TIME Accident

Kansas Airport Plane Crash Kills 4

Wichita Airport-Crash
Firefighters try to put out a fire at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita, Kan. on Oct. 30, 2014 shortly after a small plane crashed into the building killing several people including the pilot. Brian Corn—AP

Approximately 100 people were in flight safety center when airplane plowed into it

A small airplane plowed into the top of a flight safety center at an airport in Kansas after losing engine power on takeoff Thursday, killing at least four people, injuring five and leaving four others missing, officials said.

The twin-engine Beechcraft King Air reported trouble after taking off from Mid-Content Airport in Wichita around 10 a.m. ET. It hit a two-story FlightSafety International building while trying to return to the runway, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The crash sent up thick plumes of black smoke that could be seen for miles.

“There wasn’t a loud bang, there wasn’t a loud…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Disaster

BP Oil Spill Left Rhode Island-Sized ‘Bathtub Ring’ on Seafloor

BP announced that it is ending its "active cleanup" on the Louisiana coast from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on April 19, 2014 in Grand Isle, Louisiana. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and spilling millions of gallons of oil.
BP announced that it is ending its "active cleanup" on the Louisiana coast from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on April 19, 2014 in Grand Isle, Louisiana. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and spilling millions of gallons of oil. Sean Gardner—Getty Images

The rig blew on April 20, 2010, and spewed 172 million gallons of oil into the Gulf

New research shows that the BP oil spill left an oily “bathtub ring” on the sea floor that’s about the size of Rhode Island. The study by UC Santa Barbara’s David Valentine, the chief scientist on the federal damage assessment research ships, estimates that about 10 million gallons of oil coagulated on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico around the damaged Deepwater Horizons oil rig. Valentine said the spill left other splotches containing even more oil. The rig blew on April 20, 2010, and spewed 172 million gallons of oil into the Gulf through the summer. Scientists are still trying to figure where…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

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]

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