Atop Manhattan skyscraper, investigators probe deadly helicopter crash

FILE PHOTO: A view of 787 7th Avenue in midtown Manhattan where a helicopter was reported to have crashed in New York City, New York, U.S., June 10, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were sifting through the wreckage of a helicopter atop a Manhattan skyscraper on Tuesday as they sought to determine why the aircraft crashed on the roof a day earlier, killing the pilot.

Tim McCormack, the pilot, was the only person aboard when he crashed onto the roof of 787 Seventh Avenue with enough force to jolt workers at the finance and law firms inside the 50-floor tower in midtown Manhattan.

Emergency vehicles are seen outside 787 7th Avenue in midtown Manhattan where a helicopter crashed in New York City, New York, U.S., June 10, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Emergency vehicles are seen outside 787 7th Avenue in midtown Manhattan where a helicopter crashed in New York City, New York, U.S., June 10, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Police and other officials believe it was an accident, but have yet to say why McCormack was flying over one of the country’s densest urban districts through rain and low clouds on Monday afternoon.

The crash stirred memories of the Sept. 11 attacks and sparked renewed calls for tightening restrictions for New York City’s airspace. U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney, who represents parts of Manhattan, said she wanted all “nonessential” flights banned.

McCormack was an experienced pilot who had taken off from a heliport on Manhattan’s east side to head to Linden Airport in New Jersey, according to Paul Dudley, the airport’s director.

He would have needed clearance from the air traffic control tower at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport to fly over that part of Manhattan, but it was unclear if that happened, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters on Monday.

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, the state agency that manages the airport, did not respond to questions about the incident on Tuesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration said on Monday that controllers “did not handle” the flight, but it remained unclear whether there was any communication at all between the helicopter and air traffic authorities.

A spokesman for the NTSB, a federal agency that determines the causes of major transportation accidents, did not respond to questions on Tuesday about the status of the investigation.

The crash site is less than a half mile (0.8 km) from Trump Tower, where U.S. President Donald Trump maintains an apartment. The area has been under extra-tight flight restrictions since Trump’s election in 2016.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Berkrot)

No sign of arson in Notre-Dame blaze as nation grieves for symbol

By Richard Lough and Elizabeth Pineau

PARIS (Reuters) – The fire that tore through Notre-Dame cathedral was probably caused by accident, French prosecutors said on Tuesday after firefighters doused the last flames in the ruins overnight and the nation grieved for the destruction of one of its symbols.

Smoke billows as fire engulfs the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Smoke billows as fire engulfs the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

More than 400 firemen were needed to tame the inferno that consumed the roof and collapsed the spire of the eight-centuries-old cathedral. They worked through the night to extinguish the fire some 14 hours after it began.

Paris public prosecutor Remy Heitz said there was no obvious indication the fire was arson. Fifty people were working on what would be a long and complex investigation. One firefighter was injured but no one else was hurt in the blaze which began after the building was closed to the public for the evening.

Firefighters work at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 16, 2019. A massive fire consumed the cathedral on Monday, gutting its roof and stunning France and the world. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Firefighters work at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 16, 2019. A massive fire consumed the cathedral on Monday, gutting its roof and stunning France and the world. REUTERS/Yves Herman

From the outside, the imposing bell towers and outer walls, with their vast flying buttresses, still stood firm, but the insides and the upper structure were eviscerated by the blaze.

Firefighters examined the gothic facade and could be seen walking atop the belfries as police kept the area in lockdown.

Investigators will not be able to enter the cathedral’s blackened nave until experts are satisfied its stone walls withstood the heat and the building is structurally sound.

The fire swiftly ripped through the cathedral’s timbered roof supports, where workmen had been carrying out extensive renovations to the spire’s wooden frame.

The Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation into “involuntary destruction by fire”. Police on Tuesday began questioning the workers involved in the restoration, the prosecutor’s office said.

View of Notre-Dame Cathedral after a fire devastated large parts of the gothic gem in Paris, France April 16, 2019. A massive fire consumed the cathedral on Monday, gutting its roof and stunning France and the world. REUTERS/Yves Herman

View of Notre-Dame Cathedral after a fire devastated large parts of the gothic gem in Paris, France April 16, 2019. A massive fire consumed the cathedral on Monday, gutting its roof and stunning France and the world. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Hundreds of stunned onlookers had lined the banks of the Seine river late into the night as the fire raged, reciting prayers and singing liturgical music in harmony as they stood in vigil.

“Yesterday we thought the whole cathedral would collapse. Yet this morning she is still standing, valiant, despite everything. It is a sign of hope,” said Sister Marie Aimee, a nun who had hurried to a nearby church to pray as the fire spread.

It was at Notre-Dame that Napoleon was made emperor in 1804, Pope Pius X beatified Joan of Arc in 1909 and former presidents Charles de Gaulle and Francois Mitterrand were mourned.

Messages of condolence flooded in from around the world.

Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, was praying for those affected, the Vatican said, adding: “Notre-Dame will always remain – and we have seen this in these hours – a place where believers and non-believers can come together in the most dramatic moments of French history.”

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth expressed deep sadness while her son and heir Prince Charles said he was “utterly heartbroken”.

View of Notre-Dame Cathedral after a fire devastated large parts of the gothic gem in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. A massive fire consumed the cathedral on Monday, gutting its roof and stunning France and the world. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

View of Notre-Dame Cathedral after a fire devastated large parts of the gothic gem in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. A massive fire consumed the cathedral on Monday, gutting its roof and stunning France and the world. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

VOW TO REBUILD

President Emmanuel Macron promised to rebuild Notre-Dame, considered among the finest examples of European Gothic architecture, visited by more than 13 million people a year.

Notre-Dame is owned by the state. It has been at the center of a years-long row between the nation and the Paris archdiocese over who should finance badly needed restoration work to collapsed balustrades, crumbling gargoyles and cracked facades.

It was too early to estimate the cost of the damage, said the heritage charity Fondation du Patrimoine, but it is likely to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The rival billionaire owners of France’s two biggest luxury fashion empires, Francois-Henri Pinault of Kering and Bernard Arnault of LVMH, pledged 100 million euros and 200 million euros to the restoration respectively. Oil company Total pledged 100 million. The city of Paris said it would provide 50 million.

Paolo Violini, a restoration specialist for Vatican museums, said the pace at which the fire spread through the cathedral had been stunning.

“We are used to thinking about them as eternal simply because they have been there for centuries, or a thousand years, but the reality is they are very fragile,” Violini said.

HUMAN CHAIN

The company carrying out the renovation works when the blaze broke out said it would cooperate fully with the investigation.

“All I can tell you is that at the moment the fire began none of my employees were on the site. We respected all procedures,” Julien Le Bras, a representative of family firm Le Bras Freres.

Officials breathed a sigh of relief that many relics and artworks had been saved. At one point, firefighters, policemen, and municipal workers formed a human chain to remove the treasures, including a centuries-old crown of thorns made from reeds and gold, and the tunic believed to have been worn by Saint Louis, the 13th-century king of France.

“Notre-Dame was our sister, it is so sad, we are all mourning,” said Parisian Olivier Lebib. “I have lived with her for 40 years. Thank God that the stone structure has withstood the fire.”

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Inti Landauro, Richard Lough, Sarah White, Emmanuel Jarry and Luke Baker in Paris; Additional reporting by Philip Pullela; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Leigh Thomas, Raissa Kasolowsky and Peter Graff)

Families of Missouri ‘duck boat’ sinking victims sue tour company

Rescue personnel work after an amphibious "duck boat" capsized and sank, at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Stone County, Missouri, U.S. July 19, 2018 in this still image obtained from a video on social media. SOUTHERN STONE COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT/Facebook/via REUTERS

By Diana Kruzman

(Reuters) – The families of four of the 17 people killed when a World War Two-style tourist “duck boat” sank on a Missouri lake during a storm this month have sued the tour operator, saying it recklessly allowed the vessel out in dangerous weather.

On Sunday, relatives of Ervin Coleman, 76, and 2-year-old Maxwell Ly, his great-nephew, both of Indianapolis, sued tour operator Ripley Entertainment Inc, which operates under the name Ride the Ducks, and vessel manufacturer Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing LLC, a Ripley unit, alleging they “recklessly risked the lives of its passengers for purely financial reasons.”

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Kansas City, Missouri, seeks $100 million in damages.

A separate lawsuit filed on Monday in Taney County, Missouri, on behalf of the children of William and Janice Bright names Ripley Entertainment, Ride the Ducks and the two operators of the boat, and seeks at least $25,000 in damages.

Ripley Entertainment declined comment on the lawsuits, but said it was “deeply saddened” by the incident.

There were 31 passengers aboard the duck boat on Table Rock Lake, outside Branson, Missouri, on July 19 when hurricane-strength winds churned up the water and sank the craft, causing one of the deadliest U.S. tourist tragedies in recent years.

The boats, modeled on the amphibious landing craft used in the D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944, have a checkered history involving more than three dozen fatalities on water and land, including the Branson sinking, according to the complaint.

“This tragedy was the predictable and predicted result of decades of unacceptable, greed-driven, and willful ignorance of safety by the Duck Boat industry in the face of specific and repeated warnings that their Duck Boats are death traps for passengers,” the federal complaint said.

Robert Mongeluzzi, an attorney for the families of Coleman and Ly, told a news conference on Monday: “The quest for justice includes doing everything within our power to ban duck boats once and for all,” according to a statement.

Mongeluzzi represented the families of two people killed when a duck boat crashed into a barge and sank in Philadelphia in 2010, resulting in a $17 million settlement.

The federal suit alleges that Ride the Ducks endangered passengers by letting the boat out on the water after the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area, and that passengers were not told to put on life jackets. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the accident.

A duck boat sank in Arkansas in 1999, killing 13 people and prompting the NTSB to recommend changes to duck boats’ design to make them less prone to capsizing. The federal lawsuit alleges that Ride the Ducks ignored those warnings because of cost.

(Reporting by Diana Kruzman in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney)

Seventeen dead after Missouri tourist boat sinks in storm

By Brendan O’Brien and Andrew Hay

(Reuters) – Divers on Friday pulled the last four bodies from the wreckage of a “duck boat” that sank in a storm in a Missouri lake, killing 17 people in one of the deadliest U.S. tourist incidents in recent years.

The World War Two-style amphibious vehicle was filled with 31 passengers including children when a microburst storm hit Table Rock Lake outside the tourist city of Branson, Missouri, on Thursday. A video of the incident showed it battered by waves.

Wendy Doucey, an office manager at the Stone County sheriff’s office, said that divers had recovered the four bodies from the sunken duck boat. The vehicle was 80 feet (24 m) underwater.

“It’s important that we find out for sure what events did occur,” Governor Michael Parson said at a Friday morning news conference. “Today it’s just still early.”

The incident began around 7 p.m. (0000 GMT) on Thursday after thunderstorms rolled through the area when two duck boats were out on the lake, officials said. Both headed back to shore but only one made it.

“From what I understand there were life jackets in the duck,” Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader told the press conference. He declined to answer questions about whether passengers on the duck had been wearing them at the time.

The National Transportation Safety Board and U.S. Coast Guard are investigating, officials said. Rader noted that the boat’s captain survived the sinking but the driver did not.

Officials did not comment on the identities or ages of the other people who drowned.

Rescue personnel are seen after an amphibious "duck boat" capsized and sank, at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Stone County, Missouri, U.S. July 19, 2018 in this still image obtained from a video on social media. SOUTHERN STONE COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT/Facebook/via REUTERS

Rescue personnel are seen after an amphibious “duck boat” capsized and sank, at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Stone County, Missouri, U.S. July 19, 2018 in this still image obtained from a video on social media. SOUTHERN STONE COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT/Facebook/via REUTERS

‘NOTHING YOU COULD DO’

Jennie Carr witnessed the last moments of the tourist duck boat while on a lake cruise aboard the Showboat Branson Belle.

“The one that sunk, it was having trouble. You could tell that it couldn’t go very fast. He kept sinking down in the water a little bit. The waves went over the top of it,” Carr told NBC’s “Today” show. “There wasn’t really nothing you could do.”

Carr could not be reached for further comment.

The company that owned the duck boat, Ripley Entertainment, said that it was working with families of the victims.

“Our number one priority is the families and our employees that were affected by this tragic accident,” spokeswoman Suzanne Smagala-Potts said Thursday.

Table Rock Lake is a 67-square-mile (174 sq km) reservoir containing water impounded by the Table Rock Dam on the White River.

Duck vehicles, used on sightseeing tours around the world, have been involved in a number of fatal accidents on land and in the water in the past two decades.

Thirteen people died in 1999 when the duck boat they were riding near Hot Springs, Arkansas, sank suddenly.

The company that builds ducks, Ride the Ducks International LLC, agreed in 2016 to pay a $1 million fine after one of the vehicles, which operate on land as well as water, collided with a bus in Seattle, killing five international students.

The company admitted to failing to comply with U.S. vehicle manufacturing rules.

Two tourists died in Philadelphia in 2010 when the duck boat they were riding in was struck by a tugboat in the Delaware River.

Branson, in southwestern Missouri, is a family-friendly tourist destination whose attractions include “Dolly Parton’s Stampede” dinner theater, the Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai and a Titanic museum with a model of the sunken vessel’s front half.

(Reporting by Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee, additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg and Gina Cherelus in New York and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas, Writing by Scott Malone; Editing Bernadette Baum and Steve Orlofsky)

Four Marine helicopter crew presumed dead after California crash

FILE PHOTO: A United States Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion Helicopter sits at North Island Naval Air Station Coronado, California, April 12, 2015. REUTERS/Louis Nastro/File Photo

(Reuters) – A U.S. Marine helicopter crashed during a training mission in southern California Tuesday afternoon and all four crew members are believed to have died, a Marine spokeswoman announced.

No details about the nature of the training mission were released other than it was routine and held in the desert in El Centro, Ca., about 100 miles east of San Diego.

The helicopter was a Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing based at the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, Ca., according to a statement from the Marines.

It is the largest and heaviest “heavy-lift” helicopter in the U.S. military.

The accident is under investigation and no other information was available.

The wreck is the deadliest Marine accident since a cargo plane crash in the Mississippi Delta that killed 16 Marines in July, 2017.

(Reporting by Rich McKay; editing by Jason Neely)

Self-driving Uber car kills Arizona woman crossing street

Traffic passes an intersection just north of the location where a woman pedestrian was struck and killed by an Uber self-driving sport utility vehicle in Tempe, Arizona, U.S., March 19, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Scuteri

By Sydney Maki and Alexandria Sage

TEMPE, Ariz./SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – An Uber self-driving car hit and killed a woman crossing the street in Arizona, police said on Monday, marking the first fatality involving an autonomous vehicle and a potential blow to the technology expected to transform transportation.

The ride services company said it was suspending North American tests of its self-driving vehicles, which are currently going on in Arizona, Pittsburgh and Toronto.

So-called robot cars, when fully developed by companies including Uber, Alphabet Inc and General Motors Co, are expected to drastically cut down on motor vehicle fatalities and create billion-dollar businesses. But Monday’s accident underscored the possible challenges ahead for the promising technology as the cars confront real-world situations involving real people.

U.S. lawmakers have been debating legislation that would speed introduction of self-driving cars.

“This tragic accident underscores why we need to be exceptionally cautious when testing and deploying autonomous vehicle technologies on public roads,” said Democratic Senator Edward Markey, a member of the transportation committee, in a statement.

Elaine Herzberg, 49, was walking her bicycle outside the crosswalk on a four-lane road in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe about 10 p.m. MST Sunday (0400 GMT Monday) when she was struck by the Uber vehicle traveling at about 40 miles per hour (65 km per hour), police said. The Volvo XC90 SUV was in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel.

Herzberg later died from her injuries in a hospital, police said.

“The pedestrian was outside of the crosswalk. As soon as she walked into the lane of traffic she was struck,” Tempe Police Sergeant Ronald Elcock told reporters at a news conference. He said he did not yet know how close Herzberg was to the vehicle when she stepped into the lane.

Elcock said he believed Herzberg may have been homeless.

The San Francisco Chronicle late Monday reported that Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir said that from viewing videos taken from the vehicle “it’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway.”

Moir told the Chronicle, “I suspect preliminarily it appears that the Uber would likely not be at fault in this accident,” but she did not rule out that charges could be filed against the operator in the Uber vehicle, the paper reported.

The “Tempe Police Department does not determine fault in vehicular collisions,” the department said in a statement late Monday, in reply to questions from Reuters about the chief’s comments. “Ultimately the investigation will be submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for review and any potential charges.”

Tempe authorities and federal officials are still investigating the incident. Canada’s transportation ministry in Ontario, where Uber conducts testing, also said it was reviewing the accident.

Volvo, the Swedish car brand owned by China’s Geely, said the software controlling the car in the crash was not its own.

Video footage will aid the ongoing investigation, and the case would be submitted to the district attorney, Elcock said.

“Our investigators have that information, and they will be using that in their investigation as well as the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office as part of their investigation,” said Elcock. “They are going to attempt to try to find who was possibly at fault and how we can better be safe, whether it’s pedestrians or whether it’s the vehicle itself.”

WILD WEST

Uber and Waymo on Friday urged Congress to pass sweeping legislation to speed the introduction of self-driving cars into the United States. Some congressional Democrats have blocked the legislation over safety concerns, and Monday’s fatality could hamper passage of the bill, congressional aides said Monday.

Safety advocates called for a national moratorium on all robot car testing on public roads.

“Arizona has been the wild west of robot car testing with virtually no regulations in place,” said Consumer Watchdog, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, in a statement. “That’s why Uber and Waymo test there. When there’s no sheriff in town, people get killed.”

Arizona has opened its arms to companies testing self-driving vehicles as a means to economic growth and jobs. Republican Governor Doug Ducey reached out to Uber in 2016 after California regulators cracked down on the company over its failure to obtain testing permits.

Self-driving cars being tested routinely get into fender-benders with other vehicles. Last week, a self-driving Uber crashed with another vehicle in Pittsburgh, local news reported. There were no injuries.

A year ago, Uber temporarily grounded its self-driving cars for a few days following a crash with another car in Tempe. The company has been the subject of a number of complaints about its autonomous vehicles, but the company has said the cars were being driven by a human driver at the time of the incidents.

ESSENTIAL TO UBER’S SUCCESS

Uber has said its ability to build autonomous cars is essential to its success in the rapidly changing transportation industry. The company envisions a network of autonomous cars that would be summoned through the Uber app that would supplement – and eventually replace – human-driven cars.

Uber has logged 2 million self-driving miles (3.2 million km) through December. The company has more than 100 autonomous cars testing on the roads of the greater Phoenix area, the company’s prime testing ground due to the state’s loose regulations and hospitable weather. Rain, snow and ice are particularly challenging for autonomous cars. The company also tests in Pittsburgh and Toronto.

Concerns over the safety of autonomous vehicles flared after a July 2016 fatality involving a Tesla Inc automobile with a partially autonomous system that required human supervision. Safety regulators later determined Tesla was not at fault.

(Reporting by Sydney Maki and Alexandria Sage; Additional reporting by Dave Shepardson in Washington, Tina Bellon in New York, Heather Somerville in San Francisco, David Schwartz and Andres Guerra Luz in Phoenix, and Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Shumaker)

Bus carrying students crashes in Alabama, killing at least one

Emergency service vehicles gather on Interstate 10 at the scene of a bus crash in Baldwin County, Alabama, U.S., March 13, 2018 in this still image obtained from social media video. Jesus Tejeda via REUTERS

(Reuters) – A bus carrying dozens of Texas high school students on a trip veered across the median separating two lanes of an interstate highway in Alabama and plunged into a ravine, killing at least one person and injuring several others, authorities said.

The bus was taking about 45 passengers back home to Houston from Florida when it plunged into a 50-foot (15-meter) ravine at about 5:30 a.m. CDT (6.30 a.m ET), Baldwin County, Alabama, Sheriff Hoss Mack told reporters at the scene.

“For whatever reason, the charter bus got into the median and ended up going into a ravine,” Mack said near the scene of the accident on Interstate 10 between Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.

“We have one confirmed fatality,” he said.

The injured passengers, including one listed in critical condition and five in serious condition, were taken by helicopter or ambulance to 10 hospitals in Alabama and Florida, Mack said.

The students were from Channelview High School in the Houston area, local media reported. School officials could not be reached for immediate comment.

Rescue workers attend to the scene of a bus crash in Baldwin County, Alabama, U.S., March 13, 2018 in this still image obtained from social media video. Jesus Tejeda via REUTERS

Rescue workers attend to the scene of a bus crash in Baldwin County, Alabama, U.S., March 13, 2018 in this still image obtained from social media video. Jesus Tejeda via REUTERS

Dozens of people posted messages of grief and sympathy on the school’s Facebook page, saying they were praying for the students.

Officials said the bus was one of two Houston-bound charters traveling together and that no other vehicles were involved in the pre-dawn crash.

They said the accident’s cause would be investigated by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

The National Transportation Safety Board also said it was sending a team of six investigators to look into the crash.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis)

Greece says won’t tolerate border challenges after Turkish collision

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras meets with European Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici (not pictured) at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece Feruary 8, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Ba

By George Georgiopoulos and Renee Maltezou

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece will not tolerate any challenges to its territorial integrity, its prime minister said on Thursday, days after Turkish and Greek coastguard vessels collided close to disputed islets in the Aegean Sea.

Each side blamed the other for Monday’s collision off an islet known as Imia in Greek and Kardak in Turkish. They came to the brink of war in 1996 in a sovereignty dispute over the islets.

Seeking international support, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras underlined that Greece’s border was also that of the 28-nation European Union, and his foreign minister briefed the head of NATO and the U.S. military chief on Turkey’s “provocative behavior”.

“Our message, now, tomorrow and always, is clear … Greece will not allow, accept or tolerate any challenge to its territorial integrity and its sovereign rights,” Tsipras told an audience at the shipping ministry.

“Greece is not a country which plays games.”

Tsipras told coastguard officers: “Challenges and aggressive rhetoric against the sovereign rights of an EU member state are against the EU in its entirety.”

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry denied the Turkish vessel was at fault. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told Tsipras in a phone call on Tuesday that Greece needed to take necessary measures to decrease the tension in the Aegean Sea, a source from Yildirim’s office said.

Turkey and Greece, NATO allies, have long been at odds over issues from ethnically split Cyprus to airspace and overflight rights  and relations have worsened since Greece blocked the extradition of eight Turkish soldiers that Ankara accuses of involvement in 2016’s failed coup.

In Brussels, Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said he had briefed U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

“I had the opportunity to show them material of proof that dismisses Turkish claims that (the incident at Imia) was an accident,” Kammenos said in a statement.

“Turkey is provoking and violating Greek and EU waters, it proceeds with acts that violate any notion of maritime law and is coming close to (causing) an ‘accident’ in the Aegean. It has full responsibility.”

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou and George Georgiopoulos; Writing by Michele Kambas; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

One dead, seven hurt after thrown from ride at Ohio fair

A ride called Fireball malfunctioned causing numerous injuries at the Ohio State Fair in Colombus, Ohio, U.S. July 26, 2017. Bruce Lamm/@OntheLamm/Social Media Website/via REUTERS

(Reuters) – One person was killed and seven injured, three critically, at the Ohio State Fair on Wednesday when they were flung into the air after their seats snapped off a ride that hoists and spins people, police officials said.

The accident at the fair, which opened on Wednesday in Columbus, occurred when a section of open-air seating snapped off the “Fire Ball” ride, they said.

“It’s a very tough day and a very tough night for the people of our state,” Ohio Governor John Kasich told a news conference, describing the incident as a tragedy.

He said all fair rides had been shut for inspection.

None of the victims have been identified.

The seats on the Fire Ball are in a circular configuration at the end of an arm that swings riders in a pendulum motion as they are being spun.

It can hoist riders up to 40 feet (12 meters) in the air and spins them at 13 revolutions per minute, according to Amusements of America, an operator of amusement park rides.

The person killed was an 18-year-old man, fire officials told Ohio media.

The man who died was thrown into the air and landed about 50 feet (15 meters) from the ride, the Columbus Dispatch reported a fire official as saying.

All those injured were taken to area hospitals, officials said.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lisa Shumaker)

Tour bus bursts into flames after collision in Germany; 18 killed

Helicopters at the site where a coach burst into flames after colliding with a lorry on a motorway near Muenchberg, Germany

BERLIN (Reuters) – Eighteen people were killed when a tour bus burst into flames after colliding with a truck on a motorway in the German state of Bavaria on Monday, police said.

Thirty people were injured, some seriously, in the crash, which occurred shortly after 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) near the town of Stammbach, around 90 km (56 miles) northeast of Nuremberg, police said. The cause was unclear.

“It’s clear now that all 18 of the missing people on the bus died in the accident,” police said on Twitter.

Forty-eight people were on the bus. They were between 41 and 81 years old and most were from the eastern state of Saxony, police said.

The identities of some passengers had yet to be established, but police do not think foreigners were among the passengers, spokeswoman Irene Brandenstein said. The truck driver was not injured, she added.

Speaking at the scene of the crash, Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said two people were in a critical condition.

“The heat’s development must have been intense, because there is nothing flammable left on the bus. Only steel parts are recognizable, so you can understand what that meant for the people in this bus,” he said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel described the crash as “terrible” and said: “Our thoughts are with the victims’ relatives and we wish all of the injured a quick recovery, from the bottom of our hearts.”

 

(Reporting by Michelle Martin; additional reporting by Reuters Television; Editing by Larry King)