Tag Archives: Accidents and disasters

Water shortages in US West likelier than beforehand thought

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Fashions launched by the U.S. authorities recommend a future with much less water could arrive before beforehand projected for the seven states that depend on the Colorado River

CARSON CITY, Nev. — There’s an opportunity water ranges within the two largest man-made reservoirs in america might dip to critically low ranges by 2025, jeopardizing the regular circulate of Colorado River water that greater than 40 million folks depend on within the American West.

After a comparatively dry summer season, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation launched fashions on Tuesday suggesting looming shortages in Lake Powell and Lake Mead — the reservoirs the place Colorado River water is saved — are extra possible than beforehand projected.

In contrast with a mean 12 months, solely 55% of Colorado River water is flowing from the Rocky Mountains all the way down to Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona line. As a result of below-average runoff, authorities scientists say the reservoirs are 12% extra prone to fall to critically low ranges by 2025 than they projected within the spring.

“It is a fairly vital improve over what was projected in April because of the declining runoff this 12 months,” hydrologist Carly Jerla stated.

The forecast might complicate already-fraught negotiations between Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Mexico over future shares of the river that provides their cities and farms. These talks will draw up new agreements by 2026 over use of the river that is below siege from local weather change and extended drought.

A few of city and agricultural water customers have been compelled to preserve water to safe the river long run, nevertheless it stays overtapped. And as cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas continue to grow, the area is simply getting thirstier.

“We all know that hotter temperatures have contributed to the drought of the final 21 years, and we all know that they’ve exacerbated it,” Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman stated.

Not like the 24-month projections that the company makes use of to allocate water to the seven states and Mexico, the fashions launched Tuesday simulate varied climate and utilization patterns to assist water customers put together for various situations.

Scientists use what’s known as the Colorado River Simulation System to challenge future ranges of the 2 reservoirs. They employed “stress testing” strategies based mostly on river flows since 1988 to find out potential shortages if drought situations persist.

Arizona, Nevada and Mexico agreed to cuts for the primary time below a drought contingency plan signed final 12 months. The water stage in Lake Mead sits at 1,083 toes (330 meters). When projections drop under 1,075 toes (328 meters), Nevada and Arizona will face deeper cuts mandated by the plan.

Stress take a look at fashions recommend a 32% likelihood that Lake Mead will fall under 1,075 toes by 2022 and a 77% likelihood by 2025. The mannequin’s median estimates point out Lake Mead will drop by 35 toes (11 meters) by 2026.

The water stage in Lake Powell is at 3,598 toes (1,097 meters), and estimates recommend it might drop by 50 toes (15 meters) by 2026.

Burman stated the fashions present beneficial data to cities and farms getting ready for the longer term as drought persists and common temperatures pattern upward. She stated drought contingency plans are an efficient mechanism to deal with the projected shortages — for now.

“I believe what the projections are exhibiting us is we have now better uncertainty than we did final 12 months,” she stated.

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Sam Metz is a corps member for the Related Press/Report for America Statehouse Information Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points.

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Virus disaster ebbs in China, spreads worry throughout the West

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PARIS —
The coronavirus disaster shifted more and more westward towards the Mideast, Europe and america on Tuesday, with governments taking emergency steps to ease shortages of face masks and different provides for front-line docs and nurses.

“We’re involved that international locations’ talents to reply are being compromised by the extreme and rising disruption to the worldwide provide of private protecting gear, brought on by rising demand, hoarding and misuse,” stated the World Well being Group’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We won’t cease COVID-19 with out defending our well being employees.”

All over the world, deaths in Italy surged to 79, making it the deadliest reported outbreak exterior China. Twenty-three members of Iran’s Parliament and the pinnacle of the nation’s emergency companies had been reported contaminated. South Korea began drive-thru testing. And in Spain’s Basque area, at the least 5 docs and nurses had been contaminated and practically 100 well being care employees had been being held in isolation.

The mushrooming outbreaks contrasted with optimism in China, the place hundreds of recovered sufferers had been going dwelling and the variety of new infections dropped to the bottom degree in a number of weeks.

Worldwide, greater than 92,000 folks have been sickened and over 3,100 have died, the overwhelming majority of them in China. The variety of international locations hit by the virus reached at the least 70, with Ukraine and Morocco reporting their first circumstances.

Virus clusters in america led faculties and subways to sanitize, quickened the seek for a vaccine and unfold fears amongst nursing dwelling residents, who’re particularly weak. The variety of the infections within the U.S. topped 100 and the loss of life toll climbed to 9. The entire deaths had been in Washington state, and most of them had been residents of a Seattle-area nursing dwelling.

The U.S. Federal Reserve introduced the most important interest-rate reduce in over a decade to attempt to counter the anticipated injury to the economic system, and shares rose briefly on Wall Avenue in response earlier than slumping once more. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell stated the virus “will certainly weigh on financial exercise each right here and overseas for a while.”

Different Group of Seven international locations appeared reluctant to observe go well with with their very own cuts, most likely as a result of lots of their rates of interest are already close to or beneath zero.

The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration gave well being care employees the OK to make use of an industrial kind of respirator masks typically used to guard building employees from mud and particles.

Iran’s supreme chief ordered the army to help well being officers in combating the virus, which authorities stated has killed 77 folks. Among the many useless are a confidant of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s former ambassador to the Vatican and a not too long ago elected member of Parliament.

Iran’s judiciary chief, Ebrahim Raisi, stated some persons are stockpiling medical provides for revenue and urged prosecutors to point out no mercy. “Hoarding sanitizing objects is taking part in with folks’s lives, and it isn’t ignorable,” he stated.

France’s president introduced the federal government will take management of present and future shares of face masks to make sure they might go to well being employees and coronavirus sufferers, and the finance minister warned that binge-shopping for family necessities may set off shortages. The nation reported a complete of greater than 200 circumstances and 4 deaths.

“On this interval we’re going via — we have now entered a part that may final weeks and, undoubtedly, months -– it’s indispensable to have readability, resilience, sang-froid and willpower to cease the epidemic” French President Emmanuel Macron stated throughout a go to to the federal government’s virus disaster heart.

South Korea noticed its largest day by day enhance in new circumstances Tuesday, with 851 extra infections reported, largely in and across the southeastern metropolis of Daegu. In all, about 5,200 folks in South Korea have examined constructive for the virus.

Within the capital of Seoul, drive-thru virus testing facilities started working, with employees dressed head-to-toe in white protecting fits leaning into automobiles with mouth swabs, a transfer meant to restrict contact with potential carriers of the sickness. Troops had been additionally dispatched throughout town to spray streets and alleys with disinfectant.

In China, the depend of recent circumstances dropped once more Tuesday, with simply 125 reported. It’s nonetheless by far the hardest-hit nation, with over 80,000 infections and about 95% of the world’s deaths.

“We scrutinized this knowledge and we consider this decline is actual,” stated WHO outbreak professional Maria Van Kerkhove, who traveled to China as a part of a staff from the U.N. company. She stated the extraordinary measures taken there, together with the lockdown of greater than 60 million folks, had a major impact on the course of the outbreak.

“We consider {that a} discount of circumstances in different international locations, together with Italy, Korea, Iran, in all places, that that is potential,” she stated.

China’s ambassador to the United Nations stated the nation is profitable its battle in opposition to COVID-19. “We’re not removed from the approaching of the victory,” Zhang Jun stated.

In Japan, questions continued to construct in regards to the destiny of the Olympics.

The nation’s Olympic minister, Seiko Hashimoto, stated Japan is “making the utmost effort” to proceed with the video games’ opening on July 24 in Tokyo. However she advised parliament that the nation’s contract with the Worldwide Olympic Committee specifies solely that the video games be held in 2020, which means they could possibly be postponed to later within the yr if obligatory.

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Hinnant reported in Paris. Contributors embrace Martin Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber in Washington; Jamey Keaten in Geneva; Maria Cheng in London; Matt Sedensky in Bangkok; Nicole Winfield and Frances D’Emilio in Rome; Aritz Parra in Madrid; Chris Grygiel in Seattle; Kim Tong-Hyung and Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea; Stephen Wade in Tokyo; Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran; and Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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Observe AP protection of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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Carolina beats Toronto 6-3 with help of emergency goaltender

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TORONTO —
David Ayres was sitting in the stands with his wife at Scotiabank Arena when Carolina Hurricanes goalie James Reimer went down with an injury.

The on-call emergency netminder in Toronto, Ayers left his seat and got half dressed into his gear on the off chance something might happen to Carolina’s second option, Petr Mrazek.

Midway through the second period, Ayres noticed his cell phone started to blow up. What he didn’t realize was Mrazek had been hurt in a scary collision with Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford and was down on the ice.

Next thing the 42-year-old Zamboni driver knew, he was walking down the tunnel and into the spotlight.

And not long after, he had an improbable first NHL win. He is the oldest goalie in NHL history to win his regular-season debut.

Ayres allowed goals on the first two shots he faced before settling down and stopping the next eight in a suffocating defensive performance by his new teammates as Carolina picked up a stunning 6-3 victory over the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

“I had a couple of text messages that told me to get in there,” Ayres said in front a throng of reporters. “I hadn’t seen the footage (of Mrazek’s injury). I was in the media room by myself and a guy came in and said, ‘Get going. Get ready.’

“It was wild, it was fun,” said Ayres, who gets paid $500 and gets to keep his jersey.

Ayres, who had a kidney transplant 15 years ago and wasn’t sure if he would ever play hockey again, has been a practice goalie with the Leafs and the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, for the last eight years.

The native of nearby Whitby, Ontario, faces shots from professional players on an almost-daily basis during the season, but never thought he’d be called into service in an NHL game.

“These guys were awesome,” Ayres said. “They said to me, ‘Have fun with it, don’t worry about how many goals go in, this is your moment, have fun with it.'”

He did more than that, and was greeted with raucous cheers from the Hurricanes in their locker room after finishing a post-game TV interview.

“I had no idea I was going to get a shower before I got in the shower,” Ayres, the game’s first star, said with a grin. “I got one.”

Not long after the final buzzer, the Hurricanes were hawking T-shirts on Twitter sporting the stand-in goalie’s No. 90.

“It’s pretty special,” Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I told the guys after the game, ‘Thank him because that just gave (us) an incredible memory.'”

Warren Foegele scored twice, Martin Necas had a goal and an assist, and Lucas Wallmark, Nino Niederreiter andTeuvo Teravainen provided the rest of the offense for Carolina.

“He probably dreams of playing in the National Hockey League,” Foegele said of Ayres. “What a moment for him. Something he’ll never forget, and something we won’t either.”

Alexander Kerfoot, Pierre Engvall and John Tavares scored for Toronto, which beat the Hurricanes 8-6 at home on Dec. 23. Kasperi Kapanen and Tyson Barrie picked up two assists each for the Leafs. Frederik Andersen made 41 saves.

Toronto was playing poorly before Mrazek went down with Carolina leading. Things didn’t get much better, even though Tavares and Engvall scored on consecutive attempts to make it 4-3 through 40 minutes.

“The reality is that the game really just stayed the same,” said head coach Sheldon Keefe, whose players mustered just seven shots in the third. “When the goalie switch happened, I talked to the team and said, ‘If we don’t change how we’re playing, they don’t even need a goalie. There’re no chances, no shots, there’s nothing happening.’

“They didn’t need a goaltender the way the game was going.”

Reimer started for the Hurricanes against his former team, but left with a lower-body injury in the first after being bowled over in his crease. He was replaced by Mrazek, who made 31 saves in Friday’s 5-2 home loss to the New York Rangers. But Carolina’s second option went down after that thunderous encounter with Clifford as both players raced for the puck along the sideboards with 8:41 left in the second.

That forced Ayres, who’s been the emergency goalie in Toronto for about half the games this season and is available to either team, into action for the remainder of game between clubs battling for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference.

“You kind of think, ‘Oh well how’s this gonna end up?'” Brind’Amour said. “That’s incredible. That’s why you do this.”

After the bizarre second that saw Carolina score four times, give up two goals, lose Mrazek, and have Ayres pressed into action, the Hurricanes made it 5-3 just 53 seconds into the third after jumping on a turnover and beating Andersen in tight.

Necas then made it 6-3 at 3:44 when he picked up a loose puck to finish off a chaotic sequence as boos rained down.

The jeers continued on a Leafs power play later in the period and got louder as the period wore on, with some fans chanting “Let’s Go Raptors!” as the final minutes ticked down.

“We obviously didn’t handle the circumstances of the game very well,” Leafs captain John Tavares said. “Might have been our poorest night of execution.

“We seemed like the team that played last night and traveled.”

Carolina trailed 1-0 after the first, but tied it at 5:46 of the second when Wallmark scored off a scramble. Niederrieter then blasted a one-timer on a power play at 9:43 before Foegele made it 3-1 at 10:49.

Mrazek was out of the game 30 seconds later.

Teravainen made it 4-1 with Clifford in the box for charging at 13:17, but Tavares scored on the first shot against Ayres, through the pads 19 seconds after that.

Engvall buried a loose puck on Toronto’s next shot at 15:10 to make it 4-3.

The Leafs, who were coming of an encouraging 4-0 win over Pittsburgh on Thursday, then got a power play — fans screamed “Shoot!” almost every time a Toronto player had the puck anywhere near the opposition net — but the Hurricanes didn’t allow anything through.

Ayres made his first save late in the second on Auston Matthews as Carolina led 4-3 through a wild 40 minutes and shut things down in the third.

“These guys,” Ayres said of what he’ll remember most. “How great they were to me. The crowd in Toronto was unreal. Even though I was on the other team they were so receptive. Every time I made a save I could hear them cheering for me.

“Awesome.”

NOTES: Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie was hurt with six minutes gone when Andrei Svechnikov took him hard into the end boards. The defenseman skated to the locker room favoring his right shoulder, but was back on the bench to start the second.

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

Maple Leafs: At Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports



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Air Canada jet lands safely in Toronto after losing a wheel

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Air Canada says everyone is safe after one of its planes landed in Toronto missing a wheel on a main landing gear

An Air Canada jet made a safe landing Tuesday in Toronto after losing one of its main landing wheels, apparently during takeoff from New York.

The airline said the Airbus A319 jet was carrying 120 passengers and five crew members. There were no injuries when the pilots made an emergency landing at Toronto Pearson International Airport, according to Air Canada.

The plane “experienced an issue with one of its six tires on take-off,” Air Canada said in a statement. The flight took off from New York’s LaGuardia airport. The airline said it had no further details pending an inspection.

The Airbus jet normally has two large wheels on each of the two main landing gears, and two smaller wheels under the nose. One of the two wheels on the right-side main landing gear was missing when the plane touched down.

It is rare for an airline plane to lose a tire or entire wheel, although in January a passenger took video of sparks flying and then a tire falling off another Air Canada flight during takeoff in Montreal. That plane circled and landed safely back at the same airport.

Most airline jets have more than one wheel on a landing gear, and wheels and tires are designed to withstand the extra load if another one fails.

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Minnesota Wild fire coach Bruce Boudreau

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The Minnesota Wild have fired coach Bruce Boudreau

ST. PAUL, Minn. —
The Minnesota Wild fired coach Bruce Boudreau on Friday with the goal of correcting some inconsistencies and making a late-season push for a playoff spot.

First-year general manager Bill Guerin said he felt the timing was right to move on from Boudreau and replace him with interim coach Dean Evason despite the Wild having won seven of their past 11 games. Boudreau was fired in the aftermath of a shootout loss to the New York Rangers.

“It’s not just one loss. It’s not one week. It’s a series of things,” Guerin said at a news conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. “We have shown that we can be (one of) the best teams in the league or the so-called best teams in the league. I think in some of the tighter game situations we could be a little bit better.”

This is the eighth coaching change in the NHL this season, and Boudreau is the sixth fired for team performance reasons. That matches the most for one season in NHL history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Minnesota is 27-23-7 and three points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with 25 games left. Guerin hopes a “new voice” from Evason helps the Wild return to the playoffs.

“This is all a matter of just winning games down the stretch,” Guerin said. “I expect this team to compete for a playoff spot.”

Boudreau, 65, was in his fourth season with the Wild. He had been hired by Chuck Fletcher, who has since been fired and joined Philadelphia as its GM. Boudreau took Minnesota to the playoffs in his first two seasons there.

Guerin took over last summer following the firing of one-season GM Paul Fenton. He said it was not his intent from the time he got the job to fire Boudreau.

“We had a good working relationship and we got along as people, as well,” Guerin said. “I like Bruce. He’s a good guy and I planned on seeing it through. I came in with an open mind and didn’t have a decision made. This was just something that’s been on my mind for a little while and I felt like today was the day.”

Boudreau is in his 13th season after previously coaching the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks. His team has made the playoffs in 10 of 12 full seasons, and his 567 wins rank 22nd.

Evason is in his second season with the Wild after coaching the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals the previous six years. He was an assistant under Boudreau for parts of five seasons in Washington.

Guerin said the front office will conduct a search for a full-time coach once this season is over. For now, it’s Evason’s team.

“Dean has his own thoughts and beliefs and what he believes is going to give us success,” Guerin said. “I have full confidence in him. The one thing I really do like about Dean is his passion, his fire for the game. I am hoping that that translates to the players.”

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports



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New virus has infected more than 60,000 people globally

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A viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 60,000 people globally

A viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 60,000 people globally. The World Health Organization has named the illness COVID-19, referring to its origin late last year and the coronavirus that causes it.

The latest figures reported by each government’s health authority as of Wednesday in Beijing:

— Mainland China: 1,367 deaths among 59,804 cases, mostly in the central province of Hubei.

— Hong Kong: 51 cases, 1 death

— Macao: 10

— Japan: 251, including 218 from a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, 1 death

— Singapore: 58

— Thailand: 33

— South Korea: 28

— Malaysia: 19

— Taiwan: 18

— Vietnam: 16

— Australia: 14

— Germany: 16

— United States: 14. Separately, one U.S. citizen died in China

— France: 11

— United Kingdom: 9

— United Arab Emirates: 8

— Canada: 7

— Philippines: 3 cases, including 1 death

— India: 3

— Italy: 3

— Russia: 2

— Spain: 2

— Belgium: 1

— Nepal: 1

— Sri Lanka: 1

— Sweden: 1

— Cambodia: 1

— Finland: 1

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The number of mainland Chinese cases has been corrected in this report.

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NTSB releases details in 2 crashes involving Tesla Autopilot

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SAN FRANCISCO —
An Apple engineer who died when his Tesla Model X slammed into a concrete barrier had previously complained about the SUV malfunctioning on that same stretch of Silicon Valley freeway.

His complaints were detailed in a trove of documents released Tuesday by federal investigators in two Tesla crashes involving Autopilot, one in California and the other in Florida.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the March 2018 crash that killed Walter Huang near Mountain View, California. It’s also probing a crash in Delray Beach, Florida, that happened about a year later and killed driver Jeremy Banner.

The documents say Huang told his wife that Autopilot had previously veered his SUV toward the same barrier on U.S. 101 near Mountain View where he later crashed. Huang died at a hospital from his injuries.

“Walter said the car would veer toward the barrier in the mornings when he went to work,” the Huang family’s attorney wrote in a response to NTSB questions.

Records from an iPhone recovered from the crash site showed that Huang may have been using it before the accident. Records obtained from AT&T showed that data had been used while the vehicle was in motion, but the source of the transmissions couldn’t be determined, the NTSB wrote. One transmission was less than a minute before the crash.

Huang had described Autopilot’s previous malfunctioning to his brother, the Huang family attorney wrote, in addition to talking with a friend who owns a Model X. Huang, a software engineer, discussed with the friend how a patch to the Autopilot software affected its performance and made the Model X veer, according to the attorney.

The Huang family is suing Tesla and California’s Department of Transportation for allegedly failing to maintain the highway.

Autopilot is a partially automated system designed to keep a vehicle in its lane and keep a safe distance from vehicles in front of it. It also can change lanes with driver approval. Tesla says Autopilot is intended to be used for driver assistance and that drivers must be ready to intervene at all times.

The full NTSB board is scheduled to hold a hearing on the Mountain View crash on Feb. 25. At that time, it will determine a cause and make safety recommendations.

NTSB staff members have already recommended that California transportation officials move faster to repair highway safety barriers damaged by vehicles.

A report from the agency says California officials failed to fix the barrier that was damaged in a crash 11 days before Huang was killed. In that incident, a 2010 Toyota Prius traveling over 75 mph (120 kmh) crashed against the attenuator, a cushion that protects vehicles from hitting the end of concrete lane dividers.

The California Highway Patrol responded to the March 12 crash but did not notify the state Department of Transportation of the damage as required, the NTSB said.

Huang’s 2017 Tesla Model X was traveling at 71 mph (114 kph) when it crashed against the same attenuator, which the NTSB determined had been damaged and repaired more frequently than any other left-exit in Caltrans’ District 4, which includes all of the San Francisco Bay Area.

In the three years before the Tesla crash, the device was struck at least five times, including one crash that resulted in fatalities. A car struck it again on May 20, 2018, about two months after the Tesla crash, the NTSB said.

NTSB first released some details from its investigation in September.

The California Department of Transportation said in a statement Tuesday that it has “identified and is implementing several steps to enhance monitoring and tracking of the repair of damage” to highway infrastructure.

“These efforts include updates to its policies and maintenance manual, training of staff, and enhanced reporting on the timely repair of high priority traffic safety devices,” Caltrans said.

In the Florida crash, Banner turned on the Autopilot function of his Model 3 sedan 10 seconds before the crash, then took his hands off the steering wheel, NTSB documents said. The car then drove underneath a tractor-trailer that was crossing in front of it, sheering off the car’s roof and killing Banner. It was eerily similar to another Florida crash in 2016 in which a Tesla on Autopilot went beneath a semi trailer.

The NTSB said in a preliminary report that it still hasn’t determined the cause of the crash. According to the report, traffic was light on the four-lane highway and dawn was breaking when Banner, 50, set his speed at 69 mph (111 kph) and activated the autopilot as he headed to work. The speed limit was 55 mph (88 kph). Seconds later, a tractor-trailer driven by Richard Wood, 45, pulled from a driveway and began to cross to the other side of the highway.

Wood said he saw two sets of car headlights coming toward him, but he thought he had time to make it across. “It was dark and it looked like the cars was back further than they was,” Wood told NTSB investigators four days after the crash.

A photo taken by the NTSB from Tesla’s front-end video camera showed Wood’s trailer fully blocking the road 1.5 seconds before the crash. Data from the Tesla’s computer shows that Banner hit his brakes less than a second before the crash, but the car went under the trailer. Wood says he saw a second car but it didn’t hit the trailer.

————

Krisher reported from Detroit. Terry Spencer contributed from Orlando, Florida.

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Spain confirms 2nd virus case; UK plane brings 200 evacuees

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Spain has confirmed its second case of the new virus from China and a plane evacuating more than 200 people from the Chinese city at the center of the epidemic has landed in Britain

MADRID —
Spain confirmed its second case of the new virus from China, and a plane evacuating more than 200 people from the Chinese city at the center of the epidemic landed Sunday in Britain.

The coronavirus case was detected in Mallorca, a popular vacation island in the Mediterranean Sea, Spain’s National Microbiology Center said. A British man who lives on the island contracted the virus at the end of January at a French ski resort where he came into contact with an infected person, according to Fernando Simón, head of Spain’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts and Emergencies.

The man, who was not identified, is healthy but is being kept in isolation in Palma de Mallorca, Simón told a news conference in Madrid. His wife and two daughters tested negative.

Authorities are working to identify all the people the British man came into contact with in Spain.

Spain’s first virus case was a German tourist diagnosed a week ago in the Canary Islands off northwest Africa.

Britain’s evacuation plane, the second one charted by the government, arrived Sunday morning at RAF Brize Norton. British officials said the flight brought back 105 British citizens and family members, as well as 95 European citizens and family members. A total of 13 staff and medics were also on board.

The passengers were being taken to a hotel in Milton Keys where they will be quarantined for 14 days.

Also on board the British evacuation flight were 22 people from Germany. They were taken to Berlin, where they were to be tested and quarantined at a hospital for two weeks as a precaution.

Another 17 European evacuees on the onward flight to Berlin were to be transported on to Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria and Romania on special flights.

Meanwhile, Italian health authorities in Tuscany were trying to re-trace the steps of a Taiwanese couple who stayed four days in a Florence hotel, flew to Hong Kong and then to Taiwan on Feb. 1 and were later confirmed to have the virus.

The virus death toll in China rose Sunday to 811, passing the number of fatalities in the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, and officials said nearly 37,200 people have been infected there.

Europe has seen a total of 38 infections in nine countries, including 14 in Germany.

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Sheila Norman-Culp in London, Geir Moulson in Berlin and Frances D’Emilio in Rome contributed to this story.

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Aviation experts puzzled after airliner dumps fuel over city

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LOS ANGELES —
Some aviation experts said Wednesday that they were puzzled after the crew of a commercial airliner decided to dump fuel at low altitude during an emergency landing, causing a vapor to fall on schoolyards and neighborhoods east of Los Angeles International Airport.

“No one is going to dump fuel where these guys did it over populated areas and schools. It’s a pretty outrageous thing,” said Ross Aimer, CEO of Aero Consulting Experts and a retired United Airlines pilot. “They should have gone over the ocean or landed heavyweight.”

Delta Air Lines said Flight 89 to Shanghai had an engine problem after takeoff Tuesday and needed to quickly return. The Boeing 777-200 landed safely after circling back over Los Angeles while dumping fuel to reach a safe landing weight, the airline said in a statement.

Los Angeles County firefighters were called to schools where nearly 60 children and adults were examined for minor skin and lung irritations, but none required hospitalization. Fire Inspector Sky Cornell also said monitoring showed the vapor wasn’t flammable.

When a plane is forced to turn back after takeoff, the weight of a full load of fuel carries a risk of damaging the jet during landing. That can be costly for airlines to fix. And even if there isn’t damage, airlines try to avoid overweight landings because they are required to inspect planes, which puts them out of service.

When turning back with a full fuel load, pilots have three choices, according to John Cox, a safety consultant and former airline pilot: burn the fuel, which can take hours, dump it or land overweight.

In case of a fire, he said, pilots will dump as much fuel as quickly as they can and land. A less dangerous situation tends to lead to using up or dumping fuel.

According to recorded radio communications, air traffic control asked the Delta crew if they wanted to return to LAX immediately or linger over the ocean “to hold and burn fuel.”

“We’re going to go ahead,” the pilot or co-pilot responded. “We’ve got it back under control. … We’re not critical.”

“OK, so you don’t need to hold or dump fuel or anything like that?” the controller asked.

“Ah, negative,” was the response.

But the plane did dump fuel as it headed back.

The Delta crew reported a compressor stall in the engine “but they got the engine back under control … they were not in an immediate threat condition, and they started out over water,” Cox said. “Why they continued to dump fuel at low altitude when they weren’t in a fuel-dumping area, and didn’t advise ATC (air traffic control) that they were dumping fuel — those are questions this crew is going to have to answer.”

The Federal Aviation Administration said it is investigating, citing procedures that “call for fuel to be dumped over designated unpopulated areas, typically at higher altitudes so the fuel atomizes and disperses before it reaches the ground.”

Scott Martin, a propulsion expert at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, said a stall puts more pressure on the compressor, and the Delta pilots might have assumed the worst — that they could soon face an engine failure that could cause parts to break off and become shrapnel capable of piercing the fuselage, fuel tanks or hydraulic lines.

That might also explain why they were flying at such low altitude — to avoid putting more stress on the troubled engine, he said.

“They may have decided, ‘We don’t have time to fly higher and dump the fuel, we need to get the fuel off now and get back down to the runway,’” Martin said.

A Delta official spoke at a press conference with school officials Wednesday but offered no further insight into the fuel dumping.

“I know that there are a lot of questions about the process that was followed and those kinds of things,” said Dana Debel, Delta’s managing director of government affairs. “There is an ongoing investigation that was opened immediately after the flight landed back.”

Little is known about the health effects of exposure to kerosene-type jet fuel, according to the federal Health and Human Services Department. Studies using military personnel suggest it can affect the nervous system, but that research involved people who work around jet fuel all the time. Rats that were fed kerosene showed no increase in tumors, the agency said in a 2017 summary.

The Los Angeles County Public Health Department said students that were exposed to the fuel vapor were sent home with instructions on how to clean themselves with soap and water and to thoroughly wash their clothes and to discard them if the odor remained.

“Some exposed individuals have experienced mild symptoms such as skin irritation and upper respiratory irritation such as cough,” the department said in a statement. “These symptoms are generally expected to improve on their own.”

Delta sent cleaning crews to work with Los Angeles Unified School District crews to clean outside areas of the campuses and all reopened Wednesday.

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Condon reported from New York City. Associated Press reporters David Koenig in Dallas and Ellen Knickmeyer in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

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Aussie PM defends response to fires; weather brings respite

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SYDNEY —
Cooling temperatures and calmer winds brought some relief Sunday to Australian communities raked by wildfires, but the heat stayed on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to accept responsibility for the crisis and take action.

“There has been a lot of blame being thrown around,” Morrison said at a news conference. “And now is the time to focus on the response that is being made. … Blame doesn’t help anybody at this time and over-analysis of these things is not a productive exercise.”

Morrison announced Saturday that he would dispatch 3,000 army, navy and air force reservists to help battle the fires. He also committed 20 million Australian dollars ($14 million) to lease fire-fighting aircraft from overseas.

But the moves did little to tamp down the criticism that he had been slow to act, even as he has downplayed the need for his government to address climate change, which experts say played a key role in supercharging the blazes.

As dawn broke over a blackened landscape Sunday, a picture emerged of disaster of unprecedented scale. The New South Wales Rural Fire Service said 150 fires were active in the state, 64 of them uncontrolled.

The wildfires have so far scorched an area twice the size of the U.S. state of Maryland, stretching across Australia’s southeast quadrant, its most densely populated. The fires have killed at least 24 people, including a 47-year-old man who died Saturday night while trying to defend a friend’s home from encroaching flames. Nearly 2,000 homes have been destroyed.

In New South Wales alone, the fires have killed nearly 500 million birds, reptiles and mammals, Sydney University ecologist Chris Dickman told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Australians know to expect summer wildfires. But the blazes arrived early this year, fed by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record.

“It’s not something we have experienced before,” New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

“The weather activity we’re seeing, the extent and spread of the fires, the speed at which they’re (moving), the way they are attacking communities that have never seen fire is unprecedented,” she said.

Scientists say there’s no doubt man-made global warming has played a major role in feeding the fires, along with factors like very dry brush and trees and strong winds.

Morrison, chided for past remarks minimizing the need to address climate change, has deflected criticism while trying to change his tone.

“There is no dispute in this country about the issue of climate change globally and its effect on global weather patterns, and that includes how it impacts in Australia,” the prime minister said.

“I have to correct the record here. I have seen a number of people suggest that somehow the government does not make this connection. The government has always made this connection and that has never been in dispute,” he said.

Morrison has faced widespread criticism for taking a family vacation in Hawaii at the start of the wildfire crisis, as well as for his sometimes distracted approach as the disaster has escalated and his slowness in deploying resources.

His handling of the deployment of reservists also came in for criticism Sunday. Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, who is leading the fight in New South Wales, said he learned of the deployment through media reports.

“It is fair to say it was disappointing and some surprise to hear about these things through public announcements in the middle of what was one of our worst days this season, with the second-highest number of concurrent emergency warning fires ever in the history of New South Wales,” he said.

Morrison was also forced to defend a video posted on social media Saturday that promoted the deployment of reservists and the government’s response to the wildfires.

On Sunday, cooler temperatures and lighter winds brought some relief to threatened communities, a day after thousands were forced to flee as flames reached the suburban fringes of Sydney.

Thousands of firefighters fought to contain the blazes, but many fires continued to burn out of control, threatening to wipe out rural townships and causing almost incalculable damage to property and wildlife.

On Saturday, a father and son who were battling flames for two days died on a highway on Kangaroo Island, off South Australia state. Authorities identified them as Dick Lang, a 78-year-old acclaimed bush pilot and outback safari operator, and his 43-year-old son, Clayton. Their family said their losses left them “heartbroken and reeling from this double tragedy.”

Lang, known as “Desert Dick,” led tours for travelers throughout Australia and other countries.

Meanwhile, Australia’s capital, Canberra, was enveloped in a smoky haze Sunday and air quality at midday was measured at 10 times the usual hazardous limit.

In New Zealand, the skies above Auckland were tinged orange by smoke from the bushfires and police were inundated with calls from anxious residents.

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McMorran reported from Wellington, New Zealand.

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