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Archive for Wednesday, June 15, 2005

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June 15, 2005

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New York

Sightseeing helicopter crashes in East River

A mudslide closed a 16-mile stretch of the main highway linking New York City and Montreal after a storm dropped 6 inches of rain on the area in a few hours, officials said.

The closure of Interstate 87 some 60 miles north of Albany means the approximately 13,000 vehicles traveling that stretch daily will be detoured onto local roads.

Heavy rain soaked the area of northern New York state late Monday, sweeping mud and rocks that wiped out a stretch of roadway about as long as two tractor-trailers.

Jennifer Post, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, said Tuesday that officials were assessing the damage and didn't know how long repairs would take. "We're working around-the-clock to get the road clear and get at least one lane open in each direction as quickly as possible," Post said.

New York City

Sightseeing helicopter crashes in East River

A helicopter carrying tourists on a sightseeing trip above Manhattan crashed Tuesday into the East River minutes after takeoff, critically injuring one passenger, authorities said.

None of the six others on board was seriously hurt.

Police units that patrol the harbor were already in the area conducting a drill and quickly rescued the pilot and his passengers, who were standing on or clinging to the helicopter's pontoons when the boats arrived, Inspector Michael Coan said.

Everyone was taken to the hospital as a precaution. Six were able to walk; one woman was exposed to helicopter fuel and another nearly drowned before she could be rescued, authorities said.

A second woman had water in her lungs and was hospitalized in critical condition, officials said.

Arizona

Bankruptcy judge OKs church settlement

A bankruptcy judge approved 30 clergy sex abuse settlement claims Tuesday against the Diocese of Tucson. Nearly $9.8 million would be paid in an initial distribution.

The 30 cases involving 25 sex abuse victims and five parents drove the diocese to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last September shortly after the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., became the first in the nation to do so.

Creditors must approve the plan; U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Marlar, who approved the settlement, would then have to confirm it, possibly next month.

Twenty-five of the claimants would receive amounts ranging from $200,000 to $600,000 each. The other victims would receive at least $200,000.

Five parents of victims would receive $21,250 or $30,000 each.

Three Yuma brothers say they were raped repeatedly by the Rev. Juan Guillen, a priest who pleaded guilty in 2003 to attempted child molestation and is serving a 10-year prison sentence.

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