Archive | July 30, 2016
Erika Gonzales pictured the hot air balloon 20 minutes before the crash. Pic: Facebook
A hot air balloon has crashed with at least 16 people on board in Texas, and officials say there appears to be no survivors.
US investigators say the basket portion of the balloon had caught fire before coming down into a pasture near the city of Lockhart.
Marcus Officer, a reporter for FOX 7 at the scene, said: “There are massive power lines that are above where police tape is marked off.
“We have not confirmed anything as to whether the power lines caused the fire and the crash. But there’s police tape just underneath it.”
It is believed the 16 people were aboard for the hour-long flight arranged by the Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides company, but encountered difficulties about halfway through the journey.
The company’s chief pilot, Skip Nichols, has been named as one of those who was killed in the crash.
Margaret Wylie, an eyewitness who called 911 after the hot air balloon came down, said: “I looked around and it was like a fireball going up.”
The accident is likely to be one of the deadliest hot air balloon crashes on record, and officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said there was a “significant loss of life”.
Three years ago, 19 people – many of them tourists – were killed after a hot air balloon came down in a mid-air explosion.
Tents have been put up at the scene in Texas by the emergency services.
“It does not appear at this time that there were any survivors of the crash,” said Daniel Law, the sheriff of Caldwell County.
The incident happened shortly after 7.40am local time (1.40pm UK time) on Saturday, and weather conditions were clear.
Officials are beginning to determine the exact number of victims and their identities.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the NTSB will be leading the investigation into the fatal crash.
Texas governor Greg Abbott said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as the Lockhart community.”
Courtesy of Sky News
Courtesy of globalmeatnews.com
A total of 91 dead dolphins have been found on beaches on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast so far in summer 2016, according to regional inspectorates of the environment.
This figure, as of July 19, is higher than the total 90 dead dolphins found on the country’s coast in all of 2015.
There have been repeated cases, and ensuing media reports, in recent years about dolphins being found dead on Bulgarian beaches. In spite of repeated allegations, often with finger-pointing at fishermen, no cause for the deaths has been established conclusively.
A joint Bulgarian-Romanian investigation is underway, after the finding of dead dolphins horrified tourists at Black Sea beaches, a report by Bulgarian National Television said.
The findings have taken place from the northernmost to the southernmost points of Bulgaria’s coast.
In some cases, the appearance of the dead dolphins suggested that they had been slashed, and possibly meat even removed.
Atanas Roussev of the Save Coral movement said that the deaths appeared to have happened somewhere in Bulgarian waters.
Razvan Popescu, president of the Oceanographic Science Club – Romania, said that dead dolphins also washed up on Romania’s Black Sea coast.
“It seems that the cause of death is poachers’ nets,” Popescu said.
Roussev and Popescu joined forces last summer to investigate the cases, with volunteers helping to collect data on the number of dead dolphins along the coast.
Popescu has brought a mobile laboratory from Romania to take samples from the dead dolphins.
Using software for mapping and tracking, the team said that they had established that the dolphins had washed up from the point where they had died, near Snake Island between Romania and Ukraine.
Snake Island is 35km from the coast, east of the mouth of the Danube River.
Roussev said that the place was a site for sea-bottom fishing nets used by illegal poachers of turbot, the nets leading to the killing of large numbers of small dolphins.
Some of the nets are large, as high as a three-storey building, as wide as a football stadium, the report said. This enables the catching of fish in large quantities, but dolphins trapped in such nets would have no chance.
The mammals cannot emerge to breathe air and die of drowning.
According to Popescu, when mapping the population of dolphins in Romania, his team noticed poachers’ ships in Romanian waters.
He said that it was possible that some of the cases of dead dolphins being washed up on the Bulgarian coast were the result of these ships.
“But taking into account the varying degrees of decomposition of the bodies, the death of dolphins occurred at different times. So we suspect many other cases of poachers catching fish in different locations,” Popescu said.
Roussev said that just two days before, along 150km of the Bulgarian coast, 22 dead dolphins had washed up, from the beach at Kamchiya to the Silistar beach.
Conservation groups suspect that this summer, poachers had set their nets within the territorial waters of Bulgaria. They called on the country’s institutions to carry out an official investigation.
Miroslav Kalugerov, an official with the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water, said that to carry out such a specialised investigation, a dolphin had to be found that had died in the previous 24 hours. A solution was needed, “I hope that together we can succeed to achieve a solution and to address appropriate measures to tackle the problem”.
There are three species of dolphins in the Black Sea off Bulgaria – the short-beaked common dolphin, the harbour porpoise, and the common bottlenose dolphin – all of them protected by law. The penalty for killing a dolphin from any of these species is 5000 to 20 000 leva (about 2500 to 10 000 euro) and imprisonment of up to five years.
Bulgaria’s Biological Diversity Act also bans harassing, chasing or capturing dolphins from these species, and says that if a dead dolphin is washed ashore, it should be moved until examined by the Regional Environment and Water Inspectorate to establish the species and to report on the death of the Minister of Environment and Water.
In 2006, a national network concerning dolphins washed ashore or caught in fishing nets was set up, run by the Institute of Fishing Resources in Varna and with the participation of the Regional Environment and Water Inspectorate in the city of Bourgas and the Green Balkans NGO.
Courtesy of sofiaglobe.com