Passengers aboard a WestJet flight heading for Winnipeg put on oxygen masks and held on tight when their jet experienced a pressurization problem.
WestJet spokesman Robert Palmer says the Boeing 737-700 was on its way from Phoenix to Winnipeg on Friday night when the trouble developed.
The pilots declared an emergency and made a rapid descent which took the plane from 12,000 metres to below 3,000 metres in just a few minutes.
Palmer says the plane landed safely at the nearest available airport — in Rapid City, S.D.
Passengers were put up in a hotel in Rapid City for the night and were due back in Winnipeg Saturday evening.
There’s no word yet on what caused the pressurization problem, but Palmer said the airline is investigating.
There were 38 passengers, two pilots and a flight attendant on board.
Palmer said such incidents are uncommon. The last time a WestJet plane experienced a pressurization problem that required a rapid descent was three or four years ago, he said.
“This is a descent that is faster than normal, than say, when you’re landing.” Palmer said.
“It took a few minutes. It’s not like in the movies where the aircraft does a nose dive.”
He says both the National Transportation Safety Board in the U.S. and the Transportation Safety Board in Canada are satisfied with WestJet’s response and won’t be investigating.
New Eruption Occurs From Shiveluch Volcano
There was a new eruption of ash from Shiveluch volcano in Kamchatka on Sunday, the press service of the Emergency Situations’ Ministry department for Kamchatka territory reports.
“According to visual observations of KVERT (the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team), there was another eruption of ash. The height of the ash plume is up to 8 kilometers above sea level,” the report says.
Given the direction of the wind the ash cloud spread to the southeast bypassing populated areas. No ash falls were registered in towns and villages of Ust-Kamchatka municipal district.
Earlier reports said there was an eruption of ash Sunday morning to the altitude of 6.2 kilometers.
There is no threat to the population.
All travel agencies have been notified about the threat to tourists and they have been strongly advised against sending tourist groups along routes running near the volcano. The orange aviation color code has been assigned to the volcano.
Scorching Temperatures On The Way In Tasmania
A heatwave started in Tasmania yesterday that will become “severe” today and “extreme” tomorrow, the Bureau of Meteorology says.
Hobart-based meteorologist Vicky Lucas said Tasmania’s inland areas would be hot, while conditions for the North-West and West Coast areas would be much warmer than normal.
“It’s certainly going to be a hot period for the state,” Ms Lucas said.
Heatwaves were a cause for concern with Tasmania’s ageing population, the Department of Health and Human Services Director of Public Health, Roscoe Taylor, said.
Tasmania has larger numbers of older people living for longer with chronic conditions that would render them more vulnerable to extreme events, Dr Taylor said.
The rising global climate was a cause for concern and Dr Taylor said there would be more health problems as the climate changes.
“We can see increasing frequency and severity of extreme events, even in Tasmania,” Dr Taylor said.
The DHHS has published a free guide online about how to cope with the heat.
The guide warns people who are most at risk are those over 65, young people and babies, pregnant women, people with diabetes and anyone who is confined to a bed, among others.
Heavy Rains Leave Six Dead In Philippines
Heavy rains battering the southern Philippines left at least six people dead and eight others missing, authorities said Sunday, sparking fears for typhoon survivors still living in makeshift shelters.
Four people were crushed to death in their homes on the southern island of Mindanao after landslides struck the mountain town of Tarragona on Saturday, local police said.
A seven-year-old girl was killed and three others were missing after a landslide in the gold-rush mining town of Monkayo, while a one-year-old boy drowned when a flash flood from nearby mountains hit the mining city of Bayugan, civil defence officials said.
Two other people went missing as they crossed a swollen river in the town of Santiago, while three fishermen vanished after going out to sea in the coastal town of Tubay, local police said.
Officials fear the rains may worsen the already-harsh living conditions for survivors of typhoon Haiyan, many of whom are still lodged in temporary shelters after their homes were destroyed in the November typhoon.
Government weather forecaster Manny Mendoza said the heavy rains would continue for two to three days, primarily affecting the islands of Samar and Leyte which bore the brunt of Haiyan, one of the most intense typhoons on record.
The downpours have pounded the southern and central Philippines for three days as a low-pressure area — an atmospheric phenomenon that causes heavy rains — came closer to Mindanao, finally making landfall in Surigao del Sur province, about 820 kilometres (510 miles) southeast of Manila, on Sunday.
The government civil defence office said that more than 4,000 people had been evacuated from their homes on the banks of waterways and on hillsides under a precautionary measure due to the rains.
Haiyan, one of the worst natural disasters to hit the Philippines, left nearly 8,000 people dead or missing as it flattened whole towns in Samar and Leyte with strong winds and tsunami-like storm surges.
Four people, including two from England, are believed to have died after a small jet crashed near an airfield in Germany.
The plane damaged an electricity pylon as it came down at a landfill site and was ablaze when firefighters arrived at the scene near the western city of Trier.
The aircraft, believed to be a Cessna Citation business jet, was carrying two pilots and two passengers from England, who are all thought to have died in the crash.
It was not known what might have caused the tragedy and the identities of those on board was not revealed.
MAGNITUDE 5.2 – MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES
Subject To Change
Depth: 137 km
Distances: 141 km S of Davao, Philippines / pop: 1,212,504 / local time: 21:07:51.0 2014-01-12
24 km SE of Caburan, Philippines / pop: 12,618 / local time: 21:07:51.0 2014-01-12
West Yellowstone, MT – 50 km (31 miles) ENE (69 degrees)
Cooke City-Silver Gate, MT – 51 km (31 miles) WSW (244 degrees)
Island Park, ID – 74 km (46 miles) ENE (61 degrees)
Salt Lake City, UT – 466 km (289 miles) NNE (13 degrees)
MAGNITUDE 4.9 – MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES
Subject To Change
Depth: 40 km
Distances: 236 km NE of Davao, Philippines / pop: 1,212,504 / local time: 10:21:02.0 2014-01-12
190 km N of Tagum, Philippines / pop: 233,254 / local time: 10:21:02.0 2014-01-12
21 km NE of Bacolod, Philippines / pop: 2,171 / local time: 10:21:02.0 2014-01-12