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9/20/11 12:32 P

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Resolute Bay plane crash survivor filled with sadness

OTTAWA - Nicole Williamson was still strapped in seat 17A that was rolling down the tundra when she realized she’d been in a crash and there was little left of the Boeing 737 she had been flying in.

The 23-year-old student at Ottawa’s Carleton University, who is one of only three people who survived the Aug. 20 crash in Resolute, Nunavut, shared her story with CBC’s The National on Monday night.

Williamson says the plane was descending through thick fog when it suddenly “just fell apart,” killing 12 people onboard.

She walked away from the burning rubble towards seven-year-old Gabrielle Pelky after hearing the girl’s cries for help. The girl, who lost her six-year-old sister in the crash, had a broken leg.

Forty-eight-year-old Robin Wyllie also survived the crash with a crushed chest.

Williamson says the three of them huddled together on the hillside and waited _ until they were rescued by Canadian Forces personnel who were nearby, training for an air disaster.

The geology student says she thinks a lot about those who died and their families and that causes her “a lot of sadness.”



Joanna from Dundas, Ontario
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9/7/11 6:42 A

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A kayaker was rushed to the hospital Sunday evening after swift currents wedged her underwater next to a roadway overpass support for 20 minutes.

Authorities said a two-person kayak crashed into the concrete support underneath the Watt Avenue bridge over the American River at about 7:30 p.m., flipping the kayak upside down and pinning both people under the water line.

One of the kayakers managed to break free, but a female kayaker was trapped, according to the Sacramento Metro Fire Department.

Miguel Maldonado said he and his father jumped into the river after witnessing the accident and desperately tried to free the victim while authorities raced to the scene.

“The kayak kind of folded in half,” Miguel said. “I had her arm out of the water… I felt her other arm floating, touching my leg.”

It took 20 minutes before a fire department boat was able to pull the woman free of the current and begin lifesaving procedures on shore. She was rushed to the UC Davis Medical Center in unknown condition.

The victim’s identity has not been released.



Joanna from Dundas, Ontario
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Happy and healthy people have a better chance to live with confidence and contribute value to the world than anyone else. Don't take that for granted. ~ James Clear ~


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8/23/11 2:21 P

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This one is about the state of Jalisco in Mexico, which is where we are currently:


PAN AM STADIUM FAR BEHIND SCHEDULE WITH MEXICAN GAMES ONLY 2 MONTHS AWAY

GUADALAJARA, Mexico - The centrepiece of the Pan American Games, an 8,500-seat stadium for track and field, has fallen victim to years of poor planning, political infighting and now an untimely rainy season, which has left the venue a muddy mess with less than two months to go until the event kicks off.

With 42 countries competing in 36 sports, the Pan American Games is the biggest multi-sport event Mexico has hosted since the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

Other venues appear to be on schedule for completion before the event opens Oct. 14, but the track and field venue is lagging way behind and is still only accessible by dirt trails.

The US$28 million project has faced countless delays, and construction only began late in 2010.

"There is an enormous amount of work still to do (on the stadium)," Hugo Rodriguez, director of infrastructure for the organizing committee, told "We are pressuring (the construction company). It is such a big construction job that the 20 per cent that remains amounts to a lot of things."

Environmental regulations, construction difficulties and politicking between the state government and local government have led to delays and cancelled plans for the original venue — an impressive 15,000-capacity stadium overlooking the Huentitan Canyon, a natural beauty spot on the edge of the city.

Work continues on its modest replacement and, although the main stand is taking shape, seats still have to be installed and the running track has not been laid. Huge pools of water from rain dumped during the ongoing tropical rainy season can be seen around the edges of the construction site.

"Here it rains for only short periods but with a lot of intensity," said Rodriguez. "It has affected us."

The stadium is 80 per cent complete, according to Rodriguez, who, despite the delays and an original completion date of May, remains confident the venue will be ready when the athletics competition starts on Oct. 23.

"They have a signed commitment to finish it," said Rodriguez of Fonatur, the federal government-run body charged with the construction of the stadium.

Construction work on the athletes village, once a cause for concern, is almost complete. The key facility will house the 6,835 athletes competing during the games.

The swimming and tennis venues, located in Parque Metropolitano on the wealthier western side of the city, are the "emblematic" venues for the games, according to Rodriguez.

The new sporting facilities should be a boost for Mexico's second city, which is best known as the home of tequila and mariachi music. It is also the home of famous athletes like Manchester United striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, and former No. 1-ranked female golfer Lorena Ochoa.

Federico Torres, public relations director for the games, says the new infrastructure increases opportunities for young people. However, games organizers have been criticized for failing to involve less well-off parts of the community: 11 of the 15 new, permanent venues are located on the wealthier side of an economically divided city.

With traffic jams a daily occurrence at peak hours in the 4.4-million population city, Torres says the organizing committee has met with transportation officials to set up 280 kilometres of special lanes for vehicles carrying athletes and officials.

Thirty-nine public schools, located within a 500-metre radius of a sporting venue, will close during the 16-day games to ease traffic congestion. All private schools, whose pupils tend to arrive in cars, will do the same.

Organizers have tried to play down the chance of violence during the event. There have been over 40,000 drug-cartel related deaths in Mexico since late 2006.

Guadalajara and the state of Jalisco have been less affected than many cities in the north of the country, but state government statistics show there were 700 murders in the first seven months of 2011 in Jalisco, which has a population of just over 7 million. Eighty-four per cent of the murders were linked to organized crime, state government studies show.

If headline-grabbing violence does occur in the city — as it did earlier this year — and visitors stay away, it could greatly reduce the US$2.7 billion economic gain the Pan American Games are expected to bring to Guadalajara.

On Saturday, a first-division match in northern Mexico was suspended after gunmen opened fire on police near the stadium, causing players, fans and referees to run for cover. Last year a baseball game in northern Mexico was suspended because of a similar incident.

The Associated Press


Joanna from Dundas, Ontario
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8/21/11 4:22 P

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My goodness prayers to all those families....glad we went by foot and not plane :)

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8/20/11 11:11 P

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Plane crash near Resolute Bay kills 12 - Both black boxes recovered, but Safety Board says it's too early to determine cause

A 737 passenger jet crashed Saturday near Resolute Bay, Nunavut, in Canada's High Arctic, killing 12 people and injuring three others on board.

Nunavut RCMP said First Air charter flight 6560 was travelling from Yellowknife to the community of Resolute with 15 people on board, including four crew members.

A flight list was not immediately available.

In a statement confirming the crash, First Air said the plane's last reported communication was at 12:40 p.m. CT, approximately eight kilometres from the airport, and that the plane went down 10 minutes later.

First Air provides scheduled passenger and cargo service between 25 northern communities with connections to Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Ottawa.

Police said the survivors were two adults and a child who were all transported to the Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit. One of the adults is in critical condition, police said.

CBC reporter Patricia Bell said that Aziz (Ozzie) Kheraj, who owns the South Camp Inn in Resolute, had two granddaughters on the plane. One of the girls died, she said.

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre at CFB Trenton said helicopters and medical personnel were at the site. About 700 military personnel were already in the area for the massive military exercise Operation Nanook.

"What's very ironic is they were there to do simulations of how to respond to accidents … and how they could respond to that," Bell said. "Now they're dealing with an actual accident."

The RCMP said they had 11 members on the ground in Resolute and residents also assisted in the rescue.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is scheduled to travel to Resolute on Monday for his annual trip to the Arctic, said in a statement he was "deeply saddened by news of this tragic plane crash near Resolute Bay.

Ralph Alexander, Resolute's acting senior administrative officer, said at first he wondered if the crash was not part of the Operation Nanook military exercises taking place around the community.

A mock air-disaster response exercise was scheduled to begin early Monday morning.

"With all that planning for an exercise, and then a real crash happens — it's odd," he told CBC News.

Alexander said it was not foggy in Resolute on Saturday, so he does not think weather was a factor in the crash. He has seen planes land in far poorer visibility, he added.

"With the equipment in the plane and the detailed map of the airport, it's hard to say why they had so much trouble," he said. "It doesn’t make sense."
Alexander explained that most people in the small hamlet are connected to one another, and many are touched personally by the tragedy.

Mayor Tabitha Mullin declined to be interviewed on Saturday, and senior administrative officer Martha Idlout-Kalluk told CBC News that she herself is "too close to some of the deceased" to speak at this time.

Alexander said hamlet staff, like other community members, are doing what they could to help comfort people affected directly by the crash.

He said he believes more people than usual will attend church services on Sunday. The hamlet would help arrange a larger service if necessary, he said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those passengers who lost their lives in this tragedy. We also wish a speedy recovery to those who were injured."

Gov.-Gen. David Johnston, who is currently touring the Arctic, was scheduled to hold events in Resolute on Sunday, but cancelled them given the tragedy. A spokeswoman from Johnston's office said no one from the official delegation was involved in the crash.

Johnston said in a news release that he and his wife Sharon were "deeply saddened" by the crash.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragic event," the statement said. "Earlier today, I had the opportunity to visit many of the Operation Nanook military units. I was able to witness first-hand the professionalism and dedication of our Canadian Forces and civilian organizations as they responded quickly and effectively to this catastrophe."

Some people in Resolute saw the crash, not far from the runway of the airport that serves the hamlet of about 200 residents.

"People in the community are understandably quite upset," Bell said.

Witnesses said the plane crashed into a small hill.

"You could see parts of the plane everywhere … tail, nose, everything," said Saroomie Manik, a former mayor of the community who went to the site.

RCMP Const. Angelique Dignard said the crash site is less than two kilometres west of the Resolute community and is accessible by ATV, though the terrain is rugged.

Doreen McDonald passed near the charred wreckage of the plane as she was returning to town from a camping trip.

"It's in three different pieces. The wings are still attached. The front and back are separated.

"And they were picking up pieces of bodies."

The RCMP said two forensic identification teams are being sent to Resolute, with one team of four dedicated to identifying the dead and a team of two dedicated to the accident. A coroner is also scheduled to attend the crash site, police said.

Both black boxes have been recovered from the site.

Chris Krepski, spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said investigators were on the scene soon after the crash. They were already in Resolute, scheduled to participate next week in the military exercise.

Krepski said it was too soon to say what caused the crash. "At this point it's gathering as much information as we can from the accident scene, from interviewing witnesses, speaking to air traffic control, getting weather records, maintenance records from the company, that kind of thing."

First Air said all flights out of Yellowknife Saturday are postponed. The company said it will hold a news conference at its Kanata, Ont., headquarters on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.

The airline provides scheduled passenger and cargo service between 25 northern communities with connections to Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Ottawa.

The airline began in 1946 as Bradley Air Services, offering charter, surveying, passenger and cargo flights across northern Canada.

Resolute is a tiny Inuit community tucked in a shallow, gravelly bay along the northernmost leg of the Northwest Passage.

Despite its remote location far above the treeline, Resolute is known as the nexus of the North, a frequent staging community for scientific, military and commercial expeditions. It's also the base for the Canadian Polar Continental Shelf project, a federal institution that handles logistics for Arctic researchers.
Resolute is also the planned location of the army's new winter warfare school.

"It's the kicking off point," said University of Calgary Arctic expert Rob Huebert. "If you're to do anything, in terms of research, Resolute is where you're going to be from a geographic position in the eastern Arctic."

The terrain around the community is low and rocky. A large hill fronted by a dramatic cliff face looms behind the town.

Jobs are few in the community and are mostly in the public sector. Commercial polar bear hunts are one of the few industries.

With files from the CBC's Daniel MacIsaac and The Canadian Press



Edited by: BKWERM at: 8/20/2011 (23:21)
Joanna from Dundas, Ontario
BLC20-25 - Amber Amazon Warriors
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Co-Leader of Living With Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease (RAD)


Happy and healthy people have a better chance to live with confidence and contribute value to the world than anyone else. Don't take that for granted. ~ James Clear ~


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