TIME weather

More Than 400,000 Lose Power on Thanksgiving

Thanks to a dangerous mix of snow and rain on the East Coast

More than 400,000 people along the East Coast lost power on the busiest cooking day of the year, thanks to a dangerous mix of snow and rain that downed power lines across the region.

New Hampshire was hit the hardest with more than 195,000 without power on Thanksgiving morning. More than 100,000 Maine residents and 55,000 New York residents were also left in the dark.

Almost 5,000 flights were delayed and 700 flights canceled Wednesday, as winter weather snarled air travel up and down the east coast. The roads weren’t much better — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie declared a state of emergency because of the condition on the roads, and Connecticut police recorded 125 accidents in just one day.

So if you’ve made it to the dinner table, the lights are on and and your food is hot, those are three things to be thankful for.

TIME Aviation

Drones Are Beginning to Pose a Real Threat to Flight Safety Says FAA Data

Agribotix, a start-up in Boulder, manufactures drones for agricultural use.
The Kestrel Cinematix drone takes photos and video from the air. Agribotix, a start-up in Boulder, manufactures drones for agricultural use and hopes to grow the business as restrictions are lifted on their use. Kathryn Scott Osler—Denver Post/Getty Images

There have been 25 near-collisions with aircraft reported since June 1 this year

The small, remote-controlled drones that have recently grown in popularity are beginning to pose a significant threat to flight safety in the United States, according to new data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The data, released Wednesday at the request of the Washington Post and various other news outlets, reveals 25 near-collisions with airborne drones reported by commercial and private pilots since June 1. Many of these incidents reportedly occurred near New York and Washington, and several of them took place at major U.S. airports.

Drones, often mounted with cameras for aerial photography (although Amazon wants to use them to deliver goods as well), are becoming an everyday object. However, people who operate them often exceed the altitude limits set by the FAA, bringing them dangerously close to aircraft and helicopter flight paths.

“All it’s going to take is for one to come through a windshield to hurt some people or kill someone,” Kyle Fortune, a private pilot, told the Post. Fortune said he suddenly spotted a drone 100 feet underneath his aircraft during a Sept. 22 flight.

Other pilots said that drones getting sucked into engines, rotors or propellers could cause potentially fatal accidents.

[Washington Post]

TIME discoveries

How Garbage Kickstarted the Modern Chemical Industry

Accident leads to breakthrough

Throughout the history of science, some of the most important breakthroughs have come about through happy accidents. This certainly bears true in the video above, courtesy of the American Chemical Society, which explains how garbage kicked off the entire chemical industry.

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 Accidents

Watch the Coast Guard Rescue a Man Floating 70 Miles off Florida in a Bubble

An intrepid explorer is returned home

The Coast Guard rescued a disoriented man in a hydro pod bubble 70 nautical miles east of St. Augustine, Florida early Saturday morning.

Reza Baluchi, a U.S. citizen, was found in an inflatable bubble, disoriented and asking for directions to Bermuda, the Coast Guard said. He was carrying protein bars, bottled water, a GPS and a satellite phone.

The Coast Guard asked Baluchi to end his voyage due to the lack of supplies on his vessel, but Blauchi refused. Baluchi was monitored until he activated his Personal Locating Beacon on Saturday morning and the Coast Guard dispatched vessels and helicopter crews to his position to rescue him.

Baluchi was uninjured.

 

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 Auto Racing

NASCAR Driver Tony Stewart: Deadly Incident Will ‘Affect My Life Forever’

Oral-B USA 500 - Practice
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, speaks to the media prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. Jamie Squire—Getty Images

Nascar champion Tony Stewart's car struck his fellow racer on Aug. 9

NASCAR driver Tony Stewart said Friday he remains heartbroken after he hit and killed fellow driver Kevin Ward in a racing crash three weeks ago. The comments come as Stewart, a champion driver, prepares to race again for the first time since the tragedy.

“I’ve taken the last couple of weeks off out of respect for Kevin and his family and also to cope with the accident in my own way,” Stewart said. “It’s given me the time to think about life and how easy it is to take it for granted. I miss my team, my teammates and I miss being back in the race car and I think being back in the car this week with my racing family will help me get through this difficult time.”

The incident, which occurred in a sprint car race in upstate New York earlier this month, shocked the racing world. Stewart’s car struck 20-year-old Kevin Ward, Jr. as Ward walked on the tarmac of the race track, apparently trying to flag down Stewart after a collision between the two drivers.

Stewart did not take questions at the Friday press conference, citing an ongoing police investigation of the incident.

 

TIME Accident

24 Rescued From Six Flags Rollercoaster

Firefighters rescuing 24 riders stuck atop the Joker's Jinx roller coaster at Six Flags theme park in Prince George's County, Maryland on August 10, 2014.
Firefighters rescuing 24 riders stuck atop the Joker's Jinx roller coaster at Six Flags theme park in Prince George's County, Maryland on August 10, 2014. Marc Bashoor—Prince George's County Maryland Fire/EMS/EPA

It took rescuers about 5 hours to remove 24 passengers from the Joker's Jinx ride

A rollercoaster at a Maryland Six Flags amusement park stopped on its tracks Sunday, stranding passengers the park’s Joker’s Jinx ride.

It took about five hours to rescue the ride’s 24 passengers, each of whom were rescued one-by-one, WJLA reports. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor tweeted the rescue Sunday, sharing photos and information as it happened. None of the passengers reported injuries.

Six Flags spokesperson Debbie Evans said in a statement that the theme park is unsure why exactly the ride stopped, but that “the ride performed as it’s designed to.” WJLA reports the ride stops when its computer system detects a problem.

Joker’s Jinx is a 60 mile-per-hour ride with “over 55 twisting curves,” according to the Six Flags America website.

TIME Accidents

CDC: Anthrax Scare Caused by Lack of Oversight

Anthrax
BSIP/UIG—Getty Images/Universal Images Group

Another incident occurred after the anthrax exposure

Last month’s anthrax accident was caused by scientists’ failure to follow an appropriate study plan, a lack of standard procedures for documenting when biological agents are properly inactivated and a lack of oversight, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.

The report, called for by the CDC’s director, reviewed the June incident in which researchers were exposed to potentially viable anthrax. It includes information about what went wrong and details actions the agency is taking to address the incident and prevent similar ones from happening again.

Not only did scientists at the Atlanta lab not follow an approved written study plan when handling the anthrax, but they also used a procedure that may not have adequately inactivated the samples of B. anthracis. The procedure the scientists used inactivates B. anthracis cells after 10 minutes, but the researchers were dealing with spores, which are more resistant to chemical inactivation and so a small percentage remained viable.

While the agency was conducting its internal review, another CDC lab had a separate incident in which a culture of non-pathogenic avian flu was unintentionally cross-contaminated with the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain. It was then shipped to a Level 3 select-agent United States Department of Agriculture lab. No one was exposed, but the lab is closed pending a review.

Due to the anthrax and the cross-contamination incidents, the CDC has placed a moratorium on the movement of all biological materials, active and inactive, from Biosafety Level 3 and Biosafety Level 4 facilities. These facilities handle microbes that can cause fatal infections that are transmitted easily by inhalation.

The review initiated an investigation in to the H5N1 incident, reported the incident to the proper channels, took personnel action, and established several groups to review CDC lab safety. One review group, which sits under the CDC’s Associate Director for Science, will look at the systems, procedures, and personnel issues leading to the anthrax event. A separate working group will report to the CDC director and serve as the point of accountability on lab safety for the time being.

TIME olympics

Olympic Swimmer Amy Van Dyken Rouen Severs Spine in ATV Accident

Denver Broncos side line reporter for 850 KOA Amy Van Dyken. Reporting on the Broncos vs the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, October 7th, 2007 at Invesco Field. Andy Cross / The Denver Post
Amy Van Dyken reporting on the Broncos vs the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, October 7th, 2007 at Invesco Field. Andy Cross--Denver Post via Getty Images

The six-time Olympic champ was injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident on Friday and was airlifted to a Scottsdale, Ariz., hospital

Six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken Rouen was injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident in Arizona on Friday that severed her spine.

The champion swimmer was airlifted to Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center after the ATV she was driving hit a curb in a parking lot and threw her down a drop-off that was thought to be between 5 to 7 feet. She reportedly told paramedics that she couldn’t move her toes or feel anything touching her legs. Van Dyken Rouen’s husband — former Denver Broncos player Tom Rouen — was with her at the time of the accident and told authorities that his wife hadn’t been drinking.

According to the Associated Press, a letter from the Van Dyken and Rouen families said that the 46-year-old swimmer had severed her spinal cord at the T11 vertebrae and that the broken vertebrae had come within millimeters of piercing her aorta.

Van Dyken Rouen made her name at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, where she became the first U.S. female athlete to win four gold medals in a single Olympic Games. (She snagged the top prize in the 50-meter freestyle and 100 butterfly events and was part of the winning relay teams in the 400 free and 400 medley.) Four years later in Sydney, Van Dyken Rouen won two more gold medals when she competed with the winning U.S. relay teams for the 400 free and 400 medley.

“The USA Swimming family is devastated to learn of Amy Van Dyken’s unfortunate accident this weekend,” said the national governing body for competitive swimming in a statement on their website. “We’re happy to hear that she escaped and is now in great care. That she is already ‘acting like her typical spunky, boisterous, ebullient self’ shows she’s on a great path. Amy is a champion who has proven throughout her life that she is a fighter who takes on challenges and comes out on top. We know Amy will tackle her rehabilitation with vigor and be back on her feet sooner rather than later.”

Despite the severity of the accident, Van Dyken Rouen has been posting photos to social media from her hospital bed, including a snap of artwork made by her niece and nephew, along with the hashtag #hostpitalsSuck.

A drawing from my niece and nephew. They are so sweet. Made me smile. #hospitalsSuck

A photo posted by Amy Van Dyken (@amyvandyken) on

 

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