April 3, 2008 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: Pilot was putting lock on gun

The Spokesman-Review
 

The pilot of a US Airways flight headed to Charlotte, N.C., was putting a lock on his gun when it discharged in the cockpit, a congressman who was briefed by federal security officials said Wednesday.

Rep. John Mica, of Florida, the ranking Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said he remained convinced after a briefing from the Transportation Security Administration that the March 22 midair discharge of the weapon was a one-time incident and didn’t indicate problems with the armed pilot program.

A Charlotte airport police report said that the weapon discharged when the pilot was stowing it as the plane was descending into Charlotte from Denver. No one was injured, and the plane landed safely, though the bullet passed through the cockpit’s wall and exited the plane’s fuselage.

Troy, Mich.

Senator’s husband linked to prostitute

The husband of U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow told authorities that he used the Internet to arrange a $150 sexual tryst with a prostitute at a metropolitan Detroit hotel, police said Wednesday.

Thomas Athans, 46, co-founder of the liberal TalkUSA Radio network, was stopped by police who were investigating prostitution at the hotel, according to a police report obtained by the Associated Press.

Athans, in a statement issued by his attorney, apologized and said he “fully cooperated with law enforcement. My family and I are dealing with this matter in a personal and private way.”

Troy police had set up a stakeout at the Residence Inn after learning of suspected prostitution at a room there, the police report said. Officers said they saw Athans enter the room Feb. 26 and leave 15 minutes later.

They stopped Athans’ car and informed him they were investigating prostitution. He told the officers he had used the Internet to make a date with a prostitute and paid her $150 for oral sex at the motel, the report said.

Police did not bring any sex charges against Athans but later mailed him a ticket for driving with a suspended license.

North Little Rock, Ark.

Three workers lost in collapse

Three construction workers were presumed dead Wednesday after the scaffolding they were on along a highway bridge collapsed and fell 100 feet into the swollen Arkansas River, authorities said.

The men were working on installing 30-inch-diameter waterlines under and across the Interstate 430 bridge when their work platform collapsed, officials said.

The rescue operation turned into a recovery effort when there was no sign of the men for more than an hour after their fall, Little Rock Fire Capt. Jason Weaver said.

Divers could not enter the water because the current was too swift.


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