U.S. Military Jet Crashes In Death Valley National Park, Injuring 7 On The Ground

A pilot from the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, banks his F/A-18E Super Hornet through the nicknamed Star Wars Canyon in Death Valley National Park, Calif.

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Ben Margot/AP

A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashed during a training mission Wednesday in Death Valley National Park, resulting in minor injuries for seven park visitors, according to local park officials.

There is no word yet on the fate of the pilot. A search and rescue team has been dispatched.

“At approximately 10:00 a.m PST an F/A-18E crashed near @NAWS_CL. Search-and-rescue efforts are underway,” according to a tweet by the Naval Air Forces. NAWS CL stands for Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. It is in the Western Mojave Desert region of California, about 150 miles north of Los Angeles.

Death Valley National Park public information officer Patrick Taylor said seven park visitors suffered minor injuries.

Military jets are not supposed to fly over national parks, but an exception was made for a section of the park that has become a popular site to watch military training flights known as “Star Wars Canyon,” because the maneuvers resemble scenes from the science fiction films of aircraft speeding through canyons, according to ABC 10 News in San Diego.

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Live Analysis And Fact Checks: July Democratic Debate Night 2

Follow NPR’s live analysis and fact checks of Night 2 of the Democratic presidential primary debate in Detroit.

Angela Hsieh/NPR


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It’s Night 2 of the Democratic debate in Detroit, airing on CNN beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The second set of 10 candidates is making their case as to why they should be the next president of the United States.

Wednesday night’s lineup includes a rematch between former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris, who had a tense exchange over Biden’s record on race and busing in the first debates.

Also on the stage: Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Follow NPR’s live coverage of the debate with real-time fact checks and analysis of the candidates’ remarks in the blog above.

Can’t see the liveblog? Click here.

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Hawaii Extends Thirty Meter Telescope Permit Amid Protests

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Tuesday he had rescinded an emergency proclamation put in place to deal with telescope protesters who are blocking the access road to the summit of Mauna Kea.

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Audrey McAvoy/AP

In a move intended to de-escalate a standoff between scientists and native Hawaiians blocking the construction of a massive telescope on a mountaintop they believe to be sacred land, Gov. David Ige on Tuesday night rescinded an emergency proclamation that was issued to help remove demonstrators.

Ige made the announcement at a press conference saying there are no immediate plans to move heavy construction equipment onto Mauna Kea, the intended site of the Thirty Meter Telescope, which is expected to be the largest in the world, looking farther back into space and time than any other instrument is capable of doing.

“Because TMT construction is not imminent, I am withdrawing the emergency proclamation effective immediately,” Ige said in a tweet.

“I remain committed to moving forward with this project in a peaceful way and will continue efforts to engage the community.”

Because #TMT construction is not imminent, I am withdrawing the emergency proclamation effective immediately. I remain committed to moving forward with this project in a peaceful way and will continue efforts to engage the community. https://t.co/5VVcEXMrGC #MaunaKea

— Governor David Ige (@GovHawaii) July 31, 2019

He cautioned the large crowds who have gathered in protest at the base of the mountain since mid-July, when construction was set to start, of hazardous conditions “in light of the potential bad weather.” Two tropical storms are headed in the direction of the islands with the center of Hurricane Erick expected to pass just south of the Big Island on Friday.

Ige’s move followed a decision by the Department of Land and Natural Resources to grant a two-year extension of the Conservation District Use permit deadline for the initiation of construction.

The request for the additional construction time was made by the University of Hawaii, one of several groups involved in the consortium behind the TMT, according to a statement from the department. The new deadline for the start of construction is Sept. 26, 2021.

In the meantime, Mauna Kea Access Road will remain closed and law enforcement will remain on site, the Associated Press reports.

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