The Latest: Typhoon death toll in China rises to 12

The Latest on Typhoon Hato (all times local):

12:20 p.m.

The death toll from Typhoon Hato has risen to 12 as the most powerful storm to hit the southern Chinese region around Hong Kong in more than half a century barreled west.

Macau says eight people were killed in the gambling enclave, including two men found overnight in a parking garage. Another 153 were listed as injured amid extensive flooding, power outages, and the smashing of doors and windows by the high winds and driving rain.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency says four more people were killed in the neighboring province of Guangdong and one person remains missing. Hato roared into the area on Wednesday with winds of up to 160 kilometers (99 miles) per hour.

Macau lawmaker Jose Pereira Coutinho called the typhoon destruction “a calamity,” adding that had heard from many people who still had no water or electricity.


11:20 a.m.

Authorities and state media say the death toll from powerful Typhoon Hato in southern China has risen to at least nine.

Macau’s Government Information Bureau said five people were killed and 153 injured in the gambling enclave.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday another four were killed in the neighboring province of Guangdong while one person remains missing. Hato was the most powerful typhoon to hit the area in 53 years, packing winds of up to 160 kilometers (99 miles) per hour on Tuesday.

Xinhua said that in southern China, almost 27,000 people were evacuated to emergency shelters, while extensive damage to farmland and the loss of power to almost 2 million households was also reported.


4:25 p.m.

Officials say a powerful typhoon has caused at least three deaths in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau.

Macau’s Government Information Bureau said three men, aged 30, 45 and 62, were killed in falls and accidents Wednesday related to the heavy rain and gusting winds. At least two other people were listed as missing.

Typhoon Hato came within 60 kilometers (37 miles) of the nearby financial center of Hong Kong.

China’s weather service said the storm made landfall around noon in Zhuhai in the neighboring province of Guangdong, with winds gusting at 45 meters (147.64 feet) per second.

Flooding and power outages were also reported in Hong Kong and Macau, which lie across the water 64 kilometers (40 miles) from each other.

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Exploring the weather hazards behind 5 deadly, notorious plane crashes

Though many unfortunate factors can result in aviation accidents, among an aircraft’s greatest threats are ice, fog and wind shear, which is rapidly changing wind currents.

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) study shows more than two-thirds of all weather-related general aviation crashes have been fatal.

Microbursts: An invisible killer

According to NASA, phenomena known as microbursts, which are short-lived downdrafts that are often present during thunderstorms, can create forceful and dangerous wind shear.

The National Weather Service (NWS) defines downdrafts as small-scale columns of air that rapidly sink toward the ground, usually accompanied by rain.

Planes are particularly vulnerable during takeoff and landing.

On July 9, 1982, a microburst brought down Pan Am flight 759 from New Orleans International Airport, killing 153 people.

It caused decreasing headwind and downdraft, which the pilot would have struggled to recognize in time, the NTSB official report concluded.

A microburst also caused Delta Airlines flight 191 to crash in Dallas on Aug. 2, 1985.

While attempting to pass through rain beneath a storm, it crashed 6,300 feet north of its runway at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, hitting and killing a driver, according to the NTSB report.

Lack of training and real-time wind shear hazard information contributed to the deaths of 134 passengers, the NTSB reported.

Between 1970 and 1985, low-altitude wind shear caused crashes that killed 575 people, according to the NTSB.

In 1988, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandated that commercial aircraft be equipped with wind shear detection systems by 1993.

“Wind shear accidents have become very rare in recent years thanks to better forecasting tools, pilot training and sophisticated onboard warning systems,” said Patrick Smith, an active airline pilot and air travel blogger.

“But the phenomena is still potentially dangerous,” he said.

Fatal fog risk

Foggy conditions are also often deadly for pilots, according to the Flight Safety Foundation.

They occur when water droplets suspend in the air at the Earth’s surface.

Hazards arise when visibility is reduced to a quarter of a mile or less, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).

In 1977, upon takeoff from Los Rodeos Airport in the Canary Islands, KLM flight 4805 sheared the top off Pan Am flight 1736, which shared the same runway.

According to the official report, heavy fog enveloping the airport prevented both flight crews from spotting each other until it was too late.

It was the deadliest fog-related crash in history, killing 574 people.

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The control tower was unable to see the two planes, and at the time, the Los Rodeos Airport had no ground tracking radar.

A number of other factors, including poor communication, also contributed.

“The ultimate cause was the KLM pilot initiating takeoff without clearance and disregarding his crew’s inquiries about whether they were cleared for takeoff,” said aviation consultant Jim Goldfuss.

“Airport surveillance radars as well as taxiway and runway lighting technology has adapted to prevent accidents like this,” he said.

Icy aircraft dangers

Ice-covered planes pose another potentially deadly risk.

In 1982, 78 people perished when Air Florida flight 90 smashed into a bridge, collapsing into the icy Potomac River shortly after takeoff.

Air Florida 90 Crash, 1982

The tail section of the Air Florida jetliner that crashed in the Potomac River in Washington is hoisted by a crane onto a floating barge after being removed, Monday, Jan. 19, 1982 from the water. (AP Photo)

“Parked at the terminal, an aircraft collects precipitation the way your car does — via snowfall, sleet, freezing rain or frost,” Smith said.

Icing can disrupt airflow around a wing, which robs a plane of lift, he said.

Flight 90 departed Washington National Airport with icy wings during moderate to heavy snowfall, according to the crash report.

“[This] changes the wing’s shape, which can result in a stall at a higher-than-expected speed,” said Goldfuss.

The NTSB reported that the flight crew’s failure to use engine anti-ice before takeoff and their decision to depart with ice on the plane contributed to the crash.

A decade later, US Air flight 405 departed New York’s LaGuardia Airport, also with icy wings.

The plane lost lift just after leaving the runway and crashed into a nearby bay, killing 27.

It had been previously de-iced.

However, the NTSB concluded that the flight crew’s failure to check for ice accumulation on the wings 35 minutes after exposure to precipitation was a contributing factor to the crash, which occurred more than 20 years ago.

“We’ve come a long way with it as far as anti-icing and de-icing, as well as improved crew training and how to deal with icing conditions,” said Smith.

“Those [crashes] were tough lessons to learn,” said Smith, “but airliner crashes brought on by icing have become exceptionally rare.”

Author: Ashley Williams

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Rain, strong winds leave 13 dead, 100 injured across Punjab

LAHORE: Around 13 people died and over 100 were injured in separate incidents after rain and windstorms lashed several cities across Punjab on Saturday.

Several cities, including Lahore, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Kasur, Bahawalnagar, Multan, Chichawatni and Lodhran received light and heavy rain on Saturday, along with gusty winds.

Six people died and around 60 were injured in Bahawalnagar alone, after thunderstorm hit the city in southern Punjab. Strong winds knocked down billboards and brought down roofs and walls of various structures.

An emergency was declared at the District Headquarters Hospital. Among the deceased was a 10-year-old girl while the injured too included five children and 10 women.

In Chichawatni, Sahiwal, various rain and wind-related incidents caused the deaths of three people, including two children and led to injuries to around 22 people.

In Lahore, a man died and three others were wounded after roof of a house collapsed in Chauhang area. A woman died in a similar incident in Faisalabad in which one was also injured.

In Multan, a man died of electrocution while 19 were injured in rain-related accidents. Similarly, in Rajanpur, a father and son were killed after being electrocuted.

Over 28 people were reported injured in different incidents in Multan and Lodhran as well.

The rainfall resulted in tripping of several feeders of Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco), suspending power supply to a large part of the region.

The cities affected by subsequent power breakdown included Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur and Nankana Sahib.

Meanwhile, several districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as Murree and surrounding areas received heavy rain and hail.

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At Least 1 Dead as Dust Storms Cause Pileups in Illinois

At least one person was killed Wednesday after blowing dust triggered multiple vehicle collisions throughout Illinois.

Strong thunderstorm winds caused the dust storms in the Prairie State, according to meteorologist Brian Donegan. A portion of Interstate 72 near New Berlin and along Interstate 55 near Auburn were affected by the conditions.

The fatal accident occurred on Route 36 between Tuscola and Camargo, reports. The roadway was shut down between the two towns. The victim’s identity has not yet been released.

The vehicle containing the victim was involved in a multi-car accident that included at least one tractor-trailer, according to the State-Journal Register. Multiple other injuries were reported from the pileup and at least one motorist had to be pulled from the wreckage of their car.

Police shut down Interstate 72 at the Morgan-Sangamon county line and eastbound Illinois Route 104 at Auburn due to the conditions, which they described as being a “total blackout” at times, the State Journal-Register reports.

U.S. Route 6 had to be closed between Wyanet and Princeton after poor visibility caused two crashes, according to NewsTribune. Traffic on Interstate 80 was slowed to a halt due to accidents.

A ground stop was temporarily in place at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago due to the winds, ABC7 Chicago reports.

More than 3,740 were left without power Wednesday, according to local utility Ameren.

Author: Ada Carr

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Gale force winds cause accidents and powercuts

Gale force winds caused accidents and power cuts in parts of Macclesfield.

Strong gusts of up to 55mph caused a Costa Coffee van to come off the road along the A537 Cat and Fiddle.

Macclesfield Police responded to the accident which took place yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, June 6) with a humorous tweet “Ground by the wind. This is going to Costa lot to repair #ohbeans”.

There have also been reports of a power cut in Prestbury.

Engineers are heading to the SK10 4 postcode.

A spokesperson for Electricity North West, said: “Damage to an overhead line caused the loss of power to 15 customers in Macclesfield at 12.59am this morning.

“Power supplies have been removed to customers to allow our engineers to safely carry out repairs. Our engineers are working to get customers power supply back on as soon as possible.

“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience and thank customers for their support. If any customers need any further information we are on hand 24/7 on the new national number 105 or Twitter @ElectricityNW.”

Last night, the Met Office made an official ‘yellow’ warning, which means severe weather is possible over the next few days, in hilly areas.

Author: Stuart Greer

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Court acquits Phinikoudes death crane operator

Larnaca District Court on Thursday acquitted the operator of a 200-tonne tower crane that fell on to Phinikoudes promenade in October 2012 – killing a 65-year-old woman, injuring three others and damaging five cars – after the prosecution failed to prove the case.

The crane operator, Christos Peristianis, had been charged with causing death through reckless or dangerous acts, omissions of persons responsible for dangerous equipment and negligent acts causing physical harm and serious bodily harm.

In its ruling, the court said was Peristianis was accused on October 10, 2012, by want of precaution or by by rash or careless act not amounting to culpable negligence, of not completely unlocking the crane brake, meaning strong winds caused its fall, resulting in the death of Christine-Marie Coleman and the injury of three other people.

Any person who by want of precaution or by by rash or careless act, not amounting to culpable negligence, unintentionally causes the death of another person is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for two years, or to a fine not exceeding one €170.

He was also accused of, while he was solely responsible for the crane, having neglected to take the necessary precautions against any possible risk arising from such a motorised machine.

The T-shaped crane- 44-metres in length and 80 metres in width – was part of a construction site managed by a contractor hired by Larnaca municipality to build an extra two floors on top of the town hall on Phinikoudes Avenue. It fell on to the promenade during strong winds averaging between 6 and 9 on Beaufort scale, crashing down on a moving car containing Victor and Christine-Marie Coleman, 65 and 67, who were permanent residents of Vrysoulles village.

The two had to be freed from the mangled car by emergency services before being rushed to hospital. Christine-Marie died at the hospital from multiple injuries including haemorrhages in her brain and lungs, while her husband sustained head and brain injuries and internal cranial haemorrhaging.

A 47-year-old Iranian man lost his finger trying to flee from the falling crane on foot, and a 60-year-old Cypriot pedestrian suffered a fractured hand.

Eye-witness accounts said the crane’s fall was broken by the cars underneath, which changed the direction of the crane as it hit the ground, narrowly missing a kiosk with seven people inside.

The court ruled that prosecution had failed to prove its case against the accused, since it could not prove that Peristianis “did not take all the appropriate action to unlock the crane to rotate with the wind’s direction”. The fact that he was the last person to operate the crane, the ruling said, “does not prove in itself, and especially in a criminal case, which should be beyond reasonable doubt, that he failed to take the necessary precautions, which resulted in the crane falling”.

The court also ruled that the operator had partially unlocked the crane brake and therefore took the appropriate action that requires full unlocking of the brake.

“The accused actually did what the police accused him of failing to do, namely to deactivate the brake”, the ruling said. It added that the operator is not considered responsible because the brake was not fully deactivated.

The court also raised questions over the checks carried out on the crane by its owner and the state electromechanical services on the remote control with which the break was released. It was reported that about 10 months before the accident, the remote control was destroyed by lightning and replaced by one from another machine that was not tested for compatibility.

The new remote control, the court said, did not have an operator’s notification function that the rotation brake was released, and this gap created a breach in the prosecution’s attempt to prove that the operator was guilty. It also said that it took into consideration that the crane was last operated by Peristianis at 10.30am that day, while the accident occurred at 8.30pm.

The court also said that after the accident the crane was stored in the premises of the construction company that owned it instead of being handed over to police. It said that this raised an issue with possible tampering.

Author: Evie Andreou

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