Pic of the Day

Click to enlargeMary Bove/Bloomsburg Press Enterprise

Espy, Pa. firefighter Scott Dawson kneels down with Finn, a chihuahua mix, after pulling him out of a house fire in Bloomsburg, Pa. on March 18. The dog was one of three saved from the burning home.


Tweets record time spent waiting to be found – locked in church


A British woman who accidentally became locked in a church was rescued thanks to posts she made on Twitter.

Sarah Greep, the jam maker behind Janner Jams, said she was inside the Minster Church of St. Andrew chapel in Plymouth, England, when someone shut the door and she discovered herself trapped inside…

“I just went into the small chapel at St. Andrew’s Church where I sometimes go, and didn’t think for one minute they were going to close the door,” Greep said. “It was nice and calm and the sun was shining through the stained glass windows.”

Greep said her plan was to wait and see if someone was going to unlock the church for services.

“I didn’t want to bother anyone but thought I would just send a few Tweets as it was a bit unusual,” she said. “The next thing I know [Council Leader] Tudor Evans is calling the police to help get me out!”

Police were able to locate the emergency key-holder of the church and Greep was released after two hours trapped inside the facility.

“It’s lucky it didn’t happen to someone more vulnerable and I’m glad I had my phone with me,” she said. “I could have called someone but I just went to Twitter to say what was happening to me.”

One of those instances where it helped to have built lots of followers.

I could be locked into a pub [I wouldn’t be found dead in a church] and no one would even notice my absence – regardless of how often I tweeted. Maybe that wouldn’t be too bad either.

Boat sinks – fisherman survives 26 hours floating in fish crate

Coast guard rescue swimmer, dropped from helicopter, readies Harris to be winched to safety

An Alaska fisherman survived for a day floating on frigid ocean waters in a plastic fish crate after his boat sank and said he kept up his spirits by singing.

Ryan Harris, 19, told the local newspaper in Sitka, Alaska, that he sang songs like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” to keep himself awake through the night as the fishing crate bobbed on the waves.

Harris told the Sitka Sentinel that he gave himself a “pep talk,” saying for hours on end: “I’m Ryan Hunter Harris and I’m not going to die here.”

Harris and his fishing partner, boat skipper Stonie Huffman, went into the water late on Friday when their 28-foot vessel sank off Sitka, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Huffman found a survival suit in the debris, donned it and was able to swim to shore before flagging down rescuers, the Coast Guard said.

But Harris spent an estimated 26 hours in the plastic fish tote before he was found by another fishing crew, the Coast Guard said. The fishing crew called for help, and a Coast Guard helicopter crew hoisted Harris to safety on Saturday.

He was in relatively good shape when spotted by the other fishing crew, despite his ordeal at sea, Coast Guard Petty Officer Grant DeVuyst told Reuters…

“He was active. He was waving his arms,” DeVuyst said. “He was conscious…”

He did exactly the right things, he kept his wits about him, he kept his mind and spirits pumped up, he worked at being optimistic about survival and rescue.

I just wish he knew a better range of songs.

600 Russians try for mass Darwin Award — and fail

Most were rescued by helicopter – some by rubber boats

More than 600 anglers stranded on an ice floe in the Russian far east have been rescued. The operation to airlift them off the ice involved 48 people, two helicopters and 11 ships, the emergencies ministry said.

The 675 fishing enthusiasts were carried out to sea when the floe, off the island of Sakhalin, broke free…The ice floe had drifted 500m away from the coast before running aground again.

One of the rescued anglers, Vladimir Vasilenko, said he had ventured on to the ice floe knowing that windy conditions might pose a risk.

“The wind was blowing from the shore, and it was clear that something might happen, but people were still going out, so we did too,” he said.

“It was the excitement, of course. We also heard on the radio that it would be the last chance for fishing on the ice. And so we rushed out to go fishing.”

Well, duh! Better luck next time.

Cowardly thief saw drowning man – stole his bicycle – rode off!

A coroner has condemned a “cowardly and callous” thief who saw a man drowning in a canal but – instead of stopping to help – stole his bicycle…

An inquest heard how Adam Lowther was cycling along a towpath by the Leeds-Liverpool canal on July 30 last year when he saw 51-year-old Michael Houghton, lying face-down in shallow water. Seeing the retired businessman’s mountain bike beside the water, he decided to swap it for his own, which he claimed had a puncture, Leeds Coroner’s Court heard.

Even though he could see Mr Houghton lying in the water, he hid his own bicycle in some bushes nearby, and rode Mr Houghton’s home. He then searched on the internet to find out how much the £150 bicycle was worth but pawned it for just £20…

About 10 minutes after Lowther left the scene, James Atkinson, a cyclist, and William Bentall, a jogger, pulled Mr Houghton out of the water, raised the alarm and administered first aid until paramedics arrived.

He airlifted to hospital but died three days later.

The inquest heard that Mr Houghton, a father of three, had taken early retirement from his successful business and banking career two years earlier to care for his disabled wife. He was on a regular cycle ride from his home in Horsforth, West Yorks, into Leeds, when he is thought to have come off his bicycle and fallen into the water…

Lowther claimed that he did nothing to help because he assumed Mr Houghton was already dead…“I had nothing to hide … all I did was take the bike.”

He added: “I’m not a thief, I found a push bike, I didn’t see the body in the water until I had got on the bike…”

What a scumball! He’s already done a few months for stealing the bike. The coroner’s inquest couldn’t legally find anything else to charge him with – lacking a Good Samaritan Law.

I’d put him in the stocks on the town square.

It takes firefighters an hour to rescue truck driver – very carefully!

Click on photo for video story

For more than an hour Friday morning a driver was stuck inside his tractor-trailer as it balanced precariously on the edge of a raised section of Interstate 40, with only thin air between portions of the truck and the pavement 40 feet below.

Firefighters not only freed him, but kept the rig from falling off the I-40 Crosstown bridge after a multiple-vehicle accident triggered by an erratic driver during morning rush hour downtown, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper said.

Firefighters broke a window and spoke to the driver as wreckers got into position and crews used cables and chains to secure the rig after the 8 a.m. crash. The driver, whose name has not been released, was lodged in the sleeping compartment of the cab and waited to be freed.

“He was scared to death in the truck thinking he was going to fall over the edge,” patrol Capt. Chris West said…

Fire Deputy Chief Marc Woodard said about 30 firefighters were involved in rescuing the driver.

Scary situation. I’d be afraid to fart.

Japan tsunami survivor rescued 10 miles out at sea

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

A 60-year-old man has been found on the roof of his floating house nearly 10 miles out at sea, two days after the tsunami that devastated the north-east coast of Japan.

Hiromitsu Shinkawa must have resigned himself to his fate when he was swept away by the retreating tsunami that roared ashore in his home town of Minami Soma in Fukushima prefecture…

Incredibly, he was spotted by a maritime self-defence force destroyer taking part in the rescue effort as he clung to the wreckage with one hand and waved a self-made red flag with the other. He had been at sea for two days.

Reports said that on being handed a drink aboard the rescue boat, Shinkawa gulped it down and immediately burst into tears. His wife, with whom he had returned home as the tsunami approached, is still missing.

He was quoted as saying: “No helicopters or boats that came nearby noticed me. I thought that day was going to be the last day of my life.”

Officials said Shinkawa was in good condition after being taken to hospital by helicopter.

“I ran away after I heard a tsunami was coming,” he told Jiji Press. “But I turned back to fetch something from home and was swept away. I was rescued while hanging on to the roof of my house.”

The self-defence forces said the good weather and calm waters had allowed Shinkawa to stay alive during his 48-hour drift.

We’ve had this discussion before. Some days you have good luck. Some days you have bad luck.

The only silliness that gets added on top of that is prattle about some invisible being or spirit guiding your destiny. Poisonally, I would save up to prepare a hell of a thank-you meal for the folks aboard the Choukai who finally spotted me.

Berlin apartment filled with feathers, leftover food and feces!

Berlin officials say they have rescued 1,500 parakeets from a two-room apartment.

City veterinarian Margit Platzer says the birds were flying freely around the apartment, which was “littered with feces, feathers and leftover food.” Platzer says it took her team more than seven hours on Tuesday to catch all the birds with nets.

The retired man, who was not identified, could face charges for endangering the animals’ safety and health.

Needless to say, endangering the safety and health of his neighbors. Phew!

U.S. military shoot, then rescue Afghan soldier

Abdul Matin was resting under a tree with seven fellow Afghan soldiers this week when three U.S. helicopters opened fire. Matin was shot in the abdomen, one arm and both legs. He is lucky to be alive. Four other soldiers were also wounded.

Scores of Afghan civilians have been killed in air strikes by international troops in Afghanistan this year, Afghan officials say, feeding a perception that NATO-led and U.S. coalition forces do not take enough care when using air strikes.

Though it is rare for foreign troops to hit their Afghan army allies, the latest incident is the second reported case of friendly fire in less than two weeks. Foreign troops killed nine Afghan soldiers in an air strike in the southeast last month…

In a twist of fate, Matin was evacuated by a U.S. helicopter to a state-of-the-art trauma hospital in Bagram, the main U.S. base in the country, where he is recovering after surgery. Matin speaks slowly and grimaces as he retells his story. “I’m in severe pain,” he says. He does not understand why he was attacked, but insists he is not angry at those who shot him.

“I wanted to fight the Taliban, but in fact, I was shot by my helpers. I don’t know who is my enemy, the Taliban or those who shot at me,” he says.

The usual excuses for friendly fire incidents should not prevail. The helicopters did not come under fire and, so far, no one has claimed they were receiving fire.

There could be and should be adequate means in place to determine whether or not those folks sitting under a tree on the ground are a target of opportunity. How about it?