News Flash – 21 September 2018

National News



Flyers say crew, pilots were silent during mid-air terror


Mumbai: The switch that works the crucial air-conditioning in the pressurized aircraft cabin is usually kept on. “Omission of such vital items after takeoff checklist, such as putting engine bleeds on, is sheer negligence of standard operating procedure which could have led to a major emergency if both the pilots had also suffered an ear injury, like some of the passengers, said a senior pilot, referring to the Jet Airways Jaipur flight that had to return to the city after cabin pressure anomaly led to nose and ear bleed among passengers. Ankur Gala, 38, one of the five passengers taken to Nanavati hospital, had bloodstains on his trousers. “It felt like a pin was being pierced into both my ears. Passengers were in a state of shock,” said Gala. “After the oxygen masks fell, there was no announcement or any instruction from the crew. I put on the mask, but blood from my nose collected into the mask and dripped onto my clothes,” he added. Dr. Rajendra Patankar, COO, Nanavati Hospital, said they received five patients from the airport around noon. “They have suffered barotrauma with bleeding from nose and/or ear. All patients are advised to avoid air travel for at least a week”. Social media was abuzz with videos and pictures put up by passengers about the ordeal. Some of the passengers who finally arrived in Jaipur at 12.30pm were shocked that flying could be so terrifying.


“I was experiencing pain in my nose and ears and I thought it could be my problem only, though I have been a frequent flyer. Thereafter, I saw the passenger next to me bleeding from the nose. Suddenly oxygen masks came down. Shockingly, neither the cabin crew nor the captain made any announcement,” said Prashant Sharma. The 11-year-old Boeing 737 operating Jet flight 9W69 lifted off from Mumbai airport at 6.12am. Aircraft climb at a rate of about 1,500 feet per minute and so the Jet aircraft would have crossed 10,000 feet within five-six minutes, when the cabin altitude aural warning would have gone off. “The pilots must have turned on the bleed air switch following the warning which comes on at 10,000 feet. The pressurization system would have rapidly brought down the pressure to one-sixth of aircraft altitude, that is 1,500 feet. It could have caused the bleeding,’’ explained a commander. Another possibility for the bleeding is the rapid rate of climb after takeoff when the pressurization system was off. Earaches during flights are linked to Eustachian tube dysfunction. This tube, which runs from the back of the nose to the middle of the ear, helps regulate pressure on both sides of the eardrum. Dr. Hetal Marfatia, the KEM ENT head, said: “However, in patients with a cold or infection, the muscles of the Eustachian tube fail to open and close adequately and thereby fail to maintain equal pressure, leading to earaches,” she said.



IMD issues cyclone alert for Odisha, Andhra Pradesh



Bhubaneswar: As a cyclonic storm threatened to hit the south Odisha coast around midnight on Thursday, CM Naveen Patnaik asked officials in five coastal districts to ensure “zero casualty” and “keep adequate relief material”. Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Nayagarh and Khurda districts, all situated along the coast, have been on red alert since Wednesday. In a special bulletin on Thursday morning, the India Meteorological Department warned that a deep depression in the west-central Bay of Bengal was likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm and move west northwestwards and cross south Odisha north Andhra Pradesh coast between Kalingapatnam and Puri, close to Gopalpur.



Railways to install CCTV cameras at manned crossings



New Delhi: After the recent incident of a railway employee getting attacked at a manned crossing near Sonipat by local miscreants, the Delhi division of Northern Railways plans to install CCTV cameras at all manned crossings that fall under their jurisdiction. According to railway officials, twenty-four ‘vulnerable’ points have been identified across the network where both security deployment and CCTV coverage will take place to provide extra security to employees. R N Singh, divisional railway manager of Northern Railways said CCTV cameras have already been installed at the crossing where railway employee, Kundan Pathak, was attacked by unknown assailants on Monday. The incident had taken place at gate number 19 between Narela and Rathdana station near Sonipat where the assailants chopped both the arms of the gateman and also attacked his companion before fleeing.


“The location where the incident took place has already been covered by CCTV surveillance and we are now looking to cover 24 more crossings under our network. Initially, these locations have been chosen since they are in vulnerable spots. The idea is to cover as many manned crossings as possible,” said Singh. The railway employee attacked has since then undergone a successful operation and his limbs have been reattached, railway officials said. Northern Railways is bearing the medical expenses of the victims. “Both victims are recovering well and doctors have said that they are going to be fine,” said a railway official. Officials have written to Haryana police and the chief secretary to provide extra security at these locations as it is a law and order scenario.



Aviation ministry orders safety audit of all airlines & airports


New Delhi: Civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday ordered a safety audit of all scheduled airlines and airports, amid recent incidents related to safety of passengers. The development assumes significance as it comes on a day when at least 30 passengers on a Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Jaipur suffered nose and ear bleeding after the crew “forgot” to turn on a switch that controls cabin air pressure. The minister has also ordered a probe into the Jet Airways flight incident, which is being investigated by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), an official statement said. In recent times, there have been incidents of mid-air engine failures involving the Pratt and Whitney engine-powered Airbus A320 neo planes being operated by domestic budget carriers IndiGo and GoAir. The minister has directed officials concerned to prepare a comprehensive safety audit plan, which involves assessment of safety parameters of all scheduled airlines, aerodromes, flying training schools and MROs (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Organisations), the statement said. “The safety audit should be commenced forthwith and a report to this effect should be submitted within 30 days,” the statement added. Last month, Prabhu asked the DGCA to submit a report on the status of these planes.



17,000 cops to be deployed for Ganesh immersion Bandobust


Hyderabad: Over 17,000 policemen will be deployed for final procession of Ganesh idols for immersion on Sunday. Apart from 13 units of Greyhounds, two units of Octopus will also be part of bandobust. Around 14,500 idols from Hyderabad, Rachakonda, Cyberabad commissionerates and Ranga Reddy district are expected to be immersed in Hussainsagar. In two days, 35% of idols have been immersed. Forces of all units of Hyderabad police have been pressed into service. Emergency response teams like Vajra vehicle, gas squad, water cannon and QRT will also be stationed at strategic locations and immersion points. Police identified 310 hyper-sensitive and 605 sensitive places where nearly 410 mobile parties will be deployed for smooth conduct of Ganesh immersion. The City Security Wing of Hyderabad police will deploy 16 bomb disposal teams, two access control teams at important pandals and temples. They will be equipped with prodder, deep search mine detector, undercarriage mirror and explosive detector. The anti-sabotage teams will be using the services of 22 sniffer dogs.


Total 51 static cranes will be stationed at NTR Marg, Tank Bund, Minister’s Road and Rajanna Bowli. Nearly 81 watchtowers, 82 mobile toilets, 15 ambulances, two medical teams and 15 fire tenders will also be stationed at important and strategic junctions. According to police, wine shops and bars attached to restaurants (excluding bars in star hotels and registered clubs) will be closed from 6am on Sunday to 6pm on Monday. The main procession will start at Keshavagiri to Hussainsagar via Chandrayangutta, Charminar, MJ Market, Abids and Basheerbagh. Other processions coming from Balapur, Pahadi Sharif, Maheswaram, Mahankali of Rangareddy district will join the main procession at Keshavagiri. Another procession from Mehdipatnam will pass through Mallepally Crossoads and Bazarghat and join at MJ Market.



Water sprayed on fire may have spread blaze


Kolkata: The first four hours of firefighting at Bagri Market did more harm than good in containing the fire on early on Sunday, forensic officials implied on Thursday. According to them, the explosion of the deodorant cans in the makeshift stall outside the Bagri Market released inflammable propane and isobutene that are insoluble in water. Even the building housed several shops that stored deodorant cans. “These liquids float on the water. So the more water the firemen used to douse the blaze, the more the chemicals spread and so did the fire,” said a senior forensic official after completing a two-hour-twenty-minute long inspection of the fire-ravaged building on Thursday morning. Propane is a flammable hydrocarbon gas that is liquefied through pressurization and is mixed with other gases like butane and is used as a propellant in a deodorant can. A team of eight forensic officials came to the site around 12.30pm and headed straight to the seat of the fire – the electrical pole and a streetlight junction box, maintained by the electrical wing of KMC, outside Gate C of the market. The officials asked the DMG personnel to cut through the burnt junction box and collected samples and voltage readings from the box. They then took out the electrical meter from the store beside it that, too, was gutted in the fire.


“As per preliminary investigation, it looks like the fire started from the streetlight junction box. It looks like there was a sudden surge in voltage that caused an electrical fire, which set the makeshift stall afire and then spread to the market,” said the official. TOI was the first to point out the cause of fire. Officials said prima facie it appeared that the fire was accidental. “There is prima facie no evidence of any sabotage. But we need to inspect the samples in detail to finalize the cause and source of the fire,” said the official, adding samples have been collected from all floors. The officials, along with policemen and DMG personnel, then entered the Bagri Market through Gate G and inspected each of the six floors. “On day two of the fire, we could not enter the building due to the immense heat. But on Thursday, we found that the heat had subsided. However, there are still some portions where the temperature is hovering between 40°C and 50°C,” the official said. Officials said the combustible-gas detector showed there were elements of such gases still present in pockets. “Even a small spark is enough to cause a fire inside the market,” a source said. Meanwhile on Thursday, while cooling the building and looking for fire pockets, a 32-year-old fireman was injured after falling from the iron ladder inside a gutted shop on the second floor of the building. Animesh Biswas, the team leader of the Central Avenue fire station suffered rib injuries and was admitted at an Alipore hospital.



Thieves cash in on unguarded gates, disappear with Bagri goods


Cops have sealed the market gates, installed 16 CCTV cameras and set up an outpost to study the screens beaming CCTV images.



Kolkata: As traders try their best to salvage their goods from the fire-ravaged Bagri Market, thieves are apparently also hard at work, picking up almost anything and everything they could lay their hands on and shoving them in sacks before fleeing the gutted wholesale mart. The Burrabazar police station has registered at least one complaint from a trader about theft from his semi-destroyed shop, while several businessmen have sent across verbal petitions, asking for protection against stealing. “Since the day the fire broke out, several outsiders have gained entry into the market and especially since Tuesday, thieves have been disappearing with stocks from the shops. We ourselves caught a few and handed them over to the cops. They were a band of men from Ghutiary Sharif in South 24 Parganas, who were stacking materials from semi-damaged shops in their sacks and fleeing. We pleaded before the cops to help us prevent theft,” said Harish Agarwal, a shop owner on the first floor of the market. Ever since the fire broke out, the market gates have remained unguarded at night, and anyone could enter and leave on the pretext of “checking his shop”. “That allowed the entry of several thieves. They targeted everything, from boxes of pens to body oils to sunglasses.


We did catch a few but several items from multiple stores have been looted. We had asked the commissioner of police to take immediate action,” another trader said. Acting on the complaints, cops sealed the gates with tapes from Thursday night and installed CCTV cameras at each of the six gates and the staircases of each floor. A temporary police outpost has even been set up at an empty store on the ground floor of the market, facing Amartalla Lane, where cops have been keeping a close watch on the screens beaming images from the 16 CCTV cameras at the market. A senior officer at Lalbazar added the cameras would also help them prevent any rumours, many of which have been doing the rounds over the past couple of days. “First, there was a rumour about two local boys starting the fire. Then, there was a rumour that several litres of oil and diesel stacked inside the market had fueled the fire, and then, there were complaints of theft. So, we thought it would be best to install CCTV cameras,” said the officer.



Man stabbed, robbed at Station in Triplicane



Chennai: A man, who was waiting for a train at the Thiruvallikeni MRTS railway station was attacked with a knife by three unidentified men who snatched his cellphone and cash on Wednesday night. Police said Rajendran Kasinathan, 52, of Pudukkottai, visited Marina Beach and went to the station around 10.30pm. He was waiting on platform two to take a train to the Beach station from where he had planned to catch a bus to Anna Nagar. Kasinathan told police that a man in his mid-30s approached him and demanded money. When he refused, the man attacked him. But Kasinathan overpowered the assailant and pushed him away. However, two men, who were standing at a distance, ran towards him and attacked Kasinathan with a knife. They snatched his cellphone and Rs 1,000 in cash and fled the scene. Kasinathan told police that he thought the two men would come to his rescue, but he was shocked to find out that they were part of the gang. With no CCTV inside the station, police have few clues on the attackers. An inspector with Government Railway Police said there were no RPF personnel at the station due to staff crunch. “We clubbed the remaining personnel and posted them at Lighthouse station,” the officer said. “The assailants did not wear masks. He has provided some information to the police about the three men,” said an officer. Rajendran, who works at a mess in Anna Nagar, has been admitted to the Royapettah Government Hospital for treatment. In a similar incident last year, the station manager of Chepauk MRTS station, B Suresh, 56, was robbed of a high-end mobile phone. A man in his 20s slid down a pole near the elevated tracks and fled the desolated station in that incident.



International News



Shooting at US drugstore distribution centre, 3 killed



Washington: An unidentified assailant opened fire on Thursday at a warehouse complex north of Baltimore, killing and wounding multiple people in the latest US mass shooting, authorities said. There were reports that the incident was a rare mass shooting by a woman, but police would not confirm the gender of the attacker, merely reporting that they were in a critical condition at a local hospital. “I can confirm multiple wounded and multiple fatalities,” Jeffrey Gahler, the sheriff of Harford County, Maryland, told reporters. US media said three people were killed and two others wounded in the incident, which unfolded around 9am local time (1300 GMT) at a distribution center for the Rite Aid drugstore chain. Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital spokesman Raymond Fang said four adults had been brought in with gunshot wounds, according to local station WBAL-TV. Other victims were taken to Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware, it said. “The lone suspect in this incident is in custody and in critical condition at a local hospital,” Gahler said.

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