Tag Archives: Accidents

The Newest: Mayor says 1 useless, 1 lacking in coastal Alabama

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Listed below are the most recent developments on tropical climate:

ORANGE BEACH, Alabama — The mayor of a coastal Alabama city says one individual has died because of Hurricane Sally.

Mayor Tony Kennon of Orange Seaside tells The Related Press that the individual died Wednesday. He added that one different individual is lacking. Kennon stated no different particulars can be launched instantly.

Sally got here ashore Wednesday morning close to the favored trip vacation spot as a serious hurricane. Kennon says injury to the seaside was not too unhealthy.

Away from the seaside, in neighborhoods alongside canals and beside the bay, injury was worse than what the town suffered in Hurricane Ivan, which hit 16 years to the day earlier.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida’s governor is warning individuals within the state’s hard-hit panhandle to stay vigilant as Sally heads inland, warning main river flooding might come subsequent.

Gov. Ron DeSantis instructed a information convention Wednesday afternoon that Sally is dumping heavy rains because it treks inland throughout the Southeast. He stated that’s anticipated to trigger huge flooding of a number of Florida Panhandle rivers within the coming days.

“So that is sort of the preliminary salvo, however there’s going to be extra that you simply’re going to need to take care of,” DeSantis stated at an look on the state emergency operations heart in Tallahassee.

Because the rivers crest, DeSantis stated, areas that weren’t initially flooded by the passing hurricane might nonetheless be affected, with residents pressured to evacuate.

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MOBILE, Ala. — Rivers have begun to rise from Sally’s heavy rains, and no less than eight waterways in south Alabama and the Florida Panhandle are anticipated to hit main flood stage by Thursday.

Among the crests might break data, submerge bridges and flood some houses, the Nationwide Climate Service warned in a message late Wednesday.

In Alabama, affected waterways embrace the Styx and Fish rivers, Homicide Creek and Huge Escambia Creek. In Florida, main crests had been anticipated on the Perdido, Blackwater, Shoal and Yellow rivers, in keeping with forecasters.

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BAY MINETTE, Ala. — An electrical utility in south Alabama is warning individuals hit by energy outages from the passage of Sally that they might not get their lights again any time quickly.

Baldwin EMC, the electrical utility that companies Baldwin County and a part of a neighboring county in southeastern Alabama, posted on its Fb web page Wednesday that it had crews going out to evaluate the injury. However the utility warned clients they might be in for “extended, in depth outages as a result of quantity of injury.”

“We don’t wish to sugar coat this; we’re in it for the lengthy haul,” the message stated. Utility officers have requested individuals who had medical tools needing electrical energy to begin making different plans.

Greater than 500,00 residential and enterprise clients of utilities in Alabama and Florida have been hit with outages, poweroutage.us reported Wednesday afternoon.

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PENSACOLA, Fla. — Pensacola resident Rodney Landrum in contrast Hurricane Sally to highly effective Hurricane Ivan, which blasted ashore in neighboring Alabama in September 2004.

The 51-year-old pc database engineer recalled Hurricane Ivan as being “hellish, nightmarish.” It even blew tiles off his roof.

This time, Sally left his roof intact. And Landrum even slept as Sally blew ashore early Wednesday.

He didn’t expertise any flooding although many giant bushes got here down, together with an enormous tree that toppled on the roof of a neighbor.

“Numerous downed energy strains, a number of creeks overflowing,” stated Landrum after a drive in his neighborhood. “Nothing was open apart from one McDonalds, which had a line of about 45 automobiles.”

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PENSACOLA, Fla. — Sheriff David Morgan within the Florida Panhandle’s Escambia County has bristled at assertions that authorities had been unprepared for Hurricane Sally.

“Escambia County is rarely unprepared,” he stated at a information convention Wednesday afternoon. “if there’s a hurricane tonight, we’re ready to handle the hurricane. If there’s a riot tonight, we’re ready to handle that. We prepare for this stuff day in and day trip.”

Escambia Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Chip Simmons stated deputies fanned out into communities, on foot, in patrol automobiles and on bikes to offer help throughout the storm. Mentioned Simmons: “I noticed lots of people in misery. I noticed lots of people crying. I noticed lots of people giving of themselves — they had been serving to another person.”

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PASCAGOULA, Miss. — Mississippi constitution boat captain Rocky Bond is respiratory simple.

Hurricane Sally brought about the tide to rise about 4 toes (1.2 meters) in Pascagoula on Missisippi’s Gulf Coast. However after the waters receded, he discovered solely minor injury inflicted on docks and boat slips.

As an alternative, Hurricane Sally pummeled the Gulf Coast additional to the east of Mississippi.

“We had been fortunate,” Bond stated Wednesday. Just a few boards had been unfastened or lacking and a dock ramp doubtless washed away within the tide. He had been shifting boats to security for days.

Elsewhere, a lot of his mariner mates in neighboring coastal Alabama and the Florida Panhandle weren’t so lucky when Sally crashed ashore to the east. “They acquired hammered,” Bond stated. “Yachts sunk, and I imply massive yachts. All of the boats are unfastened, and every part’s simply washed up in particles piles. It’s chaotic.”

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MIAMI — Tropical Storm Sally has begun to unfold heavy rains into the U.S. Southeast because it strikes inland at a faster-than-expected tempo.

The Nationwide Hurricane Heart stated Wednesday afternoon that Sally has begun drenching components of jap Alabama and western Georgia. In the meantime, life-threatening flooding is continuous over parts of the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama hours after Sally crashed ashore as a hurricane.

At Four p.m. CDT, Sally’s heart was situated about 55 miles (85 kilometers) north-northeast of Pensacola on the Florida Panhandle. Sally had prime sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph). It’s shifting to the northeast at 7 mph (11 kph).

Forecasters say Sally’s core will transfer throughout southeastern Alabama throughout the evening and over central Georgia on Thursday earlier than sweeping over South Carolina later that evening. Because the storm continues to weaken, Sally is anticipated to grow to be a tropical melancholy someday Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.

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PENSACOLA, Fla. — Authorities in Pensacola, Florida, say 200 Nationwide Guard members shall be arriving Thursday in response to Hurricane Sally, which hit the Gulf Coast with wind and drenching rains which have brought about flooding.

At a Wednesday afternoon information convention, Escambia County authorities introduced a nightfall to daybreak curfew for the subsequent three days. Additionally they stated there have been 377 rescues so removed from water-stricken areas.

Sally lumbered ashore Wednesday morning close to the Florida-Alabama line as Class 2 hurricane with 105 mph (165 kph) winds and rain measured in toes, not inches. It has swamped houses and trapped individuals in excessive water because it creeps inland.

It has since weakened to a tropical storm.

PENSACOLA, Fla. — A number of boats docked at a pier in Pensacola, Florida, have sunk as Sally moved over the Gulf Coast.

Pensacola police spokesperson Mike Wooden additionally stated Wednesday he doesn’t know the whereabouts of a duplicate of one of many ships that made Christopher Columbus’s historic voyage.

Sally lumbered ashore Wednesday morning close to the Florida-Alabama line as Class 2 hurricane with 105 mph (165 kph) winds and rain measured in toes, not inches. It has swamped houses and trapped individuals in excessive water because it creeps inland for what might be an extended, sluggish and disastrous drenching throughout the Deep South.

It has since weakened to a tropical storm.

MIAMI — Sally has weakened to a tropical storm however the Gulf Coast area nonetheless faces points from the slow-moving storm’s drenching rains and flooding.

The U.S. Nationwide Hurricane Heart says the storm’s most sustained winds decreased Wednesday afternoon to close 70 mph (110 kph) with further weakening anticipated as Sally strikes inland.

As of 1 p.m. CDT, the storm was centered about 30 miles (45 kilometers) north-northeast of Pensacola, Florida, and shifting north-northeast close to 5 mph (7 kph).

Sally lumbered ashore Wednesday morning close to the Florida-Alabama line as Class 2 hurricane with 105 mph (165 kph) winds and rain measured in toes, not inches. It has swamped houses and trapped individuals in excessive water because it creeps inland for what might be an extended, sluggish and disastrous drenching throughout the Deep South.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey says some areas of the state are seeing historic flood ranges from slow-moving Hurricane Sally and extra flooding is anticipated all through the day.

Ivey urged individuals Wednesday to chorus from getting on roads until they completely need to and stated the perfect factor is for individuals to remain house.

Hurricane Sally lumbered ashore close to the Florida-Alabama line Wednesday morning with 105 mph (165 kph) winds and rain measured in toes, not inches. It has swamped houses and trapped individuals in excessive water because it creeps inland for what might be an extended, sluggish and disastrous drenching throughout the Deep South.

PENSACOLA, Fla. — A sheriff says Hurricane Sally has knocked out a bit of the brand new Three Mile Bridge in Pensacola, Florida, because the storm kilos the Gulf Coast with wind and rain.

At a information convention, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan confirmed that a part of the brand new bridge had come off amid the storm.

Sally made landfall early Wednesday close to Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Class 2 hurricane with prime winds of 100 mph (155 kph).

WASHINGTON — White Home press secretary Kayleigh McEnany says the White Home is “absolutely engaged” as Hurricane Sally kilos the Gulf Coast with wind and rain.

Talking Wednesday morning on Fox Information Channel’s “Fox & Buddies,” McEnany stated the Federal Emergency Administration Company can be absolutely engaged and cited President Donald Trump’s issuance of emergency declarations for the affected states.

McEnany didn’t have particulars on which officers the president had spoken with as of Wednesday morning however stated “it’s secure to say the White Home has been in energetic contact with all of those governors.”

Sally made landfall early Wednesday close to Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Class 2 hurricane with prime winds of 100 mph (155 kph).

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — Metropolis officers in Orange Seaside, Alabama, say they’ve acquired 120 calls after midnight from individuals whose houses had been flooded by Hurricane Sally.

Mayor Tony Kennon says between 50 and 60 individuals had been rescued and are staying in makeshift shelters Wednesday morning.

Kennon additionally stated there are individuals they have not been in a position to get to due to excessive water. However he stated they’re secure of their houses and shall be rescued as quickly because the water recedes.

In the meantime, U.S. Coast Guard crews primarily based in New Orleans are ready to make rescues if wanted, as quickly because the storm passes.

Sally made landfall early Wednesday close to Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Class 2 hurricane with prime winds of 100 mph (155 kph).

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GULF SHORES, Ala. — Hurricane Sally made landfall Wednesday morning close to Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Class 2 storm, pushing a surge of ocean water onto the coast and dumping torrential rain that forecasters stated would trigger harmful flooding from the Florida Panhandle to Mississippi and effectively inland within the days forward.

Shifting at an agonizingly sluggish three mph, Sally lastly got here ashore at 4:45 a.m. native time with prime winds of 105 mph (165 kmh), the Nationwide Hurricane Heart stated.

Sally’s northern eyewall had raked the Gulf Coast with hurricane-force winds and rain from Pensacola Seaside, Florida, westward to Dauphin Island, Alabama, for hours earlier than its heart lastly hit land.

Almost 400,00zero houses and companies are with out energy, in keeping with the utility tracker poweroutage.us, because the winds and rain down energy strains and flood streets and houses.

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Hurricane Sally’s northern eyewall is raking the Gulf Coast with hurricane-force winds and rain from Pensacola Seaside, Florida westward to Dauphin Island, Alabama, the Nationwide Hurricane Heart stated.

Forecasters say landfall will not come till later Wednesday when the middle of the very sluggish shifting hurricane lastly reaches the coast. Sally stays centered about 50 miles (75 kilometers) south-southeast of Cellular, Alabama and 40 miles (65 kilometers) southwest of Pensacola, Florida, with prime winds of 105 mph (165 kmh), shifting north-northeast at three mph (6 kmh).

Already bushes are falling, avenue indicators are swinging and automobiles are getting caught in floods in Gulf Shores, Alabama, in keeping with movies posted on social media. Greater than 300,00zero clients are with out energy in Alabama, Florida and Louisiana.

In the meantime Teddy has quickly intensified right into a hurricane and is forecast to grow to be a catastrophic Class 4, probably reaching Bermuda this weekend.

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MOSS POINT, Miss. – As Sally’s outer bands reached the Gulf Coast, the supervisor of an alligator ranch in Moss Level, Mississippi, hoped he wouldn’t need to dwell a repeat of what occurred on the gator farm in 2005.

That’s when about 250 alligators escaped their enclosures throughout Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge.

Tim Parker, supervisor of Gulf Coast Gator Ranch & Excursions, stated Sally has been a tense storm as a result of forecasters had been predicting a storm surge of as a lot as 9 toes within the space. However, he says he was feeling some aid after new surge predictions had gone down.

“Now they’re speaking about possibly two to 4 foot, which received’t be unhealthy right here,” Parker stated. “My car parking zone would possibly go underneath water. Our workplace would possibly partially go underneath water, but it surely’s not going to be too unhealthy.”

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PENSACOLA, Fla. — Sally has restrengthened into a strong Class 2 hurricane because it veers eastward and crawls towards a possible landfall between the Florida Panhandle and Cellular Bay.

The Nationwide Hurricane Heart stated early Wednesday that the storm’s sustained winds had elevated to 100 mph (161 kph).

The newest forecast monitor has the hurricane making landfall later Wednesday morning. The storm is barely shifting, creeping ahead at 2 mph (three kph).

About 1 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Sally was centered about 65 miles (105 kilometers) southeast of Cellular, Alabama, and 60 miles (95 kilometers) southwest of Pensacola, Florida.

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Backup driver in deadly Arizona Uber autonomous crash charged

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Prosecutors have filed a legal cost towards the backup driver of an autonomous Uber car that fatally struck a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix

PHOENIX — The backup Uber driver concerned within the first self-driving car fatality has been charged with negligent murder for being distracted within the moments earlier than fatally placing a girl in suburban Phoenix.

Maricopa County Legal professional Allister Adel’s workplace mentioned on Tuesday that Rafaela Vasquez was charged on Aug. 27 within the 2018 crash in Tempe that killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg. She pleaded not responsible throughout a listening to on Tuesday. Her lawyer didn’t instantly reply to an inquiry from The Related Press.

Prosecutors declined in March 2019 to file legal costs towards Uber, as a company, in Herzberg’s demise.

Vasquez, 46, advised investigators that she didn’t use her cell telephones earlier than the crash.

However the Nationwide Transportation Security Board concluded Vasquez’s failure to observe the highway as she watched the tv present “The Voice” on her telephone was the principle reason behind the crash.

The contributing components cited by the board included Uber’s insufficient security procedures and ineffective oversight of its drivers, Herzberg’s resolution to cross the road outdoors of a crosswalk, and the Arizona Division of Transportation’s inadequate oversight of autonomous car testing.

The board additionally concluded Uber’s de-activation of its automated emergency braking system elevated the dangers related to testing automated autos on public roads. As an alternative of the system, Uber relied on the human backup driver to intervene.

The Uber system detected Herzberg 5.6 seconds earlier than the crash. Nevertheless it however failed to find out whether or not she was a bicyclist, pedestrian or unknown object, or that she was headed into the car’s path, the board mentioned.

The demise reverberated all through the auto business and Silicon Valley and compelled different corporations to sluggish what had been a quick march towards autonomous ride-hailing companies on public roads.

Uber pulled its self-driving vehicles out of Arizona the day earlier than the NTSB issued a preliminary report on the crash, eliminating the roles of about 300 individuals who served as backup drivers and carried out different jobs linked to the autos.

Gov. Doug Ducey prohibited Uber from persevering with its exams of self-driving vehicles after Herzberg was run over.

A toxicology report confirmed that Herzberg examined constructive for methamphetamine.

Vasquez had beforehand spent greater than 4 years in jail for 2 felony convictions — making false statements when acquiring unemployment advantages and tried armed theft — earlier than beginning work as an Uber driver, in keeping with court docket data.

Vasquez’s first identify was listed on a driver’s license as Rafael, however police say Vasquez identifies as a girl and goes by the primary identify of Rafaela.

The choice to not criminally cost Uber in Herzberg’s demise was made by Yavapai County Legal professional Sheila Polk, whose officer dealt with the case after the prosecutor’s workplace in metro Phoenix cited a possible battle of curiosity for having beforehand participated in a public-safety marketing campaign with Uber.

The case was returned to prosecutors in metro Phoenix after the choice to not cost Uber had eradicated the battle of curiosity.

A trial for Vasquez is scheduled for Feb. 11, 2021.

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This story has been corrected to indicate Vasquez’s age is 46.

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Krisher reported from Detroit.

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Panel’s report blasts Boeing, FAA for crashes, seeks reforms

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A Home committee issued a scathing report Wednesday questioning whether or not Boeing and authorities regulators have acknowledged issues that triggered two lethal 737 Max jet crashes and whether or not both will likely be keen to make vital adjustments to repair them.

Employees members from the Democrat-controlled Transportation Committee blamed the crashes that killed 346 folks on the “horrific fruits” of failed authorities oversight, design flaws and an absence of motion at Boeing regardless of understanding about issues.

The committee recognized deficiencies within the Federal Aviation Administration approval course of for brand spanking new jetliners. However the company and Boeing have mentioned certification of the Max complied with FAA laws, the 246-page report mentioned.

“The truth that a compliant airplane suffered from two lethal crashes in lower than 5 months is evident proof that the present regulatory system is essentially flawed and must be repaired,” the workers wrote within the report launched early Wednesday.

The report highlights the necessity for laws to repair the approval course of and take care of the FAA’s delegation of some oversight duties to plane producer staff, mentioned Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon.

“Clearly the system is insufficient,” DeFazio mentioned. “We will likely be adopting vital reforms.”

He wouldn’t give particulars, saying committee leaders are in talks with Republicans about laws. He mentioned the committee will not scrap the delegation program, and he hopes to succeed in settlement on reforms earlier than 12 months’s finish.

A Senate committee on Wednesday might make adjustments to a bipartisan invoice giving the FAA extra management over choosing firm staff who log off on security choices. One enchancment could also be {that a} aircraft with vital adjustments from earlier fashions would want extra FAA overview.

The Home report stems from an 18-month investigation into the October 2018 crash of Lion Air flight 610 in Indonesia and the crash of Ethiopian Airways flight 302 in March of 2019. The Max was grounded worldwide shortly after the Ethiopia crash. Regulators are testing planes with revamped flight management software program, and Boeing hopes to get the Max flying once more late this 12 months or early in 2021.

Kin of people that died within the crashes mentioned the report exposes the reality.

“It was an unforgivable crime, and Boeing nonetheless desires to return the plane to service shortly,” mentioned Ababu Amha, whose spouse was a flight attendant on the Ethiopia Airways jet. “All these answerable for the accident ought to pay the worth for his or her actions.”

Paul Njoroge of Toronto, whose spouse, three younger youngsters and mother-in-law died within the Ethiopia crash whereas touring to Kenya to see grandparents, mentioned the report revealed Boeing’s tradition of placing revenue forward of security.

“There are situations within the report the place some staff inside Boeing tried to lift security concern points. However their issues could be slammed by folks inside Boeing,” mentioned Njoroge, who’s amongst these suing the corporate. “This is a corporation that ought to focus extra on delivering protected planes.”

Eighteen months after the crash, Njoroge mentioned he nonetheless depends on assist from others. “It simply does not go away. It by no means leaves my thoughts,” he mentioned.

The investigators primarily targeted on the rationale Boeing was in a position to get the jet authorized with minimal pilot coaching: It satisfied the FAA that the Max was an up to date model of earlier technology 737s.

However in actual fact, Boeing geared up the aircraft with software program known as MCAS, an acronym for Maneuvering Traits Augmentation System, which routinely lowers the aircraft’s nostril to stop an aerodynamic stall. Initially, pilots worldwide weren’t instructed in regards to the system, which Boeing mentioned was wanted as a result of the Max had greater, extra highly effective engines that have been positioned additional ahead on the wings than older 737s and tended to push the nostril up.

In each crashes, MCAS repeatedly pointed the nostril down, forcing pilots into unsuccessful struggles to maintain the planes aloft.

Investigators mentioned they discovered a number of situations wherein Boeing hid details about MCAS from the FAA and airways.

The Chicago-based firm didn’t disclose that MCAS labored off a single sensor that measures a aircraft’s pitch. It additionally didn’t disclose {that a} gauge that might have alerted pilots to a malfunctioning sensor didn’t work on many of the jets.

Boeing additionally hid that it took an organization take a look at pilot over 10 seconds to find out that MCAS was working and reply to it, a situation that the pilot discovered to be “catastrophic,” in keeping with the report. Federal pointers assume pilots will reply to this situation inside 4 seconds.

4 Boeing staff working as “approved representatives” with permission to behave on the FAA’s behalf to validate plane methods knew in regards to the pilot’s sluggish response. However there was no proof that they reported this to the FAA, the report mentioned.

One other approved consultant raised issues in 2016 about hazards of MCAS repeatedly pointing the aircraft’s nostril down, however these by no means made it to the FAA.

In keeping with the report, Boeing needed to maintain particulars about MCAS from the FAA so it would not require extra pilot coaching. That may damage Boeing’s gross sales pitch for the Max, that pilots of older 737s wouldn’t want intensive simulator coaching to fly the brand new planes.

Investigators discovered that below a 2011 contract with Southwest Airways, Boeing would have needed to knock $1 million off the worth of every Max if simulator coaching was added.

“That drove an entire lot of actually unhealthy choices internally at Boeing, and in addition the FAA didn’t choose up on these items,” DeFazio mentioned.

He added that Boeing had an inside assembly in 2013 and agreed by no means to speak about MCAS exterior the corporate. At one level, MCAS was listed in pilot coaching manuals, however a certified consultant authorized its elimination, he mentioned.

In an announcement, Boeing mentioned it has labored to strengthen its security tradition and has discovered from errors. The corporate mentioned it has has integrated many suggestions from committees and specialists who’ve examined Max points.

“Change is all the time onerous and requires a each day dedication, however we as an organization are devoted to doing the work,” the assertion mentioned.

The FAA mentioned it seems ahead to creating enhancements, and adjustments already are being made based mostly on inside and impartial evaluations.

“These initiatives are targeted on advancing general aviation security by bettering our group, processes, and tradition,” the FAA mentioned, including that it’s requiring quite a few Max design adjustments earlier than it may possibly fly once more.

When it got here to FAA oversight, investigators mentioned they discovered a number of examples of company managers overruling technical and security specialists at Boeing’s behest. A draft inside FAA security tradition survey mentioned that many within the FAA imagine leaders “are overly involved with attaining the enterprise oriented outcomes of trade stakeholders and usually are not held accountable for safety-related choices,” the report acknowledged.

In an interview with investigators, Keith Leverkuhn, former Boeing common supervisor for the Max who was promoted within the firm, mentioned he thought of improvement of the Max a hit regardless of the crashes.

“I do problem the suggestion that the event was a failure,” the report quotes him as saying.

Investigators wrote that this raised doubts about Boeing’s means to alter.

“Solely a real, holistic, and assertive dedication to altering the cultural points unearthed within the committee’s investigation … can improve aviation security and really assist each Boeing and the FAA study from the dire classes of the 737 Max tragedies,” the report mentioned.

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Airways Author David Koenig in Dallas and Elias Meseret in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, contributed to this report.

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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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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.

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

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Physical therapist charged with killing his wife, 3 children

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Authorities in Florida have charged a physical therapist with killing his wife, their three young children and a dog in an affluent suburb near Walt Disney World

KISSIMMEE, Fla. —
A physical therapist killed his wife, their three young children and a dog in an affluent Florida suburb near Walt Disney World and then left their bodies there for days, authorities said Wednesday.

Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson said at news conference that Anthony Todt faces homicide charges for the deaths of his wife, Megan, and their three children ranging in ages from 4 to 13. The suspect had confessed to the slayings and was cooperating with detectives, according to the sheriff.

“We grieve along with the victims’ family and friends,” Gibson said. “I cannot understand what would cause a person to commit such evil and horrendous acts.”

The bodies were discovered Monday in a rental home that sold last April for $650,000 in Celebration, an affluent community near Disney World. Deputies had been called to the house to assist federal agents who had an arrest warrant for Todt, the sheriff said.

Gibson wouldn’t say how the wife and children died, stating he would wait until the coroner released results. He said they appeared to have been killed in late December.

Todt had a physical therapy practice in Connecticut where he would travel during the work week, returning to Florida to be with his family on weekends, the sheriff said.

Out-of-state family members of the Todts had asked for a well-being check in late December. Then, earlier this month, federal agents asked deputies to get in contact with Todt. Both times deputies went to the house but saw nothing out of place, Gibson said.

“We didn’t notice anything suspicious,” the sheriff said.

The sheriff didn’t state a motive for the killing and also didn’t elaborate on what Todt was being investigated for by federal agents.

Todt was booked into jail on Wednesday. Since being taken into custody on Monday, he had been in a hospital where he was taken after ingesting Benadryl and making comments about wanting to harm himself during his arrest.

Court records in Osceola County show the landlord of their five-bedroom home was seeking their eviction, saying they owed him more than $5,000. They were paying a monthly rent of more than $4,900.

Online records in state court in New York showed Todt and his businesses were facing debts to creditors.

Todt and his businesses were on the hook for more than $63,000 in one case and more than $36,000 in another case from two judgments issued last year in Ontario County, New York, the records show.

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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.

——

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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Airlines face scrutiny for continuing to fly in Iran

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Despite warnings to avoid flying over Iran and the Persian Gulf, several airlines continued to do so, including a Ukrainian airliner that crashed and killed 176 people

Airlines are coming under increasing scrutiny for continuing to fly in Iran after a missile barrage and warnings by U.S. safety regulators about the dangerous conditions.

American, British and Canadian officials said Thursday it is “highly likely” that Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner near Tehran this week, possibly by accident during a time of high political tension in the region.

About two and one-half hours before the Ukraine International Airlines jet with 176 people on board took off, the Federal Aviation Administration issued emergency orders that prohibited American pilots and airlines from flying over Iran, the Persian Gulf or the Gulf of Oman.

The notices warned that heightened military activity and political tension in the Middle East raised “an inadvertent risk” to U.S. aircraft “due to the potential for miscalculation or mis-identification.”

Foreign airlines aren’t bound by FAA directives, but they often follow them. In this case, however, several large international carriers including Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and Aeroflot continued to fly in and out of Tehran after the missiles were launched, after the FAA warning, and after the Ukrainian jetliner crashed, according to data from Flightradar24, which tracks flights around the world.

“It was awfully peculiar and awfully risky,” said Peter Goelz, a former managing director of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. “That’s a theater of war and these guys were acting like there was nothing going on.”

Goelz said airlines should have canceled all flights when Iran fired a barrage of missiles at military bases inside Iraq that house U.S. troops. Those attacks occurred the night before the Ukrainian plane was scheduled to leave Tehran.

Despite the FAA warnings, planes kept flying at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport. After the FAA notices, 12 airliners took off or landed without incident early Wednesday, according to data from Flightradar24. Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 was No. 13.

By late Thursday, some major airlines had changed their thinking. A Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Tehran turned back over Romania and headed back toward Germany. Austrian Airlines said on Twitter that “due to the latest reports and the changed assessment of the security situation for the airspace around Tehran airport,” it canceled a flight Thursday and another Friday. Turkish Airlines temporarily halted flights to Iran and Iraq.

Some safety experts defended the airlines and said that if turns out the Ukrainian plane was shot down, even by accident, the blame rests entirely with Iran. Under international agreements, countries are obligated to monitor their own airspace and tell operators about changes in safety conditions. The governments are expected to know more than airlines, especially those from other countries, as was the case in the loss of the Ukraine International Airlines plane.

“I don’t think you can fault the airline,” said John Cox, a former airline pilot and now a safety consultant. “Iran could have shut their airspace down if they believed there was a threat.”

Airliners rarely get hit by missiles, although the threat has existed for many years. Aviation-security experts worry about portable, shoulder-carried weapons that could be used against planes as they take off or land — when they are closest to the ground.

It takes more sophisticated weapons to threaten jets at cruising altitude. That, however, is exactly what happened to Malaysia Airlines flight 17, which was brought down by a Russian-made Buk missile in July 2014 as it flew about 33,000 feet over Ukraine, on the way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board died.

In that incident and the 1988 downing of an Iranian airliner by a missile fired from the U.S. Navy cruiser USS Vincennes – killing all 290 people on the plane – it appeared that the combatants fired their weapons before they were certain whether the target was a military plane or a civilian one, Cox said.

This week’s crash in Iran “is a needless tragedy, but it doesn’t change my view of the safety of aviation,” Cox said.

Goelz said, however, that airlines need to be more stringent in tracking combat zones and avoiding them.

In 2014, aviation authorities issued warnings about Ukrainian airspace, telling airlines to fly above a certain altitude because of the fighting involving pro-Russia rebels armed with Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, who had already shot down government military planes.

Some airlines opted to fly around Ukraine completely, even though that meant longer flights and more fuel burn. Malaysia Airlines opted to keep flying over Ukraine, just at a higher altitude. The result was catastrophic.

“If you told passengers, ‘It’s going to take a couple more hours to get where you want to go, or we can get you there quicker but you might get shot down,’ I think they would say, ‘We’ll take the extra hours,’” Goelz said.

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International air crash deaths fall by greater than half in 2019

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Far fewer folks died in main air crashes all over the world final 12 months

FRANKFURT, Germany —
The variety of deaths in main air crashes across the globe fell by greater than half in 2019, in line with a report by an aviation consulting agency.

The To70 consultancy mentioned Wednesday that 257 folks died in eight deadly accidents in 2019. That compares to 534 deaths in 13 deadly accidents in 2018.

The 2019 dying toll rose in late December after a Bek Air Fokker 100 crashed Friday on takeoff in Kazakhstan, killing 12 folks. The worst crash of 2019 concerned an Ethiopian Airways Boeing 737 MAX airplane that crashed March 10, killing 157 folks.

The report mentioned deadly accidents in 2018 and 2019 that led to the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX raised questions on how aviation authorities approve aviation designs derived from older ones, and about how a lot pilot coaching is required on new techniques.

The group mentioned it expects the 737 MAX to finally achieve permission to fly once more in 2020.

The report mentioned the deadly accident charge for big planes in industrial air transport fell to 0.18 deadly accidents per million flights in 2019 from 0.30 accidents per million flights in 2018. Meaning there was one deadly accident for each 5.58 million flights.

The agency’s annual compilation of accident statistics harassed that aviation must hold its concentrate on the fundamentals of getting well-designed and well-constructed plane flown by well-trained crews.

Final 12 months might have seen fewer deaths however didn’t equal the historic low of 2017, which noticed solely two deadly accidents, involving regional turboprops, that resulted within the lack of 13 lives.

This report is predicated on crashes involving bigger plane used for many industrial passenger flights. It excludes accidents involving small planes, navy flights, cargo flights and helicopters.

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