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Archive for Monday, June 10, 2002

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June 10, 2002

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Texas: Three passengers killed in Greyhound bus crash

A Greyhound bus crashed into a tractor-trailer in central Texas early Sunday, killing three passengers and injuring about two dozen others, officials said.

The bus was on Interstate 20, traveling from Los Angeles to Dallas, when it hit the tractor-trailer as the truck merged into traffic from a rest stop, said Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Erin Hale.

She said all three people killed in the crash were at the front of the bus. Their identities had not been released late Sunday night.

About two dozen other passengers were taken to local hospitals. Hale did not know the extent of their injuries.

The crash occurred just outside the small town of Loraine, about 250 miles west of Dallas.

Louisiana: Woodpecker search turns up only gunfire

Listening devices placed in Louisiana swamps in hopes of recording the sound of the ivory-billed woodpecker picked up sharp raps that turned out to be gunfire, not sounds of the rare bird, researchers said Sunday.

The ivory-billed woodpecker is widely believed to be extinct, but a Louisiana State University student's detailed account of a possible sighting in 1999 raised hopes that there are still some around in south Louisiana's Pearl River Wildlife Management Area.

In a search last winter by Cornell University and Zeiss Sports Optics of Chester, Va., a dozen acoustic recording units, or ARUs, were set out to record two to three months' worth of swamp sounds. Captured on tape were a series of distinctive double-raps, reminiscent of the ivory-billed's distinctive rapping on dead wood.

"Sadly, analysis of the ARU data proved that the sounds were distant gunshots, with reverberations that sounded to human ears like drumming on a hollow snag," Zeiss Sports Optics said in a Sunday news release.

Florida: Astronauts complete first of 3 spacewalks

Two spacewalking astronauts ventured outside Sunday and hung a giant handgrip and cosmic-debris shields on the international space station.

It was the first of three spacewalks planned during shuttle Endeavour's weeklong visit to the space station.

Endeavour astronauts Franklin Chang-Diaz and Philippe Perrin emerged from the 240-mile-high orbiting complex on the first spacewalk of their careers.

Their first job involved attaching a grapple hook for the space station's 58-foot robot arm on a piece of framework that must be moved during a later assembly flight. "I'm hanging like a bat upside down, looking at the Earth," Perrin said from the side of the station.

Salt Lake City: National appeal issued in search for teen girl

Searchers on Sunday urged people nationwide to check ponds, ditches and woods for any trace of a 14-year-old girl apparently kidnapped at gunpoint from her bedroom.

The number of volunteers searching on foot for Elizabeth Smart had dwindled to several hundred, down from more than 1,000 on Thursday, the day after Elizabeth disappeared.

Some aircraft assisting in the search were diverted to Colorado wildfires.

Bob Walcutt of the Texas-based Laura Recovery Center Foundation, which is coordinating volunteer search efforts, appealed Sunday for the help of property owners around the country.

"Check your land, your ditches, your culverts," he said. "Look around your property and check any hiding places, your ponds, your barns."

Police said they have had no solid leads since Elizabeth was apparently kidnapped at gunpoint early Wednesday from the bedroom of her affluent Salt Lake City home.

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