WASHINGTON – An emergency medical helicopter pilot flying over Missouri was sending and receiving text messages before crashing in 2011, the first time such distractions have been implicated in a fatal commercial aviation accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which meets today to assign a cause for the accident that killed four people including a patient, documented seven texts sent and received by the pilot, according to records.
The Air Methods Corp. helicopter crashed in a field after running out of fuel, according to preliminary NTSB reports. Use of electronic devices by pilots during flight was prohibited by company rules, according to the reports.
This is a classic example of dividing attention in a way that compromises safety, David Strayer a psychology professor at the University of Utah who has studied how personal electronic devices cause distraction.
Israel remembers Holocaust victims
Israel came to a standstill for two mournful minutes Monday as sirens pierced the air in an annual ritual to remember the 6 million Jews systematically murdered by German Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust in World War II.
Commemorations were held around the country as Israel marked its annual Holocaust memorial day. The main wreath laying ceremony took place at the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem.
Visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres were among officials and Holocaust survivors in attendance.
Father accused of shooting infant son
A 21-year-old father was upset when his girlfriend broke up with him and plotted for a month before killing his 5-month-old son with a rifle, authorities said Monday.
Joshua Petersen of American Fork, Utah, was denied bond and ordered held as prosecutors prepare formal charges, which are expected next Monday.
A booking statement said Petersen sat his son down on a sofa in the basement, left the room to load his rifle and returned to shoot the boy in the forehead.
Missing hiker had hallucinations
One of two hikers who got lost in the Southern California wilderness last week said she remembers little about her four-day ordeal because she began hallucinating on the first night after the pair finished the three bottles of water they had and darkness fell.
Kyndall Jack, 18, and her friend, Nicolas Cendoya, 19, went missing on March 31 in Cleveland National Forest.
After the two were separated, Jack hallucinated she was being eaten by a python, she tried to eat rocks and dirt, and thought that tree twigs were straws from which she could suck water.
A helicopter plucked Jack from a tiny rocky outcropping on a near-vertical cliff Thursday. She was severely dehydrated, could not move one arm and complained of shortness of breath and pain in her chest and legs, rescuers said. Cendoya, 19, had been rescued the night before.
Trial begins over lead in baby food
The nation’s largest baby food makers face a lawsuit by an environmental group aimed at forcing them to alert consumers that some products contain low amounts of lead.
Gerber Products Co., Del Monte Foods, Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp. and many other makers of baby foods and juices are selling products containing lead at levels that require warning labels under California Proposition 65, the Environmental Law Foundation asserts in the suit filed in Oakland. Lawyers for the food companies say the U.S. Food and Drug Administration tested products targeted in the lawsuit and decided levels were below the standards that require a warning.
Japan worries nuclear experts
Experts who investigated Japan’s nuclear crisis said Monday that government oversight of the crippled plant’s operator is still too lax, as public concern has grown over recent safety problems.
A power failure last month caused by a rat that short-circuited a switchboard left the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant’s fuel storage pools without cooling water for more than a day.
On Friday, another cooling failure occurred, and hours later the operator reported a large leak of radioactive water from underground tanks.