One tourist is dead and two others seriously injured after a plane operated by flightseeing company Pacific Wings crashed into a mountain lake in southeast Alaska on Tuesday, USA Today reports.
According to the news outlet, six cruisers visiting Alaska on Lindblad Expeditions' National Geographic Sea Bird were off on a shore excursion when the tiny, single-engine floatplane similar to the one pictured above went down in a remote area near the town of Petersburg. Alaska state troopers identified the dead passenger as 66-year-old Thomas Rising, whose wife had remained on board the ship while he took the flight alone. The other five tourists, all of whom survived along with the pilot, were members of the same family. One passenger suffered a broken back and another a broken leg, with the others reporting minor injuries.
Alaska Daily News writes there are no early indications as to what caused the crash, but a spokesperson from Lindblad tells the news outlet the company "clearly [has] concerns after an accident like this." Currently, Pacific Wings is the only airline offering this type of service for Lindblad out of Petersburg.
Starting this summer, the National Park Service (NPS) won't just serve up greasy cheeseburgers with a side of fries. A new initiative is bringing healthy, sustainable options to snack bars and restaurants inside parks across the country.
Camp staples like hot dogs and summer favorites like ice cream will remain on many menus, but additions like fish tacos, lentil soup, black bean sliders, yogurt parfaits and organic bakery items will give visitors healthier choices. In addition to offering a wider range of options, the NPS is also encouraging concessioners to work with local farms whenever possible.
"There is no reason that you should have to take a vacation from eating well when you visit a national park," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, who spearheaded the move to raise the bar on food standards and sustainable food guidelines, in a press release.
It makes sense that the NPS is responding to growing consumer demand for healthy food, especially in parks where people are hiking, biking and otherwise being active. Kids might not be happy about substituting their french fries for vegetables and fruit (which according to USA Today they can do at the Grand Canyon South Rim), but the new menus will make trips to parks a healthier, happier experience for everyone.
Earlier this year we heard that climate change may be creating more turbulent flights as weather patterns shift. We may be seeing the results of that shift already.
Flight crew members and passengers on board a Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore to London saw only clear, blue skies when suddenly the plane plunged 65 feet, causing cups of coffee to splatter on the roof and leaving a chaotic mess of food, pillows, cutlery and more in the aisle.
Passenger Alan Cross told the Mirror the turbulence felt "like being in an elevator with a cut cable or free-falling from some amusement park ride," and another passenger told the news outlet everything that was not tied down - including people - hit the ceiling.
According to many reports, the plane was shook up by clean-air turbulence, a phenomenon caused when bodies of air moving at widely different speeds meet. Scientists have warned global warming could cause passengers to face more turbulent times ahead. Earlier this year in a report published by The Guardian, scientists projected that the frequency of turbulence on flights between Europe and North America will double by 2050 and increase intensity by 10-40 percent.
In the case of the Singapore Airlines flight, 11 passengers and one crew member suffered minor injuries. To prevent further injuries, staff placed blankets over the shattered glass and general mess in the aisles until it was completely cleaned up. Although incidents like this seem extraordinary, they do occur with some regularities, so always remember to keep your seatbelts fastened - even if the light is off.
Today's Video of the Day takes us to several famous locations around the world, where prankster Roman Atwood demonstrates the power of the yawn. Outside of landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Mount Rushmore and Stonehenge, Atwood walks by tourists while stretching and yawning, causing them to do the same. Let's just hope he took the time to actually enjoy all the places in the background of these clips and didn't just sleepily pass through.
The strict environmental regulations of the Galapagos Islands make it one of the most protected places in the world. The islands are so sacred that when you fly in, flight attendants spray the overhead bins in planes to make sure passengers aren't transporting any non-native insects. So when park authorities discovered Celebrity Cruises was transporting frozen lobster out of season, what they consider to be a violation, they temporarily revoked the company's permit to cruise through the islands.
In a statement, the cruise line says they were cited "for transportation and storage of 12 kilograms of frozen lobster tails in the Galapagos." A spokesperson tells USA Today, the cruise line has paperwork to prove the lobster was purchased in the Galapagos from authorized sellers during the lobster season, but the problem is they were in possession of the lobster tail out of season. The Celebrity Xpedition's June 2 sailing was canceled, and additional sailings could be impacted.
Celebrity is providing full refunds, including airfare, to affected passengers, plus a cruise credit offering 50 percent off a future cruise. The company anticipates their license will be restored shortly, and said they are committed to complying with the rules and regulations of the Galapagos.
If you consider yourself to be a tech- and design-savvy traveler, Marriott International will soon have a new batch of domestic hotels just for you. The company today announced plans to introduce a chain specifically targeting Millennial, or those born in the 1980s to the early 2000s, to the United States.
Marriott plans to import the AC Hotels by Marriott, an already established hotel chain with 79 properties and 9,000 rooms in Europe, to the U.S. According to Marriott research, Generation X and Y travelers spend $34 billion on hotel rooms a year, and these travelers are unique because they desire to stay constantly connected through social media. This means Millennial not only want comfortable, modern business centers to work in, but they also have a desire to seek out unique and local amenities, among other needs.
This isn't the first attempt Marriott has made to tap into this lucrative market. The company also recently announced a partnership with IKEA, a Swedish furniture company, to launch a budget chain in Europe called Moxy.
More and more often, ads are showing up in unlikely places. Soon, grocery store shoppers will find a tiny ad promoting tourism to Ecuador in a curious place: on each of the 24 million tons of bananas that are exported from the country each year.
Skift first broke the news about the new campaign, what the Ministry of Tourism in Ecuador is calling the "Banana Ambassador" program. Workers in Ecuador will affix tiny stickers with the colorful tourism logo and an accompanying QR code on bananas, just the same as other stickers that are placed on the front of the fruit in the past. The idea is that, hopefully, curious breakfast eaters will scan the code and be connected to a promotional video and tourism site, eventually increasing the numbers of tourists to the tiny country.
Although, as Rafat Ali of Skift points out, QR usage in general is low and the program might have little effect on intent to travel, at least now people will be more aware of where their food comes from. Ecuador is the largest exporter of bananas in the world, sending just as many bananas as the next three largest exporters - Costa Rica, Colombia and the Philippines - combined, accounting for 29 percent of the world's total exported bananas. And in case you're curious about those pre-export prices, bananas cost about 10 cents each in Ecuador.
Rail travelers in Germany should exercise caution when using automatic ticket machines because criminals attempting to break into the machines may have left them filled with explosive gas, the Associated Press reports.
According to the news outlet, criminals have successfully blown up 10 of Deutsche Bahn's automatic ticket machines since April. To break into the machines, the thieves cover all openings with tape, fill the machines with gas and then ignite it. Although the goal is to tap the machines of money and blank tickets, there have been at least six cases where attempts have failed, leaving the explosive gas inside.
Hesse state police spokesman Udo Buehler told AP there is potential that the gas could ignite when an unsuspecting customer uses the machine, but so far no such incidents have been reported. Travelers should be cautious when getting train tickets in Germany and elsewhere, as copycat criminals could pop up anywhere.
Disney faced two security scares this week, first when Disneyland's Toontown was evacuated after dry ice caused an "explosion" in a trash can, and later when a grandmother on a ride in Disney World's Animal Kingdom found a loaded gun on her seat.
On Tuesday at Anaheim, California's Disneyland, it seems someone put a sealed plastic bottle containing dry ice in a trash can that ended up making a loud noise (described by one visitor as sounding "louder than a gunshot") and releasing water vapor, the Associated Press reports. The area where the trash can was located was evacuated for approximately two hours, and USA Today writes an employee has since been arrested on suspicion of being the culprit.
In the second incident, which happened on Wednesday in Disney World's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, a woman on the Dinosaur ride with her grandson found a loaded Cobra .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol on her seat and turned it over to a park attendant, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Moments later, the patron who brought the gun in realized it was missing and apologetically explained he "didn't know Disney World patrons weren't allowed to bring guns," Associated Press reports.
Although the visitor in the last instance has a concealed weapons permit, Disney prohibits patrons from bringing weapons of any kind on its property. Park security does check bags, but patrons do not walk through metal detectors and are not subject to pat-downs - at least for now, that is. These two incidents will surely raise questions about what park security does to keep patrons safe in Disney's parks.