95 miles to the west, where it rattled furniture and set off car alarms. Part of a student dormitory, a church tower and other historic buildings collapsed in L’Aquila, and the town’s cathedral was damaged.
The city of L'Aquila is described as a "Walled city with narrow streets, lined by Baroque and Renaissance buildings" with none of the older buildings built to withstand earthquakes. Right now, the city is focusing on rescuing any survivors who may be trapped in buildings or rubble. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has also declared a state of emergency as power lines are down throughout the affected region and some bridges and roads have been closed as a precaution.
Italy has had three major earthquakes in modern history, the last of which occurred in 2002 in the southern town of San Giuliano di Puglia which killed 28 people. Another deadly quake in the Umbria region in 1997 killed 10 people and destroyed Assisi's famed basilica.
[Photo: New York Times]