In brief: U.S. Air Force crew killed in copter crash in England
London – A U.S. Air Force Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in the coastal marshes of eastern England during a training mission on Tuesday night, killing all four crew members aboard, officials said.
The helicopter crashed at about 6 p.m. local time near Salthouse on the Norfolk coast, a statement from the U.S. Air Force said. The aircraft was based at the nearby Royal Air Force station in Lakenheath, Suffolk County.
The helicopter was flying low at the time of the crash, the statement added. It was not immediately known what caused the accident.
Pave Hawks – a modified version of the better-known Black Hawks – are mostly used for combat search and rescue missions, mainly to recover downed air crew members or other personnel during war and other hostile situations.
Pave Hawks have been deployed in numerous missions, including to Japan in the wake of the tsunami in 2011 and to the southern U.S. after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. They also support military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
Research ship, rescuer break free in Antarctic
Beijing – A Russian research ship at the center of an Antarctic rescue drama has broken free from heavy pack ice two weeks after it became trapped, officials confirmed today, hours after a Chinese icebreaker that became trapped while trying to help the Akademik Shokalskiy also freed itself and was heading for open waters.
The Akademik Shokalskiy had been trapped in ice-clogged Commonwealth Bay since Christmas Eve, while the Chinese ship that came to its rescue, Xue Long, or Snow Dragon in Chinese, reported last week it too was stuck.
But the Snow Dragon was able to use its helicopter to retrieve 52 scientists, journalists and tourists from the Russian ship. They are now on their way home aboard an Australian icebreaker.
The Chinese official Xinhua News Agency reported from the Snow Dragon, with 101 crew aboard, on Tuesday that it successfully escaped after making a 100-degree turn and pushing away the ice and opening up a channel of water.
Russia’s state news agency ITAR-Tass reported that the Akademik Shokalskiy, with its 22 crew who had stayed on board, was making its way out of the dense ice on its own.
Train carrying oil, propane derails in New Brunswick
Plaster Rock, New Brunswick – A freight train carrying crude oil and propane derailed and caught fire in a sparsely populated region of New Brunswick late Tuesday, leading to the evacuation of about two dozen nearby homes, authorities said.
Sharon DeWitt, emergency measures coordinator for the nearby community of Plaster Rock, said it was unclear how big the fire is or whether anyone was hurt.
“To the best of our knowledge, only a few cars are involved and we are not exactly sure what those cars are carrying,” she said. “We have evacuated homes in the immediate area.”
A spokeswoman for Ambulance New Brunswick said no casualties were transported from the site.