Man on flight tries to open emergency exit door

OREGON

Man on flight tries to

open emergency exit

A passenger on a commercial flight from Alaska to Oregon was arrested Monday after witnesses said he tried to open an emergency exit during the plane’s descent and other passengers had to help restrain him using shoelaces and seat-belt extensions.

Passengers and crew members aboard the Alaska Airlines flight from Anchorage to Portland told investigators that Alexander Michael Herrera, 23, made “unusual statements” before trying to open the door Monday morning, FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele said.

Flight 132 was preparing to land at Portland International Airport when the Arizona man set off an alarm by pulling the door handle in the emergency-exit row, Steele said.

Witness Henry Pignataro said he and another man held down the passenger and asked flight attendants for restraints. He said they brought three sets of shoelaces, which Pignataro and the other man used to bind Herrera’s legs. The flight attendants then brought extra seatbelt extensions, and the witnesses applied those to Herrera, as well.

— Associated Press

ALASKA

Senators seek Army

sex investigation

Alaska’s U.S. senators called for a full investigation of allegations that sexual affairs were condoned on the military base in their state that provides the main U.S. defense against a missile attack.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) said Monday that she will demand that an Army investigation of Fort Greely ensures “a true zero-tolerance policy for all sexual misconduct among our men and women in uniform.” Sen. Mark Begich (D) said the allegations, if true, “are not only reprehensible but show a serious loss of focus on the missile defense mission that is critical for the safety of all Americans.”

The Army is investigating Lt. Col. Joseph Miley, commander of the Army National Guard’s 49th Missile Defense battalion at the base in Alaska, after soldiers complained that he condoned sexual affairs at the remote facility, creating what they called a “toxic environment.”

The Army already was looking into Miley for promoting a World War II-style pinup calendar with photos of his wife and scantily clad female soldiers when new allegations were made about multiple affairs that had gone unpunished.

— Bloomberg News

Arizona

Navajo could block transport of ore

A uranium mining company seeking a mineral lease on state land in northwestern Arizona could have a hard time transporting the ore off-site because of the Navajo Nation’s objections to an industry that left a legacy of death and disease among tribal members.

The section of land in Coconino County is surrounded by the Navajo Nation’s Big Boquillas Ranch. The tribe has said it will not grant Wate Mining permission to drive commercial trucks filled with chunks of uranium ore across its land to be processed at a milling site in Blanding, Utah.

The Navajo Nation was the site of extensive uranium mining for weapons during the Cold War. The tribe banned uranium mining on its lands in 2005, and last year passed a law governing the transport of radioactive substances over its land. The ranch itself is not part of the reservation, although the Navajo Nation owns it.

“Given the [Navajo] Nation’s history with uranium mining, it is the nation’s intent to deny access to the land for the purpose of prospecting for or mining of uranium,” officials from the Navajo Department of Justice wrote in response to the mineral lease application.

— Associated Press

Texas gunman was N.C. Marine: A Texas gunman who killed one person and wounded five others before being shot to death by police was stationed at a North Carolina Marine base, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Monday. The gunman was identified as Esteban Smith, 23, who was stationed at Camp Lejeune, the agency said in a statement. Firing randomly from his pickup truck early Sunday, Smith killed a 41-year-old woman and wounded five people, including the county sheriff, in Concho County, about 250 miles southwest of Dallas, authorities said. The gunman was killed in a shootout with a Highway Patrol trooper and a game warden who arrived to assist the sheriff, the statement said.

Cruise canceled after fire: A fire that broke out aboard a Royal Caribbean ship Monday did enough damage that the rest of the cruise was canceled and the cruise line said the more than 2,200 passengers aboard will be flown from the Bahamas back to Baltimore. The fire that began at 2:50 a.m. Monday was extinguished about two hours later with no injuries reported. A cause was not immediately known. Royal Caribbean said that executives met with passengers and that the cruise line is arranging flights for all 2,224 guests on Tuesday. It said passengers will receive a full refund of their fare and a certificate for a future cruise.

Bus crash victim identified: A celebrated burlesque performer was killed and her husband critically injured in a crash over the weekend, when a party bus ran head-on into the couple’s car as it was stopped on a highway south of San Francisco, authorities said. Sarah Klein, 36, of San Mateo, Calif., who was known for her comedic, racy performances as “Sparkly Devil,” died in the wreck early Sunday. Nine other people were injured. Klein’s husband, Raul Padilla, 43, was driving a Honda that appeared to have slammed into a center divider on U.S. 101 before coming to rest facing oncoming traffic, California Highway Patrol Officer Art Montiel said. The party bus carrying 18 people hit the Honda after it stopped.

— From news services

 
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