In brief | Nation & world | 7-24-14


Plane crashes while landing in storm at Taiwan airport, killing 48

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A plane attempting to land in stormy weather crashed on a small Taiwanese island late Wednesday, killing 48 people and wrecking houses and cars on the ground.

The ATR-72 operated by Taiwan’s TransAsia Airways was carrying 58 passengers and crew when it crashed on Penghu in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China, authorities said. The plane was arriving from the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.

Two people aboard the plane were French citizens and the rest Taiwanese, Transport Minister Yeh Kuang-shih told reporters. The government’s Central News Agency identified the French passengers Thursday as Jeromine Deramond and Penelope Luternauer.

The twin-engine turboprop crashed while making a second landing attempt, Yeh said.

The crash of Flight GE222 was Taiwan’s first fatal air accident in 12 years and came after Typhoon Matmo passed across the island, causing heavy rains that continued into Wednesday night. About 200 airline flights had been canceled earlier in the day because of rain and strong winds.

Struggling to stop dangerous oil train fires, government proposes stiffer tank car regulations

WASHINGTON — Responding to a series of fiery train crashes, the government proposed rules Wednesday that would phase out tens of thousands of older tank cars that carry increasing quantities of crude oil and other highly flammable liquids through America’s towns and cities.

But many details were put off until later as regulators struggle to balance safety against the economic benefits of a fracking boom that has sharply increased U.S. oil production. Among the issues: What type of tank cars will replace those being phased out, how fast will they be allowed to travel and what kind of braking systems will they need?

Accident investigators have complained for decades that older tank cars, known as DOT-111s, are too easily punctured or ruptured, spilling their contents when derailed. Since 2008, there have been 10 significant derailments in the U.S. and Canada in which crude oil has spilled from ruptured tank cars, often igniting and resulting in huge fireballs. The worst was a runaway oil train that exploded in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic a year ago, killing 47 people.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said he expects his department to complete final regulations before the end of the year. First, the public and affected industries will have an opportunity to comment on the proposal.

“We are at the dawn of a promising time for energy production in this country,” Foxx said. “This is a positive development for our economy and for energy independence, but the responsibilities attached to this production are very serious.”

Teen pilot seeking record for around-the-world flight dies in ocean crash, father missing

INDIANAPOLIS — His pilot’s license fresh in his hands, an Indiana teenager set out in June for the adventure of a lifetime: an around-the-world flight with his father designed to break a record and raise money to build schools in his father’s native Pakistan.

Just days before the father and son were to return home to Indiana, the trip turned tragic when their plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean shortly after leaving Pago Pago in American Samoa on Tuesday night. The body of 17-year-old Haris Suleman was recovered, but crews were still searching Wednesday for the father, Babar Suleman.

The Sulemans left the state on June 19 in hopes of setting the record for the fastest circumnavigation around the world in a single-engine airplane with the youngest pilot in command to do so.

For more than a month, the trip was everything they’d hoped for, with visits to the pyramids and rides on camels in Egypt, a family reunion in Pakistan and much more. Even food poisoning and delays that meant they wouldn’t complete the trip in their intended 30 days couldn’t dilute the teen’s enthusiasm as he saw Europe, Africa, Asia and the South Pacific.

“There is so much beauty and culture in each country that I couldn’t possibly witness all that I want to,” Haris Suleman told The Indianapolis Star in an email recently.

By wire sources