TIME viral

Watch This TV Reporter Get Hit in the Head by a Flying Skateboard

Mike Amor will be wary of flying skateboards in the future

Mike Amor, the U.S. bureau chief for Australia’s Seven Network, was reporting from a skate park in Los Angeles when a rogue skateboard walloped him in the head. From the looks of the people around it was pretty painful, but displaying true antipodean pluck, Amor walked away with just a bump.

TIME celebrities

Multiple Fractures for Bono in NYC Bicycle Accident

Bono
Bono arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on March 2, 2014 Chris Pizzello—Invision/AP

U2 says it will have to reschedule its planned weeklong appearance on NBC's Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

(NEW YORK) — An injury to U2 singer Bono after what was described by the group as a “cycling spill” left him with multiple fractures that required him to undergo two surgeries, a doctor said Wednesday.

Bono was in a “high-energy bicycle accident” when he was trying to avoid another cyclist on Sunday, orthopedic trauma surgeon Dr. Dean Lorich said in a statement from NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Hospital for Special Surgery.

Bono arrived at the Manhattan hospital and underwent multiple X-rays and tests that showed he had a facial fracture involving his left eye socket, his left shoulder blade fractured in three places and a left elbow fracture that went through the skin and left the bone in six pieces.

Lorich said Bono underwent a five-hour surgery that included washing his elbow out, moving a trapped nerve and inserting three plates and 18 screws on Sunday night. Bono had another surgery to repair a fracture to his left little finger on Monday.

Lorich said Bono will need therapy but a full recovery is expected.

On Sunday, U2 guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen posted that “Bono has injured his arm in a cycling spill in Central Park.” They said the band would have to reschedule its planned weeklong appearance on NBC’s “Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon.

TIME Transportation

Transportation Board Urges Better Sleep Disorder Screenings

Long Island Rail Road; LIRR
A train makes its way to the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Jamaica Station in the Queens borough of New York City on Nov. 1, 2012. Frank Franklin II—AP

After a fatal derailment last year in which a train engineer was discovered to have undiagnosed sleep apnea

The National Transportation Safety Board approved sleep recommendations Wednesday for train engineers, following a report that the engineer of a New York train that derailed last year, killing four, had undiagnosed sleep apnea.

The safety board looked at five separate safety incidents and concluded that the Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road should implement regular sleep disorder screenings. The board urged railroad associations and unions to collaborate to create an agreement for how to sleep disorders in personnel and sent recommendations to recommendations to the American College of Physicians and the American Association of Family Physicians to bolster awareness and understanding of sleep disorders in the medical community.

“In the process of preparing this report, we noted a rising trend in incidents and accidents in passenger rail,” said acting chairman Christopher A. Hart in a closing statement. “Today’s recommendations, in combination with those adopted during our investigations and earlier recommendations reiterated today, have the potential to reverse this trend–but only if they are acted upon.”

Since the board does not have the authority to enforce its recommendations, it also encouraged to Federal Railroad Administration to act upon it’s recommendations.

TIME Transportation

Why Subway Systems Haven’t Installed More Safety Tech Yet

NYC Subway Safety
Wendy Connett/flickr—flickr Editorial/Getty Images

The only safety measure of most subway systems is simple: fear

If you’re already a bit anxious on subways without platform edge doors, the story of people being pushed to their death onto subway tracks isn’t going away anytime soon.

Some variation of that incident—nothing new, despite its shock factor—probably comes to mind nearly every day: when someone teeters off the platform’s edge, for instance, or when you step past the yellow line to circumvent a crowd. The fears over subway deaths, already high after a sensationalized subway murder in 2013, only grew this week with reports of New York’s latest subway accident. In the same way you can’t avoid gawking at a car crash, you can’t avoid reading about a subway death, either.

Hard numbers about subway safety data — New York had only 53 subway fatalities in 2013, a year when it carried 6 million riders — don’t always have a sobering effect on the hysteria following transportation tragedies. Unlike other transportation accidents that get mass media coverage, like a plane crash, a subway accident, especially one so brutal as this week’s in New York City, has a distinct immediacy for a city’s residents. It is not far off in a foreign country, or the result of an extraordinary circumstance. Instead, it’s a few inches and a push, trip or slip away.

That’s a strange concept in an era when new technologies are emerging every day to protect us from death before we’ve even harmed, like cars with radar-based brakes or airplanes with ground proximity warning systems. So why hasn’t technology made subways more safe? Cost.

“[The lack of subway safety] is driven by a cost culture rather than a safety culture,” says former National Transportation Safety Board chairman James Hall. “You will invariably have innocent individuals literally fall through the holes of that type of structure. It’s a matter of priorities, and making safety your most important priority.”

Among the most effective subway safety measures are platform edge doors, which blocks off access to the tracks until a train arrives. However, the cost of installing such doors throughout the New York City subway system is “in the billions,” according to Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees New York City’s subway. Ortiz said a contractor has been designing a door system since last month, while new technologies to detect objects or people on the tracks are being tested in the city’s subway. However, the MTA has no timelines for rolling out the new systems on a broader scale.

Platform edge doors are common sights in major cities around the world, including St. Petersburg, Beijing and Tokyo. But those systems are relatively young, and they were built with the platform doors to begin with. Many subway systems in America (and London’s Tube) are old: New York’s dates back to 1904, Boston’s to 1901, and Chicago’s to 1897. Retrofitting older systems to feature platform doors is a much costlier proposition than building a new one with the doors from the get go. Interestingly, New York City’s “Airtrain,” a light rail-style system connecting John F. Kennedy International Airport with the city’s subway system, has platform doors — but it’s only been open since 2003.

Instead of spending money on costly safety technology to make the subway systems safer, the organizations that run them tap into riders’ fears to ensure they stay safe around the trains. In New York, for example, the MTA for decades has run a poster campaign informing riders how many fatalities have occurred in the past year, a reminder to stay well clear of the tracks when a train isn’t in the station. And last year, members of MTA’s largest employee union distributed flyers designed as fake blood-stained subway cards to demand slower trains, improved braking mechanisms and protective barriers.

And platform doors might not be a necessary expense, anyway, as the data shows subways are actually pretty safe.

“Obviously one [fatality] is one too many,” said the MTA’s Ortiz. “But in the grand scheme of things, when you move six million people a day, you have a greater likelihood of being hit by lighting twice than being struck by a subway train.”

Still, there are statistics to support the other side, too. In New York City, one-third of subway deaths are ruled suicides made possible by the tracks’ easy access; subway operators are trained to expect one death per week; if an operator’s train strikes a person, he or she is given just three days off to recover from the trauma.

As a result, most people who care about subway safety fall into one of two camps: either the subway seems like one of the most dangerous form of transportation, or one of the safest. But if there’s one aspect that’s agreed upon by nearly all subway riders, personnel and experts, it’s that a safer subway system, however expensive, is an expectation within reach.

“Cars without drivers, parking assist, collision avoidance—we’re able to do all these kinds of technologies,” said Carl Berkowitz, a transportation and traffic engineering expert. “We should be able to solve some of the problems we have in the subway system.”

 

TIME Accident

World Trade Center Window Washers Say Training Kept Them Calm

One joked they wouldn't mind some ground-floor jobs next

Two window washers who became stuck in scaffolding off 1 World Trade Center this week said in a news conference Friday that their training helped to keep them calm while awaiting rescue.

Juan Lizama, 41, and Juan Lopez, 33, said they kept in good spirits Wednesday after a cable suddenly became slack, leaving their scaffolding completely askew, according to the CBC. Their union, 32BJ, says its 18-month training series helps workers make split-second decisions that can ensure their safety when accidents happen.

“Everyone was safe around us and beneath us,” Lopez said. “Once I saw the fire department inside, I knew it was just a matter of time.” The responders were able to rescue the duo by cutting through thick window glass with a diamond saw.

Nevertheless, Lopez joked, the two wouldn’t mind being assigned to some ground-floor jobs for the time being.

[CBC]

TIME Accident

See These Dramatic Rescues of the Past

Rescuers freed two workers whose scaffolding was dangling off 1 World Trade Center in New York City on Wednesday. See how these other daring rescues unfolded

TIME Accident

Workers Rescued From Dangling Scaffold at 1 World Trade Center

Window washers trapped alongside the Freedom Tower
A window washer is seen being rescued by NYPD and NYFD after his carriage came dislodged from his cables along side the One World Trade Center in New YorkCity on Nov. 12, 2014. Jason Szenes—EPA

Two window washers were rescued from a scaffold whose cable snapped Wednesday afternoon high above the ground outside 1 World Trade Center in New York City.

Rescue workers were able to save Juan Lizama, 41 of New Jersey and Juan Lopez, 33, of the Bronx shortly after 2p.m. ET after a rescue team cut through glass windows of the 1,776-foot tower and pulled the two veteran window washers through the hole. According to CNN, the two were taken to Bellevue Hospital to receive treatment for mild hypothermia upon their rescue.

The cable snapped around 1 p.m. due to a “scaffolding malfunction,” a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told reporters. FDNY first-responders arrived at the skyscraper after workers became trapped on scaffolding more than 60 floors above the ground.

1 World Trade Center is the nation’s tallest skyscraper, surpassing Chicago’s Willis Tower which stands at 1,451 feet.

— With additional reporting by Josh Sanburn and Maya Rhodan

Read next: One World Trade Center Opens Its Doors

 

TIME

4 Amish Relatives Die in Van Crash After Funeral

(AIRVILLE, Pa.) — Four members of an Amish family are dead after their hired van was struck by a cement truck as they traveled home from a funeral in central Pennsylvania.

The York County coroner’s office says 22-year-old Elizabeth Esh was pronounced dead Tuesday, a day after she delivered a stillborn boy.

Her relatives Emmanuel Esh and Melvin Esh were pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck Monday in rural southeastern York County.

State police say the victims were passengers in a van operated by 49-year-old Connie Lally. It turned into the path of a concrete truck driven by 60-year-old John Ehrhart, which then struck a third vehicle.

The coroner’s office says the two men are brothers and related to Elizabeth Esh by marriage. Autopsies will be performed on the three, plus the baby.

The van had three other occupants.

TIME Accident

Man Found Burning Atop Train in Connecticut Dies

(GREENWICH, Conn.) — A 21-year-old man found burning on top of a New York City-bound commuter train in Connecticut has died.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Aaron Donovan says Brian McClellen died at Westchester Medical Center in New York. He was taken there after workers found him aflame on Sunday morning on top of a Metro-North train, just after it lost power in Greenwich. The train was being powered by overhead electrical wires.

Donovan says McClellen suffered burns over about 85 percent of his body. He says the railroad is trying to determine how McClellen got on top of the train and why.

McClellen was from the Cleveland area but most recently living in New York. His Facebook page describes him as an actor and model.

TIME Education

School Accidentally Tells Parents That All 717 Students Have Gone Missing

An employee handling the school's messaging system accidentally sent an absentee note to all parents instead of a select few

A California elementary school caused a wave of panic among the parents of its 717 students after sending a text message to say that their children had gone missing.

But the group note was erroneous and accidental, and all the pupils at John Adams Elementary School in Corona were still in class, the Press Enterprise reported.

The school moved quickly to reassure frantic parents, many of whom showed up on campus.

“It was human error coupled with technology error,” said the school’s spokesperson Evita Tapia-Gonzalez, explaining that the employee handling their Blackboard Messaging system accidentally sent the note to all parents instead of a closed group.

Read more at The Press Enterprise

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