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Updated: 32 min 44 sec ago

President Trump to Visit Storm-Ravaged Florida and Georgia

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 05:31

MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Upon touring the damage in several towns along Florida's Panhandle, Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long called the destruction left by Hurricane Michael some of the worst he's ever seen.

On Monday, President Donald Trump plans to visit Florida and Georgia and see the recovery effort for himself. Trump declared a state of emergency for Georgia late Sunday.

In hurricane-flattened Mexico Beach, crews with backhoes and other heavy equipment scooped up splintered boards, broken glass, chunks of asphalt and other debris Sunday as the mayor held out hope for the 250 or so residents who may have tried to ride out the storm.

The death toll from Michael's destructive march from Florida to Virginia stood at 17, with just one confirmed death so far in this town of about 1,000 people that took a direct hit from the hurricane and its 155 mph (250 kph) winds last week.

Mayor Al Cathey estimated 250 residents stayed behind when the hurricane struck, and he said he remained hopeful about their fate. He said search-and-rescue teams in the beach town had already combed areas with the worst damage.

"If we lose only one life, to me that's going to be a miracle," Cathey said.

He said enough food and water had been brought in for the residents who remain. Even some cellphone service had returned to the devastated community.

A framed portrait of Jesus was propped Sunday facing out of the window of Diana Hughes' home in Mexico Beach. She rode out the hurricane on the couch huddled with her dog and her ex-husband.

The storm peeled off a small section of the roof and a few inches of water got in the single-story house. But the pickup truck wouldn't start after getting swamped with water. Hughes still had her home, but no way to leave it.

"We need a generator, but we just lack transportation," Hughes said on her front porch. "We've got food and we've got water. But we've got to keep ice in the refrigerator so the food won't spoil. You can only eat so many crackers."

Categories: EMS

25 Hurt in Los Angeles Highway Crash

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 05:24

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Twenty-five people were taken to hospitals with mostly minor injuries following a series of crashes involving at least two cars and a bus that crashed through a concrete divider on a Los Angeles highway, authorities said.

Five patients were in serious condition following the collisions shortly after 1 p.m. that shut down all lanes on Interstate 405 in the city's San Fernando Valley area, Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart said. The 20 others were in fair condition with minor injuries. A total of 40 people were evaluated at the scene, she said.

The California Highway Patrol was investigating the cause of the pileup on the key north-south artery. It wasn't immediately known how many people were on the bus or where it was headed.

Television news footage showed a white charter bus marked "Transit Systems" splayed sideways but upright across southbound lanes in the North Hills neighborhood. Its skid marks indicated it had gone sideways on the northbound side and then through the divider, City News Service reported.

The bus's front end was crumpled, and emergency window exits were popped open. An SUV next to it had extensive front-end damage.

At least one crashed vehicle was in northbound lanes, which were reopened by about 2:30 p.m. The southbound side remained closed hours later, backing up traffic for miles. Some motorists stuck in their cars walked off the freeway, apparently in search of toilets or drinks, City News Service reported.

The patients in serious condition were three women, ages 49, 60 and 88, and two men, ages 30 and 69, Stewart said.

Nobody answered at a phone number listed for Los Angeles-based Transit Systems bus company.

All contents © copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Categories: EMS

11 Killed in Crash in Greece

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 05:19

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — A speeding car carrying migrants collided with a truck in northern Greece on Saturday, killing 11 people, police said.

Ten of the victims were believed to be migrants who crossed into the Greece from Turkey. The 11th person was the car's driver and a suspected migrant smuggler, police said.

Police said the car in which the migrants were packed had another vehicle's license plates and is suspected of having been used for migrant trafficking. The car hadn't stopped at a police checkpoint during its journey, but it wasn't immediately clear how close to the site of the crash that it happened.

Police said the crash occurred just after 5 a.m. (0200 GMT) near the town of Kavala. The car, which had been heading to the main northern city of Thessaloniki, collided with a truck heading in the opposite direction and burst into flames. All of the victims have been burned beyond recognition. The truck caught fire as well.

All of the people in the car were killed. The truck driver, a 39-year-old Greek man, was treated for minor injuries in a hospital in northern Greece before being discharged.

Police told The Associated Press the car was traveling at high speed and had crossed over to the eastbound lane. The truck driver tried to swerve at the last moment, but couldn't avoid the collision.

The car wasn't traveling on the highway connecting Thessaloniki to the Turkish border but on an older road, because there are more police roadblocks on the highway.

A local firefighter told the AP on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation that one of the victims was believed to have been a child and that three or four of the others were in the car's trunk.

Greek authorities have been seeing an increase in people illegally crossing the Greek-Turkish border in recent months. Many are transported to Thessaloniki, where they head to police stations to be registered and apply for asylum.

All contents © copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Categories: EMS

One Dead in Pennsylvania Interstate Bus Crash

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 05:13

MOSCOW, Pa. (AP) — A passenger bus has crashed on a Pennsylvania interstate, killing a woman and injuring an unknown number of passengers.

The bus crashed around 9 p.m. Sunday on Interstate 380 in Covington Township, Lackawanna County. News video and photos showed the bus leaning to its right side along the tree line. Rescue workers used ladders to reach injured passengers.

The coroner says one woman died.

Multiple ambulances and a medical helicopter were dispatched to the scene.

The crash closed both southbound lanes of the interstate.

All contents © copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Categories: EMS

Death Toll Rises in Michael’s Wake

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 05:59

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Linda Marquardt rode out Hurricane Michael with her husband at their home in Mexico Beach. When their house filled with surging ocean water, they fled upstairs. Now their home is full of mud and everywhere they look there's utter devastation in their Florida Panhandle community: fishing boats tossed like toys, roofs lifted off of buildings and pine trees snapped like matchsticks in 155 mph winds.

Row after row of beachfront homes were so obliterated by Michael's surging seas and howling winds that only slabs of concrete in the sand remain, a testament that this was ground zero when the epic Category 4 hurricane slammed ashore at midweek. The destruction in this and other communities dotting the white-sand beaches is being called catastrophic — and it will need billions of dollars to rebuild.

"All of my furniture was floating," said Marquardt, 67. "'A river just started coming down the road. It was awful, and now there's just nothing left."

At least six deaths were blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in over 50 years, and by early Friday it wasn't over yet: a tropical storm long after Wednesday's landfall, Michael stubbornly kept up its punch while barreling up the Southeast, dumping heavy rains and spreading flash flooding misery as far away as Virginia.

High winds, downed trees, streets inundated by rising waters and multiple rescues of motorists from waterlogged cars played out in spots around Virginia and neighboring North Carolina. And while forecasters said Michael was gradually losing its tropical traits, it was a new chapter would begin as an extratropical storm predicted to intensify with gale force winds once it starts cross out into the Atlantic.

In North Carolina's mountains, motorists had to be rescued Thursday from cars trapped by high water. High winds toppled trees and power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands without power. Flash flooding also was reported in the big North Carolina cities of Charlotte and Raleigh. Similar scenes played out in parts of Virginia as the storm raced seaward.

Categories: EMS

Prepping For Situations That May Never Happen

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 14:01

I looked over as my partner drove the first-in ambulance up the exit ramp to the elevated portion of I-70, and gasped. “There must be 60 cars over there,” I told him. Black ice had formed on the road (when the wrecks were counted, there were 59 vehicles). The good news was that our 400+-pound dispatcher who had been on his way to work was up and walking, gingerly, on the slippery roadway.

The bad news was that the incident command system (ICS) was still evolving in the minds of Alan Brunacini and others. Unified command, a coherent staging process, and radio frequencies in common didn’t yet exist in the early 1980s. Luckily, injuries were few and minor.

Perpetually Ready

With the evolution of active shooters and terrorist attacks, of course, intensive planning, preparing, and rehearsing for large-scale situations has (rightfully) earned a prominent place in EMS awareness and training. The fact is, we have to be perpetually ready for many different events that may never happen in our world. It’s one of the coolest reasons for being in EMS: You never know what each new day will bring.

Being ready for anything, though, is also a real challenge. It’s why we train, and why we can never stop continuing to learn and improve. Yet how often will you be the first-in on an MCI?

Honestly, in more than 10,000 emergency calls, I remember only the scenario above and a couple of others that involved mass casualties. Although MCI-specific training is certainly valid and important, particularly when done with nearby mutual aid agencies, the flaw is that each person practices just their one small part. There are only a handful of people in command. Unless you’re one of them, you won’t be prepared to be first-in.

Theoretically, chain of command will kick in as an MCI evolves. People with the best experience will eventually arrive to help. Sometimes, the first-in crew will retain command; other times not. Those details depend on each emergency system.

Categories: EMS

Hurricane Michael Charges into Southeast after Slamming Florida

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 05:01

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — The most powerful hurricane on record to hit Florida's Panhandle left wide destruction and at least two people dead and wasn't nearly finished Thursday as it crossed Georgia, now as a tropical storm, toward the Carolinas, that are still reeling from epic flooding by Hurricane Florence.

A day after the supercharged storm crashed ashore amid white sand beaches, fishing towns and military bases, Michael was no longer a Category 4 monster packing 155 mph (250 kph) winds. As the tropical storm continued to weaken it was still menacing the Southeast with heavy rains, blustery winds and possible spinoff tornadoes.

Authorities said at least two people have died, a man killed by a tree falling on a Panhandle home and according to WMAZ-TV, an 11-year-old girl was also killed by a tree falling on a home in southwest Georgia. Search and rescue crews were expected to escalate efforts to reach hardest-hit areas and check for anyone trapped or injured in the storm debris.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said early Thursday that the eye of Michael was about 90 miles (144 kilometers) northeast of Macon, Georgia and about 45 miles (72 kilometers) west of Augusta. The storm's maximum sustained winds have decreased to 50 mph (80 kph) and it was moving to the northeast at 21 mph (33 kph). The core of Michael will move across eastern Georgia into Central South Carolina on Thursday morning.

After daylight Thursday residents of north Florida would just be beginning to take stock of the enormity of the disaster.

Damage in Panama City near where Michael came ashore Wednesday afternoon was so extensive that broken and uprooted trees and downed power lines lay nearly everywhere. Roofs were peeled away, sent airborne, and homes were split open by fallen trees. Twisted street signs lay on the ground. Palm trees whipped wildly in the winds. More than 380,000 homes and businesses were without power at the height of the storm.

Categories: EMS

Limo Service Operator Charged in Tragic New York Crash

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 04:54

COBLESKILL, N.Y. (AP) — A limousine service operator was charged Wednesday with criminally negligent homicide in a crash that killed 20 people, while police continued investigating what caused the wreck and whether anyone else will face charges.

Nauman Hussain, 28, showed little emotion as he was arraigned Wednesday evening in an Albany-area court, and he ignored shouted questions from reporters as he left after posting $150,000 bond. A judge had entered a not guilty plea for him.

Earlier, his lawyer said that Hussain wasn't guilty and that police were rushing to judgment in investigating Saturday's stretch limo wreck .

But State Police Superintendent George Beach said Hussain hired a driver who shouldn't have been behind the wheel of such a car, and the vehicle shouldn't have been driven after state inspectors deemed it "unserviceable" last month.

"The sole responsibility for that motor vehicle being on the road on Saturday rests with Nauman Hussain," Beach said, though he noted that investigators continue looking into whether anyone else should be held accountable in the crash.

Hussain's car was packed with luggage when he was stopped Wednesday on a highway near Albany, Schoharie County District Attorney Susan Mallery said.

Hussain's lawyer, Lee Kindlon, said his client felt unsafe at home because he'd gotten threats.

The company, Prestige Limousine, has come under intense scrutiny since a 19-seater limo ran a stop sign and plowed into a parked SUV at the bottom of a long hill Saturday. The impact killed two pedestrians and 18 people in the limo, which was taking a group to a birthday bash.

Kindlon said his client handled only marketing duties and phone calls, while his father ran the company, though police called Hussain its operator.

"My client is not guilty," Kindlon said. "The police jumped the gun in charging him with any crime."

Under New York law, criminally negligent homicide involves not perceiving a substantial, unjustifiable risk that leads to someone's death. It's punishable by up to four years in prison.

Categories: EMS

Four Killed, 20 Injured in Collapse in UAE

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 04:46

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Police in Bahrain say four people have been killed and some 20 others were injured when a building collapsed in the island kingdom.

The Interior Ministry said that an "old building" collapsed Tuesday in Salmaniya, a neighborhood of Bahrain's capital, Manama.

The two-story residential building reportedly housed foreign laborers.

Police said the injuries were "medium and serious," without elaborating, and that 60 rescuers with firetrucks and ambulances responded.

The police updated the casualty figures Wednesday on Twitter, saying that three bodies were retrieved at the site, while one victim died at a hospital.

All contents © copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Categories: EMS

50 Dead in Kenya Bus Crash

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 06:14

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — At least 50 people were killed when their bus left the road, rolled down a slope and crashed in western Kenya, an official said Wednesday, with the roof of the bus ripped off.

Around 15 survivors from the bus that was headed from the capital, Nairobi, to the western town of Kakamega were receiving treatment at a hospital in Kericho, Rift Valley regional police boss Francis Munyambu said. The accident occurred around 4 a.m. and seven children were among the dead, he added.

"The information we have is that the driver lost control," Kericho County police commander James Mugera told The Associated Press.

The bus was not licensed to operate at night and its owners will faces charges, regional traffic police boss Zero Arome said. "It is very unfortunate what has happened and action will be taken," he said.

Kenya has struggled to reduce the rising number of road accidents as more people in the growing middle class acquire vehicles.

According to government statistics, around 3,000 Kenyans die every year in road accidents. In the 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety, the World Health Organization said Kenyan roads are among the most dangerous in the world, claiming around 29.1 lives per 100,000 people.

In 2013 the government re-introduced breathalyzers but had to remove them again after court orders barred police from charging drivers based on readings from the devices.

In an article for the Elephant online publication in November, commentator Patrick Gathara criticized the government's "knee-jerk responses such as the banning of night buses, enforcement of speed limits, seat belts and speed governors on public transport vehicles.

"Reactionary legal measures are quickly announced in the aftermath of a particularly horrific crash, with little research, forethought or long-term planning, and just as quickly forgotten," Gathara wrote.

___

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Categories: EMS

Five Dead, 35 Injured in Train Derailment in India

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 06:07

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Police say an express train has partially derailed in northern India, killing five passengers and injuring dozens more.

Police director general OP Singh said rescuers have responded to the scene where the train's engine and five cars derailed about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. It occurred at a railway station in Rae Bareli, 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state.

At least 35 passengers were injured and taken to hospitals.

Singh said buses were used to take the passengers to a safe place

The derailment occurred when the rain was entering the station zone, but the cause wasn't clear.

All contents © copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Categories: EMS

New York Limo Driver’s Family Questions Vehicle Safety

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 05:59

SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (AP) — Relatives of the limousine driver involved in a crash that killed 20 people in upstate New York said Tuesday they believe he was unwittingly assigned an unsafe vehicle.

The family of Scott Lisinicchia released a statement through a lawyer shortly after another attorney representing the limousine company, Prestige Limousine, said the driver might have been unfamiliar with the rural road.

Lisinicchia was driving the limousine that ran through a stop sign Saturday at the bottom of a T-intersection on a rural road 25 miles west of Albany. Two pedestrians and all 18 people in the limo celebrating a woman's birthday died.

The statement from Lisinicchia's lawyer said he would never have "knowingly put others in harm's way" and cautioned against jumping to conclusions.

"The family believes that unbeknownst to him he was provided with a vehicle that was neither roadworthy nor safe for any of its occupants," according to the statement from Grant & Longworth.

Prestige Limousine has been criticized for maintaining vehicles rife with violations and for employing a driver lacking a commercial license. The deadly crash also has shined fresh light on the business owner, a former FBI informant.

The limousine that ran the stop sign was cited for code violations Sept. 4, including a problem with the antilock brake system malfunction indicator system. Four of the Gansevoort, New York-based company's limos were cited for 22 maintenance violations this year, though none were deemed critical.

"Those safety issues had been addressed and corrected," attorney Lee Kindlon, who represents Prestige, told CBS News in a segment Tuesday. "Not all infractions are major. A lot of these things are minor and were fixed."

State Department of Transportation spokesman Joseph Morrissey said a sticker was placed on the vehicle after the September inspection declaring it "unserviceable." He said Kindlon's assertion that the code violations had been corrected and the vehicle cleared for service was "categorically false."

Categories: EMS

Some Stay as Hurricane Michael Approaches

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 05:39

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Timothy Thomas isn't budging from his home on Ocean View Drive, even though it's directly in the path of Hurricane Michael.

Thomas, a 50-year-old air conditioning repairman, plans to defy an evacuation order and ride out the monster storm in an apartment that's just a few hundred yards from the beach and even closer to the tea-colored Grand Lagoon, which will rise as the massive storm pushes ocean water toward the coast of the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday.

An Illinois native with a beard, long hair and a streak of independence, Thomas hasn't been through a major hurricane before; he's only lived in Panama City Beach about seven years. A neighbor with far more storm experience is evacuating to higher ground.

But police aren't being pushy about enforcing the order, and Thomas figures he, his wife and their puppy will be OK since they live in a second-floor apartment. It's more than 10 feet off the ground, after all, and forecasters say the water in his area isn't supposed to rise that much. "If it does I guess we'll be swimming," he said Tuesday evening as the sky darkened overhead.

Thomas isn't alone; other residents along his street also plan to take on Michael head-on, even though authorities have told about 120,000 residents of Bay County to leave. Thomas' first-floor neighbors also plan to stay, and they're welcome upstairs if the water gets too high, Thomas said. So are his next-door neighbors and their dog.

"We've got canned food and a can opener. We have lots of water and food for the dogs, and I'm going to tape up the windows, cover the windows, just tack them up with sheets or whatever, to keep the glass from flying if that happens," he said.

As Thomas spoke, a hurricane party was going on less than 2 miles away at Buster's Beer and Bait, a dive bar popular both with locals and tourists who overwhelm the region during the summer. With Michael percolating out in the Gulf of Mexico, dozens of people gathered outside Buster's as small palm trees swayed in the breeze nearby.

Categories: EMS

Florida Panhandle Braces for Hurricane Michael

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 05:09

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Michael roared down on the Florida Panhandle strengthening into a Category 4 hurricane early Wednesday before it crashes against the region's white-sand beaches, fishing villages and coastal communities later in the day.

The unexpected brute that quickly sprang from a weekend tropical depression grew swiftly, rising in days to a catastrophic storm. Around midday it was expected to become one of the Panhandle's worst hurricanes in memory with heavy rainfall expected along the northeastern Gulf Coast and life-threatening storm surge of up to 13 feet (4 meters).

Florida officials said roughly 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast had been urged or ordered to evacuate. Evacuations spanned 22 counties from the Florida Panhandle into north central Florida. But fears lingered that some failed to heed the calls to get out of Michael's way as the hard-charging storm began speeding north over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Worried meteorologists said it had the potential of becoming one of the worst storms in the history of Florida's Panhandle.

"I guess it's the worst case scenario. I don't think anyone would have experienced this in the Panhandle," meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com told The Associated Press. "This is going to have structure damaging winds along the coast and hurricane force winds inland."

University of Georgia's Marshall Shepherd, a former president of the American Meteorological Society, called it a "life-altering event" on Facebook and said he watched the storm's growth on satellite images with a pit growing in his stomach.

Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith near the vulnerable coast said his deputies had gone door to door in some places urging people to evacuate. "We have done everything we can as far as getting the word out," Smith said. "Hopefully more people will leave."

On the exposed coast of Florida's Big Bend, most of the waterfront homes in Keaton Beach stood vacant amid fears of a life-threatening storm surge in an area that hadn't seen a potentially catastrophic major hurricane in decades. Even so, 77-year-old resident Robert Sadousky wasn't quite ready to evacuate yet.

Categories: EMS

European Union Security Holds Stadium Terror Attack Drill

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 04:55

LYON, France (AP) — European security chiefs struggled over solutions to the migrant crisis and oversaw a simulated terrorist attack on a stadium Tuesday, with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions looking on.

Elite police forces staged the anti-terrorism exercise in the French city of Lyon as part of meetings of interior ministers of six European countries plus Morocco. Sessions didn't speak publicly at the event.

Countering terrorism, including dealing with the return of foreign fighters from Syria and Iraq, was a main topic at the closed-door meetings. The touchy subject of migration, another focus, had officials differing sharply over how best to tackle mass migration given the open internal borders within the European Union.

Members of the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN) attend a training exercise in case of terrorist attack at the G6 Interior Ministers' meeting at the Groupama stadium in Decines, near Lyon, central France, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Poland's interior minister, Joachim Brudzinski, said European countries are coming around to his nation's view that "migration today, whether it's legal or illegal, can be a threat to Europe." He said Italy's new populist government was among those coming around to Poland's hard-line position.

"We do need European solidarity," he told The Associated Press. "But let's face it: there were some countries which back in 2015 weren't participating in this huge invitation of people that's come to Europe and I don't see why these countries now need to share the burden, share the responsibility of welcoming these people."

The French hosts of Tuesday's meeting however are seeking a multi-country solution to migrant arrivals, working with governments around Europe and Africa.

Categories: EMS

SUV Crashes into California Goodwill Store

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 04:38

PLACENTIA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say two sport utility vehicles have plowed into a Goodwill store in Southern California, injuring five people.

Orange County fire Capt. Tony Bommarito says an 88-year-old woman rear-ended a parked car shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday in Placentia, pushing the SUV all the way into the store. The woman's SUV wound up partially inside.

The woman was taken to the hospital with a trauma injury, but she's expected to survive.

Bommarito says a 14-year-old boy in the SUV that was struck and three women inside the store — two shoppers and an employee — were treated for minor injuries.

All contents © copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Categories: EMS

One Killed, Five Hurt in Dallas Construction Collapse

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 08:24

DALLAS (AP) — A construction worker is dead and five co-workers are hospitalized with injuries after a three-story town house they were building in Dallas collapsed during a thunderstorm.

The collapse happened about 4 p.m. Monday about a mile (1.6 kilometers) west of the city's downtown.

Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans says 20 to 30 people were working in and around the wood-frame structure when it collapsed, trapping six workers.

One worker died at the scene, while five others were taken to hospitals. Evans says their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

The cause of the collapse remains under investigation. However, the National Weather Service reported wind gusts exceeding 60 mph (97 kph) and a rainfall rate of 4 inches (101 millimeters) per hour in the vicinity.

 

 

All contents © copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Categories: EMS

Hundreds Attend Vigil for New York Limo Crash Victims

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 07:51

AMSTERDAM, N.Y. (AP) — A ceremony for the victims of the limousine crash that killed 20 people ended with participants lifting candles above their heads to signal unity and perseverance.

Over 1,000 people jammed a riverside park in Amsterdam, New York, for Monday night's vigil as victims' relatives tried to come to grips with the tragedy that happened as a group of friends and family were on their way to a 30th birthday party.

The supersized limo ran a stop sign and hit a parked SUV on Saturday in Schoharie (skoh-HAYR'-ee).

Authorities have yet to say how fast the limo was going or determine why it failed to stop and sped off the road at the bottom of a long hill.

The 19-seat vehicle had at least some seat belts, but it was unclear whether anyone was wearing them, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said.

The crash about 170 miles north of New York City came three years after another deadly stretch-limo wreck in New York state spurred calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to examine such vehicles' safety. There is no evidence the state took any steps to do so.

Some relatives of the dead shed tears as local officials expressed solidarity with them.

U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat from Amsterdam, told a crowd that spilled onto a bridge spanning the Mohawk River, "We are crushed with you, we are crushed for you."

Some relatives shed tears as a woman sang "Amazing Grace." The ceremony ended with everyone lifting their candles above their heads in unity.

The wreck killed two pedestrians and all 18 people in the limousine, including four sisters who were headed with friends and relatives to a brewery for a party for one of the sisters.

The four sisters' aunt, Barbara Douglas, said they had felt "they did the responsible thing getting a limo so they wouldn't have to drive anywhere."

"My heart is sunken. It's in a place where I've never felt this type of pain before," said Karina Halse, who lost her 26-year-old sister Amanda.

Categories: EMS

20 People Dead in Limo Crash Is Deadliest U.S. Transportation Accident in 9 Years

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 00:13

SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (AP) — A limousine carrying four sisters, other relatives and friends to a birthday celebration blew through a stop sign and slammed into a parked SUV outside a store in upstate New York, killing all 18 people in the limo and two pedestrians, officials and victims' relatives said Sunday.

The weekend crash was characterized by authorities as the deadliest U.S. transportation accident in nearly a decade. The crash turned a relaxed Saturday afternoon to horror at a rural spot popular with tourists viewing the region's fall foliage. Relatives said the limousine was carrying the sisters and their friends to a 30th birthday celebration for the youngest.

"They were wonderful girls," said their aunt, Barbara Douglas, speaking with reporters Sunday. "They'd do anything for you and they were very close to each other and they loved their family."

 

Douglas said three of the sisters were with their husbands, and she identified them as Amy and Axel Steenburg, Abigail and Adam Jackson, Mary and Rob Dyson and Allison King.

"They did the responsible thing getting a limo so they wouldn't have to drive anywhere," she said, adding the couples had several children between them who they left at home.

The 2001 Ford Excursion limousine was traveling southwest on Route 30 in Schoharie, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) north of New York City, when it failed to stop at 2 p.m. Saturday at a T-junction with state Route 30A, State Police First Deputy Superintendent Christopher Fiore said at a news conference in Latham, New York.

It went across the road and hit an unoccupied SUV parked at the Apple Barrel Country Store, killing the limousine driver, the 17 passengers, and two people outside the vehicle.

Categories: EMS

Hope Fades for Missing in Indonesia Quake

Thu, 10/04/2018 - 14:02

PALU, Indonesia (AP) — She lay inside a medical tent in the stifling midday heat, wincing in pain at the deep gashes and cuts that covered her body. But all Anisa Cornelia could think about was the love of her life — the man she was supposed to marry this month.

She had not seen him since a deadly tsunami smashed into the Indonesian city of Palu last week, separating the pair possibly forever as they strolled along a sandy beach at twilight.

"Where is my fiancé? Please, do you have any news?" the badly bruised 22-year-old pleaded as medical staff came to check on her in the courtyard of Palu's main hospital.

"Everyone is still searching for him," replied Dr. Andi Sengrengrele, pursing her lips in sympathy. "You have to be patient, OK?"

One week after a magnitude 7.5 quake spawned a deadly tsunami on the island of Sulawesi, countless people have yet to find their loved ones — both survivors and the dead.

As of Thursday, the government put the death toll at 1,424, with 113 people missing. Many families, though, never registered their losses with police. It's also unknown how many might have drowned, been swept out to sea or were swallowed up in two of Palu's neighborhoods where the quake turned the ground into quicksand-like soil.

Lisda Cancer, who heads the local police's Department of Victim Identification, said about 600 of the bodies buried in mass graves in Palu alone were unclaimed. Until Wednesday, authorities had been photographing them in hopes that relatives could identify them later.

"But we had to stop because the corpses we're recovering now have decayed too much," Cancer said. "They've become a public health hazard, and the new instructions are to bury them immediately."

The disaster has overwhelmed local authorities. On Thursday, a private ambulance brought the corpse of one man who had been found in the road to two hospitals, including the one where Cornelia was being treated. Both facilities turned them away.

Categories: EMS

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