Home » Archives by category » World News (Page 3)

Andreas Lubitz, Germanwings Co-Pilot, Received Training in Arizona

Andreas Lubitz, Germanwings Co-Pilot, Received Training in Arizona

Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The co-pilot who was at the controls when the Germanwings flight crashed this week received some of his training in America, the airline's CEO revealed Thursday.Andreas Lubitz, 28, was a German citizen and started working for Germanwings' parent company Lufthansa at a flight training center outside of Phoenix in 2008, company officials said.The facility, called Airline Training Center Arizona, was owned by Lufthansa and is used by its pilots in addition to other training locations in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, officials said.A spokeswoman for Germanwings told ABC News that he also received some of his training in Bremen, Germany.In spite of undergoing some of his training in 2008, he reportedly took breaks during the process and only became an official Germanwings pilot in 2013."Six years ago there had been an interruption to his training," Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said at a news conference Thursday. "We checked his skills and his competence and then he went back to training school. After that he was successful."He went on to explain that the interruption lasted for a few months but he did not elaborate on the reason and said it was something that could happen regularly in their program.Spohr said Lubitz passed training school "with flying colors.""He was fit in all areas, 100 percent," Spohr said.He had 630 hours of flying experience by the time he was at the controls during Tuesday's fatal crash into the French Alps, only 100 hours of which were on the same model plane, the Airbus A320, officials said.U.S. law enforcement officials have offered cooperation on the investigation."The FBI has offered assistance to our French partners, who are leading the investigation into the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525," the agency said in a statement Thursday. "We stand ready to fulfill any requests for information or assistance by crash investigators, as we work with partner nations whose citizens were impacted by this tragedy."

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Vatican Opens Doors to Homeless for Special Tour, Dinner

Vatican Opens Doors to Homeless for Special Tour, Dinner

iStock/Thinkstock(VATICAN CITY) -- The Vatican will open its doors on Thursday to the homeless of St. Peters’ Square, allowing the people who usually only see its steps outside to observe its beauty inside.A group of 150 homeless men and women were invited to take a guided tour of the museum and gardens, participate in private prayer in the Sistine Chapel and receive a free dinner in the Vatican Museum’s cafeteria.The tour will pass the Casa Santa Marta, where Pope Francis has chosen to live instead of the stately Papal apartment, and include a stop at a recently opened room in the museum that houses the pope’s historical carriages.When the group reaches the Sistine Chapel for prayer, they will be the only ones there. ANSA reports the chapel, which contains Michelangelo’s fresco masterpieces, will close early to allow for the exclusive tour.The invitation is just one of a string of actions taken by the pontiff to reach out to the poor. To mark his birthday in December, Pope Francis had sleeping bags distributed to the homeless in and around St. Peter’s Square. In February, the Vatican built showers and hired barbers for the homeless around the square.And in mid-June, Francis will lunch with some of Turin’s homeless on a visit there, the Vatican announced Wednesday.Pope Francis’ outreach to the poor echo one of the central messages of his papacy.

"Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent," Francis said in 2013.The Vatican has called on the homeless to help distribute gospels or prayer booklets to the faithful in the square on Sundays during the pope’s noontime prayer.The tour and dinner was organized by the Office of Papal Charities, which regularly distributes meals to the homeless who live in Rome.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Germanwings Crash: How Co-Pilot Kept Captain Out of the Cockpit

Germanwings Crash: How Co-Pilot Kept Captain Out of the Cockpit

iStock/Thinkstock(COLOGNE, Germany) -- The protocols that were put in place to stop an attacker from taking control of a plane were used against a captain by his co-pilot that resulted in the Germanwings crash in the French Alps, the airline's CEO suggested Thursday.The CEO of Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, spoke on Thursday about the safeguards in place to separate the cockpit from the rest of the plane, saying that the co-pilot appears to have purposefully locked his colleague out in the minutes leading up to the fatal crash.CEO Carsten Spohr said that the Airbus A320 in question has a code on the outside of the door that will open it "electrically and automatically" but it can be stopped by whoever remains in the cockpit."This can be impeded by those in the cockpit by pressing a lever that says lock and the door will be closed for five minutes," Spohr said.The cockpit voice recorder was found in the wreckage and investigators have reportedly been able to hear the captain exiting the cockpit, leaving 28-year-old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz at the controls.Tapping can be heard on the audio recording, progressing into louder banging, which is believed to be the captain trying to get back into the cockpit, Spohr said, noting that the company's planes had the doors to the cockpit reinforced so that access is not possible using force or weapons."Since the eleventh of September, the access to a cockpit has changed," Spohr said, referring to the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.Pilots and crew members know the code to get into the cockpit "by heart," Spohr said, suggesting that the co-pilot purposefully prevented the captain to get back inside.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Germanwings Crash: What We Know About the Co-Pilot

Germanwings Crash: What We Know About the Co-Pilot

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(MARSEILLE, France) -- The co-pilot who was at the controls of the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps this week had logged relatively few hours, at least by U.S. standards, prior to the fatal flight.He has been identified by French authorities as German citizen Andreas Lubitz, 28, and his actions in the final minutes of the flight are believed to have caused the crash, Brice Robin, public prosecutor of Marseille, said Thursday at a news conference.“The intention was to destroy the plane," Robin said, speaking mostly in French.An airline spokeswoman said Lubitz had 630 hours of flight experience and only 100 of those hours were on this particular model of plane, an Airbus A320. By comparison, a U.S. first officer would be required to have at least 1,500 hours of experience to get hired by an airline.Investigators have been able to listen to the audio recording from inside the cockpit and the captain can be heard leaving the cockpit and then tapping on the door to re-enter but being denied, Robin said.The banging on the door grows louder while the co-pilot can be heard breathing throughout, he added, suggesting he was not incapacitated before the Tuesday crash that left 150 people dead.Robin said the co-pilot had no reason not to allow the captain back into the cockpit and he should not have gone silent on the radio to air traffic control."When you commit suicide, you die alone,” Robin said in response to a question. “With 150 on the plane, I wouldn't call that suicide.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Germanwings Co-Pilot Appeared to Want to ‘Destroy the Plane,’ Prosecutor Says

Germanwings Co-Pilot Appeared to Want to ‘Destroy the Plane,’ Prosecutor Says

F. Balsamo - Gendarmerie nationale / Ministere de l'Interieur via Getty Images(MARSEILLES, France) — The co-pilot of the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps this week appeared to want to "destroy the plane," Brice Robin, public prosecutor of Marseille, said Thursday."The intention was to destroy the plane," he said, later adding: "Death was instantaneous."Speaking at a news conference conducted mostly in French, Robin confirmed reports about the pilot being heard on the voice recorder asking co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, a German citizen, to take over the controls, with a chair heard being moved and door heard closing.The co-pilot, 27, took control, Robin said, and the accelerated descent was made manually.Whatever the cause, Germanwings initially took exception to the prosecutor's comments, tweeting this morning, "We are shocked by the statements from French authorities that the co-pilot deliberately crashed the aircraft."But at a news conference later in Cologne, Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, said, “We have to accept that the plane was crashed on purpose.” He added, “It seems to be true that the co-pilot denied the pilot access to the cockpit.”He asked people not to rush to judgment, however, which he called "speculation" about the co-pilot's intentions, adding, "the motivation could be of various nature."He stressed that the co-pilot, who had 630 hours of flying time, had undergone extensive psychological and aviation review since beginning training in 2008 and joining the company as a first officer in 2013, though his training was interrupted six years ago for an unspecified reason."In our worst nightmare, we could not have imagined that such a tragedy could take place at our company," Spohr said, speaking in German and agreeing with French authorities that terrorism was not involved.He declined to characterize the crash as a suicide, saying there has to be something else involved. "It is a puzzle for us," he said.As for the chain of events, prosecutor Robin said all had seemed normal as the pilots communicated in a "amicable" way for the first 20 minutes of the flight.But later, the captain can be heard on the voice recording knocking on the door and asking over the speaker to re-enter the cockpit, but there was no response from the co-pilot, Robin said.The co-pilot can be heard breathing until the moment of impact, Robin said, so officials believe he was alive until the crash in which all 150 people on board are presumed to have died.Air traffic control can also be heard calling, with no response from the cockpit.Lubitz, who lived in Montabaur, Germany, had no reason to lock the pilot out of the cabin, no reason not to respond to air traffic control and no reason to disable the plane's ability to maintain contact with other plans in the area, Robin said.Toward the end of the descent, investigators can hear "violent" banging on door as the pilot tries to get in, Robin added.Lufthansa CEO Spohr said pilots are able to enter a code to re-enter the cockpit but that the pilot inside is able to disable the system electronically. So either the captain did not enter the code or Lubitz blocked his entry, he said."We have total confidence in our pilots and co-pilots," he said.

World News Videos | US News Videos

Follow @ABCNewsRadio

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Why NASA Plans to Grab Asteroid Chunk

Why NASA Plans to Grab Asteroid Chunk

NASA(NEW YORK) -- NASA wants to relocate a piece of an asteroid and tow it into orbit around the moon as part of a test of new technologies that could be used on a manned mission to Mars.The space agency had considered attempting to capture an entire asteroid, but instead said this week it would pluck a 13-foot boulder from one during an unmanned solar-powered space mission set for 2020.The rock will then be hauled for several years until it is placed in orbit around Earth's moon.In 2025, the space agency said it would then send two astronauts inside the Orion space capsule to explore the mini-asteroid.According to NASA's plan, the astronauts would take a spacewalk on the rock, documenting its surface and grabbing a fragment to bring back to Earth.The ambitious mission is a crucial test for the space agency as it prepares to one day send a crew to Mars.During the five-year Asteroid Redirect Mission, NASA is expected to gain more insight into robotic grabbing technologies, soft landings and allow astronauts to test suits that could be used for a deep space mission.NASA said it likely will not announce which asteroid it has targeted to be a part of the plan until 2019.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

“New York Times” Report: Germanwings Pilot Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in France

“New York Times” Report: Germanwings Pilot Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in France

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- One of the pilots of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps may have been locked out of the cockpit, a senior military official involved in the investigation told The New York Times.The official said that the audio on the cockpit voice recorder indicated one of the pilots was outside of the cockpit and unable to re-enter, according to the paper. The unnamed official described hearing the pilot unable to re-enter the cockpit, lightly knocking on the door at first -- before pounding on it."You can hear he is trying to smash the door down," he told the Times.ABC News was unable to independently confirm the report.Investigators have not yet recovered the second black box from the Airbus A320, which crashed Tuesday in Southern France while en route to Dusseldorf, Germany. All 150 on board, including three Americans, are believed to have been killed.Earlier Wednesday, the director of the Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses (BEA) said an audio file from one of the the black boxes, the cockpit voice recorder, had been found, but did not say whether voices were heard on the recording.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saudi Arabian Ambassador to US Announces Airstrikes Against Houthi Rebels in Yemen

Saudi Arabian Ambassador to US Announces Airstrikes Against Houthi Rebels in Yemen

Scott Rothstein/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir said on Wednesday that his nation had begun airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen."The use of force is always the last resort and it is with great reluctance that we took this step," al-Jubeir said. "We will do whatever it takes in order to protect villages and the government of Yemen from falling and from facing any dangers from outside militia."The Saudi ambassador also told reporters that a coalition of more than 10 nations has agreed to participate in operations meant "to prevent Yemen from falling at the hands of the Houthis.""Rather than engage in peaceful dialogue and in a peaceful transition to a stable and democratic Yemen they have always chosen the path of violence," al-Jubeir said of the Houthis.

Earlier in the day, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed that Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi left his residence on Wednesday. She did not have any further information on where Hadi had gone to. Houthi rebels were believed to have been advancing on the city of Aden, where Hadi was believed to have been.

A statement from National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on Wednesday reiterated the U.S.'s condemnation of the "ongoing military actions taken by the Houthis against the elected government of Yemen. Those actions, Meehan says, "have caused widespread instability and chaos that threaten the safety and well-being of all Yemeni citizens."

The statement also noted that President Obama authorized logistical and intelligence support to the coalition operations in Yemen, but has not approved any direct military action.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Embassy in Uganda Issues Emergency Warning Citing ‘Possible Terrorist Threats,’ Says Attack Could Happen ‘Soon’

US Embassy in Uganda Issues Emergency Warning Citing ‘Possible Terrorist Threats,’ Says Attack Could Happen ‘Soon’

Pawel Gaul/iStock/Thinkstock(KAMPALA, Uganda) -- The U.S. Embassy in Uganda has issued an emergency warning to American citizens, warning of "possible terrorist threats" and that an attack could take place "soon.""Out of an abundance of caution, the U.S. Mission has cancelled some non-essential events scheduled at local hotels in the coming days," the message states. U.S. citizens are advised that there will likely be increased security sweeps and delays while entering or exiting hotel areas.The embassy is also recommending U.S. citizens in Uganda review security plans, be aware of their surroundings and take steps to enhance security -- including varying their daily schedules and avoiding crowded locations.Last week, the U.S. embassy in Djibouti announced a closure to review its security posture in regards to potential terrorist threats.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US-Led Coalition Offering Support to Iraqi Security Forces in Effort to Retake Tikrit from ISIS

US-Led Coalition Offering Support to Iraqi Security Forces in Effort to Retake Tikrit from ISIS

File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(TIKRIT, Iraq) -- U.S-led coalition forces began operations on Wednesday in an effort to "support Iraqi Security Forces in Tikrit" after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi requested assistance.Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren confirmed that the Iraqi government had requested support, saying Wednesday that "operations are ongoing."According to a statement, the coalition is providing "air strikes, airborne intelligence capabilities, and Advise and Assist support" to the Iraqi Security Forces. The efforts are part of the ISF's attempt to retake the city of Tikrit from ISIS. "These strikes are intended to destroy ISIS strongholds with precision, thereby saving innocent Iraqi lives while minimizing collateral damage to infrastructure," Lt. Gen. James Terry, the coalition's commanding general, said. "This will further enable Iraqi forces under Iraqi command to maneuver and defeat [ISIS] in the vicinity of Tikrit."

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Italian High Court Delays Amanda Knox Ruling

Italian High Court Delays Amanda Knox Ruling

Ida Astute/ABC News(ROME) -- Italy's highest court has delayed its ruling on whether to uphold the Amanda Knox murder conviction of fellow student Meredith Kercher.  An Italian high court judge said on Wednesday that because of the volume of evidence presented to the court, a ruling won't come until Friday.The verdict was originally expected on Wednesday after lawyers gave their closing arguments. Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, face more than 25 years in prison, though Knox says she'll fight extradition if found guilty. Defence lawyers in the case said there is no physical evidence that puts Knox and Sollecito at the scene of the crime. Evidence for a third person, Rudy Guede, was found all over the murder scene, however. He's half-way through his prison sentence for the murder of Kercher. The prosecution argued that Knox's partial confession -- later retracted -- painted an accurate picture of the crime scene that indicated she was involved.Prosecutors asked to reduce the pair's long prison term by three months for a minor related crime whose statute of limitation had run out.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Germanwings Crash: American Mother-Daughter Pair Were on Board

Germanwings Crash: American Mother-Daughter Pair Were on Board

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Two of the Americans on board the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday have been identified as a mother and daughter who were traveling together.The mother has been identified as Yvonne Selke, who worked at the consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton, and the company has confirmed her identity to ABC News.The second American victim was her daughter Emily Selke, who recently graduated from Drexel University."Our entire family is deeply saddened by the losses of Yvonne and Emily Selke," the family said in a statement Wednesday. "Two wonderful, caring, amazing people who meant so much to so many. At this difficult time we respectfully ask for privacy and your prayers.""Booz Allen and our employees are mourning the sudden and shocking death of Yvonne Selke, an employee of nearly 23 years, and her daughter, Emily, in the Germanwings airliner crash in the French Alps this week," Betty Thompson, an executive vice president with Booz Allen Hamilton, said in a statement."Yvonne was a wonderful co-worker and a dedicated employee who spent her career with the firm supporting the mission of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency," Thompson said.National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo also offered condolences."Every death is a tragedy, but seldom does a death affect us all so directly and unexpectedly," Cardillo said in a statement. "All of us offer our deepest condolences and will keep her family and her colleagues in our thoughts."The Selkes were two of the 150 people who died in the Tuesday morning crash.There was a third American, yet to be identified, on board, according to the U.S. State Department.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

NASA Finds New Evidence of Life-Supporting Ingredient on Mars

NASA Finds New Evidence of Life-Supporting Ingredient on Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS(NEW YORK) -- NASA's Curiosity rover has found new evidence of nitrogen on Mars, proving that the red planet has -- or at least had -- the right stuff to sustain life.The rover drilled into Martian rocks and discovered evidence of nitrates, which are essential compounds to the building blocks of life."The discovery adds to the evidence that ancient Mars was habitable for life," NASA said in a blog post.Despite the finding, the space agency said "there is no evidence to suggest that the fixed nitrogen molecules found by the team were created by life."The nitrates are believed to be ancient and likely came from meteorite impacts or lightning events, according to NASA, which also pointed out that the surface of Mars is currently inhospitable to known life forms.Curiosity has also found signs that other elements needed for life once existed on the red planet, including liquid water and organic matter, which were located in the Gale Crater billions of years ago, according to NASA.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Alice Leading Name for Royal Baby, UK Betting Company Says

Alice Leading Name for Royal Baby, UK Betting Company Says

Samir Hussein/WireImage(LONDON) -- Britain’s Prince William and Duchess Kate will welcome a blonde-haired girl named Alice on a Thursday in April, if bookmakers have their say.The U.K.-based, online betting company Betfair announced on Tuesday that the name Alice has overtaken the name Elizabeth as the most popular bet for William and Kate to name their next child after an “unexpected rush of support for Alice over the last 24 hours.”“The public love a royal announcement and we’re expecting the arrival to be the novelty betting heat of the year,” Betfair’s Cormac Dowling said in a statement.William, 32, and Kate, 33, are expecting their second child in April.The royal couple has revealed neither Kate's exact due date nor the sex of their second child.Betfair says that bets are evenly split over whether the new royal will be a boy or a girl, but girls’ names are leading the way in the betting for a name.Alice is followed by Elizabeth and Charlotte and then Richard and James, to round out the top five.The name Alice is in William’s royal lineage. The aunt of William’s grandmother, the Queen, was named Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. She died nearly 11 years ago at the age of 102, according to the monarchy’s website.Betfair says bookies got the name correct when Prince William and Duchess Kate had their first child, Prince George. George took over 70 percent of the bets prior to the birth, according to Betfair.The 1-year-old prince's full name is George Alexander Louis.Another U.K.-based online betting and gambling company, Ladbrokes, says it has also seen a surge in support for the name Alice in recent days."A mystery gamble has developed on Alice in the last few days, and such is the support it's now the joint favorite with Elizabeth at 5/1," Ladbrokes spokeswoman Jessica Bridge told ABC News. "Punters in the U.K. are desperate for Prince George to be joined by a little sister next month, and with a few weeks to go baby betting is booming."Ladbrokes held what it billed as the first-ever corgi race earlier this month to predict a baby name for Prince William and Kate.In that race, the winner was Alexandra, though the odds-on favorite for the girl’s name had been Elizabeth, the namesake of the baby’s great-grandmother, and James for the boys, an 8 to 1 favorite.Here is the full list of Royal Baby Odds as provided by Betfair:Royal Baby Name

Alice 3/1 Elizabeth 5/1 Charlotte 11/2 Richard 10/1 James 12/1 Victoria 12/1 Arthur 12/1 Alexandra 12/1 William 14/1 Charles 14/1 Diana 14/1 Philip 14/1 Catherine/Kate 14/1 Mary 14/1 Henry 16/1 Frances 16/1 Alexander 20/1 Albert 20/1 Spencer 20/1 Christopher 20/1 Florence 25/1 Francis 25/1 Eleanor 25/1 Michael 25/1 Rose 25/1 Margaret 25/1 Ella 28/1 Alfred 33/1 Anne 33/1 Anthony 33/1 Ava 33/1 Caroline 33/1 David 33/1 Frederick 33/1 John 33/1 Philippa 33/1 Sarah 33/1 Amelia 40/1 Edward 40/1 Emily 40/1 Helen/Helena 40/1 Louis 40/1 Sophie 40/1 Andrew 40/1 Penelope 50/1 Carole 66/1 Jane 66/1 Louise 66/1 Robert 66/1 Stephanie 80/1 Camilla 100/1 Trevor 100/1 Raheem 500/1 Sepp 500/1

Hair color of baby

Blonde 6/4 Brown 7/4 Black 7/2 Red 5/1

Gender of baby

Male EVS Female 8/11

Day of birth

Thursday 5/1 Friday 11/2 Monday 11/2 Tuesday 11/2 Wednesday 6/1 Saturday 6/1 Sunday 6/1

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Italian Police Arrest Three Suspected Recruiters for ISIS

Italian Police Arrest Three Suspected Recruiters for ISIS

iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) -- Police in Italy have arrested three suspected members of an Islamic extremist cell believed to be recruiting jihadists for ISIS.Two of the suspects were taken into custody in northern Italy Wednesday after authorities searched their property. Police say one suspect -- a 20-year-old Italian of Moroccan descent -- is accused of posting 64 pages of pro-ISIS propaganda on the Internet. The document was posted on Facebook and other sites and was written in Italian -- evidence, police say, of an attempt to recruit jihadists in Italy. The two other suspects, an uncle and nephew, have Albanian citizenship. One lives in northern Italy and the other in Albania. Police say all three were in touch with an ISIS fighter with links to Italy.Wednesday's arrests were the result of a long, covert operation, according to authorities. Italy has been on high alert for terrorist attacks since ISIS threatened it would invade Rome in a video several months ago.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Germanwings Crash: Three Possible Reasons Why the Plane Went Down

Germanwings Crash: Three Possible Reasons Why the Plane Went Down

Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses(NEW YORK) — The black box will reveal the critical final moments before a Germanwings flight bound for Dusseldorf crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday, but experts have already been able to theorize about some of the most plausible options.The official cause of the crash is still a mystery, but the biggest indicator of trouble comes from the plane’s increased drop in altitude in the minutes leading up to the crash.There were steps taken by the pilots, including a 15 degree shift in direction during the descent, that suggests they were in control to some extent, but there was no communication with air traffic control which is part of standard operating procedure during such a move, experts said.“One of the most important aspects of that is to talk to air traffic control because you're descending right into oncoming air traffic and the pilots know that they changed their course 15 degrees off their course, which is exactly what you would do in an emergency descent but on the way down, there's no conversation,” former U.S Air Force pilot and current ABC News aviation consultant John Nance said on ABC's Good Morning America. “Could they not talk? Had they turned off the electricity because of a fire? We don’t know that.”The inability -- or the choice -- of the pilots not to communicate with air traffic control suggests two possible causes, the first being a lack of oxygen within the aircraft, which led to depressurization and incapacitated the pilots.Tom Haueter, a former National Transportation Safety Board director, told ABC News that another reason could be that there was smoke or some kind of fire in the cockpit that would have made it difficult not only for the pilots to see but also for them to operate the aircraft, potentially leading them to be overcome with smoke.A third possibility comes from the indication that the pilots appeared to be handling some kind of problem and assessing their options by taking the steps to descend and adjust their path accordingly, but may have been overcome by that problem, whatever it may be."It definitely looks like an emergency descent for unknown reasons but beyond that we don't know," Haueter said."It means something very quickly catastrophic was going on. We don't know the build up to that," he added.The rapid descent is the main cause of concern for Nance as the plane was dropping one and a half to two times as fast as normal. At 10:45 a.m., the plane was flying at 38,000 feet, but they began dropping one minute later, officials said on Tuesday.By 10:53 a.m., they were down to roughly 6,000 feet, officials said.“Most troubling is why in an area that they know the Alps are, that they go up to 15,000 feet, why did they not level off at 15,000 feet? Why continue down? That really indicates the possibility...of incapacitation,” Nance said.

World News Videos | US News Videos

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

High School Mourns Loss of 16 Students on Germanwings Flight

High School Mourns Loss of 16 Students on Germanwings Flight

Abdulselam Durdak/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(HALTERN, Germany) -- A German high school is in mourning Wednesday for the 16 of its students and two teachers who were on board the plane that crashed in the French Alps Tuesday.The students and teachers from Joseph Konig School were returning home from a Spanish language exchange program aboard the Germanwings Airbus A320 when it crashed.The plane was traveling from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany, when it suddenly began a rapid descent from its cruising altitude at 38,000 feet. It plunged 32,000 feet in eight minutes, according to Germanwings. When the plane was at 6,000 feet, it lost contact with air traffic control.The plane was carrying 144 passengers, including two babies, and six crew members, Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann said at a news conference Tuesday.The high school held a makeshift memorial in its gym Wednesday. Many carried candles and signs as they mourned their peers. One mourner carried a sign that said, "Yesterday we were many. Today we are alone."Ina Grajestiki, a violin teacher at Joesph Konig, told ABC News, "I don't know how to work today. ...I cannot believe this, that it's happened."Police helicopter searches of the Germanwings Airbus crash site resumed Wednesday morning.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Rare Mammal Spotted in China After Two Decades

Rare Mammal Spotted in China After Two Decades

Photograph by Li Weidong(BEIJING) -- The Ili pika, a rare animal with a teddy bear face and bunny-like ears, finally has been found and photographed more than 20 years after it was first discovered.The animal, scientifically known as Ochotona iliensis, was spotted again last summer in the Tianshan Mountains in northwest China by scientist Weidong Li, National Geographic reported.Li accidentally discovered the species in 1983 while on a government assignment to study natural resources and infectious diseases, the magazine said.“As Li explored a valley by Jilimalale Mountain, he saw a small, gray head sticking out from a crack in the rock,” National Geographic wrote. “The animal was about 8 inches (20 centimeters) long, with large ears and several small brown spots in its gray fur.”In the 1980s, Li brought specimens to the China Academy of Sciences, which confirmed it as a new species, the magazine said, adding the Ili pika then eluded Li for more than 20 years until last summer, when a volunteer group with Li went "pika searching."The Ili pika lives in China and is considered vulnerable to extinction, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).Increases in grazing pressure and global atmospheric pollution resulting in climate change are believed to be the primary threats to these animals, according to the IUCN.The Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, where Li reportedly works, did not immediately respond to ABC News' calls and emails requesting to speak with Li for additional comment.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Why Some Bees Are Now Carrying Backpack Trackers

Why Some Bees Are Now Carrying Backpack Trackers

Kew Gardens(LONDON) — Here's the buzz about these crazy bee trackers: Ecologists at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London have suited up bumble bees with tiny metal trackers to map their behavior in hopes the data will help them understand why the insects are in decline.Attaching something so small to a buzzing bee takes both patience and precision.

Kew Gardens

In order to suit up the bees, they were first chilled for 10 minutes to make them calmer. Using tweezers, researchers then carefully glued the trackers onto the bees' backs using superglue.

Kew Gardens

The bee backpacks measure 4.8 millimeters by 8 millimeters. They include radio frequency identification tags that allow ecologists to detect bee behavior from as far as 1.2 meters from a detecting unit.Each bee has a unique tag that allows researchers to monitor their behavior. The tag reports back to the detecting unit within its range."This piece of the puzzle, of bee behavior, is absolutely vital if we are to understand better why our bees are struggling and how we can reverse their decline," Sarah Barlow, a scientist at Kew Gardens who tested the technology, said in a statement.The technology, which was developed by Tumbling Dice Ltd., could be used after the trial to track the movements of other insects and how they interact with flora, fauna, crops and the world around us, scientists said.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Audio File Recovered from Germanwings Black Box

Audio File Recovered from Germanwings Black Box

ABC News(DIGNE, France) -- The spokesman for the lead investigating agency said on Wednesday that they have recovered an audio file from the black box of the downed Germanwings flight but have not found the second black box from the Airbus A320 that crashed in the French Alps.This comes after French Prime Minister Francois Hollande said at an earlier news conference that crews had found the exterior of the black box but not the module that contains the memory equipment, though the spokesman for the Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses (BEA) went on to deny any such discovery."We have not localized the black box," said BEA Director Rémi Jouty. "We have not found any debris of the black box and in the history of air accidents we know about ... [we] don't remember any recorder broken into little pieces."When asked if they had ruled out the possibility of the crash being the result of a terrorist attack, he said the BEA is "not ruling out any hypothesis at this stage."Investigators have recovered an audio file from the first black box, the cockpit voice recorder, though no further details were revealed about whether or not voices are heard on the recording.Jouty noted that it would take days for initial findings to be released, though it will be weeks before a full understanding is clear. But, he was able to weigh in and tentatively ruled several possible causes out based on the debris pattern."The area seems very big but the debris seems very small which is not at all consistent with an aircraft that exploded mid-air," Jouty said."At the moment, there's no information leading us to think that the weather conditions were particularly bad," he said.One of the problems facing investigators is the location of the crash site, as the area is very steep and unstable. Investigators and site crews have to be tied to one another when they are near the crash site to ensure their safety, Jouty said.Earlier on Wednesday, Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann noted that two Americans were on board the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps Tuesday.The U.S. State Department later confirmed that two Americans were on board."We are in contact with family members and we extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the 150 people on board," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. "We are continuing to review our records to determine whether any other U.S. citizens might have been on board the flight."The Germanwings plane crashed Tuesday in the Alps in southern France with 150 people on board, including two babies, the airline said. Hollande said there were "apparently no survivors."Searchers returned to the crash scene on Wednesday, as France's minister of the interior said a black box voice recorder from the plane is damaged. Even so, said the official, Bernard Cazeneuve, the information on the recorder should be retrievable.The CEO of Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, said a full analysis of the voice recorder was expected to be done by Thursday. But Brice Robin, public prosecutor of Marseille, said on BFM TV that black box results could take several days.The initial focus for the voice recorder investigators will be "on the human voices, the conversations," followed by the cockpit sounds, France's transport minister, Alain Vidalies, told Europe 1 radio Wednesday morning.The flight data recorder has not been retrieved yet.Police helicopter searches of the Germanwings Airbus crash site resumed Wednesday morning.Xavier Roy, coordinator for French air rescue, told ABC News that no bodies are going to be taken from the mountain Wednesday, and that the investigation on site will take a week. Unlike other crash sites, Roy said, there isn't much to find."When you go to a crash site you expect to recognize parts of an airplane." he said. "Sadly, here you don't see anything -- just debris scattered all over."He added that this was a difficult area to search, as it is "nearly impossible to reach by foot," making it challenging to get rescuers in and out of the area safely.The top priorities now are locating bodies and the second black box, he said.In addition to 72 Germans, 35 Spanish and two Americans on board, Winkelmann said there were two victims each from Australia, Argentina, Iran and Venezuela. One victim each came from Britain, the Netherlands, Colombia, Mexico, Japan, Denmark, Belgium and Israel, he said, adding that the list isn't yet final because the company is still trying to contact relatives of 27 victims. Winkelmann added that in some cases, victims' nationality weren’t clear because of possible dual citizenship.Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy were scheduled to arrive at the crash staging area Wednesday.The cause of the crash has not yet been determined, the Germanwings CEO said. Lufthansa called the crash "an accident.""Seeing the site of the accident was harrowing," Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr tweeted Wednesday morning. "We are in deep mourning. Our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims." Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Advertise With Us

Would you like to advertise on East Idaho News? Fill out this form to contact a representative.
  • Full and Last
  • The name of your company, business or brand.