TIME Accident

2 Children Injured, 1 Critically, in Bouncy House Accident

Bounce House Bouncy House
Getty Images

One of the toddlers was in critical condition as a result of the accident

Two toddlers were injured on Sunday, one critically, when a bouncy house they were playing in was carried away by the wind, according to local reports. The bouncy house at a farm in New Hampshire traveled between 50 and 60 feet.

The bouncy house was not properly tethered to the ground at the time of the accident, WDHD reports. A two-year-old was critically injured during the accident and was airlifted to Tufts Medical Center in Boston, WCVB reports. His three-year-old companion was treated at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Nashua, N.H.

The incident is the latest in a string of bouncy house accidents, which child safety advocates have said is partially due to the fact that they can be purchased by anyone and most states lack safety guidelines.

TIME Accident

1 Dead, 20 Injured in Maine Hayride Crash

APTOPIX Hayride Accident
Emergency personnel work at the site of a hayride rollover that injured multiple people Harvest Hill Farms in Mechanic Falls on Route 126, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Gaabe Souza—Maine Today/AP

MECHANIC FALLS, Maine — Investigators are blaming a mechanical problem for the Halloween hayride crash that left a Maine teen dead and more than 20 other people hurt.

The state fire marshal’s office says the problem caused the vehicle towing the hay wagon not to stop before it careened down a hill and struck a tree Saturday night.

Officials say 17-year-old Cassidy Charette of Oakland was killed in the crash. Sgt. Joel Davis of the fire marshal’s office says she was with a group of friends who travel to the farm in Mechanic Falls every autumn.

Davis says the investigation is still ongoing and results will be forward to the district attorney to determine if there is criminal liability.

Davis says about a half-dozen people remained hospitalized Sunday. Their injuries don’t appear life-threatening.

TIME South Korea

South Korean Ferry Captain Says He Was ‘Confused’ During Sewol‘s Fatal Sinking

Lee Joon-seok
Lee Joon-seok, the captain of the sunken South Korean ferry Sewol, arrives at Gwangju District Court in Gwangju, South Korea, on June 10, 2014 Hyung Min-woo—AP

Captain Lee Joon-seok is on trial for negligent homicide

The captain of the ill-fated South Korean ferry that capsized in April killing more than 300 people told a courtroom this week he was “confused and not in his normal state of mind” when the accident occurred.

Lee Joon-seok made the claim repeatedly during his trial in the South Korean city of Gwangju, where he is on trial and charged with negligent homicide, reports the BBC.

Lee says he ordered the vessel to be abandoned but his command was not followed by crew members; however, prosecutors claim this contradicts an earlier statement the captain made to police, the BBC says.

Most of the passengers killed when Sewol capsized, en route to the resort island of Jeju in April 16, were high school students participating in a field trip. The public and politicians alike have lambasted the captain for abandoning his ship while hundreds remained aboard.

Days after the ferry capsized, South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye said the captain and his crew’s actions were “unforgivable” and “murderous.”

[BBC]

TIME Accident

Bus Crash in Delaware Kills 2, Injures 48

Delaware Bus Crash
Passengers from a tour bus are treated for injuries near the overturned bus at the Tybouts Corner on ramp from southbound Del. 1 to Red Lion Road in Bear, Del. on Sept. 21, 2014. John J. Jankowski—The Wilmington News-Journal/AP

The bus was traveling from Washington, D.C. to New York

A sightseeing tour bus crashed in Delaware on Sunday, killing two people and injuring 48, police said.

The bus, owned by New York-based company AM USA Express, was traveling from Washington, D.C. to New York City at the time of the crash, Delaware state police said. The names of the passengers who perished in the crash have not yet been released, though police have identified them as a 30-year-old female passenger from Turkey and a 54-year-old female passenger from New York.

The bus overturned near an exit ramp in New Castle, Delaware, according to the preliminary investigation. The bus was a part of a three-day tour hosted by E World Travel and Tours that began on Friday, according to police. Passengers are being treated at several hospitals in the area, and at least a few are reportedly in critical condition.

TIME Accident

Firefighter Injured While Doing Ice Bucket Challenge Dies

Ice Bucket Challenge-Firefighters Hurt
A Campbellsville Fire Department truck with the ladder extended remained at the scene where two firefighters were injured during an ice bucket challenge during a fundraiser for ALS on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Campbellsville, Ky. Dylan Lovan—AP

Tony Girder was too close to a power line last month when he helped students participate in an Ice Bucket Challenge

One of four firefighters hurt last month as they helped college students take part in an Ice Bucket Challenge has died of his injuries.

The killed firefighter, Tony Grider, suffered an electric shock when his fire truck’s ladder got too close to a power line. The incident happened shortly after the firefighters poured cold water on Campbellsville University students in Kentucky, the Associated Press reported last month.

Grider, 41, had been with the Campbellsville Fire Department for 16 years, reports WLKY Louisville. He is survived by five children and his wife, Gena.

[WLKY Louisville]

TIME Research

Gun Fatality Rates Vary Wildly By State, Study Finds

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg with Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y. at a photo op in the Cannon House Office Building with mayors from around the country participating in the 2007 National Summit of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg with Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y. at a photo op in the Cannon House Office Building with mayors from around the country participating in the 2007 National Summit of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Scott J. Ferrell—CQ-Roll Call,Inc./Getty Images

While the national mortality rate stayed level between 2000 and 2010, death rates rose in Massachusetts and Florida and declined in states like California

The rate of death by firearm remained constant in the United States over the 2000s, according to a new study in health journal BMJ — but the situation varied dramatically between states.

Research found that the rates of gun fatalities rose in Massachusetts and Florida between 2000 and 2010 and declined in states like California, North Carolina and Arizona.

“We showed no change in national firearm mortality rates during 2000–2010, but showed distinct state-specific patterns with racial and ethnic variation and by intent,” the study reads.

State gun restrictions appeared to have a varying effect on gun fatality rates, according to the study. California, for instance, has some of the most stringent laws regarding gun ownership and saw a decline in violence. But Massachusetts enacted tough gun laws in 1998, just before the beginning of the study, and still saw an increase in the rate of gun deaths. The study suggests that the increase can be attributed to an influx in firearms from surrounding states.

Looking at the overall numbers over the 11-year period, the chance of dying from a firearm varied dramatically between states, from a death rate of 3 per 100,000 in Hawaii to more than 18 per 100,000 in Louisiana.

The study also found that racial disparities persist across the country. African Americans are twice as likely to die of a gun death than their white counterparts.

TIME tragedy

Co-Founder of a Refuge for Elephants Is Accidentally Killed by an Elephant

Jim Laurita
Jim Laurita, executive director and foounder of Hope Elephants, feeds a carrot to one of the two retired circus elephants at his not-for-profit rehabilitation and educational facility in Hope, Maine on Nov. 13, 2012. Robert F. Bukaty_AP

Hope Elephants, which cares for two aging former circus elephants, described James Laurita's passion for the animals as "boundless"

A retired circus elephant has unintentionally killed a founder of the shelter where it lived.

James Laurita, a veterinarian and co-founder of Hope Elephants, died on Tuesday when one of the Maine-based refuge’s elephants stepped on him, the Portland Press Herald reports. His death has been ruled a tragic accident.

“The elephant was not aggressive in any way,” Mark Belserene, administrator for the state medical examiner’s office, told the Associated Press. “It was clearly an accident.”

Officials said Laurita, 56, was found unresponsive in the nonprofit’s barn in Hope, some 87 miles northeast of Portland, Maine. He appeared to have fallen down and hit his head before the elephant stepped on him, officials said.

Laurita first worked with elephants as a juggler and elephant handler in the Carson & Barnes Circus in the 1970s and ’80s, according to the Portland Press Herald. He later opened a veterinarian practice in Camden, Maine, but in 2011 sold it to found Hope Elephants with his brother, who had been a ringmaster in the same circus. The center tended to two elephants, Rosie and Opal, with whom Laurita had worked in the traveling circus and who suffered from a range of medical problems related to their big-top careers.

Laurita lived with his family in the Portland area.

“Jim’s passion for all animals, but especially elephants, was boundless,” wrote the Hope Foundation in a statement posted to their Facebook page. “It was Jim’s ability to share that passion with all around him that not only helped to make our organization a reality, but also enriched and enhanced the lives of all those who had a chance to know Jim.”

The refuge has one other elephant handler on staff and an emergency plan is in place to ensure that the animals are cared for, according to the Portland Press Herald. Meanwhile, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been called to investigate the center, the newspaper said.

Hope Elephant’s Twitter account, last updated in December 2012, described the two elephants as acclimating well to their new home in Maine, munching on hay and lounging in the sunshine.

“Opal is throwing sand and trumpeting,” reads the last post. “Seems like joy from where I stand.”

TIME Accident

Six Flags’ Iconic Colossus Roller Coaster Catches Fire, Portion Collapses

Colossus Coaster Fire
Los Angeles County firefighters work to control a blaze atop the recently closed Colossus wooden roller coaster at Southern California's Six Flags Magic Mountain on Sept. 8, 2014 Rick McClure—AP

The iconic theme-park ride has been shut for three weeks while renovation and upgrading work takes place

Colossus is down. A portion of one of America’s most iconic roller coasters collapsed on Monday at Six Flags Magic Mountain, according to local news channel KTLA5.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department was summoned to the amusement park in Santa Clarita, Calif., at 1:30 p.m. to tackle a fire that reportedly broke out while the ride — closed for renovation three weeks ago — was being worked on.

“There are no injuries and the fire is contained,” Six Flags said in a statement. “Colossus is currently undergoing a transformation and has been closed since Aug. 17.”

The wooden roller coaster was shuttered after 36 years and is set to be replaced with a hybrid ride called Twisted Colossus.

The park was closed Monday and the cause of the fire is still being investigated.

[KTLA5]

TIME Accident

Chicago Church Sorry for Falling Gargoyle That Killed Mom

Chicago Cityscapes And City Views
The Second Presbyterian Church in Chicago, Illinois on April 1, 2011. Raymond Boyd—Getty Images

Second Presbyterian Church remains open

A historic Chicago church apologized Friday to the family of a woman who was killed Thursday when she was struck by crumbling pieces of a gargoyle that fell off the church steeple.

The church said it is “deeply sorry at the death,” Reuters reports. Sara Bean, 34, was walking to lunch with her fiancé Thursday when the gargoyle pieces fell on her. She was a nurse’s aide and a mother of two boys, ages 10 and 14. The fiancé, her longtime boyfriend, is the children’s father.

Second Presbyterian Church, located in the South Loop neighborhood near downtown Chicago, dates from 1873 and is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It moved quickly to put protective scaffolding around the structure, Reuters reports.

The building has no outstanding complaints but in 2011 failed an inspection due to problems that included a failure to maintain exterior walls. After repairs were made that case was dismissed. The church was made a historic landmark last year and will remain open despite the tragedy.

[Reuters]

TIME Accident

Uzi Instructor Charles Vacca’s Family: Death Was ‘Tragic Accident’

The grieving family of Charles Vacca, the Arizona shooting range instructor accidentally killed by a 9-year-old who was learning how to shoot an Uzi, said they feel “sorry” for the girl.

“We know it was a tragic accident and that it’s something that we’re all going to have to live with,” Vacca’s 19-year-old daughter Ashley said in an exclusive NBC News interview to be aired Friday on the TODAY show…

Read the rest of the story at NBC News

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