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Phuket Gazette World News: Texas tornado kills six; Nepal passenger plane crash – all survive; Mayan pyramid bulldozed

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Phuket Gazette World News: Texas tornado kills six; Nepal passenger plane crash – all survive; Mayan pyramid bulldozed | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Monster Texas tornado kills six, seven people missing
Reuters/ Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Six people were dead and seven missing after a powerful tornado ripped through a neighbourhood that included housing for the poor in the north Texas town of Granbury, marking the deadliest severe storm outbreak in the United States so far this year.

Authorities were assessing damage and searching through rubble yesterday afternoon, hoping to find survivors among the twisted metal and splintered wood of flattened homes.

“This tornado was a monster,” said Hood County Commissioner Steve Berry. “It’s just devastating.”

The tornado, which brought winds of 166-200 miles per hour, was rated an EF4 by the National Weather Service (NWS), the second-most powerful level for such a storm, said NWS meteorologist Mark Wiley.

EF4 tornadoes are rare and can blow away a well constructed wood or brick home, according to weather service ratings.

Granbury, a town of 8,000 people about 35 miles (56 km) southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth, took the hardest hit.

Officials counted six dead in Hood County, where Granbury is located, said county spokesman, Tye Bell. Another seven were missing and at least 45 people were injured, with most of the victims coming from the Rancho Brazos subdivision of approximately 110 mostly single-family homes.

Passenger plane crashes in northwest Nepal, injuring 9
Phuket Gazette


PHUKET: A small passenger plane crashed in a river in northwestern Nepal early yesterday morning, but all 21 people on board miraculously survived the accident, officials said. Nine of the survivors were said to be injured, some of them seriously.

The Nepal Airlines plane, a Twin-Otter aircraft, had taken off from Nepal’s second largest city of Pokhara. It was carrying a total of 21 people on board, including three crew members, and was heading for the airport in Jomsom, a town in the Mustang District of the country’s Dhawalagiri Zone.

The accident happened when the aircraft was attempting to land but skidded off the runway, causing it to crash into the banks of the Kaligandaki River.

A local official said five people were in a critical condition, including the pilot who was identified as Captain D Pradhan.

The nationalities of those injured were not immediately known, but eight of those on board were said to be Japanese citizens, with the others on board being from Nepal. Their destination was not immediately known, but Jomsom’s popular pilgrimage site Muktinath is commonly visited by Hindus and Buddhists.

Aviation accidents occur regularly in Nepal. All nineteen people on board a twin-engine Dornier aircraft, operated by Sita Air, were killed in September 2012 when the plane crashed shortly after taking off in Kathmandu, the Nepali capital. Among those killed were seven British nationals, five Chinese nationals and seven local citizens.
Belize gov’t calls for investigation into destruction of Mayan pyramid
Reuters/ Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The government of Belize has ordered a thorough investigation into the destruction of an ancient Mayan pyramid that was over 2,000 years old.

The Noh Mul pyramid, located in the San Jose/San Pablo Village in the Orange Walk District of Northern Belize, was bulldozed and turned into rubble by DeMar’s Stone Company, a construction company owned by Denny Grijalva.

Belize’s Ministry of Tourism & Culture called for the prosecution of those responsible for the destruction of the ancient site, describing the incident as ‘ignorant and unforgivable.’

In a statement, the ministry expressed “outrage on the destruction of the Noh Mul Mayan Archaeological Site. This total disregard for Belize’s cultural heritage and national patrimony is callous, ignorant and unforgivable. This expressed disdain for our laws and policies is incomprehensible.”

However, the Belize Tourism Industry Association claimed that local government officials such as the Ministry of Works have been complicit in a number of ancient sites in the area in order to produce road fill.

Belize’s deputy prime minister, Gaspar Vega, meanwhile, ’emphatically’ repudiated the allegations of being involved in any way of the destruction of the Noh Mul. Vega also called for a full investigation of the incident.

Noh Mul, which means ‘Great Mound,’ is approximately 2,300 years old and was standing approximately 20 meters (65 feet) tall.

— Phuket Gazette Editors



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People have short memories. Why the Boeing 737 MAX will survive the current crisis.

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People have short memories. Why the Boeing 737 MAX will survive the current crisis. | The Thaiger

If history is anything to go on people’s current fears about the Boeing 737 MAX jets will be short-lived.

The make0ver of the venerable 737 plane, the most popular passenger jet in history, was supposed to set Boeing on a path to success. Airlines said it was the plane they wanted – perfect for short-haul, cheap to run, new efficient engines.

Boeing didn’t go down the path of coming up with a new single-aisle jet to compete with the new Airbus 320 Neo series, instead they decided to come up with a revised 737. The revised plane has slightly larger and more powerful engines, is a little higher off the ground, features some new hi-tech construction materials making it lighter, upgraded avionics and, importantly, new software that was meant to make it even safer.

You can identify a 737 MAX because of the two-spoke winglets at the end of the wings.

Now two of the new series 737 MAX have crashed within six months with investigators speaking about ‘similarities’ in the early days of the crash investigation.

Travel site Kayak even added an option to screen out flights using the 737 Max jets.

If panic persisted, the media kept writing stories about it and airlines were unwilling to buy it, the future of Boeing would be in jeopardy.

That’s the current situation. But it also reflects a similar time during a four-month period in late 1965 and early 1966 when four new Boeing 727 jets crashed. Three of the crashes occurred while the planes were attempting to land at US airports. Two of them happened within three days of each other in November 1965. The 727 was the first commercial jet to fly with less than four jet engines.

Like the 737 MAX crashes, the US regulator, the FAA, defended the planes’ safety and refused to ground the 727s at the time. It issued a statement the day after the third fatal 727 crash, saying that it could find no pattern in the crashes. It declined to ground the jet.

At the time Boeing was still riding on its reputation built around the Boeing 707 jet, the first successful commercial passenger jet (the British Comet was the first commercial passenger jet in 1952 but had a series of catastrophic crashes from which it never recovered profitable sales).

Eventually the Civil Aeronautics Board, which was created in the wake of the crashes, cleared the 727 and blamed pilot error for the accidents. Pilots were not prepared to fly the 727, and that led to the crashes. The new wings of the revolutionary (for the time) 727 made the plane descend much faster than was possible in the past, giving pilots the chance to slow the planes down faster and land on much shorter runways than the jets of the time, a big selling point.

But the pilots at the controls of the four doomed jets in the 60s were apparently unprepared for how quickly the planes would descend with the new wings.

But Boeing did get past the 727 crisis. Increased training led to safer operation of the plane, and these kinds of crashes ended. Customers soon forgot.

The 727 went on to become the bestselling jet of its time for Boeing. It eventually sold 1,831 of the jets, a lot when flying in jets was still mostly reserved for the ‘jet set’ and people able to afford the expensive ticket prices of the time.

“I don’t know that people will care that much for very long,” says Shem Malmquist, a Boeing 727 and 777 Captain.

“They only worry about the price of the ticket.”

People have short memories. Why the Boeing 737 MAX will survive the current crisis. | News by The Thaiger

The Boeing 727 suffered four high-profile crashes in the mid 60s and went on to become a flying favourite.

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Preliminary data suggests ‘similarities’ to Lion Air incident – Ethiopian Airlines crash

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Preliminary data suggests ‘similarities’ to Lion Air incident – Ethiopian Airlines crash | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The ‘black box’ data recorder arrived in Paris last week

Preliminary data analysis from the black boxes of last week’s Ethiopian Airlines plane crash has revealed “similarities” to last October’s Lion Air incident.

Ethiopian Minister of Transport, Dagmawit Moges, says that investigators recovered all relevant data from the data recorders on board the fateful final flight of the Boeing 737 MAX jet.

He did not provide additional details about the alleged “similarities” between the two crashes saying they were “subject to additional investigation. The black box recorders are being evaluated in France after the Ethiopian aviation authorities said they didn’t have the facilities to analyze the data. The recovered recorders were sent to Paris last Thursday.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed on March 10, just six minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board. It mimics characteristics of the other Boeing 737 MAX crash six months ago in Jakarta where the pilot and crew reported problems with the flight controls before plummeting to the ground (or the sea in the case of the Jakarta crash).

Similarities between the two incidents, both of which remain under investigation, led aviation authorities around the world to ban the 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 model aircraft.

Investigators suspect the Lion Air crash may have been caused by a combination of software, pilot education of new flight systems (introduced by Boeing), and a faulty angle-of-attack sensor on the outside of the plane that could have transmitted incorrect data.

Boeing’s new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, special software designed for the new MAX model jets, may have been responsible for forcing the plane’s nose down, over0riding the pilot’s corrections.

The Boeing Chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg issued a statement saying the company “continues to support the investigation, and is working with the authorities to evaluate new information as it becomes available.”

He added the company is “finalising its development of a previously announced software update that will address the MCAS flight control law’s behavior in response to erroneous sensor inputs.

Boeing may apply for special permits to flight-test modifications of newly assembled 737 MAX aircraft in U.S. airspace during the worldwide commercial-flight ban of all 737 MAX-family jets.

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Accused Australian killer appears in Christchurch court charged with murder

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Accused Australian killer appears in Christchurch court charged with murder | The Thaiger

A 28 year old Australian man smirked as he walked into the Christchurch District Court in New Zealand’s South Island this morning, charged with murder after a carefully planned mass shooting at lunchtime prayers at two mosques.

The public was banned from the courtroom for the proceedings, but an angry crowd waited outside the court building.

Brenton Tarrant was brought to court by armed prison officers into the heavily secured central city courtroom, packed with local and international journalists.

According to reporters, the man kept turning towards the media and ‘smiling’. They report the man was ‘eerily calm’ during his appearance.

He has initially appeared on one charge of murder but is expected to face further charges. In New Zealand a murder charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Press from all over the world gathered in the courtroom, but the general public was banned.

Meanwhile, 18 year old Daniel John Burrough of Christchurch has been charged with intent to excite hostility or ill will against any group of persons on the ground of the colour, race or ethnic or national origins.

The alleged mass slaughter of Muslim worshippers at Friday prayers at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques, in central Christchurch, left 49 dead and more than 20 injured.

41 people died at Al Noor Mosque, seven at the Linwood Mosque and another died after being rushed to hospital.

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