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Pilot thanks kayakers who rescued him from small plane crash

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Brett Easter(KENT, Washington) — A bright yellow ultralight plane made an incredible crash water landing and two nearby kayakers were in the right place at the right time to save the pilot’s day.

Brett Easter took off from Norman Grier Field in Kent, Washington, on Monday unaware that he would have to make a quick maneuver to save his life.

The propellers stopped moving shortly after takeoff and Easter told ABC News affiliate KOMO that he looked for a clear place to land setting his sights on Lake Morton.

“At that point, you don’t know where the airplane is going,” he said. “I mean there are houses over here and no one deserves to pay for my engine failure

So Easter said he made a quick decision to land his plane on a lake and executed a perfect water landing.

But upon landing in the water, he got tangled in his jacket and became trapped in the 47-degree water.

Easter kicked ferociously for 10 minutes in an attempt to stay above water.

“I was totally expecting not to wake up from it,” he said.

Just as it seemed like all hope was lost, two good Samaritans appeared on a kayak and came to his aid.

“Robert was yelling at him, ‘Stay up, you’re going to be okay, this isn’t your day. Not today,'” Lori Jurek told ABC News.

Robert Thomas said that they watched the plane go down and paddled over to the scene. They helped Easter keep his head above water while a canoe brought them back to shore.

“I just jumped in and was paddling as fast as I could and I’m turning 60 this month, so it wasn’t as easy as it used to be,” Lori said.

“Everything worked perfectly for him to survive this,” Thomas added. “The day, the time, everything.”

The young pilot spent a night at the hospital, according to KOMO, but still had water in his lungs when he was released.

Despite the turbulent start with his new aircraft, Easter said it won’t keep him down.

“I’m definitely not done flying. It’s not gonna keep me out of the sky. One engine failure’s not gonna do it for me,” he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Killing of two California high school students took just 16 seconds: Official

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carlballou/iStock(SANTA CLARITA, Calif.) — What should have been a normal Thursday spiraled into a nightmare for students and teachers at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California, north of Los Angeles.

A male student, on his 16th birthday, was in the school’s quad around 7:30 a.m. when he took a pistol from his backpack and unloaded the entire magazine, shooting five classmates and himself.

“From the time that he withdrew the handgun from his backpack to the time that he was on the ground with a gunshot wound to his head was about 16 seconds,” Capt. Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told reporters late Thursday.

Choir teacher Kaitlin Holt said one girl, shot in the hip and shoulder, was rushed into her classroom by other students. She gave the wounded student first aid and called 911.

“I’m not typically a calm person,” Holt told ABC News, “but in that situation, for my students, I think that kind of kicks in.”

Two of the five victims, a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, died in the hospital a few hours later.

Now, as the community wades through the chaos and grief, authorities are desperate for answers.

“We have not yet established a motive or a nexus between the subject and his victims other than to say that they were all students at the high school together,” Wegener said.

The suspect remains in the hospital in critical condition from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, authorities said.

The three surviving victims are a 15-year-old girl, a 14-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, who are all in stable condition.

First responders arrived on scene just minutes after receiving the initial 911 call. The six wounded students were transported to local hospitals, according to authorities.

The William S. Hart Union High School District, which includes Saugus High School, canceled Friday classes at all of its schools in the wake of the attack.

A .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol was recovered from the crime scene, and investigators have served a search warrant at the suspect’s family home in Santa Clarita, just a couple miles from the school.

As authorities search for a possible motive, there’s no evidence so far to suggest the suspect acted on behalf of a group or with any co-conspirators.

Investigators were alerted to a social media page after the shooting that purportedly belongs to the suspect and contained a post that read, “Saugus have fun at school tomorrow.”

“I can confirm that that was posted to his account, and I can also confirm that it has been changed since this incident, which means there is somebody else that has access to this account — be it a hacker, be it a friend that has his password,” Wegener told reporters. “That was posted at one point. We are aware of it and we are researching the source, when it was posted and when it was taken down.”

The suspect’s mother and girlfriend are both speaking with detectives, according to authorities.

Many students and their families, overcome with emotion, congregated at vigils Thursday night, where they held a moment of silence for the victims, prayed and embraced each other.

Jeff Turner, a father of three Saugus High School students, said his daughter “was beside herself, hysterical” after she fled the school because she “thought she should have stayed and helped the kids she saw shot, feeling terrified and guilty all at once.”

“I broke down in tears,” Turner told ABC News. “Had to pull myself out of it to help her.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Temperature whiplash as cold returns to Northeast, coastal storm brings heavy rain

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ABC News(NEW YORK) — It’s a temperature whiplash, from record cold this week, to mild weather Friday, then back into the freezer Saturday as millions experience a temperature roller-coaster.

We start out mild for most of the Eastern U.S. Friday, with every major city above freezing in the Midwest. Even Minneapolis and Chicago will be near 40 degrees, with 50 degree temps from Kansas City to New York City and Boston.

Then a dose of Arctic air is aimed at the Northeast for Saturday. Temperatures will plummet below freezing again, and with wind it will feel like it’s again in the single digits, with teens and 20s from Boston to New York and even Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, a coastal storm will be developing Friday in the Carolinas with heavy rain stretching from Georgia to North Carolina. Gusty winds up to 65 mph are possible and some areas could see up to 4-6″ of rain, with localized flash flooding possible.

By Saturday evening, the storm system will slowly crawl near the Carolina coast, continuing to bring very heavy rain and gusty winds. Flash flooding will be possible in the coastal Carolinas.

Then by Sunday late afternoon and into the evening hours, the coastal storm will really strengthen off the Virginia coast and will bring gusty winds and rain from the coastal Mid-Atlantic to eastern New England.

Northeast cities that will see this nasty weather will include Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

Further inland, from the Poconos to the Catskills and into higher elevations of eastern New England, some of the rain could freeze on contact and become freezing rain, which will produce treacherous road conditions Sunday night.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Five arrested in connection with deadly shooting at Airbnb Halloween party

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Craig Cannon(SAN FRANCISCO) — Police have arrested five suspects in the Halloween shooting at a California Airbnb that left five partygoers dead.

The arrests came during a coordinated police operation in four Northern California cities, reported San Francisco ABC station KGO-TV.

Five partygoers were killed on Halloween night at a house in the affluent town of Orinda, just east of Berkeley, that had been rented through Airbnb. The owner of the home told the San Francisco Chronicle that he had rented out the house to a woman who told him she was planning to have a family reunion for about a dozen people.

Instead, authorities said that upwards of 100 partygoers fled the house in panic after shots rang out. One witness told the Chronicle that most of the party’s attendees were college students.

The Contra Costa Sheriffs Office confirmed to KGO the arrest of five men between 20 and 20 years old in connection with the shootings. Four of the men were being held without bail on murder and conspiracy charges, while one was being held as an accessory.

Contra Costa County sheriff David Livingston said Thursday that two of the victims at the party were themselves armed, which he said may have “played a role in the tragedy,” according to KGO.

Orinda Mayor Inga Miller told KGO she was relieved that police were making progress in the case.

“I think in this time of uncertainty, people feel fear, they feel many emotions,” Miller said. “They feel sadness for the victims in this case, and fear for a shooting anywhere.”

Following the shooting, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said that the company would increase efforts to “combat unauthorized parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduct.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

US plane crash fatalities increased in 2018, NTSB says

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Joe Marcus/Twitter(NEW YORK) — The number of people killed in plane crashes in the U.S. increased by about 13% in 2018, according to data released by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Civil aviation fatalities rose from 347 in 2017 to 393 in 2018, NTSB officials said. The increase means that, on average, there was at least one aviation death per day in 2018.

The death toll included Jennifer Riordan, the first commercial airline passenger killed in the U.S. in nine years.

The overwhelming majority of aviation fatalities involve small, private airplanes, and not large commercial airliners. But on April 17, 2018, Riordan died on Southwest flight 1380 after shrapnel from the engine broke the window next to her seat and she was partially sucked out of the aircraft.

Other passengers pulled her back into the cabin and tried unsuccessfully to perform CPR.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are around three small plane crashes in the U.S. per day.

In 2018, 46 more people were killed in aviation accidents than the year before, leading the fatal accident rate to rise above 1 per 100,000 flight hours for the first time in two years.

“It is disappointing to see the fatal general aviation accident rate increase after two years with the rate below 1 per 100,000 flight hours,” NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said in a statement.

NTSB officials said the statistics do not point to a specific reason for the increase in aviation fatalities, but that they are committed to addressing and highlighting any safety related issues.

On Tuesday, the NTSB is expected to hold a board meeting to determine the probable cause of the engine failure that led to Riordan’s death on Southwest flight 1380.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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