Entries in San Francisco (35)


Two Dead, 181 Injured After Plane Crashes at San Francisco Airport

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- An Asiana Airlines passenger jet crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, killing two people and injuring 181 others.

San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White described it as a "fluid situation" and said that "not everyone has yet to be accounted for."  She initially said that "upwards of 60 people were unaccounted for," but officials later said everyone had been accounted for.

The two passengers who died were 16-year-old girls from China, the San Mateo County coroner's office confirms. Wang Linjia and Ye Mengyuan were part of a student group from at Jiangshan Middle School in China's eastern Zhejiang province, according to Chinese news media reports. They were reportedly heading here to the Bay Area  to attend a Summer program. Their bodies were found on the runway.

The injured were being cared for at several hospitals and at least 22 were in critical condition.

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 originated in Shanghai, China, and had a stopover in Seoul, South Korea, before it crash landed on the runway in San Francisco.  

The Boeing 777 was carrying 291 passengers, including an infant, plus at least 16 crew members, according to the airline.  An Asiana Airlines official in Seoul told ABC News that 141 Chinese, 77 South Koreans and 61 U.S. citizens were on board.

Stephanie Turner saw the Asiana Airlines flight crash and said she was sure that she "had just seen a lot of people die."

Turner said that when she saw the plane preparing to land on the runway, it looked as if it was approaching at a strange angle.

"As we saw the approaching Asiana flight coming in, I noticed right away that the angle was wrong, that it was tilted too far back," she said.  "The angle didn't manage to straighten out and the tail broke off."

"It looked like the plane had completely broken apart," Turner said.  "The flames and smoke were just billowing."

Aerials of the crash, provided by ABC News' San Francisco station KGO-TV, showed the plane's tail severed from its body, as well as the majority of the aircraft's roof completely charred away.  One of the plane's wings appears to have snapped upon impact.  Debris from the crash landing was scattered across the airport's runway 28.

The San Francisco International Airport closed at approximately 1:10 p.m. as a result of the crash, according to the FAA website.

Some of the injured were taken to San Francisco General Hospital.

"We have burns, fractures and internal injuries," said hospital spokeswoman Rachel Kagan.

She said the hospital had also put out a call for its Korean speaking staff and translators to come to work.

A video posted on YouTube showed gray smoke billowing from the plane, which was lying on the runway on its fuselage.  Chutes had been deployed from the plane's emergency exits.

Law enforcement officials told ABC News that the crash appeared to be an accident, but that they were investigating.  The National Transportation Safety Board immediately sent a team of investigators to the crash site.

Investigators plan to collect the cockpit voice and data recorders from the plane, NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said at a news conference.

Hersman said the NTSB is working with Boeing, the FAA, as well as the Korean Air and Accident Investigation Board to investigate the crash.

The Boeing 777 is one of the safest airplanes in use, ABC News aviation analyst John Nance said.

"These airplanes are over the water, over the ocean all the time and Asiana has been running them for many years very successfully," Nance said.

Boeing issued a statement to ABC News on the news of the crash.

"Boeing extends its concern for the safety of those on board Asiana Airlines Flight 214," the company said.  "Boeing is preparing to provide technical assistance to the National Transportation Safety Board as it investigates the accident."

The last Boeing 777 to crash was a British Airways jet en route from Beijing to London's Heathrow airport, which crash landed short of the runway in January 2008.  There were no fatalities, but 47 people on board sustained injuries.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Potential BART Workers Strike Could Strand San Francisco Commuters

iStockphoto(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Nearly half a million commuters in the San Francisco Bay area could wind up beginning the work week stranded at the station if Bay Area Rapid Transit workers go on strike Sunday night.

Josie Mooney, a chief negotiator for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021, says there's a 95 percent chance her union, along with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1555, will go on strike after their contracts expire late Sunday. The two sides have been debating over issues involving wages, health and safety regulations and pension contributions.

The unions walked out on negotiations Saturday night. BART says they have a new proposal to give the union, but members need to come back to the table to receive it.

“We have a document, an offer, ready to make to them and we will deliver that. We will also review the document that they gave us and respond to it,” said BART spokesman Rick Rice.

Before they left, the Unions did say that the 400,000 BART riders should be prepared to find other modes of transportation to work come Monday morning. They gave commuters 72 hours warning of the potential strike. They were not required to give any warning by law.

The last time BART members decided to strike was 1997. That strike lasted six days.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Coast Guard: Missing Family Could Be Clinging to Life Ring, Cooler

ABC News(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The U.S. Coast Guard intensified its search Monday for a family of four, including two young children, who may be clinging to a life ring and a cooler off the Northern California coast after their sailboat took on water.

A distress call came into the Coast Guard Sunday afternoon that the 29-foot vessel, believed to be named Charmblow, was sinking in choppy waters.

The sailboat's failing electronics system was unable to provide the Coast Guard with clues to its exact location, which rescuers initially believed was 65 miles from Pillar Point, just south of San Francisco, Lt. Heather Lampert said.

After reviewing radio tapes and making new calculations, Lampert said the search effort Monday has been shifted slightly south to 65 miles off the coast of Monterey Bay.

The names of those on board and their destination were unknown, however the missing are believed to include a man and a woman, their 4-year-old son, and his cousin, Lampert said.

A National Weather Service advisory warning of strong winds and choppy waters in the San Francisco Bay Area had been in effect Sunday afternoon when the boat's operator first radioed the Coast Guard.

Lampert said the captain indicated at 4:20 p.m. that the sailboat was "taking on water" and the electronics system was failing.

At 5:30 p.m., the operator reported they were abandoning the sailboat, Lampert said.

After losing communication with the vessel, the Coast Guard sent an urgent broadcast to boaters in the area to be on the lookout.

Crews searched overnight by air and by sea, however they found no signs of the missing family.

"[There were] pretty rough conditions, especially without any lifesaving equipment," Lampert said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Politician Seeking to Rename San Francisco Airport for Harvey Milk

Comstock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- If six of the 11 San Francisco Board of Supervisors sign off on a ballot initiative to rename the city's current airport to the Harvey Milk San Francisco International Airport, they could be making history.

"We have not found any legislation nor was there ever an actual naming of an openly gay official for an airport," said Stuart Milk, Harvey Milk's nephew.  "Harvey never had a citywide election because he was elected to a supervisory district, so this has a real synergy to it that the people of San Francisco are going to be voting for Harvey Milk.  I think he would have loved that."

Harvey Milk was the city's first openly gay elected politician and a champion of gay and civil rights in the 1960s and '70s.  After serving for a mere 11 months as District 5 supervisor, former supervisor Dan White shot and killed Harvey and Mayor George Mascone on May 27, 1978, inside San Francisco City Hall.

As of Jan. 16, District 9 supervisor David Campos had the support of five from the Board of Supervisors, including his own.  Campos needs the support of one more to qualify for the majority six signatures needed to push the initiative onto the November ballot.  The legislation would be voted on as a charter amendment since the San Francisco Airport, more commonly known as SFO, is referenced within the charter of the city.

Campos said in the U.S. alone there are over eight airports named after individuals, and many more throughout the world.  But when he realized none of those airports featured the name of an LGBT person, he decided to act.

On Jan. 15, he formally introduced the initiative to the board, and the response was "very well received."  If the initiative passes in November, it will not only be a professional success but a personal victory for Campos.

"I believe as an openly gay man that we, as a community, have made contributions to a community like anyone else -- that someone, somewhere name an airport after someone in this community," said Campos.  "It seemed to me that San Francisco would be the right place.  If not in San Francisco, then where?"

SFO acting airport spokesman Doug Yakel said, "From the perspective of the airport, we don't have an opinion on the matter."

Yakel told ABC News during an SFO airport commission meeting on Jan. 15, that commissioner members said it was "an issue that requires careful consideration; it requires a thorough understanding of the financial impact, meaning, What does it cost to rename an airport?  And there are many individuals who have made a contribution to San Francisco from a political perspective that warrants consideration."

Campos said this initiative is a process and would not be "something that would happen automatically."

"Nothing has been easy in the fight for LGBT rights or in Harvey's life," said Campos.  "I'm hoping to have a dialogue and I think there's some resistance from people who don't want to see change.  We just hope to engage in a dialogue with people, and so I'm optimistic."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


San Francisco Cop’s 100 MPH Ride Video Probed

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- San Francisco police are investigating a video posted on Facebook by one of its police sergeants showing what could have been the officer and his friends traveling through the city's Broadway Tunnel at 100 mph.

The video, posted in September, was removed  Wednesday along with the Facebook page of a police sergeant whose legal name is Carl T. The video showed a driver stepping on the gas from the Larkin Street stop at the Russian Hill side of the tunnel, zooming through it toward Chinatown at almost 100 miles per hour in an 35 miles per hour zone.


San Francisco police were still confirming whether or not Sgt. T was the driver, whether he was on duty at the time, and driving under the influence.

“This case is still under review …  Any time we have a possible violation or any type of misconduct by our staff it is protocol to refer the matter to administrative investigation,” Officer Carlos Manfredi, spokesperson from the San Francisco Police Department told ABC News. “We have no further results on the investigation yet and Sgt. T is still on staff.”

The “SFist” blog carried the news of the video in September and extracted comments from T’s Facebook post which gathered 31 likes and 19 comments. Carl T’s posting read, “Broadway tunnel. 100 Miles per hour in the Lambo.”

Carl T. recently made news for legally changing his last name from Tannenbaum to T so his entire name would not be put on his badge.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Storms Slam Northern California

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The first of three powerful storms is hitting Northern California, where travelers are feeling the strongest impact.

The winds are causing flights to be delayed and canceled in San Francisco and Oakland. Heavy rain has been falling, making freeways crawl. And if that's not enough, there are big concerns about possible mudslides. A wildfire burned close to some homes, making the soil very unsteady.

The rain is expected to continue through Sunday. In total, up to 10 inches of rain could fall in some areas north of San Francisco.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


San Francisco Bares the Truth, Announces Ban on Public Nudity

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) – These days, in the city of the Golden Gate Bridge, your birthday suit better mean a nice outfit from Brooks Brothers. The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to ban public nudity in the streets.

The legislation prohibits genital exposure on all city sidewalks, plazas, parklets, streets, and public transit. However, nudity in private areas and special events is exempt, and the new law also does not apply to children under the age of 5.

Mayor Ed Lee is among those in support of the ban.

“For exhibitionists, I think that's what the word is expressed that way, that's different than people's first amendment rights,” he said.

Supervisor Scott Wiener agrees. “We're a city that believes in freedom and we've always believed in freedom and free expression. But taking your pants off at Castro and Market and displaying your genitals to everyone, that's not free expression,” he said.

Those opposed to the passage have already filed a lawsuit, and is now pending. Attorney Christina DiEdoardo is representing the opposition, strongly supports their right to disrobe.

“Is the first amendment more powerful and more important than the passions of an intolerant mob? And the ambitions of one or more city supervisors? We would contend that it is and that's what our case is based upon,” she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Public Nudity Ban Considered in San Francisco

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- San Franciscans may be forced to wear clothes outside of their homes and some nude activists aren’t pleased.

City lawmakers are scheduled to vote Tuesday on an ordinance that, if passed, would make it illegal for anyone over the age of 5 to expose their genitals in public.  Exemptions will be made for parades and festivals held under a city permit, according to the ordinance.

A group of activists filed a federal lawsuit against the city last Wednesday, asking that a judge issue a temporary restraining order to stop the vote on Tuesday and provide the court enough time to determine the merits of the case.

One of the plaintiffs, Mitch Hightower, has organized an annual “nude-in” demonstration over the past several years.

“The ‘Nude In’ is intended to promote a spirit of tolerance, peace and fellowship among the attendees,” the lawsuit said, claiming that if enacted, the ordinance would violate the constitutional right of free speech.

“It attempts to criminalize nudity even when engaged in for the purpose of political advocacy,” the lawsuit said.

George Davis, who ran for mayor in 2007 and District 6 supervisor in 2010, both times as the “nude candidate,” joined the suit, claiming he uses nudity “as part of his political expression.”

If the ordinance is enacted, first time offenders would be fined $100.  The fine increases to $200 if it’s the second offense within 12 months.  The third time a nudist is caught, they could be slapped with a $500 fine and potentially charged with a misdemeanor.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Why Is PETA Fighting Program Pairing Panhandlers with Dogs?

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Animal rights organization PETA is fighting against the launch of San Francisco’s Wonderful Opportunities for Occupants and Fidos (WOOF) program, which will pay previously homeless people now living in sponsored public housing to foster dogs that are at risk of being euthanized.

PETA has offered to give $10,000 to the program if they leave animals out of it.

Teresa Chagrin, PETA’s animal care and control specialist, calls the program, “A lure to keep people from panhandling. Many chronic panhandlers battle with addiction issues. These animals are supposedly not adoptable. Putting these two troubled populations together is very likely to result in disaster.”

Bevan Dufty, director of San Francisco’s Housing Opportunities, Partnership, and Engagement (HOPE) initiative, said that while some of the housing residents do resort to panhandling, they should not be labeled as panhandlers, but as people trying to get their lives back on track, and are fully able to care for pets.

“These are individuals who have been through job readiness programs, who live in our buildings. They were individually interviewed, went through orientation, and have gotten a gold star of approval,” Dufty said.

San Francisco’s Animal Care & Control, HOPE’s partner in launching the program, also said that PETA’s claims are unfounded.

“You have this image of us pulling up in a van full of dogs handing them out to people,” ACC director Rebecca Katz said. “We would not be putting animals at risk. Our job is to investigate animal abuse and neglect. We are going to have a lot more oversight during this fostering program than if they were to just adopt dogs on their own.”

ACC’s involvement, however, does not lessen PETA’s concerns.

“I don’t believe that people at Animal Care & Control have a lot of experience dealing with people with mental health and addiction issues,” Chagrin said. “You can’t put dogs with people who are battling their own demons.”

PETA’s protests have not slowed WOOF down, which begins its first trial in August with 10 individuals working in pairs with five dogs.

Both Dufty and Katz said they believe PETA’s objections highlight the extreme negative prejudice faced by the homeless, making this program even more important.

“I’m pretty horrified by some of the criticism I’ve seen. They believe anybody who has ever been on the street has mental and addiction issues,” Katz said.

Dufty echoed Katz’s attitude, “In order to be effective in responding to homelessness, you can’t ignore the humanity of people. Ultimately this program is about giving dogs and people a second chance, and I don’t see how you can argue against that.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


California Couple Pleads Not Guilty on Charges They Shot and Killed Daughter's Pimp

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.) -- A San Francisco couple accused of murdering the man they say pimped their teenage daughter could face the death penalty if they're found guilty.

Barry Gilton, 38, and Lupe Mercado, 37, pleaded not guilty Friday, as friends and family members packed the courtroom to support them. Because the couple allegedly planned what District Attorney George Gascon called a "vigilante murder," they are eligible for the death penalty, according to KGO-TV, ABC's San Francisco station.

Gilton's and Mercado's defense lawyer said he thinks prosecutors are making a "big mistake."

"This case is getting more ridiculous by the day if they go after our clients with the death penalty," Tony Tamburello, the defense attorney, told KGO-TV.

The parents allegedly shot and killed Calvin Sneed, 22, close to their Bayview home on June 4. They had also allegedly followed him to North Hollywood just days before, and shot at his car but failed to fatally wound him.

The couple had tried to get their daughter to come home, without success, and sought help from San Francisco police as well, filing a missing persons and abuse report, Eric Safire, Gilton's attorney, said.

The DA acknowledged that Gilton and Mercado were also victims, because they were trying to get their 17-year-old-daughter back, but "murder is murder."

"Basically, what we have is we have the parents who become the judge, the jury and executioners," Gascon told KGO-TV.

"The death penalty is not a tool that I am in favor of," Gascon said. "But, again, in order for us to seek other remedies, we have to use special circumstances that were appropriate in this case."

Sneed's father admitted that his son was a pimp, but said he felt his murder was undeserved.

Defense attorneys said Sneed had other enemies who wanted him dead.

The couple's daughter and her siblings are safe and staying with family members, according to KGO-TV.

Gilton, a San Francisco public transit driver who is on disability, and Mercado were both ordered held on $2 million bail. They are scheduled back in court Monday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio