Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Drone Observed Assisting Migrants to Illegally Cross into the United States
EDM Friday Briefing: Drone Observed Assisting Migrants to Illegally Cross into the United States

EDM Friday Briefing: Drone Observed Assisting Migrants to Illegally Cross into the United States


Emergency and disaster management for April 19, 2019: A salmonella outbreak that has sickened 13 people across seven states has been linked to raw-frozen tuna; random water samples reveal the presence of toxic benzene in Paradise, California's water supply after a deadly wildfire destroyed the town last November; severe weather killed at least three people and produced multiple tornadoes in Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi, and left widespread damage and destruction; the CDC is investigating a multi-state outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes that has killed one person; for the first known time, a drone was used to assist in the illegal crossing of migrants along the U.S-Mexico border; the NTSB is investigating an American Airlines flight that struck an object on takeoff; severe weather has snarled air traffic from Texas to the Northeast ahead of the busy Easter/Passover holiday weekend; and a church collapse in South Africa has killed 13 and injured another 16 people.

1) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a multi-state salmonella outbreak that has been linked to raw, frozen tuna. As of Tuesday, 13 people in seven states were reportedly infected with the outbreak strain of salmonella from tuna recalled Monday by Jensen Tuna, a company based in Louisiana. The fish being recalled was imported from JK Fish in Vietnam. Of the 13 individuals that were infected, at least seven of them were hospitalized.

2) Random water samples drawn from different locations in Paradise, California, the location of the state's worst wildfire in history, have shown the presence of benzene -- a cancer-causing chemical -- at least 30 percent of the time. The wildfire, which tore through Paradise last November, destroyed 90 percent of the buildings. Officials say that the benzene likely got pulled into the water pipes when a vacuum was created by heavy water drawing. This is the second time the presence of benzene has been found in water supplies after a wildfire; the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa in 2017 was the first occurrence, and water experts agree that urgent action is needed to protect water supplies from future wildfires.

3) Severe weather moved through the Central U.S. on Wednesday, from Texas to Iowa, and spawned at least seven tornadoes, including four in Texas. The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed that two EF1 tornadoes with wind speeds of up to 90 mph touched down in Shattuck, Oklahoma, and damaged multiple homes. Mississippi also saw at least 6 tornadoes, two of which were near (12 and 23 miles away) Jackson, and roadways were closed due to downed trees and flooding near Clinton and Starkville. At least three people have been killed due to the severe weather system that is set to impact the East Coast through Friday evening.

4) A multi-state Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that has killed one person is being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC believes that the Listeria infections are linked to deli-sliced meats and cheeses in at least four states, which include Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. All eight people infected were hospitalized, and one person in Michigan has died from the infection. The CDC notes that deli counters in multiple states and at multiple retail locations have tested positive for the Listeria outbreak strain. However a single, common supplier of deli products has not yet been identified.

5) Customs and Border Patrol agents monitoring the border in the El Paso Sector say that for the first known time, a drone was used as a lookout to help migrants illegally enter the United States. The device was discovered Tuesday by an agent using an infrared camera, who watched as the drone traveled into the U.S. and then back to Mexico three times. Ten subjects then made an illegal entry into America, but were immediately apprehended. CBP agents in the El Paso Sector stated that in all, 1,800 people were arrested along the border in that area on Tuesday, including two known gang members and one convicted sex offender.

6) On Wednesday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated that it, along with the Federal Aviation Administration, is investigating the American Airlines flight that struck an object on departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on April 10. American Airlines Flight 300 was carrying 102 passengers and eight crew members when it struck an object on takeoff, but returned to the airport 30 minutes later and landed safely. The NTSB says that the aircraft experienced a roll on takeoff, and the plane, an Airbus A321, hit a runway distance marker with its left wingtip.

7) As the Easter and Passover holiday weekend approaches, severe weather has resulted in at least 4,800 flight delays and the cancellation of more than 840 flights as the strong weather system continues its trek toward the East Coast. The city with the most cancellations was Dallas/Ft. Worth, with 106 flights being cancelled on Thursday, and the severe weather system is expected to snarl air traffic on the East Coast from Friday into early Saturday. As the weather pushes east, airlines are waiving change fees for travelers through some Northeast airports, including Baltimore, Boston, JFK, LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Dulles, Newark, Reagan and White Plains.

8) A church collapse in South Africa on Thursday evening killed at least 13 people and injured another 16 who were attending Easter season services at the Pentecostal Holiness Church in Dlangubo, in the KwaZulu-Natal coastal province. Disaster management officials were dispatched to the collapse, which reportedly may have been caused by heavy rainfall in the area that evening. Reports indicate that the brick wall at the front of the church collapsed at the start of the service, which was part of a planned weekend-long service to commemorate the Christian Easter holiday.


Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.