National digest: Procession takes firefighters’ bodies home

July 7, 2013
ALASKA
Air taxi crashes
at airport, killing 10

An air taxi crashed Sunday at the Soldotna airport in Alaska, killing all 10 people on board, authorities said.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Clint Johnson said the pilot and nine passengers were killed in the late-morning crash.

Meagan Peters of the Alaska State Troopers says the fixed-wing aircraft was engulfed in flames before firefighters could reach it. The victims have not been identified.

Soldotna is south of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula

The NTSB, which said it is sending a team to investigate the crash, identified the aircraft as a de Havilland Otter Air Taxi.

— Associated Press

ARIZONA
Firefighters’ bodies
being taken home

Firefighters began a 125-mile procession to bring the bodies of 19 colleagues who died in a wildfire a week ago from Phoenix to the mountain community where they lived.

The nearly five-hour procession began near the state Capitol in Phoenix, went through Yarnell, the town where the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed, and ended in Prescott, where they lived and will be laid to rest this week.

Thousands of people from across the state and beyond stood patiently in triple-digit temperatures in Phoenix, lined highways and overpasses along the route, and flooded the roads of downtown Prescott to pay their respects to the 19, whose deaths are the greatest loss of life for firefighters since 9/11.

Meanwhile, crews were closing in on full containment of the June 28 fire, which destroyed more than 100 homes in Yarnell and burned about 13 square miles.

— Associated Press

ILLINOIS
9 killed in Chicago
in holiday shootings

Shootings in Chicago during the Fourth of July holiday weekend have left at least nine people dead and several dozen wounded, including two young boys shot in different parks.

Gov. Pat Quinn (D) said Sunday that such continued violence underscores why he dramatically altered a gun bill that will end Illinois’ last-in-the-
nation ban on carrying concealed firearms — a prohibition that has been declared unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.

Despite the rash of shootings over the holiday weekend, there have been fewer homicides in Chicago in the first six months of 2013 than in the same period last year. Overall, there were 500 shootings in 2012.

— Associated Press

New York’s Spitzer plans a run for office: Former New York governor Eliot L. Spitzer (D), who stepped down in 2008 over a prostitution scandal, is planning a return to political life with a run for New York City comptroller. In an interview with the New York Times, Spitzer said he hoped city voters would give him a chance. The current comptroller, John C. Liu, is expected to run for mayor.

FedEx may face charges: Federal authorities are considering filing criminal charges against Fed­Ex, which is under investigation for shipping powerful prescription pills for illegal online pharmacies, according to federal law enforcement sources. The case being built against FedEx, the world’s largest cargo airline, involves thousands of shipments of opioid pills all over the country during the past decade, sources said.

Mississippi shipping halted: Mississippi River traffic in southeastern Louisiana was shut down Sunday while the Coast Guard led a search for a tugboat believed to have gone down in the middle of the river. Coast Guard Petty Officer Carlos Vega said that 28 southbound and 22 northbound vessels were waiting for the reopening of the river and that others not yet in the area would probably be affected. One cruise ship bound for New Orleans was diverted to Mobile, Ala., and contingency plans were being made to do the same for another cruise liner.

— From news services

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