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 Nevada

More than a Dozen Hurt, Mostly Kids, in Chemical Blast at Reno Museum

RENO MUSEUM-CHILDREN BURNED
Firefighters confer outside the Nevada Discovery Museum in Reno, Nev., on Sept. 3, 2014 Scott Sonner—AP

The chemical mixture that exploded was part of a routine exhibition

(RENO, Nev.) — A demonstration about the science of tornadoes went awry Wednesday at a Reno museum, leading to a chemical explosion that injured 13 people, most of them children, authorities said.

Reno police Officer Tim Broadway said seven children and two adults were transported to the hospital for treatment of acid burns on their hands, arms and faces after the 4:10 p.m. blast at the Terry Lee Wells Discovery Museum in downtown Reno.

Reno Fire Chief Mike Hernandez described the injuries as minor to moderate.

Broadway says four people were treated at the scene and released. He didn’t know their ages.

The officials say a methyl alcohol and boric acid mixture exploded during a routine exhibition that is conducted each day to create a whirling tornado effect.

KRNV-TV aired amateur video posted on its Facebook page that offered a glimpse of the explosion inside the museum. Run in slow motion, it appears to show a flash and flames falling off an experiment table and onto the floor several feet from a group of children who screamed when it happened.

Hernandez says the museum was evacuated, but the building didn’t appear to receive any additional damage.

A hazardous materials team responded to the scene to ensure the explosion did not spew toxic gases throughout the museum.

The officials say the incident is being investigated.

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

TIME Guns

9-Year-Old Girl Accidentally Shoots, Kills Instructor at Gun Range

The operator says it allows supervised children age eight and up to handle weapons

A nine-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed a shooting range instructor in Arizona, police say.

Charles Vacca, 39, was instructing the girl on how to use an automatic Uzi on Monday when the girl, who was accompanied by her parents, pulled the trigger and then lost control of the weapon, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Tuesday. Vacca was shot in the head and died of his injuries.

Sam Scarmardo, the operator of the shooting range Last Stop where the accident occurred, said the range allows accompanied children age eight and older to handle weapons.

He said Vacca, a longtime military veteran, had been working at the range for roughly two years. Scarmardo also said the range had not had an accident since it was opened more than a decade ago.

The girl’s parents were recording the tutorial on their cell phones when the incident occurred and handed the footage over to authorities, according to Scarmardo.

TIME Argentina

3 of Pope Francis’ Relatives Killed in Car Crash

Pope Francis Visits South Korea - Day Five
In this handout image provided by the Committee for the 2014 Papal Visit to Korea, Pope Francis attends a Mass for peace at Myeong-dong cathedral in Seoul, South Korea Handout—Getty Images

The pope's 8-month-old and 2-year-old grand-nephews were killed in Argentina accident

Three members of Pope Francis’ family were killed in a car accident in Argentina Tuesday, CNN reports, including his 8-month-old and 2-year-old grand-nephews and their mother.

A Cordoba police spokesperson told news outlets that the pope’s nephew, Emanuel Horacio Bergoglio, crashed into a truck on the highway at 12:30 a.m. Bergoglio is currently in the hospital under serious condition.

The Pope’s spokesperson said he was “profoundly saddened” by news of the accident, BBC reports.

On a flight back to the Vatican from South Korea Tuesday morning, the Pope had been lightheartedly discussing his own mortality with the press, saying he expected to be in “the Father’s house” in some two or three years.

[CNN]

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