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Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 16, 2018: A multiple vehicle crash killed 3, injured dozens, and closed I-25 for hours in New Mexico; a Massachusetts police officer is dead after being attacked with a rock and shot multiple times; residents are evacuated from a small coastal village in Greenland that faces danger from a towering 11-million ton iceberg sitting just offshore; a heat wave slammed Japan as workers continued efforts to rescue victims trapped by flooding and mudslides; lava flows from Kilauea gobbled up more land and created a tiny offshore island; more than 500 people have fallen after visiting a popular zip line attraction in Tennessee; flash flooding sent tourists camping on the Havasupai reservation in the Grand Canyon scrambling to safety; and Red Flag Warnings have been issued for large portions of the western United States as firefighters in Oregon battle at least 20 fires started by dry lightning.
- A tour bus crash which involved several other vehicles, has left three people dead and two dozen injured in New Mexico, some critically. First responders had to use the jaws of life to extricate trapped and injured passengers from the tour bus. Two of the victims were airlifted from the scene, 12 were taken to University of New Mexico Hospital--three of whom were in critical condition, and eight patients were transported to a different hospital. The accident occurred on Interstate 25 around 2:00 a.m. Sunday and shut down the interstate in both directions for more than 11 hours.
- A Massachusetts police officer was attacked with a rock, then shot and killed, by a suspect in Weymouth on Sunday morning. The suspect, Emanuel Lopes, had crashed his car, fled on foot, and was spotted by Officer Michael Chesna vandalizing a nearby house. When ordered to stop, Lopes attacked Chesna with a rock, hitting him in the head and then taking his gun and shooting him in the head and chest. Lopes fled, firing at responding officers, and stray bullets struck an elderly woman in a nearby home, also killing her.
- A gigantic 11-million ton iceberg sitting off the coast of Greenland is spreading fear in a nearby coastal village after a large chunk of ice broke off and caused significant waves to impact the community. Officials fear the iceberg could be further destabilized by weather conditions, causing an even larger chunk of ice to break off, creating a tsunami that would quickly inundate the coastal village, Innaarsuit, causing widespread devastation. Some residents have evacuated to safer areas, and a Danish Royal Navy Ship is standing by in case conditions with the iceberg deteriorate.
- On Friday, after one of the worst disasters in the nation's history, workers in western Japan were still trying to access victims trapped in their homes as a result of flooding and mudslides from historic rainfalls that caused widespread destruction. Workers and victims faced another threat over the weekend, as a heat wave that had temperatures soaring to 106 degrees Friday and had already caused at least eight deaths. Officials noted that in total, at least 2,061 people were treated at area hospitals for heat stroke or heat exhaustion, including 145 people, some of whom were volunteers, from the Ehime, Okayama, and Hiroshima prefectures.
- Early Sunday morning another summit collapse occurred at the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii and its energy was equivalent to a 5.2-magnitude earthquake. Lava continues to enter the ocean from the Fissure 8 flow, but other lava is oozing out along a broad 3.7 mile wide section along the coast and a tiny new island has formed just off the coast, likely from submarine tumulus--lava that has built up underwater and emerged above sea level. Recently, lava flows have overrun and destroyed the Kua O Ka La Public Charter School along highway 137 and the Ahalanui Beach Park just north of Isaac Hale Park.
- In Tennessee, more than 550 people have fallen ill after visiting a popular zip lining attraction in Gatlinburg. State health officials said that at least 550 people have tested positive for norovirus, and one person tested positive for enteropathogenic E. coli. Upon testing, water at the CLIMB Works zip lining attraction tested positive for E. coli bacteria, which, according to health officials, may have contributed to the outbreak. Officials also noted that other sources were likely involved in spreading contamination, such as surfaces and person-to-person transmission, but noted that identifying the bacteria in food, water, and the environment is more difficult.
- Tourists visiting the Grand Canyon were sent scrambling on Thursday when flash flooding caused a wall of water to descend into the gorge where they were camping. The flash flooding occurred on the Havasupai Reservation after heavy rainfall occurred, swelling a creek that runs through the campground. To escape the rapidly rising water, campers scrambled up trees, into caves, and moved to higher ground, and were rescued by members of the tribe who used ATVs, ropes, and a helicopter to remove the campers out of the canyon.
- Numerous heat and fire warnings have been issued across the west even as 35 large, un-contained wildfires continued to burn Monday in the western United States. Much of southern Nevada and the Southern Highlands in Idaho, among other areas, are under a Red Flag Warning, meaning weather conditions, such as dry lightning and gusty winds, combined with dry vegetation, could create hazardous fire weather conditions. Firefighters in southern Oregon have already responded to at least 20 confirmed new fires that began from lightning strikes, with the Randy Fire, burning eight miles from Bonanza, being the largest of the blazes being fought.
— Elise Kaplan (@EliseKapNM) July 15, 2018
BREAKING: Weymouth, Massachusetts police officer dead after attacked with rock, shot with own gun, officials say---bystander also killed; suspect in custody - FNC pic.twitter.com/KaudFjDnlq
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) July 15, 2018
Authorities in Greenland have taken action to evacuate those living closest to the water, where an enormous iceberg has parked itself just off the coast. https://t.co/6d0m6D44RS
— NPR (@NPR) July 16, 2018
A heat wave in southern Japan has killed at least eight people, dealing another blow to a country still recovering from the worst flooding in decades https://t.co/dt2nOpNnDR
— CNN International (@cnni) July 16, 2018
— CNN (@CNN) July 16, 2018
More than 500 fall ill after visiting Tennessee zipline attraction https://t.co/1fvtO6JBXc
— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 15, 2018
Thank you to the emergency response personnel for responding during turbulent weather this week to evacuate stranded hikers & tourists in Havasupai Canyon!@BIAOJS - Truxton Canon Agency, Havasupai Indian Tribe, AZ Department of Public Safety, Airwest, & Papillion Air Services pic.twitter.com/EVALPoK0gN
— Indian Affairs (@USIndianAffairs) July 13, 2018