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Freaky Friday news: Condiment heist, bungee nightmare

Fri., July 22, 2011, 1:04 p.m.

Unusual news nuggets from around the globe:

Man afraid of heights gets stuck on bungee ride

DALLAS — A suburban Dallas woman’s well-meaning attempt to help her future husband overcome his fear of heights went horribly wrong when a bungee ride they were in got stuck 50 feet off the ground for three hours because cables got tangled. Irving residents William Mancera and Thalia Rodriguez were not injured during their ordeal. Dallas firefighters eventually used an aerial ladder truck to help get the couple safely to the ground. Mancera tells KXAS-TV that his fear of heights “won again” and he is “never riding anything of that sort ever again.” But he also says the ordeal has brought him and his fiancée closer together. They plan to marry in February. The ride remains closed as the company that operates it investigates why the malfunction happened.

Thieves steal 21 tons of mustard and ketchup

STOCKERAU, Austria — Austrian police say thieves have made off with an unusual heist — 21 tons of mustard and ketchup. The loot was in a semitrailer parked in a lot over the weekend northwest of Vienna. Police say the truck driver showed up to deliver his cargo only to see the trailer missing. Police assume the thieves were more interested in the trailer than its contents. Authorities had no price tag for the stolen condiments but said the trailer was worth about 15,000 euros — more than $22,000.

Men suspected of hallucinating call 911 for help

SPRINGFIELD, Ga. — South Georgia authorities say two men became so high on drugs they began hallucinating and called 911 when they thought intruders had broken into a home. Effingham County sheriff’s spokesman David Ehsanipoor said the pair is suspected of using methamphetamine around the time they called 911 for help. Deputies responding around 4 a.m. to the home outside Savannah were told by the pair that people in a back bedroom had broken into the home, but no intruders were found. Ehsanipoor said deputies realized they were hallucinating. He said “they were so high they called 911 on themselves.” The Savannah Morning News reports the suspects, both of Bloomingdale, face several charges including manufacturing and possessing methamphetamine

Calif. motorcyclist lands in van back seat, unhurt

VICTORVILLE, Calif. — A motorcyclist who plowed into a minivan landed unscathed in the back seat, and the driver didn’t realize it until he turned into his nearby driveway, authorities said. “We’re calling this one a non-injury collision with a twist,” Karen Hunt, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County sheriff’s Victorville station, told the Victorville Daily Press. The van was slowing to make a left turn when the motorcycle rear-ended it. Callers reporting the accident told authorities: “We don’t know where the rider is,” and there was concern he might have slid under the van, Hunt said. In reality, the rider had flown through the van’s back window and landed in the backseat. The van driver continued to his home less than a half-block away, where he called out to his wife that he’d been rear-ended and needed to return to the accident scene. As he turned around to back out of the driveway, he saw the dazed biker.

Oahu report of severed hand turns out to be squid

HONOLULU — A report of a severed hand found at an Oahu seabird sanctuary has turned out to be dried squid. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that a woman contacted a state agency and reported seeing the hand at the Moku Auia Seabird Sanctuary, also known as Goat Island. She said she spotted the hand over the weekend and again Thursday. Honolulu police homicide detectives were called to the sanctuary to help with the case. Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said that the object was determined to be dried squid.

Memphis’ Peabody hotel seeks help with famed ducks

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Peabody hotel in Memphis is seeking an assistant “duckmaster” to help care for its five famed mallards. The assistant would help head Duckmaster Jason Sensat feed and care for the ducks. The new hire also would guide the four hens and one drake on their two daily walks from their penthouse suite to the marble fountain in the hotel lobby. The walk, a tradition for 78 years, draws hundreds of spectators every day. The new hire would also be a concierge when not helping with the ducks.

Tenn. black bear saved from jar stuck on its head

NEWPORT, Tenn. — A black bear is back in the woods in Tennessee after getting help with a problem — a plastic jar stuck on its head. State wildlife officers looked for the bear for three weeks after reports he was caught in the jug. The Knoxville News Sentinel said the male bear was roaming around Newport, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. On July 17, wildlife officer Shelly Hammonds was checking another report of the bear when the animal ran in front of her vehicle. Hammonds fired a tranquillizer dart and the bear collapsed in downtown Newport. The bear weighed just 115 pounds, about half its expected weight. It was released into the Cherokee National Forest. Wildlife officials believe the bear got into the jar while foraging through garbage.

Jailed bride charged in Mich. with identity theft

JACKSON, Mich. — A woman arrested on her wedding day and jailed while wearing a white gown and veil has been arraigned on identity theft charges. The Jackson Citizen Patriot reports that 53-year-old Tammy Lee Hinton is accused of using or trying to use her son’s identification to get phone and utility service, and a credit card. Jackson District Court Magistrate Frederick Bishop ordered Hinton held on a $100,000 bond. The theft was reported in 2009 and a warrant was issued. Hinton told Bishop she didn’t “know any of those things.” Police say she’d been living in Florida. Hinton was arrested, jailed and released on bond

Step right up and dunk Anthony lookalike? No more

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Organizers at a Kentucky carnival have shut down a booth in which a Casey Anthony lookalike taunted fairgoers to dunk her. The Bluegrass Fair is sponsored by the Lexington Lions Club and the dunking booth had been promoted on social media. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Lions Club cited “growing public sentiment” in deciding to close the game. Some viewers of Anthony’s televised murder trial were outraged after the Florida woman was acquitted this month of killing her 2-year-old daughter. Fair Chairman Ron Mossotti said an event management company presented the idea of the dunking booth in which the lookalike sat on a platform labeled “innocent” and fairgoers aimed for a target labeled “guilty.” Mossotti said most people laughed though some found it tasteless and tacky.

Santas get physical at World Santa Claus Congress

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Olympics have pentathlons — and so does the World Santa Congress, sort of. Santas from all over the world lugged their overweight waistlines to this year’s 54th World Santa Claus Congress, throwing sacks of presents and firing canon balls in a new physical fitness contest. The five-discipline event is the latest addition to the three-day conference at the world’s oldest amusement park: Bakken, just outside the Danish capital of Copenhagen. Two teams of St. Nicks — one from Denmark and the other from the United States, Sweden, Russia, Germany and other countries — competed for the coveted trophy of Best Santa Team. The Danish Santas won. Aside from throwing presents, they also had to master a Christmas obstacle course, ride bumper cars and compete in a horse race game.

Bald eagle saved by Oregon vet’s mouth-to-beak CPR

BEND, Ore. — A veterinarian has performed life-saving CPR on an injured bald eagle that was under anesthesia during physical therapy. KTVZ-TV reports Jeff Cooney performed the therapy, during which the bald eagle nicknamed “Patriot” stopped breathing. Cooney’s “mouth to beak” resuscitation got the eagle breathing again. The injured eagle was found by two La Pine women near Crane Prairie Reservoir in June. The eagle had suffered, among other injuries, a dislocated shoulder and paralyzed right leg. Cooney says it’s uncertain whether he will be able to return the bird to the wild. If the bird’s foot doesn’t improve in the next three weeks, Cooney says he could be forced to euthanize him.

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