- The Washington Times - Monday, January 7, 2008

ALASKA

Plane crash kills pilot, 5 others

ANCHORAGE — Four persons were recovering yesterday from a southern Alaska plane crash that killed the pilot and five other Alaskans, a group of Russian Orthodox Old Believers taking a short flight home to celebrate Russian Christmas.

The Piper PA-31 Navajo Chieftain crashed in a shallow harbor about 50 yards off the end of a Kodiak Island runway soon after takeoff at 1:48 p.m. Saturday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

Dean Andrew, the pilot of a float plane that had been taxiing nearby, said he pulled aboard the four survivors.

“Once I got them in they were really cold, and they were just pretty hysterical because they had told me that their family’s in that plane,” Mr. Andrew, who operates a small air service, told the Anchorage Daily News.

MICHIGAN

Gas line explosion kills worker

RIVER ROUGE — An explosion and fire along a gas pipeline killed a contract worker Saturday on an island used by industry near Detroit.

The worker was part of a five-member crew preparing to reroute a coke oven gas line through part of a blast furnace line at a U.S. Steel facility on Zug Island, company spokesman John Armstrong said.

Officials were trying to determine what caused the pipeline to explode.

The other crew members were taken to a hospital for observation, Mr. Armstrong said.

Four members of the crew, including the worker killed, worked for a Detroit area company called R.J. Stacey, he said.

CALIFORNIA

Zoo visits rise after tiger attack

SAN FRANCISCO — Attendance was up at the San Francisco Zoo after a tiger attack that killed a young man on Christmas Day, a zoo spokesman said Saturday.

Twice as many visitors came to the zoo when the facility reopened Thursday as had visited the same day last year, spokesman Paul Garcia said.

Most of the 782 visitors arrived before heavy rains began falling over the city Thursday afternoon. Fewer than 400 people visited the zoo the entire day on Jan. 3, 2007, Mr. Garcia said.

Severe storms over Northern California forced the zoo to close again Friday, as high wind downed tree branches and knocked out power at the facility. No animals were hurt in the storm.

Other zoos that have endured mishaps have experienced similar spikes in attendance, which zoo officials attributed to the publicity and morbid curiosity.

FLORIDA

Disney restaurant closes to children

ORLANDO — The home of Mickey Mouse, Tigger and Tinkerbell banned children from its fanciest restaurant.

Children younger than 10 are no longer welcome at Victoria & Albert’s in the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Victoria & Albert’s is Walt Disney World’s only restaurant with an AAA five-diamond rating.

Only about three families a month ever brought young children to Victoria & Albert’s, said Rosemary Rose, Disney’s vice president for food, beverage and merchandise operations.

Men are required to wear jackets, and women must wear dresses or pantsuits. The hushed atmosphere features live harp music, and the menu, which changes daily, offers seven-course dinners that can last as long as three hours. Prices start at $125 a person.

HAWAII

Ferry service delayed, but new route opens

HONOLULU — The operator of Hawaii’s new inter-island ferry, which got the green light to resume trips despite environmental protests, said Friday it is further delaying service on one route.

The Hawaii Superferry won’t resume service between Honolulu and Kauai immediately but will instead start a second voyage between Honolulu and Maui on Jan. 16, said company President and Chief Executive Officer John Garibaldi.

The company is imposing the delay “in order to allow more time in which to work with the community on Kauai to ensure a safe and successful resumption of service,” Mr. Garibaldi said.

IDAHO

Thief omits ransom instructions

IDAHO FALLS — A handkerchief-wearing thief had a videotaped message for his victim: Pay a $3,000 ransom and you can get your video games back.

There was just one problem. The burglar forgot to include any instructions for dropping off the cash.

“We’re not dealing with brain surgeons here,” police Lt. Joe Cawley said.

The message was delivered by videotape, but was overlooked until recently. That was when the woman who had items stolen from her car discovered that part of the original content — the recent birth of her child — had been taped over with a message from the burglar who stole her video games, a compact disc player, camera equipment, clothing and a video camera.

MISSOURI

Snacking burglar leaves his DNA

KANSAS CITY — A trail of chicken bones left at a burglary scene more than a year ago led investigators to a Kansas prison inmate with a long rap sheet and a hefty appetite.

Authorities on Friday charged John Wyatt Weaver, 43, of Kansas City, with two counts of burglary and one count of stealing a firearm. No bond was set because Weaver already is serving time at Lansing Correctional Facility in Kansas for an unrelated crime.

Police tracked down the suspect through DNA left on six chicken bones strewn throughout a Gladstone apartment in which several firearms were stolen in November 2006. The Kansas City crime lab examined the bones for DNA evidence, which was entered into a national database. Prosecutor Daniel White said the DNA on the bones matched that of Weaver, a convicted felon whose DNA was in the national database.

NEW JERSEY

Fire damages printing plant

JERSEY CITY — Firefighters battled a blaze at a Daily News printing facility and warehouse early Saturday.

The two-alarm fire was reported at 1:30 a.m. and put under control at 2:12 a.m. by about 65 firefighters, said Armando Roman, Jersey City’s director of fire and emergency services.

Mr. Roman said the fire broke out in an area containing printing presses.

TENNESSEE

Bull rustler loses horsepower

NASHVILLE — Somebody hijacked a truckload of rodeo bulls bound for a professional bull-riding show, then abandoned them after running out of gas, authorities said.

The truck and its cargo were found early Saturday with an empty gas tank in the outskirts of Nashville, police said. The bulls — about a dozen, valued at $100,000 — were unharmed. No arrest has been made.

Police Sgt. Robert Durbin said the animals were being delivered to Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium for the show when the thief jumped into the cab late Friday.

A woman in the truck escaped despite the carjacker’s attempts to keep her inside.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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