Archive for Monday, October 11, 2004

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October 11, 2004

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New Mexico

Festival balloon collides with radio tower

A balloon became entangled in a radio tower on the final day of Albuquerque's trademark balloon festival Sunday, forcing the pilot and two young passengers to climb most of the way down the nearly 700-foot-tall structure.

Bill Chapel was piloting the balloon, shaped like the face of Smokey Bear, when it blew into the radio tower near a park where the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta took place.

The hot-air balloon's canopy got wrapped up around the triangular-shaped tower, leaving its gondola resting up against the structure, shown above. Chapel, 69, and passengers Aaron Whitacre, 10, and Troy Wells, 14, then began the long climb down the tower's ladder. All three were uninjured.

KKOB-AM shut down its 50,000-watt transmitter, and emergency crews gathered at the base of the tower.

Seattle

FBI: Washington ferries likely terrorism target

Federal authorities believe Washington state's ferry system has been under surveillance and could be a possible target for a terrorist attack, The Seattle Times reported Sunday.

An FBI assessment determined that 19 suspicious incidents reported by law enforcement officers, ferry workers and passengers since the 9-11 attacks were highly likely or extremely likely to involve terrorist surveillance, the Times reported.

"We may well be the target of preoperational terrorist planning," said U.S. Atty. John McKay.

McKay and other security officials said the assessment helped prompt new security requirements that began Saturday on the state's ferries.

Miami

FEMA approves hurricane aid

Local officials agree that hurricane damage to Miami-Dade County this year was light, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved more than $20 million in residents' requests for aid.

Four hurricanes hit Florida in the summer, with Frances and Jeanne toppling some trees and causing some isolated power outages. Officials from the National Weather Service, the county and the city of Miami agree the damage was insignificant.

Yet more than 19,500 Miami-Dade residents have applied to FEMA for financial help with temporary housing, repairs, medical bills and other expenses they claim were brought on by Frances, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Sunday.

As of Friday, FEMA had approved 9,801 of the claims for a total of $21.5 million.

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