National digest: Snowboarders die in avalanche

COLORADO

Five snowboarders killed in avalanche

Five snowboarders were killed Saturday afternoon in a backcountry avalanche on Colorado’s Loveland Pass, authorities said.

Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger said in a statement that six snowboarders were caught in the slide. The condition of the survivor was not released.

The pass, elevation 11,990 feet, is popular among backcountry skiers and snowboarders.

On Thursday, a 38-year-old snowboarder died in an avalanche south of Vail Pass. Eagle County authorities said the man and another snowboarder probably triggered the slide after a friend on a snowmobile dropped them off at the top of Avalanche Bowl.

— Associated Press

ILLINOIS

Mail carrier who sent dud bombs apologizes

A former Iowa letter carrier who sent threatening letters and dud pipe bombs to investment firms has apologized in a federal courtroom in Chicago, telling a judge that he is ashamed about what he did.

John Tomkins, known as “The Bishop” bomber because he signed his notes with that moniker, made the apology at a pre-sentencing hearing Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“Let me start by saying how incredibly sorry I am,” Tomkins told the judge. “There are no words to describe the shame and disappointment I feel in myself.”

In testimony last year, Tomkins admitted to sending threatening letters and nonfunctioning bombs to investment advisers from 2005 to early 2007 as part of an extortion scheme intended to drive up the value of stocks he owned. A jury found the Dubuque, Iowa, native guilty of all 12 charges he faced. Judge Robert Dow says he will sentence Tomkins on May 21.

— Associated Press

TEXAS

4 fishermen missing off the Gulf Coast

The U.S. Coast Guard used boats, a helicopter and airplanes Saturday to search for four fishermen who went missing off the Texas coast after their boat sank.

The Coast Guard received a distress call from the 50-foot vessel at 3:30 a.m. Friday, Petty Officer Richard Brahm said. The boat went down about 115 miles southeast of Galveston, not far from the state line between Texas and Louisiana.

The weather was bad at the time, Brahm said. Sustained winds were strong and swells were 10 to 15 feet, he said.

About five hours after the distress signal, at 8:30 a.m., a search team found crew member John Robinson on a life raft. Robinson, who was returned to Galveston later Friday, told the Coast Guard he was unsure what had happened to the other four fishermen on board, Brahm said.

— Associated Press

Pot enthusiasts gather in Colorado: Thousands of marijuana enthusiasts gathered Saturday in Denver for a weekend celebration of cannabis, the first such assemblage since Colorado voters legalized the recreational use of pot in the fall. The event expected to draw the largest crowd was a pot smokeout at a Denver park near the state capitol.

— Associated Press

 
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