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UN Chopper Crash: Pilot’s Condition Remains ‘Critical’

first_imgNo casualties have been reported from the United Nations (UN) helicopter marked RA 22426, bound for the Southeast that crash-landed after a few minutes of technical difficulties while en-route; however, one of the crewmembers – a pilot – is said to be in ‘critical’ condition.The incident occurred in the Thinker’s Village Community in the vicinity of the Robert L. Johnson (RLJ) Hotel, along the Roberts International Airport highway.Though the helicopter did not explode, it sustained significant damage.  Sandy and grassy terrain absorbed the craft’s impact with the ground. That allowed it to sink down deep into the soft surface – and to safety.The chopper, which took-off at about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, April 22, from the James Springs Payne Airfield in Monrovia, was heading for Fishtown, River Gee County; but it developed technical problems right at the point of take off, passengers explained.It was said that the injured pilot came in contact with metal roofing, (zinc) when the craft landed. A building under construction was partly damaged upon initial ground contact.According to officials, the chopper was scheduled to make its first stop near Fish Town and later, Barclayville, Grand Kru County.According to sources, there were nine people on board: three crewmen and six passengers; some of them were loaded into a Jeep and other vehicles, and taken to the JFK Memorial Hospital.The occupants included UNMIL personnel and officials from government ministries headed for various rural assignments.According to passengers, the pilot was forced to land the helicopter after assessing the seriousness of a mechanical problem that they had no answer for.“The problem became serious while we were already over the ocean; the pilot had to make a U-turn to find a solid and safe ground for crash landing,” passengers told the Daily Observer.A survivor, Grace Nyemah, from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said that while the helicopter was taking off, they noticed that the engine went off on three separate occasions. It was after the fourth attempt that it finally took off.She said that the most intense moment came when it was notice that the engine of the helicopter had gone off, compelling the pilot to use his training and experience to maneuver for a forced – but safe – landing.Ms. Nyemah said that while in the air, some unfamiliar activities claimed their attention; it was after several minutes that the fourth pilot officially informed them of the situation.First, he calmed them down by saying that the technical team was finding a means of bringing the situation under control.Grand Kru’s Chief Medical Officer, Mitchell Greene, who was also on board, had minor injuries on various parts of his body. He said that it was by the grace of God that they were saved; the situation was severe and very frightening, he explained.He praised the pilot for bringing the aircraft down safely. “We are grateful to God that nothing very serious happened to the majority of us.”Meanwhile community residents and eyewitnesses at the scene lauded the pilot for his bravery and quick-thinking; he saved the crewmen and passengers by returning the craft to dry land, as it certainly would have fallen into the ocean.Meanwhile, UN said in a release following the crash that made an emergency landing a few minutes before noon at Thinker’s Village in Monrovia.“The helicopter, with nine passengers and four crew members on board, was en route from Spriggs Payne Airfield to Fishtown as part of UN’s regular shuttle flight. One passenger and one crewmember sustained minor injuries. During the landing, the aircraft damaged a house, without causing injury to any of its residents or any other members of the local population. The Liberia National Police and UN Security have secured the area.The UN has launched an investigation to establish the cause of the incident.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Help spot Kruger’s wild dogs

first_img11 October 2007Visitors to the Kruger Park have been urged to report any African wild dogs they come across to help the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) to improve the management of these animals.Between now and the end of November, one of the only viable wild dog populations left in the country can be spotted in the southern parts of the Kruger National Park.Researchers at the EWT are trying to determine how wild dogs are genetically related to each other so as to improve the management of their population.“Visitors can support this research by reporting all wild dog sightings to the EWT’s Wild Dog Hotline number,” said EWT chief executive officer Yolan Friedmann. “Sightings can be phoned in or SMS-ed to 076 725 5242.“This will enable researchers to locate dog packs and obtain the required number of genetic samples to complete the analysis.”The wild dog is South Africa’s most endangered large carnivore. There are fewer than 500 free-ranging wild dogs in the country, most of whom live in the Kruger Park, with a handful found at smaller provincial and private reserves.“Kruger National Park contains the only viable and self-sustaining wild dog population in South Africa,” Friedmann said. “They are therefore an important benchmark with which to compare other less viable and more intensively managed populations.”The wild dogs at the Kruger Park are, however, notoriously difficult to locate.If there is a sighting, as much detail as possible needs to be given on the location, time and size of the group to help the project researchers find the packs.Patterns of relatedness among the southern Kruger wild dog population will be compared to those of smaller populations in reserves like the Pilanesberg National Park, Madikwe Game Reserve, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park and De Beers Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve.The research project is being sponsored by Masslift and Colchester Zoo’s Action for The Wild.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

TMC, BJP leave Left, Cong. behind

first_imgThe growth of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the cost of the Left Front and the Congress continues unabated in West Bengal. While TMC’s seat share went up to 66% in the 2018 Bengal panchayat elections from 52% in 2013, the BJP’s share grew by 17% at the Gram Panchayat (GP) level in the three-tier rural polls. The seat share at the GP level provides a very clear picture of the political scene in rural Bengal where 74% of the State’s electorate reside. A similar trend was noticed in nearly all the recent elections and by-polls.The saffron party got a little over 1% seats in 2013 at the GP level. In this week’s panchayat elections, the BJP bagged more than 18% seats in an election process marred by violence. Even after the Opposition could not field a candidate in about one-third of the seats, the BJP’s vote share increased significantly. On the other hand, the Left Front’s seat share dropped noticeably.The Left Front got marginally over 32% seats in the panchayat polls of 2013 at the GP level, which was nearly a 20% drop from that in 2008. In 2018, the seat share has reached its nadir. The Left Front got 5% seats, according to the data released by the State Election Commission [SEC] on Friday night. The Congress’s seat share has come down to 3% from 11%.Infact, the seat share of the Independent candidates was more than the Left Front or the Congress at the GP level. The reason, as it appeared on Friday, is that the Independent candidates, who belong to the one or the other factions of the ruling party in most of the cases, have won in many seats defeating the “official” TMC candidate. Realising that many of the Independent candidates are affiliated to the TMC, party chief Mamata Banerjee indicated on Thursday that they will eventually be brought back to the party fold. However, Independent candidates defeating the Left and the Congress has been described as “a unique development” in Bengal politics.While BJP got 12% and 3.5% seats at the Panchayat Samity (PS) and Zilla Parishad (ZP) level respectively, the Left Front got 2% and less than 1% at the PS and ZP levels. The Congress, too, has nearly been decimated at PS and ZP level.last_img read more