Bus Crash Kills 25 In South Africa

SA Minister Assures Foreign Nationals Of Halted Attacks

 

Twenty-five people died Monday when a bus rolled down a steep embankment in South Africa’s coastal Eastern Cape province, the country’s transport minister said.

“Reports indicate that the driver lost control of the bus, which subsequently rolled down a steep embankment, leaving 25 dead and approximately 62 injured,” Fikile Mbalula said in a statement.

“To lose so many lives in a single accident is devastating and shocking.”

The bus was carrying over 80 mainly elderly people to the town centre in Butterworth, the provincial transport department spokesman, Unathi Binqose, said.

It was travelling on a gravel road when it overturned.

“The driver lost control of the vehicle and it rolled down a very steep embankment,” Binqose said, adding that the driver figured among the dead.

The crash was the deadliest accident in the province since 2015 when 35 people lost their lives.

Binqose said checks would be carried out if the bus had been roadworthy as “it may be a contributing factor”.

Despite having one of the most developed road networks on the continent, South Africa has among the highest rates of road accidents in the region owing to speeding and poor maintenance of some vehicles and roads.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) data shows over 14,000 people died in road crashes on South African roads in 2017.

AFP

Bryant’s Widow Sues Helicopter Company Over Fatal Crash

In this file photo taken on November 21, 2015 Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the Lakers NBA match up with the Toronto Raptors,at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  Robyn BECK / AFP

 

Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa filed a lawsuit on Monday against the operators of the helicopter that crashed on January 26, killing the NBA icon and eight others.

The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on the same day that Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and the other seven crash victims were memorialized in a public ceremony at the Staples Center.

The lawsuit names Island Express Helicopters, Island Express Holding Corp. and the estate of the helicopter’s pilot, Ara Zobayan, who was among the victims.

Gianna Bryant’s basketball teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, Altobelli’s parents John and Keri, Payton’s mother Sarah and basketball coach Christina Mauser were also killed.

The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the exact cause of the crash, although preliminary findings showed no sign of mechanical failure.

Monday’s lawsuit faults the company for allowing the helicopter to fly in “heavy fog and low clouds” that Sunday morning, conditions which prompted “law enforcement agencies and tour companies” to ground their helicopters.

“On information and belief, Island Express Helicopters Federal Aviation Administration operating certificate limited its pilots to flying only under visual flight rules,” the lawsuit says.

“The subject helicopter was not licensed or certified to be flown into instrument conditions. On information and belief, the pilot-in-command, Ara George Zobayan, was required to fly only in conditions that he could navigate visually.

“Ara George Zobayan attempted to manoeuvre the helicopter up and forward to clear the clouds, then entered a turn sending the helicopter into steep terrain at approximately 180 mph,” according to the suit. “Witnesses on the ground reported seeing the helicopter flying through a layer of clouds and fog before the helicopter crashed.”

The lawsuit notes that in 2015 Zobayan was cited by the FAA for violating the visual flight rules minimums by “flying into the airspace of reduced visibility from weather conditions.”

Island Express did not immediately comment on the suit, which seeks unspecified general, economic and punitive damages.

AFP

Helicopter Crash: Remains Of Kobe Bryant, Eight Others Recovered

Investigators work at the scene of a helicopter crash that killed former NBA star Kobe Bryant on January 26, 2020 in Calabasas, California. David McNew/Getty Images/AFP

 

The bodies of all nine people aboard the helicopter that crashed near Los Angeles killing NBA legend Kobe Bryant have been recovered, the coroner’s office said Tuesday.

Three bodies were retrieved from the wreckage by a special response team Sunday, and the remaining six on Monday, it said.

The remains were “removed from the crash site and transported to the department’s forensic science centre,” the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said in a statement.

Investigators are examining the bodies and working to identify the individual remains.

AFP

Iran Recovers Blacks Boxes From Crashed Plane

Rescue teams work amidst debris after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran early in the morning on January 8, 2020, killing everyone on board. AFP

 

Iranian search and rescue teams have found the black boxes from a Ukrainian airliner that crashed Wednesday soon after takeoff from Tehran’s main airport, the country’s civil aviation authority said.

“The two black boxes of the Ukranian 737 aeroplane that crashed this morning have been found,” said the authority’s spokesman, Reza Jafarzadeh, according to semi-official news agency ISNA.

The Ukrainian jet bound for Kiev slammed into a field before dawn at Khalaj Abad, about 45 kilometres (30 miles) northwest of Imam Khomeini International Airport.

None of the 176 people on board survived, Iranian officials said.

The plane belonged to Ukraine International Airlines, which said the Boeing 737 involved in the crash had been built in 2016 and was checked only two days before it went down.

Preliminary statements by Iranian and Ukrainian authorities suggest the plane suffered an engine malfunction, though the airline did not detail any reasons for the accident.

The crash came shortly after Iran said it fired missiles at Iraqi bases in revenge for the killing of one of the Islamic republic’s top military commanders in a US drone strike on Friday.

Following the missile strikes, the US Federal Aviation Administration said it was banning US-registered carriers from flying over Iraq, Iran and the Gulf after rocket attacks on US forces in Iraq.

Other international carrier said they were suspending all routes passing through Iraqi or Iranian airspace.

AFP

Crashed Chile Plane Had Emergency In 2016 – Air Force

Handout picture released by the Chilean Air Force in Punta Arenas, Chile, on December 12, 2019, showing landing gear of the C-130 Hercules transport plane, which disappeared late Monday with 38 people on board, recovered from the sea by search teams.   AFP

 

The Chilean Hercules C-130 plane that crashed on its way to Antarctica this week killing all 38 people on board suffered an emergency three years ago on the same route, the air force said on Saturday.

Following the plane’s disappearance after taking off from the southern city of Punta Arenas, local media broadcast a video showing emergency equipment including firefighters and ambulances waiting on the runway in the city’s airport in April 2016.

In a statement, the Chilean Air Force said the plane shown in the footage is the same one that crashed as it was crossing the Drake Passage connecting the Atlantic and Pacific en route to a Chilean airbase.

As it came to land at the base in Antarctica in 2016 “the crew realized that the left main gear of the aircraft did not travel to the down position and secure when activating the landing gear,” the statement said.

The pilot decided to turn back to Punta Arenas, using an alternate method to lower the landing gear and touching down uneventfully, the statement added.

The air force has previously said the crashed plane’s maintenance record was in order, but that it would investigate a WhatsApp audio message sent by a passenger to relatives that allegedly said the plane was having electrical problems.

Authorities say they have not ruled out anything as to the cause of the crash, which killed all 21 passengers and 17 crew aboard.

Debris from the plane was located in a 12 square mile (30 square kilometer) area in the Drake Passage, a storm-tossed body of water south of Cape Horn.

On Friday, remains of people killed in the crash were turned over to a coroner for identification.

AFP

Chile Confirms Wreckage Found Is From Missing Plane

Handout picture released by the Chilean Air Force showing a part of a fuel tank, allegedly from the Chilean Air Force C-130 Hercules cargo plane that went missing in the sea with 38 people aboard, found at Drake Passage, near to Chile, on December 11, 2019. HO / Chilean Air Force / AFP

 

Chile confirmed on Thursday that human remains and debris found by search ships are from a military plane reported missing with 38 people aboard, and the chances of finding survivors is “practically impossible.”

“The condition of the plane wreckage that was found makes it practically impossible that there are survivors from this air accident,” Air Force chief Arturo Merino told a news conference in the southern port of Punta Arenas.

Merino, flanked by Defense Minister Alberto Espina and other officials, confirmed reports that human remains had also been recovered from the sea.

“Along with the parts of the plane that have been found, human remains have been found that are most likely to be body parts of those travelling on the C-130,” Merino said.

Search teams have been combing waters off the southern tip of South America for any sign of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, which disappeared late Monday.

Thirty-eight people — 21 passengers and 17 crew — were on board the plane headed to the Eduardo Frei base across the Drake Passage in the Antarctic.

Most were air force personnel, but also aboard were three people from the army, two from a private construction company and an official from a Chilean university.

Many of them were traveling to carry out logistical support tasks at the base, Chile’s largest in the Antarctic.

Officials said the debris was located in a 30 square kilometer area in the Drake Passage, where some 23 aircraft and 14 ships have been concentrating the search effort.

 Human remains 

On Wednesday, the governor of Chile’s far southern Megallanes region, Jose Fernandez, said rescuers had found human remains during the search for the plane.

“They told us that they had found other airplane debris as well as human remains from those on board,” Fernandez told reporters in provincial capital Punta Arenas, where many family members were gathering to be close to the rescue effort.

His comments came shortly after the air force issued a statement saying that, out of respect for family members, all information regarding remains would be “analyzed, validated and communicated” by the air force itself.

Earlier, the Chilean-flagged vessel Antarctic Endeavour located debris that “could be part of the remains of the sponges of the internal fuel tanks,” Air Force Commander Eduardo Mosqueira told a news conference.

He added that the wreckage was located around 16 nautical miles (30 kilometers) from the plane’s last known position when it disappeared from radar screens at 6:13 pm (2130 GMT) Monday.

A Brazilian navy vessel has also recovered wreckage, some 280 nautical miles from the far southern Argentinian port of Ushuaia, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter.

Search vessels and planes from the United States, Uruguay and Argentina were also combing nearly 385 square miles (1,000 square kilometers) around the plane’s last known position in the Drake Passage, a tempestuous body of water south of Cape Horn.

The Vatican said Pope Francis was following the situation closely and keeping the families of the missing in his prayers.

AFP

Boeing’s 737 MAX Crisis Deepens, Hitting Shares

A Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplane test its engines outside of the company’s factory on March 11, 2019 in Renton, Washington.  AFP

 

The pressure was mounting Monday on Boeing as newly-surfaced documents deepened doubts about the company’s ability to return a top-selling jet to service soon and amplified calls for a leadership shakeup.

Shares tumbled for a second day in a row after the Federal Aviation Administration on Friday sharply criticized Boeing for withholding key documents for months in probes following two crashes that killed 346 people.

The FAA rebuke added to the travails facing Boeing seven months after its top-selling jet was grounded, prompting Wall Street analysts to downgrade the company and raising speculation that it could be forced to temporarily halt production entirely on the jet.

Boeing’s board of directors was set to conclude a two-day meeting later Monday ahead of the company’s earnings release later this week and a congressional hearing at the end of the month.

Earlier this month, Boeing stripped Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg of his title as chairman, sparking speculation that he could soon be ousted from the company.

The newly-released documents raise questions about what Boeing knew about a key flight handling system implicated in crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights and whether the company has been forthcoming with regulators.

UBS downgraded Boeing, slashing its target price by $95 to $375 per share, citing “potential slippage” in the 737 MAX schedule, which has been grounded since mid-March. The matter also “heightens the potential of incomplete disclosure, which inherently puts more money/trust & time at stake.”

Another delay could “very well mean” a production pause on the 737 MAX, UBS said.

Boeing has previously described a production pause — which could potentially affect staffing and suppliers — as possible but not a likely course of action.

Shares of Boeing were down three percent at $333.98 in the early afternoon extending losses from Friday’s 6.8 percent drop.

 Cultural change needed? 

The latest twists in the MAX crisis stem from a November 2016 instant message conversation involving Boeing’s chief technical pilot for the 737, Mark Forkner, over the  performance of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System during a simulation.

The MCAS is a flight-handling mechanism believed to be at the center of two MAX crashes, which led to the plane’s grounding since mid-March.

In both crashes, the MCAS pointed the plane sharply downward based on a faulty sensor reading, hindering the pilots’ ability to control the aircraft after takeoff, according to preliminary crash investigations.

In the message to a colleague, Forkner describes the MCAS system as “running rapid in the simulator” at a lower speeds, adding that the performance was “egregious.”

Forkner had not conveyed this MCAS issue to the FAA, “so I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly),” he added.

Eight months earlier, Forkner had sought approval from the FAA to not mention the MCAS in the flight manuals.

The FAA, believing during certification that the MCAS system would activate only in rare cases and did not pose a threat to plane safety, gave the green light.

Forkner’s lawyer, David Gerger, said the conversation concerned the MCAS simulator that “was not reading right” and that Forkner “thought the real plane was safe.”

In its latest statement, Boeing said “we understand and regret the concern” generated by the messages from Forkner, who was involved in developing training and manuals for the MAX.

Boeing said it had not been able to speak to Forkner directly but pointed to his explanation that his comments concerned a “simulator program that was not functioning properly and was still undergoing testing.”

During the regulatory process, “Boeing informed the FAA about the expansion of the MCAS to low speeds, including by briefing the FAA and international regulators on multiple occasions about MCAS’s final configuration,” the company said.

Boeing had provided the messages to the Department of Justice in February, according to a person close to the matter.

UBS said there could be “very good explanations” as to why the information was not shared with the FAA, including the possibility the Justice Department had directed Boeing not to share it.

“Yet these new disclosures likely hit a nerve at the regulator,” UBS said, adding that “global regulators now have an even larger reason to delay their own return to service decisions.”

Richard Aboulafia, a vice president at the Teal Group, a market analysis firm, said the messages raise questions about Boeing’s board.

“Did they board know about the messages? If so why didn’t they say anything?”

Aboulafia called for a shakeup of the company and Muilenburg’s ouster.

“They need someone with a broader strategic view of transforming the company,” Aboulafia said. “They need a cultural transformation.”

AFP

Four Commuters Burnt To Death In Ondo Crash

 

A road accident which occurred on Thursday along Owo-Benin Expressway, at Oyoyo Camp, Ipele in Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State has claimed four lives, while 14 others sustaining various degrees of injuries.

The four fatalities were said to have been burnt to death in the accident.

According to an eyewitness, the crash which occurred around 1:00 p.m, involved a Toyota bus, carrying 18 passengers, with registration number, MKD 341 XA and a Peugeot J5 bus with number BDG 330 AP.

READ ALSO: Four Niger State Workers Die As Car Crashes Along Mokwa-Batati Road

The 18-passenger bus was said to be heading towards Makurdi, Benue State while the Peugeot bus was coming from Benin, Edo State to Akure, Ondo State.

The eyewitness said “The two buses collided with each other and immediately caught fire. While other victims escaped being burnt, the four unlucky ones got burnt beyond recognition”

The Spokesperson of Ondo State Police Command, SP Femi Joseph said the injured victims had been taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, while the remains of the deceased have been deposited at the morgue of the same hospital.

Mr Joseph said “It was a case of a head-on collision between the two vehicles involved in the accident. We could not get the names and addresses of the drivers of the two vehicles.”

Also confirming the accident, the Head of Operations of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Ondo State Sector Command, Mr Olusegun Ogungbemide said immediately the accident occurred, men of the corps moved to the scene of the crash where they took the victims to the hospital.

Seven Killed As Helicopter Crashes In Afghanistan

 

At least seven Afghan military personnel were killed when the helicopter they were travelling in crashed in the northern Afghanistan province of Balkh on Tuesday, officials said.

According to the Afghan defence ministry, the MI-17 Afghan air force chopper crashed due to “technical faults”.

“All the seven crew members including four pilots were martyred in the incident,” the ministry said in a statement.

The helicopter had been on its way to a training mission, travelling from an army base near the provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif when it crash landed on the outskirts of the city, officials said.

Afghanistan has a small air force equipped with fixed-wing planes and helicopters, including aircraft acquired from the United States, the Czech Republic, India and elsewhere.

AFP

Ethiopian Airlines Jet Makes Emergency Landing In Senegal

Ethiopian Airlines as the oldest airlines on the world always provides great services to their customers despite the airlines fatal accident on 10 March 2019. Mas Agung Wilis / NurPhoto

 

An Ethiopian Airlines jet made an emergency landing in Dakar with one of its engines on fire, though all 90 passengers and crew were unharmed, airport and airline officials said.

The Boeing 767 aircraft had just taken off from Dakar airport en route to Addis Ababa when the pilot asked to return and make an emergency landing, Tidiane Tamba, a spokesperson for the Senegal airport told AFP.

Ethiopian Airlines confirmed one of its jets had suffered a “mechanical problem” and had safely returned to its point of departure, without giving more details on the cause.

The airline said all those onboard were safe.

The Dakar incident came after an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX crashed in March shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people onboard.

AFP

Two Killed In Mexico Roller Coaster Crash

The scene of the accident at the La Feria Chapultepec Amusement Park in Mexico that claimed two lives.

 

Two people were killed and two more injured when a rollercoaster carriage derailed at a theme park in Mexico, authorities have said. 

Early reports suggest a mechanical problem caused the carriage to become detatched from the ride and fall some 10 metres to the ground, the public prosecutor said in a statement.

It is believed the two men died as a result of head injuries, it added, while two woman were taken to hospital — one of them in a serious condition.

The accident happened at La Feria amusement park in the capital Mexico City on Saturday.

In a Twitter post, the theme park said it “deeply regrets the terrible accident” and it has launched an investigation into the incident.

AFP

Two Killed As Spanish Military Plane Crashes

 

A light Spanish air force aircraft crashed Wednesday into the sea off the southeastern coast, killing its pilot and his student, the air force said.

The propeller plane was on a training flight when it crashed into the Mediterranean near the coastal town of San Javier in the region of Murcia, it said in a tweet. The plane belonged to military training academy.

San Javier city hall ordered area beaches to be closed until further notice in the wake of the accident.

Last month a military flight instructor died after his small jet crashed at sea in the same area.

He was able to eject before the plane hit the water but his remains were later found.

AFP