EDM Friday Briefing: Pence Plane Scare, Italian Quakes, Theme Park Accident
Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 28, 2016: Mike Pence's airplane skids off of a runway; two quakes hit Italy; a horrific theme park accident in Australia leaves four dead; a jury acquits the Oregon wildlife refuge standoff leaders; drought-fueled wildfires burn in Alabama; suspicious chemicals cause evacuations at a UK college; Amtrak settles in a 2015 Philadelphia derailment case; and a study links pollution to heart ailments.
- GOP Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence's campaign plane skidded off the runway while landing at New York's LaGuardia Airport on Thursday night. Nobody was injured in the incident according to the New York Port Authority. The agency said more than 30 people were on board Pence's plane when it "overshot" the rain-drenched runway. Once the plane came to a stop, Pence walked to the back of the plane to check on the accompanying press pool. Pence could be seen speaking with emergency responders as everybody on board exited the plane.
- Two strong earthquakes shook central Italy on Wednesday and caused wide-scale damage but, miraculously, zero fatalities. In fact, only a few injuries were suffered. There was initial concern that the quakes' death toll would reach the hundreds - similar to the 6.2-magnitude quake that killed close to 300 people on August 24 near Amatrice. Officials believe that the human toll on Wednesday was limited because many residents fled their homes after the first, weaker quake struck and stayed outside when the second, more powerful temblor hit two hours later. The two earthquakes measured 5.4 and 6.1, respectively, on the Richter Scale.
- Four people died in a horrific theme park accident in Australia Wednesday. The "Dreamworld" park in Queensland - the largest amusement park in Australia - remained closed while investigators attempted to determine what caused the Rocky Hollow Log Ride to malfunction. The ride, advertised as a family ride and safe for toddlers to enjoy, was climbing a conveyor belt when a raft containing six people flipped over. Four people in the raft were caught in the conveyor belt and died, while the other occupants (two children) were thrown from the ride but survived.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) October 27, 2016
- In an embarrassing loss for federal prosecutors, the leaders of a 41-day armed standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last year were each acquitted of federal charges Thursday. Brothers Ryan and Ammon Bundy - along with five others - were charged with conspiracy to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs by occupying the facility. However, a jury found them not guilty, sparking huge celebrations outside Portland's federal courthouse.
- With drought conditions worsening each day in the South, wildfires are destroying acres of land with no respite in sight. Alabama's rural communities have suffered the most, with fires affecting areas 20 miles northwest of Birmingham. In Brookside, a fire was reported as being contained but "still actively burning inside the containment line." Officials stated that rain is needed to help douse the wildfires, but there is no rain in the immediate forecast.
- Thousands of college students in Swansea, United Kingdom, were evacuated after the discovery of a "volatile" chemical in one of the school's laboratory buildings. South Wales Police received a call at around 8.30 a.m. EST Thursday with reports of unstable and potentially hazardous chemicals. Eleven buildings were cleared of students as a precaution; no one was hurt.
- Amtrak agreed Thursday to pay $265 million to the victims of the 2015 crash in Philadelphia that killed eight and injured 200 when a train derailed while traveling at more than twice the posted speed limit. The money will be divided among the injured victims via a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in eastern Pennsylvania. The New York bound train's engineer, Brandon Bostian, took a curved stretch of track at 106 miles per hour because - according to an NTSB investigation - he had lost track of his location. Since the accident, Amtrak has admitted liability. In fact, the company has already settled smaller claims and paid out medical expenses.
- A study in Europe has found that young adults exposed to air pollution showed medical signs known by doctors to be precursors to heart attacks and strokes in much older people. The study, published in Circulation Research, suggests that long-term exposure to pollution initiates the biological process that causes major cardiovascular events. The participants of the study were healthy with no current heart disease. The results of the study illustrated that tiny particles do not only aggravate existing cardiovascular problems, they may also play a role in starting them.
So thankful everyone on our plane is safe. Grateful for our first responders & the concern & prayers of so many. Back on the trail tomorrow!
— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) October 28, 2016