Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: USS Fitzgerald Hit by Merchant Vessel, Montana Deck Collapse Causes

EDM Monday Briefing: USS Fitzgerald Hit by Merchant Vessel, Montana Deck Collapse Causes


Emergency and disaster management briefing for June 19, 2017: Seven US Navy sailors are dead following a crash involving the USS Fitzgerald and a merchant vessel, one person was killed and 10 people injured outside a mosque in London after being run over by a van, a deck collapse in Montana results in a mass casualty incident, London officials raise the Grenfell Tower death toll to 79, arsonists set 13 fires to railways across Germany, raging wildfires in central Portugal kill at least 62, authorities negotiated the release of 14 hostages in New Mexico standoff, the NHC is tracking two systems in the Atlantic that have development potential.

  1. On Saturday, a 29,060 ton Philippine-flagged container ship struck the USS Fitzgerald miles off the coast Japan and flooded two berthing spaces, a machine room, and the radio room, injured three crew members, and ultimately resulted in the deaths of seven sailors. The naval ship was damaged significantly, and its commander, Bryce Benson, was critically injured and airlifted, along with another crew member, by a Japanese Coast Guard helicopter to Yokosuka for treatment. The vessel that hit the USS Fitzgerald is operated by a Japanese company, and an investigation is underway as to the cause of the crash. 
  2. Officials in London are now investigating the incident of a van that drove into pedestrians near a Finsbury Park mosque just after midnight on Sunday as an act of terrorism. The incident resulted in the death of one person and injured at least 10 others, two severely, who were transported to area hospitals. Bystanders apprehended the driver and held him until police arrived to arrest him. This is the fourth attack to occur in London since March.
  3. A deck collapse in Montana during a funeral on Saturday created a mass casualty incident that resulted in dozens of injuries, including 5 people who were critically hurt. Approximately 50 people were on the deck at the Glacier Presbyterian Camp, on the west side of Flathead Lake, at the time of its collapse. Critically injured individuals were airlifted to area hospitals while at least 32 others were transported via ambulances, many of whom were women and children. The memorial service was being held for longtime Flathead Valley firefighter, William Nickel, who died in April. 
  4. London officials now believe that at least 79 people died in the Grenfell Tower high rise fire in London, a number that includes those confirmed dead, those presumed deceased, and individuals who are still missing. The fire advanced rapidly, and investigators are suspicious that the exterior cladding material used in a recent renovation was actually banned under current building laws in the United Kingdom. The fire has also resulted in hundreds of homeless individuals who need temporary shelter which has been difficult to obtain. Approximately 2,500 buildings similar to the Grenfell Tower across London are now being inspected by the government to ensure their safety.
  5. On Monday in various locations across Germany, a string of arson attacks occurred on the nation's railway system that impacted Bad Bevensen, Berlin, Bremen, Cologne, Dortmund, Hamburg, and Leipzig, disrupting service in some locations. A total of 13 fires were set using "unconventional explosive and incendiary devices" in the cable ducts alongside the tracks and in other areas. Authorities are investigating whether the attacks are related to the G20 summit of world leaders that Germany is hosting in Hamburg on July 7-8.
  6. At least 62 people have died while fleeing wildfires in central Portugal, many of them trapped in their cars by the fires they were trying to escape. Over 2,000 fire fighters were working Monday to battle the wildfires raging in the nation's central region, some of them in steep terrain areas outside of Lisbon that are inaccessible. Thick smoke cover has also prevented air support water drops, but much needed international assistance from Spain, France, and Italy through a European Union cooperative program is due to arrive. 
  7. On Sunday, a suspect wanted in a shooting that occurred earlier in the day took 14 hostages at a pistachio farm in New Mexico after being chased by state police and crashing his vehicle. Caleb Scroggins, 21, exited his vehicle after the crash and exchanged gunfire with police before running into the McGinn Pistachio Farm store and taking 14 hostages, one of whom was a 3-year-old boy. The suspect released the hostages unharmed prior to his surrender and arrest, which came after a nearly four-hour standoff with police.
  8.  As the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season gets underway, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is monitoring two potential systems for development. This is the first season that the NHC is able to monitor systems that have the potential to impact land with tropical or hurricane-force winds within 48-hours, but have not yet actually developed. Monitoring of potential tropical cyclone two, about 400 miles east-southeast of Trinidad, shows the system will likely develop into a tropical storm on Monday before impacting the Windward Islands. The system is forecast to fall apart later in the week after encountering an increasingly southerly wind shear.

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.