Entries in Bahamas (6)


Woman Missing from Celebration Cruise Ship

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- A Canadian woman has vanished from a Celebration line cruise somewhere between Grand Bahama and the Florida coast, according to police and the FBI.

The woman "was reported missing by her boyfriend at 8 a.m. today," said Charles Kinnear, president of the Celebration Cruise Line, in a news conference Wednesday.

Neither the missing woman, said to be in her mid-40s, nor her boyfriend have been named.

The boyfriend told authorities he'd last seen the missing woman at the ship's gift shop before heading to the casino at around 1 a.m. Tired, he then decided to go to sleep.

The ship docked at the Port of Palm Beach in Riviera Beach, Fla., at 7 a.m.

When the boyfriend awoke, he searched the ship. At around 8 a.m., he alerted the ship's crew, which along with the Coast Guard launched a full search of the ship for the woman.

No trace of the missing woman has been found.

"We've given [investigators] our complete track from when we left Grand Bahama last night, every position that we took during the evening," Kinnear said. "We're still hoping for the best -- that somehow she snuck off the vessel or she is still hiding somewhere."

Two searches occurred -- once the ship reached port in Riviera Beach and as the ship's passengers began to disembark. The ship has a capacity for 2,000 passengers, according to Celebration Cruise Line.

The FBI, which is leading the investigation, told ABC News it had nothing further to report.

Adding to the mystery, the Coast Guard and customs officials believe the woman was on the ship when it left Freeport, in the Grand Bahamas, at around 8 p.m. Tuesday night, because every passenger must swipe a card to get on or off the ship.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pair Survives Plane Crash at Sea En Route to Charity Mission in Haiti

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- A father and daughter from Alabama are continuing on with their medical mission in Haiti after surviving a harrowing plane crash off the coast of Florida while en route to the island nation.

Dr. Richard McGlaughlin, 59, and his 25-year-old daughter, Elaine McGlaughlin, departed from their home near Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday for a planned stop in Miami, before continuing on to Haiti.  Just one hour after the pair took off from Miami, however, trouble struck in their small plane, forcing Dr. McGlaughlin, the pilot, to send a distress signal to Coast Guard officials that their single-engine jet was going down.

Quickly coming to their aid were two Coast Guard lieutenants, who happened to be on a cargo mission nearby and raced to the plane’s location, just off the coast of Andros Island in the Bahamas. The Coast Guard also deployed a HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft from Miami to find the McGlaughlin’s airplane.

Mechanical failure had caused the engine to stop, something both father and daughter could see from their perches on board the plane.

The McGlaughlins relied on the plane’s parachute to descend into the ocean, but at a descent of about 25 miles per hour.  Once the two hit the water, they faced the risk of drowning as the water in the plane rose around them.

The doctor and his daughter managed to make it out onto one of the plane’s wings, and then into an emergency inflatable raft stored on the plane.  Minutes later, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter deployed from Clearwater by the Coast Guard began to circle overhead.

Video shot by the Coast Guard shows the tail and wing of their plane sticking up out of the water, along with the plane’s parachute that saved their lives.

Coast Guard officials were able to hoist the two up out of the water and safely into the helicopter, with no injuries reported.  The pair were then flown to Odyssey Airport in Nassau, Bahamas.

Despite the scare, the incident wasn't enough to keep McGlaughlin and his daughter from going to Haiti; they departed Monday morning to the country.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Barefoot Bandit’ Gets More than 7 Years for Crime Spree

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- “Barefoot Bandit” Colton Harris-Moore was sentenced to more than seven years in prison this week on 33 charges related to stolen planes, boats, cars, weapons and other items.

Harris-Moore, 20,  who repeatedly eluded police until he was finally caught in the Bahamas in July 2010, was sentenced on Friday.

The terms of Harris-Moore’s plea-bargain prevents him from directly profiting from the upcoming film.

Instead, his share will go to his victims, which is partly why Judge Vickie Churchill didn’t sentence him to the 10 years prosecutors sought.

“I will impose the lower end of the standard,” Churchill said.

She also cited what she described as his remorse, and a childhood that his attorneys said was marred by abuse, including prenatal alcohol syndrome and his mother allegedly telling him she wished he’d been born dead.

However, Harris-Moore’s victims were not so forgiving.

“A lot of us had bad childhoods, right? And we didn’t turn into criminals over it,” said Lori Free, one in a flurry of victims spread across three Washington counties and into Canada.

“These people that think he’s a hero, they’ve obviously never been violated by something like this,” said victim Robert Gleyre, who said his wife feels unsafe since Harris-Moore broke into their home and stole a handgun and other items.

Harris-Moore returns to court in January to face federal charges related to his crimes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hurricane Irene Sends Tens of Thousands Fleeing the Coast

NOAA/National Weather Service/ National Hurricane CenterUPDATE: Hurricane Irene was downgraded early Friday morning to a category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph.

(KITTY HAWK, N.C.) -- The exodus from the North Carolina coast has begun and on Thursday night it was a slow motion, bumper to bumper march inland as tens of thousands heeded warnings to get out of the way of Hurricane Irene.

Gas stations are running out of fuel, ATM's are out of cash and one woman was out of a very special night.

"The TV showed the mandatory evacuation and I burst into tears," said Melissa Cook, who was supposed to get married this weekend.  "Everything I had planned and dreamed about."

Hurricane Irene's wave of disappointment also affected beach goers in South Carolina.  Police closed the beaches to swimming after six swimmers were rescued from rip currents caused by the massive storm.

As Irene -- a category 3 hurricane then with 115 mph winds -- blasted through the Bahamas, the U.S. began bracing for the storm's worst.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, under President Obama's direction, contacted East Coast mayors and governors potentially in Irene's path.  Later, she and FEMA director Craig Fugate held a conference call with state, local, and tribal officials on planning for the storm.

"Given the unpredictability of these storms, we are currently planning for several scenarios, including potential impacts to major metro areas and critical infrastructure," Napolitano said in a Department of Homeland Security news release.

Evacuation orders were issued along the coast of North Carolina Thursday in Dare, Currituck and Cateret counties.  There are 180,000 people just in Dare County, and another 150,000 people were told to get out of Ocean City, Maryland.

A state of emergency was declared in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg said police are deploying more than 80 boats around the city as well as several helicopters to prepare for emergencies.  City hospitals have tested their emergency generators, and the city's airports are stockpiling diapers, cots, blankets, pillow and bottles of water.

Fearing Irene's wrath, Amtrak announced it is canceling all train service south of Washington D.C. for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Irene is traveling at 12 mph, making it a slow moving storm which will allow it to hover over an area, dump rain and batter it with ferocious winds for an expended period.  It is expected to slam into the North Carolina coast Saturday afternoon and then churn north along the coast as far as Boston.  She is expected to arrive in New York Sunday afternoon.

As the storm clears the Bahamas and continues over the warm water of the Atlantic, its wind speed is expected to strengthen and the size of the storm could increase to a category 4 with wind speeds of at least 131 mph.

Irene is expected to weaken somewhat as it claws its way up the coast, but will likely still be packing winds of 50 to 70 mph when it reaches New York City and Boston.  It is expected to dump six to 12 inches of rain on the Jersey shore, Long Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hurricane Watch Issued for North Carolina as Irene Inches Closer

NOAA/National Weather Service/National Hurricane Center(MIAMI) -- As Hurricane Irene continues to pound the Bahamas Thursday, moving across the northwestern part of the islands as it inches closer to the U.S., a hurricane watch has been issued for the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

"That means tropical storm and hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours," explains Dennis Feltgen, a spokesperson for the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami.  "The storm track right now would take it near or very, or along the portions of the East Coast during the later part of the weekend."

Projections show the category 3 hurricane could hit North Carolina by Saturday afternoon.  The NHC also says Irene could strengthen to a category 4 storm ahead of its expected U.S. landfall.

Adding to Irene's threat is its speed.

“Very important, this one on our forecast is moving slower by quite a bit than the average,” says NHC Director Bill Read.  “Storms usually move at 25-30 miles an hour by the time they get to the northeast.  We are only forecasting 15-20 miles per hour as it crosses the northeast.”

That means Irene could last longer, packing more rain and winds.

Evacuations are already underway in North Carolina and preparations are being made further up north.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the Office of Emergency Management to kick off operations in anticipation of Irene, which could arrive there on Sunday.  There has also been talk of evacuating some of the low-lying areas of New York City, mainly Brooklyn.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hurricane Irene Pounds Bahamas, Continues to Strengthen

NOAA/National Weather Service/National Hurricane CenterUPDATE: Hurricane Irene has been upgraded to a category 3 hurricane.

(MIAMI) -- Hurricane Irene is pounding the Southeastern Bahamas Wednesday morning and mustering strength as it continues on its projected path towards the Southern East Coast of the United States.

The storm is forecast to hit the Carolinas later this week, and by that time it may be a major hurricane.

Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Hurricane Center in Miami, says Irene's "maximum sustained winds are now 110 miles per hour with higher gusts," making the storm a "strong category 2 hurricane."  But that is expected to change.

"We do expect it to strengthen into a category 3 sometime today [Wednesday]," he says.

Feltgen advises residents along the Eastern coastline, "from South Carolina all the way up to Maine," to pay close attention to Irene.

He warns, "This is a large storm so even if the storm remained well off-shore we could possibly see some heavy rain and strong rains along the coastal sections of the mid-Atlantic states all the way up into New England."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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