Review Category : National News

Virgin Galctic Founder Sir Richard Branson Admits ‘We Fell Short’

Virgin Galactic(MOJAVE, Calif.) — Virgin Galctic founder Sir Richard Branson said Saturday the company “fell short” when its space tourism rocket ship broke apart during a test flight, killing one pilot and injuring another, but said the team would learn from the crash and “push on.”

“In testing the boundaries of human capabilities and technologies, we are standing on the shoulders of giants,” he said. “Yesterday, we fell short.”

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo broke apart Friday after being released from a carrier aircraft at high altitude over the Mojave Desert. One pilot was found dead inside the wreckage and another parachuted out and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

“We are not going to push on blindly,” Branson said Saturday at the Mojave Air and Space Port. “We’re going to learn from what went wrong … discover how we can improve safety and performance.”

The crash happened during the spacecraft’s fourth test flight under rocket power.

“The dream of space travel will live on,” Branson said. “We would love to finish what we started some years ago.”

The prospects for commercial space travel should not be dismissed because of the incident Friday, he said, comparing it to commercial air travel.

“In the early days of aviation, there were incidents and then aviation became very safe,” he said. “In the early days of commercial space travel, there have been incidents and then we hope that one day, the test pilots will enable people to be able to go to space safely and that is our wish and desire.”

The National Transportation Safety Board began its investigation into the cause of the crash on Saturday.

At least a dozen investigators from the NTSB will examine the crash site, collect data, and interview witnesses, according to Christopher A. Hart, acting chairman for the NTSB.

Branson said that anyone who signed up for a chance at space travel, which costs as much as $250,000 per person, can have their money refunded.

Several hundred people have already bought seats on future space flights, including Ashton Kutcher, Lady Gaga, and Justin Bieber. But Branson said Virgin Galactic, his company developing private space flight, has not used any of the money.

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Saturday Marks One Year Since Deadly LAX Shooting

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Saturday marks one year since a gunman opened fire inside Los Angeles International Airport.

On November 1, 2013, a lone gunman carrying a semi-automatic rifle opened fire, killing Gerardo Hernandez, a TSA officer.

A year later, Marshall McClain, with the union representing LAX police officers, says not enough has been done to prevent a similar shooting.

“The chaos and confusion was happening at the management level and that still hasn’t been corrected at this point,” McClain said.

LA World Airports Police Chief Patrick Gannon says, while improvements have been made, he “can’t guarantee that tomorrow somebody wouldn’t be able to come here and commit a violent act.”

A moment of silence was observed at airport checkpoints nationwide Saturday at 9:20 a.m. PT.

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Investigators Reviewing Video Footage of Virgin Galactic Spacecraft Crash

Virgin Galactic(MOJAVE, Calif.) — Federal accident investigators are reviewing Friday’s crash that destroyed Virgin Galactic’s prototype space tourism spaceship.

One person was killed and another was injured in the accident.

Speaking at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif. Saturday, acting National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Christopher Hart said investigators are sifting through the evidence– particularly video footage– looking for answers.

“That will make our job simpler and make us able to find out not only what happened, but also more importantly why it happened so we can make recommendations to try to prevent it from happening again,” Hart said. “We participated in the launches of the Challenger and the Columbia, but we, this will be the first time we have been in the lead of a space launch that involved persons on board.”

Hart said he is not sure if the spacecraft was equipped with a black box.

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Alabama Man Accused of Robbing Subways Because ‘Jared Diet’ Failed

iStock/Thinkstock(HUEYTOWN, Ala.) — Every successful diet involves exercise. Robbing restaurants probably doesn’t count.

Police in Hueytown, Alabama, arrested Zachary Torrance on Friday, saying he robbed four Subway restaurants over four days.

“He stated to the detective he had attempted the ‘Jared Diet’ and it didn’t work,” Police Chief Chuck Hagler said. “He felt like he should get his money back.”

Subway spokesman Jared Fogle made the diet famous, which was attributed to eating Subway sandwiches.

In a surveillance video posted on the Hueytown Police Department’s Facebook page, police say Torrance, 18, can be seen walking into a Subway restaurant on Wednesday, pulling out a gun and demanding that employees open the cash register. He stashed the cash in his pocket and walked away.

A man who recognized Torrance from the surveillance video saw him shopping for a gun holster at a Wal-Mart, wearing the same orange shoes he was wearing in the video, according to police.

Police have connected Torrance to other Subway robberies in the surrounding area, ABC News affiliate WJBF reports.

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Eleven Homes Evacuated After Rain-Induced Mudslide in California

iStock/Thinkstock(CAMARILLO Calif.) — Eleven homes were evacuated early Saturday morning after a rain-induced mudslide poured into a neighborhood in Camarillo, Calif.

Ventura County Fire Captain Mike Lindbery said, “they had some heavy rain flow. A lot of debris came off the hill and clogged some major drains. The mud and the water didn’t have any place to go, so it came up and over and down through a couple of houses.”

One man, who had been reported missing by his wife, was rescued after he was found partially buried.

“They were able to locate the husband buried up to his waist in mud near the front door,” Lindbery said. “They took a chainsaw, cut through the door.”

This was the first major storm of the California rainy season.

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Marine Reservist Jailed in Mexico Back on US Soil

Carline Jean/Sun Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A United States marine veteran is back in the country after spending nearly seven months behind bars in a Mexican prison.

Retired marine sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi says he took a wrong turn on the highway, winding up on the wrong side of the border, where he was later arrested on gun charges. Tahmooressi, a California native, was released from the Mexican jail on Friday.

U.S. Representative Ed Royce, R-Calif., tweeted Friday night, “Our Marine is home! Great to see Sgt. #Tahmooressi on American soil. He’s in good spirits. #BringBackOurMarine”

The 26-year-old veteran will likely undergo treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder from his two tours in Afghanistan. And despite his release, the Mexican judge has yet to rule on the weapons charges.

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Three Teenage Girls Killed by Hit-and-Run Driver on Halloween

iStock/Thinkstock(SANTA ANA, Calif.) — Police in Southern California are searching for a hit-and-run driver who struck and killed three teenage girls while they were trick-or-treating Friday night.

Santa Ana police say the victims, all 13-year-olds, were hit while in a crosswalk.

Two were killed instantly and the third died as paramedics prepared to take her to a hospital.

Wiytness Addie Ayala said, “Oh it was awful, awful, awful. Two girls were killed by impact. And one girl they worked on for a couple of minutes and she was – no response. They were crossing the street texting and they ran them over and just kept on going.”

“They were going like fifty miles an hour and drove into a nearby Big Lots, dropped off the car, and took off running,” Ayala added.

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Marine Reservist Jailed in Mexico Back on US Soil

Carline Jean/Sun Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A United States marine veteran is back in the country after spending nearly seven months behind bars in a Mexican prison.

Retired marine sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi says he took a wrong turn on the highway, winding up on the wrong side of the border, where he was later arrested on gun charges. Tahmooressi, a California native, was released from the Mexican jail on Friday.

U.S. Representative Ed Royce, R-Calif., tweeted Friday night, “Our Marine is home! Great to see Sgt. #Tahmooressi on American soil. He’s in good spirits. #BringBackOurMarine”

The 26-year-old veteran will likely undergo treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder from his two tours in Afghanistan. And despite his release, the Mexican judge has yet to rule on the weapons charges.

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Three Teenage Girls Killed by Hit-and-Run Driver on Halloween

iStock/Thinkstock(SANTA ANA, Calif.) — Police in Southern California are searching for a hit-and-run driver who struck and killed three teenage girls while they were trick-or-treating Friday night.

Santa Ana police say the victims, all 13-year-olds, were hit while in a crosswalk.

Two were killed instantly and the third died as paramedics prepared to take her to a hospital.

Wiytness Addie Ayala said, “Oh it was awful, awful, awful. Two girls were killed by impact. And one girl they worked on for a couple of minutes and she was – no response. They were crossing the street texting and they ran them over and just kept on going.”

“They were going like fifty miles an hour and drove into a nearby Big Lots, dropped off the car, and took off running,” Ayala added.

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Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, Teen Wounded in Washington School Shooting, Dies

Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images(MARYSVILLE, Wash.) — Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, 14, a victim in the shooting at a Washington state high school, died on Friday, officials at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett said. She was the fourth person to die in the shooting.

Two other students — Andrew Fryberg, 15, and Nate Hatch, 14, remain at Harborview Medical Center in critical condition. Hatch suffered a gunshot wound to his jaw.

“Our hearts are broken at the passing of our beautiful daughter. Shay means everything to us. In Shay’s short life she has been a radiant light bringing us incredible joy and happiness. She has been a loving daughter, a caring sister, a devoted friend and a wonderful part of our community. We can’t imagine life without her,” the Chuckulnaskit family said in a statement released through the hospital.

Zoe Galasso, 14, died from the shooting a week ago. Gia Soriano, also 14, died Sunday at Providence Hospital.

Chuckulnaskit was critically injured in the shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington.

Authorities have identified the shooter as Jaylen Fryberg. Fryberg, 14 — who shot five people before killing himself inside the school — was a member of a prominent family in the Tulalip Tribes and, according to a tribe member, state Sen. John McCoy, he was highly regarded there.

“A lot of folks were considering him that he would move up the culture ranks and become a leader,” McCoy said. “He had that kind of charisma and raw talent.”

All the victims in the shooting were either relatives or friends of Fryberg’s, McCoy said. Two of the victims, Nate Hatch, 14, and Andrew Fryberg, 15, are relatives of the shooter, according to Hatch’s grandfather and a source within the Tulalip Tribes.

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