Tag Archives: Plane Crash

Taiwan Plane Tumbles in Typhoon

Taiwan Plane Crash

A passenger plane trying to land at a Taiwan airport in stormy, Typhoon-like weather crashed and killed 47 people.

2014: not a good year for aviation.

Flying during the tail end of Typhoon Matmo, pilots on a TransAsia Airways turboprop plane made a second attempt to land but instead the plane crashed and caught fire in the Penghu Islands. The failed emergency landing left 47 people dead, 11 injured, and multiple buildings ablaze.

“It was thunderstorm conditions during the crash,” said Hsi Wen-guang, Penghu County Government Fire Bureau spokesman.

“From the crash site we sent 11 people to hospital with injuries. A few empty apartment buildings adjacent to the runway caught fire, but no-one was inside at the time and the fire was extinguished.”

The flight was from Taipei, the capital, to the island of Penghu, which is halfway to the Chinese mainland. Although Typhoon Matmo had caused many flights to be cancelled, by the time the TransAsia flight was scheduled to take off, the typhoon warning had been lifted – a little prematurely in hindsight.

So far, 2014 is not shaping up to be a banner year in terms of air travel. With Wednesday’s crash in Taiwan and the two Malaysia Airlines flights, the total death toll for 2014 is now 606 (compared with 489 in 2013 and 439 in 2012).

Of course, MH370 could be just flying around somewhere still. Or all the passengers could be living on the moon…

Missing Plane on Moon

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Current Event Cat of the Day: MH17

Current EVent Cat - MH17

All 298 people on board flight MH17 died when it crashed over the pro-Russian rebel-held area in eastern Ukraine on July 17. The good news is that CNN will have enough material for the next 3-6 months. The bad news is… everything else.

Since the tragedy, the US and other nations are growing increasingly suspicious of Russian complicity in the crash.

Secretary of State John Kerry said “it’s pretty clear” the missile that downed the commercial jetliner came from “a system that was transferred from Russia.”

As for Vladimir Putin, he pointed his finger at the pro-Western government in Ukraine, arguing Ukraine’s crackdown on separatist rebels stoked tensions that led to the disaster.

“I believe that if military operations had not resumed in eastern Ukraine on June 28, this tragedy probably could have been avoided,” Putin said, referring to the end of a 10-day-old cease-fire.

Interesting theory. And how can you not trust a guy who kills his political rivals?

Putin’s involvement aside, there has also been international outcry over the way rebels have handled the whole situation. Pro-Russian rebels have delayed access to the site, allowed untrained volunteers to comb through the area, and even seized the remains of MH17 victims and stored them in train cars, much to the dismay of the international community.

John Kerry said on television on Sunday, “Drunken separatists have been piling bodies into trucks and removing them from the site. What’s happening is really grotesque and it is contrary to everything President Putin and Russia said they would do.”

Pro-Russian rebels have since allowed Dutch investigators to examine bodies from the crashed MH17 flight at a railway station in eastern Ukraine, but internatonal investigators are still being denied full access to the wreckage at the accident site.

Meanwhile, heavy fighting broke out between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian rebels on Monday – the first fight since Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down. Ukrainian military tanks reportedly launched an assault in Donetsk in an attempt to break the separatists’ hold of the city.

All in all, you know it’s a rough situation when it’s eclipsing an onslaught of Israeli air strikes and a (mainly civilian) Palestinian death toll of 500.

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Malaysia Airlines Mystery Solved! Kind of…

Malaysia PM Razak

The prime minister of Malaysia has announced that missing flight MH370 “almost certainly” crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, and that no one on board survived.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said the Indian Ocean crash scenario was the conclusion of fresh analysis of satellite data tracking the flight. The data analysis determined that the aircraft was lost in a remote area of the Indian Ocean west of Perth, Australia.

The firms “have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth,” Razak said at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.

“This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites. It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

All 227 passengers on flight MH370 are presumed to have gone down with the flight.

The grieving families of those aboard the missing flight were notified via a text message, saying:

“We have to assume beyond reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board have survived. We must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean.”

You would think that kind of news would warrant a phone call… but whatever.

Meanwhile, many questions remained unanswered – such as “why did the plane go down?” and “where the hell is all the debris?

The answer to question #2 may be “near Australia”. While searching for missing flight in the southern Indian Ocean, an Australian airplane crew says they have spotted two objects — the first grey or green and circular, the second orange and rectangular – but it’s still unclear if they were part of the aircraft. So the mystery isn’t totally solved yet, but at least the families have some kind of closure – even if it was sent via text message. 

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Current Event Cat: Fallen Syrian Military Jet

Current Event Cat - Turkey Syrian Military Jet

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan apparently mistook a Syrian military jet for the Twitter Bird and allowed his country’s armed forces to shoot it down.

Twitter BirdArguing that the Syrian military jet/possible Twitter Bird sighting violated Turkey’s airspace, Turkish fighter jets took down the Syrian aircraft on Sunday in a move that definitely won’t ease any tensions between two countries already in disagreement over Syria’s civil war and their opinions of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

The jet takedown happened in an area where the Syrian government has been at war with rebel groups over control of a border crossing. The plane was hit by a missile from one of two Turkish F-16s flying an air patrol in the area while the Syrian military jet was pursuing gunmen near the border. Luckily the pilot safely ejected himself from the aircraft, and parachuted down to safety/a war zone.

A spokesman for Syria’s military confirmed the incident, denouncing it as a “blatant aggression,” but Erdogan told Syria “our response will be heavy if you violate our airspace.” Tough love.

Turkey denies any wrongdoing, saying the Syrian MiG-23 entered Turkey’s airspace after ignoring four warnings to turn back. And this isn’t the first time that the Turkish military has shot down a Syrian aircraft near the border. They took down a Syrian military helicopter back in September. Although to be fair, Syria shot down a Turkish military plane in 2012 – so they kind of had it coming.

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The Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight Is On The Moon! And Other News…

Missing Flight

Oh British tabloids… keep the journalism coming.

In non-British tabloid news, the search for Malaysian Airlines’ Flight 370 continues, with the investigation now focusing on the aircrew.

After the news hit that the plane had been deliberately diverted from its planned course and flew as much as seven hours to an unknown location, police officers searched the home of the plane’s pilot and co-pilot to see if they could find anything remotely sketchy. The co-pilot reportedly spoke to air control shortly after the signal system was disabled, but did not state any problems or signs of stress…. which is very suspicious. But officials aren’t 100% clear whether the final words from the cockpit came before or after the plane’s data-reporting system was shut down. Meanwhile, Malaysia is seeking the help of other governments for a search across a large part of Asia. Rescuers are now concentrating on two air corridors – one stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, and another from Indonesia to the Indian Ocean. CNN

Naked at Machu PicchuThings not to do at Machu Picchu: take naked photos of yourself. Two Canadians have been arrested for taking nude photos at the historic Machu Picchu site, following a warning from Peru’s Ministry of Culture to be more respectful. The two 20-year-olds, Marc Antoine Daudelin and Patrice Mathieu, were taken away by police and had their cellphone photographs erased. Apparently nude Machu Picchu shots are the new thing to post of social media sites such as the Facebook page Naked at Monuments and the nude travel blog MyNakedTrip.com. Hours before the Canadian duo went on a streaking photoshoot, two Australians were also arrested by Peruvian police for “crimes against culture.” National Post 

Australian ProtestsAustralians are so mad they are making signs. Tens of thousands of Australians took to the streets over the weekend to protest pretty much everything to do with Tony Abbott’s government. The March for March protesters had a mixed bag of causes including climate change, the treatment of asylum seekers, marriage equality, the tax system and media ownership. But they were united by one thing: anger and frustration at everything that’s happened since the federal election. Holding signs reading “Resign, Dickhead”, “Worst. Government. Ever”, and “Stop Being Awful”, demonstrators marched through the streets of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. When asked about the protests during a press conference, Prime Minister Tony Abbott responded: “My understanding is that the only big rally in Sydney is the St Patrick’s Day parade. That is the big event in Sydney today. I wish all of them well.” Sydney Morning Herald

Crimea IndependentPutin has declared Crimea independent – something Quebec can only dream of! On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing the “Republic of Crimea” as a “sovereign and independent country” following its vote to secede from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum that left a sour taste in the West’s mouth. Next step: Kremlin rule. But Kiev isn’t giving up that easy. “Crimea was, is, and will be our territory,” said Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh. AFP

LA EarthquakeA 4.4 magnitude earthquake hit the Los Angeles area (aka earthquake country) on Monday morning, the most significant shake in Southern California since a 5.5 earthquake hit Chino Hills in 2008. While there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, it certainly rattled the nerves of two anchors from KTLA. In the middle of a broadcast, one shouts out “Earthquake! We’re having an earthquake,” prompting the duo to quickly hide under the desks. But the pair shouldn’t wipe the 4.4 magnitude shock off their faces just yet… Dr Lucy Jones of the US Geological Survey warns that there is a 5% chance another strong quake will strike within the next three days. BBC News

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Where In The World Is Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? Part 2 of… Many?

Where in the World is Malaysian Flight 370

Progress on finding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Nill, nada, zilch.

There is still no trace of the Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 239 passengers that disappeared early Saturday morning. Some 43 ships and 40 aircrafts from nine different countries are continue to search the region where flight 370 may have disappeared. While some new developments have occurred, most of them have been shot down.

Terrorism: Nope

At least one of the two Iranians who boarded Flight 370 using stolen European passports is not a terrorist but merely wannabe illegal immigrant… which is worse..? Both men bought their tickets in Thailand and entered Malaysia together. One of the ticket-holders, 19-year-old Iranian, Pouria Nourmohammadi Mehrdad, was seeking asylum in Germany. No one knows what the other Iranian, 29-year-old Delavar Seyed Mohammadreza was doing, but authorities say “these two individuals were probably not terrorists.”

“The more information we get, the more we are inclined to conclude it was not a terrorist incident,” Ronald Noble, head of Interpol told reporters.

Flight Path: Unknown

Flight 370 may have changed course. The Malaysian military says the plane may have attempted to turn back toward Kuala Lumpur, but this is only a theory at this point.

The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. investigators believe Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was in the air for four hours after its last confirmed location, but the Malaysian government is denying this. The report claimed that the Boeing engines on Malaysia Airlines flight 370 automatically transmitted information several hours after the plane was last seen on radar, indicating that it flew on to a secret unknown location. The plot thickens… Or does it? Malaysia is calling the report of engine data “inaccurate”.

These reports are inaccurate. The last transmission was at 01:07, which indicated that everything was normal,” Malaysia’s acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a news conference.

The CEO of Malaysia Airlines corroborated this, saying that Rolls-Royce and Boeing “did not receive any further transmissions after the last transmission at 01:07.”

Debris Sightings: Not Yet

After the oil slicks off the coast of Vietnam turned out to be unrelated to Flight 370 and the possible yellow raft sighting turned out to be a floating pile of garbage, people’s hopes/fears rose again when Chinese satellite images showed debris on the ocean.  But it turns out the grainy satellite images were released by mistake and “did not show any debris from MH370”.

And so the mystery surrounding the plane disappearance continues…

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Where In The World is Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370?

Where in the World is Malaysia Airlines Flight

Nearly three days after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 mysteriously went missing, rescue helicopters and ships are still searching for the jet.

The Malaysia Airlines flight, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board, lost contact with air traffic controllers early Saturday morning and has been MIA ever since.

After vanishing from thin air, the international effort to locate the plane’s wreckage has gone nowhere. The Vietnamese government reported two oil slicks spotted off the southern tip of the country that were pretty consistent with what would be left by fuel from a crashed jet, but so far they haven’t been proven to be linked to the disappearance. Rescuers also rushed to investigate a yellow object that looked like a life raft on Monday but it turned out to be moss-covered trash floating in the ocean.

Adding suspicions to the sudden disappearance is the fact that two of the passengers on the flight boarded using stolen passports. Two tickets were purchased together from a travel agency in the beach resort of Pattaya, Thailand, using an Italian and Austrian passport that had been stolen in Thailand several years ago. Also, five passengers booked on the flight did not board, and their luggage was consequently removed.

Mysterious disappearance… stolen passports… FBI involvement… time for some conspiracy theories!!

Terrible Conspiracy Theory #1: Muslim terrorists from Malaysia (although they could be from anywhere – as long as they’re Muslim) boarded using stolen European passports and proceeded to hijack the plane, sending it spiraling into the ocean. If they could board with stolen passports, who knows what else they could have snuck on board?

But if they were true terrorists, why hasn’t their organization claimed responsibility for the attack?

Terrible Conspiracy Theory #1 Continued: The hijackers had planed to hit some kind of Chinese target a la 9/11 but something went horribly wrong and they ended up in the ocean. Now, in order to carry their plan through, the terrorist organization must remain quiet until they can board another flight.

Or…

Terrible Conspiracy Theory #2: Someone is out to get Malaysia Airlines, whose shares fell 18% to a record low on Monday.

Ahhh… speculations.

Meanwhile, relatives of the 227 passengers and 12 crew members have been told to expect the worst. Although there has been no confirmation that the Boeing 777 had crashed, the Malaysia Airlines jet is definitely out of fuel by now. Among the passengers, 154 people were from China or Taiwan and 38 were from Malaysia. The plane was also carrying six Australians, three Americans citizens (including an infant) and two Canadians.

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Algerian Plane Crash

Current Event Cat - Algerian Army Plane

If you think flying Delta is bad, wait until you fly in an Algerian military transport plane through stormy weather.

More than 100 people have died after an Algerian military transport plane crashed into mountains in the northeast part of the country. The Hercules C-130 was carrying 103 passengers and crew members (all members of the military and their families) when it took off from the city of Ouargla enroute to the northeastern city of Constantine.

Algerian news is reporting that the plane was flying “in poor weather conditions” and crashed into a mountain shortly before it was supposed to land in the city of Constantine.

“Very bad weather conditions, involving a storm and heavy snowfall, were behind the crash,” the defence ministry was quoted as saying in a statement.

One survivor has been found amid the wreckage – a soldier who is now being treated for head injuries at a military hospital in Algiers.

So far, 77 bodies have been recovered from the wreckage but rescue workers are still sifting through the mountainous terrain and wintry weather conditions for addition bodies.

This is the worst plane crash in Algeria since 2003, when 102 were killed after a civilian airliner crashed at the end of the runway in Tamanrasset. Interestingly enough there were also 103 people onboard that fight and only one survivor in the crash… So if your plane goes down in Algeria, you have a 1/103 chance of making it out alive.

Via: BBC News

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Russian Plane Crash

Current EVent Cat - Russian Plane

A Russian passenger plane crashed onto an airport runway Sunday morning in the city of Kazan, killing all 50 people on board. A tragedy – even by Russian standards!

The Boeing 737 took off from Moscow and crashed while making a second attempt to land in the city of Kazan. Instead of landing, the Tatarstan Airlines flight exploded on impact, killing everyone – passengers, crew, everyone.

Terrorism has been ruled out but investigators are still investigating what caused the crash – technical failures, poor weather conditions, crew errors? The company insists the plane was in good condition and the airline has had a decent safety record but they have had some financial problems recently. Some industry experts are also pointing towards Russian airlines’ cost-cutting habits, where profit is put well ahead of safety and training. But investigators are examining the plane’s damaged black boxes and will eventually figure out what’s what.

When I was travelling in Czech Republic ten-ish years ago, there was another plane crash that happened in Russia – killing far fewer people, but still with quite a few causalities. Anyways, CNN (the only English news available to me) declared the incident “a tragedy – even by Russian standards.” Apparently Russia is such a dark desolate place where everyone is so accustomed to misfortune that for something to qualify as a tragedy, it’s gotta be BIG. Well, I think a plane crash killing 44 passengers and six crew members qualifies as a tragedy – even by CNN’s standards.

Via: FOX News

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