Entries in London (110)


London Dreamliner Fire Not Related to Previous Battery Problems

Duncan Chard/Bloomberg via Getty Images(LONDON) -- There is still no word as to what caused Friday's fire on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at London's Heathrow Airport, but British Aviation officials say that it was not linked to battery problems which had previously grounded the Dreamliners.

Officials told ABC News that there is "no evidence of a direct causal relationship" between Friday's fire and the previous battery issues.

A fire onboard an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner shut down runways at London's Heathrow Airport on Friday. There were no passengers on board the plane at the time of the fire.

In a statement, the U.K.'s Air Accidents Investigation Branch made clear that the investigation is expected to take several days. Based on initial evidence, officials say that the upper portion of the rear fuselage of the plane suffered extensive heat damage.

"However, it is clear that this heat damage is remote from the area in which the aircraft main and Auxiliary Power Unity batteries are located," says the Air Accidents Investigation Branch's statement.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Queen Elizabeth Admitted to London Hospital

TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Queen Elizabeth has been admitted to a London hospital Sunday as a precaution after experiencing symptoms of a stomach bug, according to a Buckingham Palace spokesperson.

The 86-year-old monarch is being assessed for symptoms of gastroenteritis at King Edward VII hospital in London.

All official engagements for this week, including the Queen's trip to Rome, will be either postponed or cancelled as a precaution, the palace said.

Queen Elizabeth is said to be in good spirits and is expected to be in the hospital for two days.

Gastroenteritis is an infection that causes inflammation of the stomach lining and intestines. Symptoms can include vomiting, fever and a stomach ache.

The queen's sickness was first announced on Friday, and she spent Saturday resting at Windsor Castle, just outside of London.

Queen Elizabeth rarely misses engagements due to illness. She was last hospitalized ten years ago when she underwent keyhole surgery on her knees.

In 2012, the monarch marked 60 years on the throne with a massive Diamond Jubilee celebration.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


British PM on Hostages in Algeria: 'This Is a Continuing Situation'

Peter Macdiarmid/WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Britain's prime minister briefed his Parliamentary colleagues on Friday with the latest information on the hostage situation going on at a natural gas facility in Algeria.

David Cameron held back on some details because, "This is a continuing situation and we'll do our best to keep Parliament and the public updated.  We hope this will reach a conclusion shortly."

He said he spoke to the Algerian prime minister on Thursday on why the country decided to launch a military raid.

"He said that the terrorists tried to flee, that they judged there to be an immediate threat to the lives of the hostages and have felt obliged to respond," Cameron said Friday.

"He told me that this first operation was complete but this is a large and complex site and they are still pursing terrorists and possibly some of the hostages in other areas of the site," the British prime minister continued.

Cameron added that Algeria is "looking at all possible routes to resolve this crisis."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Helicopter Crash in London Leaves Two Dead

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(LONDON) -- At least two people were killed and 13 others injured when a commercial helicopter crashed in central London during rush hour Wednesday morning.

Police were alerted to the incident on Wandsworth Road at around 8 a.m. local time, Scotland Yard said in a statement. Officials said the helicopter clipped a crane attached to one of the tallest residential towers being built in London and then spun out of control, slamming into the ground and setting cars and neighboring buildings on fire.

The helicopter's pilot was killed, and an additional person was killed by the crash, police said.

The London Ambulance Service said it treated seven patients on the scene and six others were taken to the hospital -- five with minor injuries and one with a broken leg.

All the fires caused by the crash have since been extinguished.

The helicopter, an Augusta 109, was on a scheduled flight from Surrey and had been diverted to nearby Battersea heliport, according a Metropolitan Police official, and was flying through low clouds and fog.  

A warning, known as a Notice to Airmen, advised pilots to be on the lookout for a "high rise jib crane" with a height of 770 feet in central London attached to a 50-story residential building, the St. George Wharf Tower.

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, tweeted on Wednesday, "Very saddened to learn of the fatalities & injuries in today's helicopter crash. My thoughts are with the victims & their families."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Jewel Thief Busted After Posting Vacation Photos on Facebook

Greater Manchester Police(LONDON) -- A thief who stole over $100,000 worth of diamonds and pearls from a jeweler in Manchester, Britain, has been caught by police after he posted pictures of himself vacationing in Brazil and shopping on the streets of London.

Charles Rodriguez, 31, is a Colombian man who police believe is a member of the crime gang the Latin Kings.  In October 2011, along with another man, he allegedly beat a jeweler who had been returning from a sales trip.

The two stole the keys to his car and opened his trunk, then made off with two briefcases containing diamonds and pearls worth more than £80,000, according to Manchester City Police.

Investigators combed CCTV footage, which allegedly revealed that Rodriguez had followed the man prior to the attack.  Investigators also searched telecommunications and social media, which indicated he left the U.K. with a false passport for a vacation to Rio de Janeiro, then headed to Colombia, investigators said.

Police said his Facebook page was “littered with pictures” of his trip to Rio.

“Rodriguez’s arrogance was astonishing.  After committing an appalling attack on a jewellery trader, he fled the country to his native Colombia where he knew he could not be extradited,” Detective Sergeant Roger Smethurst said in a statement.  “However, his lack of remorse was evident by the fact he brazenly posted sightseeing pictures from Brazil -- at a time when he was on the run -- on his Facebook page.”

Though the Manchester police were aware of Rodriguez’s whereabouts, Colombia is a non-extradition country for the U.K.  Investigators had to bide their time, waiting for him to slip up.

In 2012, Rodriguez reentered the U.K. with a false passport.  He even posted photos of himself Christmas shopping and sightseeing around London.  Rodriguez was stopped by London police for driving suspiciously.  Though he faked his name, fingerprinting revealed his identity.

“Rodriguez must have thought he was above the law and untouchable because even when he finally returned to the U.K., knowing he was still wanted, he still posted pictures of himself Christmas shopping in London on his Facebook page,” Smethurst said.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty to robbery at a hearing this week.  He has been ordered to serve five years and four months in jail.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas Message to Be Broadcast in 3D

Alastair Grant - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Queen Elizabeth’s annual royal Christmas message has become as traditional as Christmas itself, with families huddling around their TV sets, awaiting what her majesty has to say as she reflects on the year.

But this year is a first for the 86-year-old monarch as her Christmas day message has been filmed in 3D.  The queen watched a sneak peak preview of her broadcast wearing dark glasses complete with a Q made out of glittering Swarovski glasses worthy of a rock star.

This year, the message contains the impact of the London 2012 Olympic Games, saying “all those who saw the achievement and courage at the Olympic and Paralympic Games were further inspired by the skill, dedication, training and teamwork of our athletes.”

Just like every other Christmas, her majesty is at her Sandringham Estate with husband Prince Philip and other members of the royal family where they usually spend Christmas.  But breaking with tradition this year is Prince William and his wife Catherine, who will not be spending the festive day with them.  Instead, they’ll be at home with the prince’s in-laws, the Middleton’s, at their home in Bucklebury.

In a statement, the palace said the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge plan to attend Sandringham at some point in the Christmas period.

Meanwhile, the queen is said to be recovering from a cold and was forced to miss the Sunday church service, disappointing dozens of well wishers who had gathered outside the church to catch a glimpse of her.

Prince Philip did attend the service along with some members of the royal family, including Prince Andrew, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Royal Prank Call: Nurse Hanged Herself, Left Three Notes

An undated family photograph of Jacintha Saldanha. (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)(LONDON) -- Jacintha Saldanha, the London nurse who killed herself after she answered a radio-station prank call about Kate Middleton, was found hanging from the neck and left three notes, according to the coroner's officer.

The 46-year-old nurse who worked at London's King Edward VII Hospital was discovered on Dec. 7 hanging by a scarf from a wardrobe in her bedroom, Coroner's Officer Lynda Martindill told a British inquest.

The wife and mother of two also had injuries to her wrists, according to police detective chief inspector James Harman.

Harman told the coroner's inquest that two notes were found at the scene and a third was discovered among Saldanha's belongings.  He did not release the contents of the notes.

There is no suspicion of foul play in Saldanha's death, Harman said.  Investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what led to her suicide, and are now interviewing her friends, family and co-workers to find more information, he said.

Saldanha was found dead last Friday morning after police were called to an address near the hospital to "reports of a woman found unconscious," according to a statement from Scotland Yard.

Saldanha had worked at the hospital for more than four years.

DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian of 2Day FM in Sydney called the hospital on Dec. 5 pretending to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, looking to speak to Middleton, who was being treated at the hospital for acute nausea related to her pregnancy.  The duo were able to obtain information about the duchess' condition.

When the royal impersonators called the hospital, Saldanha put them through to a second nurse who told the royal impersonators that Middleton was "quite stable" and hadn't "had any retching."

The radio station, along with Greig and Christian, has apologized for the prank call, and the Australian Communications and Media Authority has now launched an investigation into the incident.

Coroner Fiona Wilcox has adjourned the inquest into Saldanha's death until March 26.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nurse Hoaxed by 'Queen's' Call to Kate Middleton Is Found Dead

Danny Martindale/WireImage(LONDON) -- The hospital receptionist who was hoaxed by a prank call from a DJ claiming to be the queen asking about Kate Middleton has been found dead.

"It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff," the hospital said in a statement released Friday.

The nurse was identified as Jacintha Saldanha. The hospital said that Saldanha worked at the hospital for more than four years. They called her a "first-class nurse" and "a well-respected and popular member of the staff."

"We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital," the statement said. "The hospital had been supporting her throughout this difficult time."

The hospital extended their "deepest sympathies" to family and friends, saying that "everyone is shocked" at this "tragic event."

"She will be greatly missed," the hospital said.

Earlier this week, the hospital fell for a prank call from an Australian radio show where the hosts pretended to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles looking to speak to Kate Middleton, who had been admitted to the hospital for her pregnancy. The call was put through to a second nurse who told the royal impersonators that Kate was "quite stable" and hadn't "had any retching."

Saldanha was the nurse who transferred the impersonators to the second nurse who gave information about Kate's condition.

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha," a spokesman from St. James Palace said in a statement.

"Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time," the statement said.

Police were called to an address near the hospital at about 9:35 a.m. GT Friday to "reports of a woman found unconscious," according to a statement from Scotland Yard.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. "Inquiries continue to establish the circumstances of the incident. Next of kin have been informed," the statement said.

Circumstances of the death being investigated, but are not suspicious at this stage, according to police.

The duchess spent three days at the hospital undergoing treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum, severe or debilitating nausea and vomiting. She was released from the hospital on Thursday morning.

The Tuesday morning prank call came from Australian DJ's Mel Greig and Michael Christian. They impersonated the royals, complete with exaggerated accents. They even enlisted two co-workers to bark like the queen's pet corgis.

The Sydney radio station, 2DayFM, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Twitter accounts of both radio personalities have been deactivated, but it is unknown when the accounts were shut down. The DJs are being heavily criticized on Twitter, with many people calling for them to resign or be fired.

The queen impersonator asked for her granddaughter and was promptly transferred to another hospital employee.

"I'm just after my granddaughter, Kate. I want to see how her little tummy bug is going," the radio host said, suppressing laughter.

"She's sleeping at the moment, and she has had an uneventful night and sleep is good for her," the nurse said. "She's been getting some fluids to rehydrate her because she was quite dehydrated when she came in, but she's stable at the moment."

The fake royals went on to ask when would be a good time to visit and were told that "anytime after 9 o'clock would be suitable."

"She's quite stable at the moment. She hasn't had any retching ... since I've been on duty. And she has been sleeping on and off. I think it's difficult sleeping in a strange bed as well," the nurse said.

The hospital apologized for the mistake.

"The call was transferred through to a ward, and a short conversation was held with one of the nursing staff," the hospital said in a statement. "King Edward VII's Hospital deeply regrets this incident."

"This was a foolish prank call that we all deplore," John Lofthouse, the hospital's chief executive, said in the statement. "We take patient confidentiality extremely seriously, and we are now reviewing our telephone protocols."

The radio station has since apologized for the prank call.

"2Day FM sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the inquiry to Kate's hospital. The radio segment was done with lighthearted intentions," the station said in a statement.

"We were very surprised that our call was put through. We thought we'd be hung up on as soon as they heard our terrible accents," the radio hosts said in the statement. "We're very sorry if we've caused any issues, and we're glad to hear that Kate is doing well. We wish Kate and her family all the best."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Kate Middleton Discharged from London Hospital

Danny Martindale/WireImage(LONDON) -- Kate Middleton left King Edward VII Hospital in London Thursday morning after being admitted four days ago following the palace's announcement that she is pregnant and being treated for hyperemesis gravidarum.

"The Duchess of Cambridge has been discharged from the King Edward VII Hospital and will now head to Kensington Palace for a period of rest," Nick Loughran, the Assistant Press Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, said in a statement.  "Their Royal Highnesses would like to thank the staff at the hospital for the care and treatment The Duchess has received."

Middleton, who is less than 12 weeks pregnant, was seen leaving the hospital with Prince William at 11 a.m. GT Thursday.  A smiling Middleton was holding yellow flowers and waved to the crowd as she departed from the hospital in a black car.

The Duke and Duchess were spending time with her parents in Bucklebury when she became ill with the symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum, or acute nausea.

Prince William sprung into action and drove his wife along with their personal security team 50 miles in their Range Rover to the hospital, where Kate was placed on an IV drip.

The royal family was only notified of Kate's pregnancy mere hours before the rest of the world.

A palace source told ABC News that the royal couple decided to go public with the pregnancy because Middleton had to be hospitalized Monday afternoon.

Hyperemesis gravidarum, or acute nausea, is usually diagnosed about nine weeks into a pregnancy, and in most cases resolves itself by 16 or 20 weeks, according to Dr. Ashley Roman, a professor and obstetrician-gynecologist at New York University Langone Medical Center.  In rare cases, it can last the whole pregnancy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ax-Wielding Motorcyclists Raid London Jewelry Store

ABC News(LONDON) -- Six men armed with axes and bats drove through a London shopping mall on motorcycles and raided a jewelry store this week in a robbery reminiscent of a Hollywood movie, officials said.

Police are looking for the men, who were dressed in black and wearing crash helmets and visors to conceal their identities, after they raced through the Brent Cross shopping center Tuesday morning.

The three motorbikes pulled up in front of a Fraser Hart jewelry store when three of the men jumped off the back of the bikes and raided the store of valuable jewels.  They nabbed Cartiers, Rolexes and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of watches, according to police.

Shoppers watched in horror from a distance as the remaining three men waited outside the store with the motorcycles.  The scene was reminiscent of the crime thriller The Italian Job.

“We looked out and we saw six men, two on each bike, pull up outside Fraser Hart and then they pulled out an ax and they were getting into Fraser Hart and telling everyone to stay back,” mall employee Claire Smalley told BBC News.

“It was really scary and I’ve got young girls that work for us and it really wasn’t a pleasant experience.  We had to bolt the doors quickly,” she added.

Police recovered the motorbikes at a nearby golf course less than an hour after the robbery.  No one was injured in the raid but an elderly man was treated on the scene for shock.

The raid began 15 minutes after the mall opened to shoppers.  The three motorcycles raced through the mall and stopped in front of Fraser Hart.

Surveillance video caught the entire scene unfolding.  It took two minutes.  One of the robbers can be seen through the store’s window grabbing at jewelry on display and throwing it into a black sack.

One of the men waiting outside the store used his ax to deter people from coming near the scene by holding it in the air as if he would swing it.  He then smashed a piece of glass railing across from the store’s entrance.

Another store adjacent to Fraser Hart immediately pulled down its security gate while the other three robbers remained outside the jewelry store.

“It was very frightening.  I could not believe it was happening,” Sue Bangs, who was in a different store at the time of the robbery, told BBC News.  “All the shops suddenly put down their shutters and we were locked in for a while.  My heart was pounding.”

The robbers emerged from the store and hopped back on the waiting motorbikes before speeding out of the camera’s view.

The day before the mall was hit, a motorcycle gang smashed the windows of a pawn shop in the same area, stuffing their pockets with loot.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio