EDM Monday Briefing: Explosion in Louisiana Injures 6; Weather Improves Amid Wildfires
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Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 16, 2017: An oil production platform explosion injures at least 6 in Louisiana, post-tropical storm Ophelia slams into Ireland, an AirAsia flight en route from Australia to Bali experiences depressurization at 34,000 feet, weather forecasts for Northern California may help tame destructive wildfires, a saturated and deadly landfill in New Delhi, India erupts in fire, wildfires in Spain and Portugal fueled by Ophelia claim the lives of more than thirty people, a drone collides with a commercial aircraft on its final approach into Quebec City in Canada, and Madagascar battles an outbreak of the pneumonic plague in its two largest cities.
- An oil production platform explosion and subsequent fire on Sunday night in Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain leaves at least six people injured and one missing as the U.S. Coast Guard and local authorities scoured the water for the missing worker. The fire occurred just before 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, and was still burning late Sunday night as fire officials worked diligently to extinguish the blaze. It is unclear what caused the explosion or exactly how many individuals were on the platform at the time of the incident.
- Post-tropical cyclone Ophelia slammed into Ireland Monday with strong winds of 109 mph on the southern coast and a warning from Ireland's national weather service, Met Eierann, that the storm poses a "potential danger to life" due to its high winds. The storm has already toppled trees and downed power lines leaving approximately 120,000 homes and businesses without power. Schools, hospitals, and public transportation were closed in anticipation of the storm, and at least 130 flights have been cancelled at Dublin Airport.
- Passengers on board an AirAsia flight QZ535 traveling from Perth, Australia to Kuala Lumpur, Bali on Sunday, experienced a sudden loss of pressurization at 34,000 feet, causing the oxygen masks to drop. The plane went into a rapid descent to an altitude of 10,000 feet where oxygen masks were no longer needed. The rapid descent of 24,000 feet took about nine minutes according to the FlightRadar website, and the pilot returned the airplane to Australia, where it landed safely 78 minutes after its takeoff. Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority is investigating the incident.
- Northern California, hard hit in recent days by aggressive wildfires that have killed at least 40 people, is welcoming new weather reports for the coming week. Monday, winds will be significantly reduced as forecasts indicate speeds of less than 10 mph at both lower and higher elevations, prompting the removal of red flag warnings. Rain is also forecast for the area by Thursday or Friday at the latest, with humidity levels increasing ahead of the rain. According to officials, damages from recent fires in unincorporated Sonoma County and Santa Rosa alone are being estimated at $3 billion, but that number is expected to rise in the coming days.
- Following a recent fatal collapse at the Ghazipur landfill in New Delhi, India that killed two people and prompted officials to shut down the site, a fire broke out over the weekend that took five crews and more than seven hours to extinguish. Although no one was injured in the fire, concerns have been raised as to the safety of the landfill since it was saturated in 2002 but is still being used. Officials cite 20 meters as the maximum safe height for a landfill, but the Ghazipur landfill now exceeds 45 meters, yet 2,500 to 3,000 metric tons of trash is dumped in the landfill daily.
- Wildfires raging in Portugal and Spain have now claimed the lives of more than 30 people according to civil authorities. Officials report that over one hundred wildfires are burning, with approximately 65 of those fires having been ignited over the weekend and rapidly spread, in part due to strong winds from Hurricane Ophelia. The wildfires are burning in regions that are heavily forested and after a particularly hot and dry summer, have plenty of dried fuel sources. According to officials, at least 6,000 firefighters are battling the blazes, some of which are still considered serious.
- On its approach to the Jean Lesage airport in Quebec City, a small drone collided with a Skyjet commercial airplane that had eight people on board, thankfully only causing what was considered minor damage. The incident occurred on Thursday and was the first time a drone collided with a commercial aircraft in Canada, but officials indicate that had the drone struck the cockpit or engine, a catastrophic incident might have resulted instead. Estimates place the drone height at about 1,500 feet, a crucial altitude for commercial pilots on final approach into airports as they make final preparations to land the airplane.
- The two largest cities in Madagascar, Antananarivo and Toamasina, are facing an outbreak of the plague, a disease that left untreated, is fatal in every case. The disease is usually contained to rural and remote areas on the island, . The World Health Organization quickly deployed epidemiologists and plague specialists to the island, while the Red Cross sent its first-ever plague treatment center to Madagascar, but the disease has now made its way to the Indian Ocean country of Seychelles.
— ANI (@ANI) October 14, 2017
Drone collides with passenger jet over Quebec Cityhttps://t.co/6MFSR33e26
— CTV Montreal (@CTVMontreal) October 15, 2017
— eNCA (@eNCA) October 16, 2017