Archive | January 15, 2014

At Least 16 Dead As Volcano Eruption Intensifies In Indonesia
Volcano Alert

At least 16 evacuees have died in shelters and hospitals as Mount Sinabung in Karo district of North Sumatra keeps erupting intensively, officials said here on Wednesday.

“Data shows 16 people have been dead,” Syamsul Maarif, head of the national disaster management agency, said at the State Palace.

Mount Sinabung’s eruption continued on Wednesday, spewing column of ash as high as 7,000 meters into the air, the highest since last September, he said.

Maarif confirmed that lava flood was threatening several villages at downstream of rivers as the lava has flowed into the rivers.

“The threat of cold lava is lingering. In recent days, lava has flowed into the rivers and we are concerned that it bloated the rivers and burst their banks,” said Maarif.

The agency so far has allocated 21 billion rupiah (2.1 million U.S. dollars) for emergency relief aid, he said.

So far, the number of evacuees has went up to 26,088, from 25, 516 recorded on Saturday evening.

The 2,457-meter-high Mount Sinabung has been back to life since September last year after remaining quiet for around 400 years. It has erupted intermittently since then, but went into overdrive frequently last November and December.

Mount Sinabung is among the 129 active volcanoes in the archipelago country, which is prone to seismic upheavals as it sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” encircling the Pacific Ocean.


Small Plane Makes Crash Landing Near Salt Lake City International Airport

A private plane made a crash landing about a mile north of Salt Lake City International Airport on Wednesday afternoon.

Airport officials reported there were no injuries to the pilot. Initially, there were reports of two people on board, but airport spokeswoman Barbara Gann confirmed there was only one.

The Cessna Centurion crashed in the area of 2100 North and 1700 West, near an ATV park just before 2 p.m.

Gann said the pilot had reported having mechanical issues with the plane, possibly because his gas tank was low or empty. She said the pilot looked for a field to make an emergency landing.

Johnny Longhaul was working with a road construction crew near the area the plane went down.

“For whatever reason, we just looked up and saw this plane. Because the airport is not right there but the altitude was so low, you thought, ‘What’s this dude doing?'” he said. “He was losing altitude in a hurry and then turned around, like did a sharp banking turn. He was westbound and losing altitude, and he was really, really low at this point. I would guess maybe … 100 feet in the air when he did that turn.”

Longhaul said the plane looked like a crop duster because it was flying so low. He said it appeared the pilot was experienced because of the quick maneuvering he made to prevent the aircraft from crashing hard.

Longhaul said he and his partner later drove by the airplane and talked to some of the firefighters at the scene.

“From what we could see, (the plane) was pretty much intact. It was upright with the tail still intact,” he said.

Longhaul said one official mentioned the plane possibly ran out of gas.

As per protocol when a plane goes down, Gann said the airspace around the airport was closed for about 20 minutes after the accident, meaning no flights could take off or land.

One Southwest plane flying into Salt Lake City diverted and landed in Ogden, Gann said. The plane waited for Salt Lake City International Airport to reopen before taking off again and completing its original flight.


Subject To Change

Depth: 5 km

Distances: 74 km E of Los Angeles, United States / pop: 3,792,621 / local time: 01:35:19.0 2014-01-15
15 km W of San Bernardino, United States / pop: 209,924 / local time: 01:35:19.0 2014-01-15
5 km N of Fontana, United States / pop: 196,069 / local time: 01:35:19.0 2014-01-15

Global viewRegional view



Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 317km (197mi) NNE of Amsterdam Island,
2269km (1410mi) SE of Ile Rodrigues, Mauritius

2618km (1627mi) SE of Mahebourg, Mauritius
2620km (1628mi) SE of Plaine Magnien, Mauritius

2652km (1648mi) SE of Port Louis, Mauritius

Global view


Subject To Change

Depth: 88 km

Distances: 354 km NE of Santiago, Chile / pop: 4,837,295 / local time: 05:38:07.0 2014-01-15
63 km NE of San Juan, Argentina / pop: 447,048 / local time: 06:38:07.0 2014-01-15
51 km NE of San Martín, Argentina / pop: 10,140 / local time: 06:38:07.0 2014-01-15

Global viewRegional view


White Smoke Spotted In Dreamliner Plane, Japan
Article image

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been grounded after white smoke was spotted coming from the plane – the latest in a series of problems that have plagued the model.

Japan Airlines said cockpit warning lights on the plane indicated potential problems with the main battery and charger, and a battery cell appeared to have been leaking.

The fault, coming almost one year since the global 787 fleet was grounded by regulators after two batteries overheated, raised fresh concerns about the model’s safety and reliability.

Boeing said it was “aware of the 787 issue that occurred on Tuesday afternoon at Narita, which appears to have involved the venting of a single battery cell”.

It referred to the process of fumes and heat being channelled outside the aircraft.

In the wake of the news, Boeing shares fell 0.6% to $139.87 on the New York Stock Exchange.

United Airlines spokeswoman Christen David said the company was looking into the matter. United is the only US carrier that uses the 787.

Japan Airlines said maintenance engineers who were in the cockpit saw white smoke outside the plane. When they went outside the aircraft the smoke had dispersed.

On returning to the cockpit, the engineers found warning lights indicating possible faults with the main battery and charger. When they checked the battery they found one of eight cells was leaking a liquid.

The plane, due to depart from Tokyo Narita airport for Bangkok, was taken out of service, and the 158 passengers due to board the plane were put on a separate 787, JAL said.

Aerospace experts said the incident was troubling, but were cautious about drawing broader conclusions.

Almost exactly a year ago, All Nippon Airways grounded its 787 fleet after two 787 batteries overheated on two different planes in less than a fortnight.

Global regulators grounded the worldwide fleet days later, with all Dreamliners left out of action for more than three months while Boeing redesigned the battery, charger and containment system to ensure battery fires would not put the aircraft at risk.

The cause of the battery problems has not been determined.

Wildfire Destroys Several Homes In Jurupa Valley, USA

Several homes were destroyed and residents evacuated Tuesday as a wildfire whipped across an Inland Empire community.

The fire was first reported at 10:36 a.m. in the 5900 block of Mission Boulevard in Jurupa Valley, the Riverside County Fire Department said.

It was fueled by dry brush and strong winds, officials said.

Four homes were destroyed and two others damaged.

Evacuation orders were issued to area residents, commercial buildings and the Rubidoux Child Care Center. Students were taken to Mission Middle School in Riverside, and an evacuation center was set up at Patriot High School, 4355 Camino Real, in Jurupa Valley, RCFD spokesperson Jody Hagemann said.

As of 4:15 p.m., the blaze was 85 percent contained, officials reported.

A number of power lines were down in the area, and Mission Boulevard was closed at Pacific Avenue, according to the fire department.

It was unclear how the fire started. No injuries have been reported.

Dry Lightning Sparks 256 Fires In Victoria Amid Heatwave, Australia
Heatwave Alert
CREWS have worked throughout the night extinguishing hundreds of fires in the driest parts of Victoria sparked by dry lightning from electrical storms.
CFA state duty officer Scott Purdy said crews responded to 256 fires between 5pm and 12am.
The Mallee and Wimmera received the most strikes as electrical storms hit the region and continued to other parts of the state including the central Victorian towns of Castlemaine, Daylesford, Woodend, Macedon, and metropolitan Melbourne.
CFA spokesman Mick Harris said there were 22 fires still listed as ongoing, 15 controlled and three contained.
Electrical storm in Craigieburn last night.
Most of the fires are in the Mallee and no properties are under threat.
Mr Harris said the worst fire was a 6500 hectare blaze at Lake Albacutya between Horsham and Ouyen, which was burning mainly in national park land.
Waterbombing helicopters are monitoring the Mallee and central Victoria to identify strikes before conditions worsen later in the week.
The CFA fears more dry lightning, which means lightning with not enough rain to combat its effect, will hit the state today.
The CFA battled several grass fires yesterday, with the most serious at Kangaroo Ground which is now under control.
There is a total fire ban across the state.
Victorians endured a hot night and are facing another scorcher today.
The temperature stayed in the 30s for most of the night, dipping to 29.3C just after 5am – close to the January record of 30.6C in 2010.
The Bureau of Meteorology said the heat would increase quickly this morning, and Melbourne should be close the forecast 41C soon after midday.
Temperatures will continue to peak above 40C tomorrow and Friday, with wind gusts of up to 100km/h expected to create dangerous fire conditions on Friday.
The city reached 42.8C yesterday, while Charlton in the state’s northwest recorded 46.5C.
At the Australian Open a player hallucinated that he saw Snoopy on court before he fainted mid-match.
A ball boy collapsed and water bottles melted on court as the tournament sizzled in extreme heat.
The heat has driven the highest electricity demand since the heatwave before Black Saturday and by the end of the week could set new records, Energy Supply Association of Australia says.
Some Victorians were left without electricity for part of yesterday with electricity company SP AusNet going ahead with bushfire mitigation works in some areas despite the heat.
The Victorian Government has issued a heat health alert and is urging people to stay hydrated and check on the elderly.
Waterbombing was used to combat the fire at Kangaroo Ground. Picture: Jay Town.  Beaufort firefighter Robin Hill cools off.

Chikungunya Virus Hits British Virgin Islands
H5N1 Virus Alert

The Virgin Islands has joined the short list of Caribbean islands with confirmed cases of a mosquito-borne virus that is new to this hemisphere, government announced Monday. 

Three Jost Van Dyke residents have been diagnosed with chikungunya, which is rarely fatal but causes similar symptoms as dengue, according to the Ministry of Health and Social Development. 

“It is important to note that these confirmed cases were not exposed to travel, which alerts us that the virus is already in our mosquito population,” said Dr. Ronald Georges, a medical officer in the ministry. 

So far, there have been nearly 130 cases of the virus recorded in the Caribbean since it was first detected in St. Martin in December. The French side of that island has confirmed 98 cases, while the neighbouring Dutch side has recorded one. 

Nearby Martinique has recorded 13 cases, Guadeloupe three, and St. Barthelemy seven, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Swine Flu Cases At Elmwood Jail Spur Additional Lockdown And Health-Safety Measures, Santa Clara Co
H1N1 Flu Alert

Three confirmed cases of swine flu at the Elmwood jail has spurred authorities to restrict visiting and access to three cell blocks while instituting a series of health measures to prevent further spread of the virus that has caused more than a dozen deaths in the Bay Area this season.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Tuesday that three inmates at the lower-security holding facility in Milpitas are ill with the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu. The infections, the first of which was reported Friday, affect two male dormitories and one female dormitory. Sgt. Kurtis Stenderup, a spokesman for the agency, said jail staff were also dealing with at least four other suspected cases.

Since the beginning of flu season in October, the nine Bay Area counties and Santa Cruz County have recorded at least 17 flu deaths, four of them in Santa Clara, which is the highest individual county total. The bulk of those deaths have been reported since the beginning of the year.

Solano County on Tuesday reported its first flu death.

With a single-dorm capacity of 64, nearly 200 Elmwood inmates have been exposed to the virus. Stenderup said the jail was taking a multitude of health-safety measures but do not plan to seal off the affected areas.

“We’re not up to quarantine status, but we’re trying to take precautions to reduce unnecessary exposure to staff, inmates and the community,” he said.

Among those precautions has been to cancel visiting through Friday for the A and D dorms in the M8 men’s building, and the D dorm in the W2 women’s building. Inmates in those areas are undergoing daily health screenings by jail medical staff and the infected are receiving treatment, Stenderup said.

Access to the dorms is limited to essential personnel, which includes jail staff, law-enforcement personnel and inmate attorneys. They are being provided with masks and gloves and are being advised of the risks of visiting the cells.

Stenderup said inmates cannot be compelled to wear masks if they refuse. Inmate transport between affected and unaffected dorms has been restricted to “essential movements,” which essentially cover extraordinary circumstances.

Flu shots are among the first services offered to inmates upon booking, but they’re only administered with consent. Stenderup said in light of the swine flu cases, inmates who initially refused the shots are being reminded of their availability.

H1N1 appears to be the predominant strain this flu season, causing concern because unlike other strains it can result in deadly pneumonia even in young, healthy people.