Agency finds possible cause of seaplane crash that killed 10

Agency finds possible cause of seaplane crash that killed 10
A US Coast Guard boat, County Sheriff boat search the area, on Sept. 5, 2022, near Freeland, Washington on Whidbey Island north of Seattle. (AP)
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Updated 25 October 2022

Agency finds possible cause of seaplane crash that killed 10

Agency finds possible cause of seaplane crash that killed 10
  • That part might have failed because a clamp nut unthreaded and rotated due to a missing or improperly installed lock ring, the investigators found

SEATTLE: US investigators said Monday they have found a potential cause of a seaplane crash that killed 10 people off an island in Washington state last month.
The National Transportation Safety Board, the agency investigating the Sept. 4 crash off Whidbey Island, said it appeared a critical part that moved the plane’s horizontal tail stabilizer came apart, The Seattle Times reported.
That part might have failed because a clamp nut unthreaded and rotated due to a missing or improperly installed lock ring, the investigators found.
The failure of the component, called an actuator, during flight “would result in a free-floating horizontal stabilizer, allowing it to rotate uncontrollably … about its hinge, resulting in a possible loss of airplane control,” the NTSB said.
The plane, a de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter turboprop operated by Renton-based Friday Harbor Seaplanes, crashed into Puget Sound, killing the pilot and all nine passengers. It was about half an hour into a flight to the Seattle suburb of Renton from Friday Harbor, a popular tourist destination in the San Juan Islands.
The investigators said that when the wreckage was retrieved, the upper portion of the actuator was still attached to the horizontal stabilizer while the lower portion was attached to its mount in the fuselage.
The most recent overhaul of the plane’s horizontal stabilizer actuator was completed April 21. The lock ring was not found with the wreckage, but several of the holes drilled in the clamp nut to accept the lock ring were damaged “such that they would not allow for the full insertion of the lock ring.”
“At this time, the NTSB does not know whether the lock ring was installed before the airplane impacted the water or why the lock ring was not present during the airplane examination,” the agency said.
The NTSB and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada have asked that the manufacturer draft instructions for all operators of DHC-3 aircraft to inspect the actuator to ensure that the lock ring is properly installed to prevent unthreading of the clamp nut.
Witnesses who saw the plane nose dive into Mutiny Bay helped officials identify the crash site. Still, it took over a week and three types of sonar to locate what remained of the plane due to its depth and the current of the channel where the aircraft hit the water.
Crews using remotely operated vessels and cranes recovered the majority of the plane’s wreckage from the sea floor more than 150 feet (46 meters) below the surface in late September.
The victims included a civil rights activist, a business owner, a lawyer, an engineer and the founder of a winery and his family.
Six bodies have been recovered. Those include the body of 29-year-old Gabby Hanna, which was recovered by witnesses the day of the crash, and five others found during recovery efforts.


Tropical Storm Mawar intensifies rains for Japan, threatens floods and mudslides in south and west

Tropical Storm Mawar intensifies rains for Japan, threatens floods and mudslides in south and west
Updated 51 min 8 sec ago

Tropical Storm Mawar intensifies rains for Japan, threatens floods and mudslides in south and west

Tropical Storm Mawar intensifies rains for Japan, threatens floods and mudslides in south and west
  • Warnings were issued in parts of western and central Japan, with up to 35 centimeters of rain forecast over the 24 hours through Saturday morning

NAHA, Japan: Heavy rains intensified by Tropical Storm Mawar fell on Japan’s main archipelago Friday, halting trains and transit and threatening floods and mudslides in south and western regions.
Warnings were issued in parts of western and central Japan, with up to 35 centimeters of rain forecast over the 24 hours through Saturday morning. Residents in vulnerable areas, including those in Wakayama, Kochi in the west and Nagano in central Japan, were warned of the potential for flooding and mudslides and advised to go to evacuation centers if possible.
Television footage showed swollen rivers in residential area in the Wakayama city, including one where brown water rose as high as the bottom of a bridge over it.
In Tokyo, the few pedestrians on the rainy streets clutched umbrellas as winds blew tree branches around. Afternoon classes were also canceled at some schools in Tokyo.
Shinkansen super-express trains were suspended or delayed between Tokyo and Okayama in western Japan due to heavy rain, according to the Central Japan Railway Co. Flights and ferries in southern Japan also were canceled due to continuing strong winds.
Mawar remained well offshore in the Pacific Ocean, but its winds were strong enough as it passed Okinawa to cause injuries. An older woman who fell had a serious head injury in Nishihara city, while the injuries to seven other people were slight.
The tropical storm had sustained winds blowing up to 82kph Friday afternoon and was blowing east-northeast at 25kph, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It was near Amami-Oshima Island, about 1,500 kilometers southwest of Tokyo.
The warm and damp air from the tropical storm was intensifying seasonal rains, and a linear band of heavy rain was hovering over the islands, the meteorological agency said.
Mawar largely skirted Taiwan and the Philippines earlier this week. It sent waves crashing into Taiwan’s east coast and brought heavy rains to the northern Philippines, though no major damage was reported.
Mawar was the strongest typhoon to hit Guam in more than two decades. As of Wednesday, only 28 percent of power had been restored and about half the water system was operational, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
There have been long lines for gas, and officials estimate it will be four to six weeks before power is fully restored. FEMA did not yet know exactly how many homes were destroyed.


Kyiv defenses thwart Russia’s 6th air assault in 6 days against Ukraine capital

Kyiv defenses thwart Russia’s 6th air assault in 6 days against Ukraine capital
Updated 6 min 23 sec ago

Kyiv defenses thwart Russia’s 6th air assault in 6 days against Ukraine capital

Kyiv defenses thwart Russia’s 6th air assault in 6 days against Ukraine capital
  • Two villages in Russia’s Bryansk region shelled from Ukraine
  • The Ukrainian capital was simultaneously attacked from different directions by Iranian-made Shahed drones and cruise missiles from the Caspian region

KYIV: Ukrainian air defenses shot down more than 30 Russian cruise missiles and drones in Moscow’s sixth air attack in six days on Kyiv, local officials said Friday.
The Ukrainian capital was simultaneously attacked from different directions by Iranian-made Shahed drones and cruise missiles from the Caspian region, senior Kyiv official Serhii Popko wrote on Telegram.
A 68-year-old man and an 11-year-old child were wounded in the attack, with private houses, outbuildings and cars sustaining damage from falling debris, according to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office.
A recent spate of attacks on the capital has put strain on residents and tested the strength of Ukraine’s air defenses while Kyiv officials plot what they say is an upcoming counteroffensive to push back the Kremlin’s forces 15 months after their full-scale invasion. Kyiv was the target of drone and missile attacks on 17 days last month, including daylight attacks.
Moscow’s strategy could backfire, however, according to the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank.
The air campaign aims to “degrade Ukrainian counteroffensive capabilities, but ... the Russian prioritization of Kyiv is likely further limiting the campaign’s ability to meaningfully constrain potential Ukrainian counteroffensive actions,” it said in an assessment late Thursday.
Ukrainian air defenses intercepted all 15 cruise missiles and 21 attack drones, Ukraine’s chief of staff, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, said.
Meanwhile, border regions of Russia once again came under fire from Ukraine. Recent cross-border raids have also rattled those regions of Russia and put the Kremlin on guard.
That could be a Ukrainian strategy to disperse Russian forces before a counteroffensive begins.
“Russian commanders now face an acute dilemma of whether to (strengthen) defenses in Russia’s border regions or reinforce their lines in occupied Ukraine,” the UK ministry of defense said Friday.
Air defense systems shot down “several Ukrainian drones” overnight Thursday in Russia’s southern Kursk region, which borders Ukraine, regional Gov. Roman Starovoit wrote on Telegram.
In the neighboring Bryansk region, which also borders Ukraine, regional Gov. Alexander Bogomaz said that Ukrainian forces shelled two villages on Friday morning. No casualties were reported.
Two drones also attacked energy facilities in Russia’s western Smolensk region, which borders Belarus, in the early hours of Friday, officials said.
Russian officials have reported intensified attacks from northern Ukraine and said that on Thursday Ukrainian troops attempted to cross the border into the Belgorod region, the first such incursion.
Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Friday at least one incident of shelling had been reported overnight in the Shebekino district, and over 2,500 people were being evacuated from the area.
Ukraine denies its military is involved in the incursions and says they are conducted by Russian volunteer fighters.


UN warns of new threat to global food security after Russia limits Ukraine grain shipments

UN warns of new threat to global food security after Russia limits Ukraine grain shipments
Updated 02 June 2023

UN warns of new threat to global food security after Russia limits Ukraine grain shipments

UN warns of new threat to global food security after Russia limits Ukraine grain shipments
  • UN spokesman expressed serious concern that only 33 ships departed from Ukrainian ports in May, half the number compared to April

NEW YORK: Warning of a new threat to global food security, the United Nations said Thursday that Russia is limiting the number of ships allowed to pick up Ukrainian grain at Black Sea ports in its campaign to get Kyiv to open a pipeline for a key ingredient of fertilizer to get to world markets.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric expressed serious concern that only 33 ships departed from Ukrainian ports in May, half the number compared to April, and exports of grain and other foodstuffs totaled just 1.3 million metric tons last month, less than half the amount of the previous month.
He said Russia informed the center in Istanbul coordinating the arrivals, departures and inspections of ships involved in the Black Sea Grain Initiative “of its decision to limit registrations in the port of Yuzhny as long as ammonia is not exported, and currently it’s not.”
Ammonia is a key ingredient for fertilizer and Moscow wants Ukraine to open a pipeline from the Russian city of Togliatti to the Ukrainian port of Odesa that it used before the war to ship ammonia to its global customers.
Turkiye and the UN brokered the breakthrough initiative with Russia and Ukraine last July, opening a path for Ukrainian grain exports from three of its key Black Sea ports: Odesa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny.
In a separate memorandum, the United Nations said it would work to overcome obstacles to Russian food and fertilizer shipments, which UN trade chief Rebeca Grynspan has been trying to do for months but Moscow has criticized the lack of results.
To reinforce the failure to export its fertilizer, Russia in March unilaterally decided to renew the grain deal for 60 days instead of the 120 days outlined in the agreement. And just before its expiration, in another example of Moscow’s brinkmanship, it agreed on May 17 to another two-month extension until July 17.
Following Russia’s Feb. 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine, one of the world’s major breadbaskets, global food prices skyrocketed, hitting poorer, developing countries especially hard.
After the July agreements, food prices started to drop but Dujarric warned that “global hunger hotspots are increasing and the specter of food inflation and market volatility lurks in all countries.”
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted Wednesday that the port of Yuzhny is blocked and more than 1.5 million tons of agricultural products are waiting there for shipment to at least 10 countries including Turkiye, China, Egypt and Bangladesh.
He urged everyone to pressure Russia to unblock food supplies saying, “Obviously the less food is supplied to these countries, to these regions, the higher the food prices are, the more people in these countries lose from their family budgets.”
Dujarric noted that in May only three ships departed from the port of Yuzhny.
He said that since May 24 the number of teams inspecting ships has been reduced from three to two. This, along with the slowdown in registering ships, is creating a serious situation.
The UN has put forward practical suggestions “at the strategic and operational level” and will continue to engage with Russia and Ukraine, Dujarric said.
“In particular, we are looking for commitments on unconditional access of vessels to all three ports under the initiative, increased number of successful inspections completed per day and predictable registrations to avoid undue delay of vessels, exports of fertilizers, including ammonia, and the resumption of the Togliatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline,” Dujarric said.


US Congress averts historic default, approves debt-limit suspension

US Congress averts historic default, approves debt-limit suspension
Updated 02 June 2023

US Congress averts historic default, approves debt-limit suspension

US Congress averts historic default, approves debt-limit suspension
  • The Treasury Department had warned it would be unable to pay all its bills on June 5 if Congress failed to act by then
  • Biden was directly involved in negotiations on the bill with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

WASHINGTON: The US Senate on Thursday passed bipartisan legislation backed by President Joe Biden that lifts the government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, averting what would have been a first-ever default.
The Senate voted 63-36 to approve the bill that had been passed on Wednesday by the House of Representatives, as lawmakers raced against the clock following months of partisan bickering between Democrats and Republicans.
The Treasury Department had warned it would be unable to pay all its bills on June 5 if Congress failed to act by then.
“We are avoiding default tonight,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Thursday as he steered the legislation through his 100-member chamber.
Biden praised Congress’ timely action. “This bipartisan agreement is a big win for our economy and the American people,” the Democratic president said in a statement, adding that he will sign it into law as soon as possible. He said he would make an additional statement on Friday at 7 PM
Biden was directly involved in negotiations on the bill with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
While this bitter battle has ended, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell wasted no time flagging the next budget fight.
“In the coming months, Senate Republicans will continue working to provide for the common defense and control Washington Democrats’ reckless spending,” he said in a statement.
McConnell was referring to 12 bills Congress will work on over the summer to fund government programs in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, which will also carry out the broad instructions of the debt limit bill.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, meanwhile, issued some pointed advice saying, “I continue to strongly believe that the full faith and credit of the United States must never be used as a bargaining chip,” as Republicans did over the past several months.
Before the final vote, senators tore through nearly a dozen amendments — rejecting all of them during a late-night session in anticipation of Monday’s deadline.
With this legislation, the statutory limit on federal borrowing will be suspended until Jan. 1, 2025. Unlike most other developed countries, the United States limits the amount of debt the government can borrow, regardless of any spending allocated by the legislature.
“America can breathe a sigh of relief,” Schumer said in remarks to the Senate.
’TIME IS A LUXURY’
Republicans had blocked passage of any debt limit increase until they locked in some wide-ranging spending cuts in a move they said would begin addressing a rapidly escalating national debt.
Biden instead pushed for tax increases on the wealthy and corporations to help address the growing debt. Republicans refused to consider any sort of tax hikes.
Both parties walled off the sprawling Social Security and Medicare retirement and health care programs from cuts, and McCarthy refused to consider reducing spending on the military or veterans.
That left a somewhat narrow band of domestic “discretionary” programs to bear the brunt of spending cuts. In the end, Republicans won about $1.5 trillion in reductions over 10 years, which may or may not be fully realized. Their opening bid was for $4.8 trillion in savings over a decade.
Treasury technically hit its limit on borrowing in January. Since then it has been using “extraordinary measures” to patch together the money needed to pay the government’s bills.
Biden, Yellen and congressional leaders all acknowledged that triggering a default for lack of funds would have serious ramifications. Those included sending shock waves through global financial markets, possibly triggering job losses and a recession in the United States and raising families’ interest rates on everything from home mortgages to credit card debt.
The Republican-controlled House passed the bill on Wednesday evening in a 314-117 vote. Most of those who voted against the bill were Republicans.
“Time is a luxury the Senate does not have,” Schumer said on Thursday. “Any needless delay or any last-minute holdups would be an unnecessary and even dangerous risk.”
Among the amendments debated were ones to force deeper spending cuts than those contained in the House-passed bill and stopping the speedy final approval of a West Virginia energy pipeline.
COBBLED OVER WEEKS
Republican Senator Roger Marshall offered an amendment to impose new border controls as high numbers of immigrants arrive at the US-Mexico border. His measure, he said, would “put an end to the culture of lawlessness at our southern border.”
The Senate defeated the amendment, however. Democrats said it would strip away protections for child migrants and rob American farmers of needed workers.
Some Republicans also wanted to beef up defense spending beyond the increased levels contained in the House-passed bill.
In response, Schumer said the spending caps in this legislation would not constrain Congress in approving additional money for emergencies, including helping Ukraine in its battle against Russia.
“This debt ceiling deal does nothing to limit the Senate’s ability to appropriate emergency supplemental funds to ensure our military capabilities are sufficient to deter China, Russia and our other adversaries, and respond to ongoing and growing national security threats, including Russia’s evil ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine,” Schumer said.
The bill was cobbled together over weeks of intensive negotiations between senior aides for Biden and McCarthy.
The main argument was over spending for the next couple of years on discretionary programs such as housing, environmental protections, education and medical research that Republicans wanted to cut deeply.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would save $1.5 trillion over 10 years. That is below the $3 trillion in deficit reduction, mainly through new taxes, that Biden proposed.
The last time the United States came this close to default was in 2011. That standoff hammered financial markets, led to the first-ever downgrade of the government’s credit rating and pushed up the nation’s borrowing costs.
There was less drama this time as it became clear last week that Biden and McCarthy would find a deal with enough bipartisan support to get through Congress.


Girl unable to enter Kyiv shelter killed in Russia attack, Zelensky demands change

Girl unable to enter Kyiv shelter killed in Russia attack, Zelensky demands change
Updated 01 June 2023

Girl unable to enter Kyiv shelter killed in Russia attack, Zelensky demands change

Girl unable to enter Kyiv shelter killed in Russia attack, Zelensky demands change
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskiy expressed frustration at the miscue and said if local officials were unable to provide protection, they could be prosecuted
  • Police opened a criminal investigation into the three deaths near a medical clinic in the Desnyanskyi district of Kyiv

KYIV: A nine-year-old Ukrainian girl, her mother and another woman were killed in a Russian missile strike on Kyiv on Thursday after the air raid shelter they rushed to failed to open, witnesses said.
President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed frustration at the miscue and said if local officials were unable to provide protection, they could be prosecuted.
His comments appeared aimed at Kyiv city authorities and Mayor Vitali Klitschko, with whom he has periodically clashed during the war.
Police opened a criminal investigation into the three deaths near a medical clinic in the Desnyanskyi district of Kyiv after the 18th attack on the capital since the start of May.
“Three people, one of them a child, died near the clinic last night,” Klitschko said. “A rocket fragment fell near the entrance to the clinic four minutes after the air alert was announced. And people headed for the shelter.”
Residents said people were unable to enter the shelter because it was closed. It was not clear why.
“The air alert sounded. My wife took our daughter and they ran to the entrance here,” local resident Yaroslav Ryabchuk told Reuters in the Desnyanskyi district.
“The entrance was closed, there were already maybe five to 10 women with children. No one opened up for them.”
The case prompted calls for residents to check shelters and report safety violations. Local media said prosecutors searched city administration offices as part of the investigation.

PRESIDENT CALLS OUT LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Zelensky, in his nightly video message, said shelters “must be kept accessible. Never again should we see a repeat of the situation that occurred last night in Kyiv...”
This was “very clearly” the duty of local authorities “and if this duty is not fulfilled at the local level, it is the direct duty of law enforcement bodies to prosecute.”
In earlier comments to reporters in Moldova, Zelensky said that as well as facing the Russian enemy, “we also have internal ones.” He said the response could be a “knockout” blow, a veiled dig at Klitschko, a former heavyweight boxing champion.
At a makeshift memorial for the girl, another parent woken by the attacks spoke of her terror.
“I grabbed my child and ran into the corridor because I didn’t have any other options. We sat there the whole time, there were a few more explosions,” said Oleksandra, 25, visiting the memorial with her five-year-old son Hryhoriy.
“My child got really scared, he sat in the corner of our corridor. He cried, saying that we’re all gonna die. I was terrified to hear this from him. It was terrible.”
Russia has denied targeting civilians or committing war crimes though its air strikes have caused devastation in cities across Ukraine since the full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.
Ukraine reported no major damage from Thursday’s attack, saying it had shot down all 10 missiles. But, in a statement on International Children’s Day, UN human rights monitors in Ukraine said 525 children had been killed since the invasion.