Archive for Thursday, July 24, 2003


July 24, 2003



Cubans found at sea on converted pickup

Cuban migrants fashioned a boat out of a 1951 Chevy pickup truck and "drove" it to within 40 miles of the United States before they were spotted, taken off and returned to the island, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday.

The dozen migrants, some sheltered in the truck cab or under a yellow tarp covering the bed, were noticed last week by a U.S. Customs aircraft south of Key West, Coast Guard Petty Officer Ryan Doss said.

A propeller attached to the drive shaft of the green vintage pickup was pushing it along at about 8 mph, Doss said. The truck-raft was kept afloat by empty 55-gallon drums attached to the bottom as pontoons.

Migrants have been found on rafts or small boats made out of refrigerators, bathtubs, surfboards and inner tubes, but the truck was believed to be a first.

The truck was sunk as a hazard to ocean navigation.


Lightning kills giraffe at Disney animal park

Lightning struck and killed a giraffe at Disney's Animal Kingdom as the animal roamed among tourists, company officials said Wednesday.

The accident occurred Monday as a severe lightning storm moved over the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction, Disney spokeswoman Diane Ledder said.

Betsy the giraffe, who was 6 years old, was the first animal to die from a lightning strike at the theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Ledder said. "It's very unfortunate and unusual ... but it has happened in the past" at other U.S. parks, she said.


Two hurt in explosion of pipe bomb in car

A homemade pipe bomb detonated beneath the driver of a car traveling on a highway Wednesday, injuring him and his girlfriend, authorities said.

Military personnel found a second device in the car that did not explode, said Capt. Mark Cattanach of the Clark County Sheriff's Department. They detonated the second device at the scene.

Cattanach said the driver underwent surgery and the woman was treated and released at Memorial Medical Center in Neillsville. The driver's injuries were not life-threatening, Sheriff Louis Rosandich said.

The blast blew a hole in the bottom of the car, blew out the passenger windows and shattered the windshield, Rosandich said.

The couple apparently did not know the devices were in the car, authorities said.

Salt Lake City

Eight to share reward in Elizabeth Smart case

Eight people will receive equal shares of the $250,000 reward offered for information in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, the mayor's office announced Wednesday.

Elizabeth was kidnapped from her bedroom June 5, 2002, when she was 14. On March 12, she was spotted on a street in Salt Lake City suburb with two transients, Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee.

Two of the recipients, Alvin and Anita Dickerson, were given their checks for $31,250 each at City Hall. The Dickersons called police in Sandy when they recognized Mitchell on March 12.

City officials would not identify the other recipients, who had asked to remain anonymous.

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