Entries in Planes (3)


Passenger Planes Helpful in Locating Missing Yachtsman in Australia

Norm Betts/Bloomberg News(SYDNEY) -- Passengers on an Air Canada flight to Australia joined in helping an Air New Zealand Airbus in the search for a stranded yachtsman off the Australian coast.  

Both jets flew at a lower altitude as the pilots asked passengers over the PA system to look out their windows when they spotted the solo yachtsman, who was low on fuel and had a broken mast, the Telegraph reports.

Captain Andrew Robertson is Air Canada's fifth-most senior pilot and has been with the company since 1973. He said the search for the missing yachtsman was the first time he had been involved in this kind of event, The Australian reports. He added the exercise lengthened the flight traveling from Vancouver to Sydney by about 40 minutes.

The yachtsman, a 44-year-old from Queensland, was found alive and without injury, an Australian police official told the Telegraph.  

Australian Police later picked up the yachtsman and transported him to safety.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Officials Watch for Terrorists With Body Bombs on US-Bound Planes

Saudi fugitive Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri is shown in this handout photo from the Saudi Interior Ministry of the most wanted terror suspects. (Saudi Interior Ministry/Landov)(WASHINGTON) -- With the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death looming, American and European authorities told ABC News Monday that they fear al Qaeda may soon try to explode U.S.-bound aircraft with explosives hidden inside the bodies of terrorists.

As a result, security at several airports in the UK and elsewhere in Europe and the Middle East has been substantially stepped up, with a focus on U.S. carriers.

Additional federal air marshals have also been shifted overseas in advance of the anniversary. A year ago Tuesday night, President Obama announced on live television that bin Laden had been killed in a U.S. raid on a compound in Pakistan.

Medical experts say there is plenty of room in the stomach area of the body for surgically implanted explosives. "The surgeon would open the abdominal cavity and literally implant the explosive device in amongst the internal organs," explained Dr. Mark Melrose, a New York emergency medicine specialist.

For the last year, U.S. and European authorities have publicly warned that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate, and its master bomb-maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, have been designing body bombs with no metal parts to get past airport security.

"We are treating the information seriously," John Pistole, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, told ABC News in 2011.

Asiri placed a bomb inside the rectal cavity of his own brother for a suicide mission aimed at Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Prince Muhammad bin Nayef in 2009. That bomb exploded prematurely, officials said, and the only casualty was Asiri's 23-year-old brother Abdullah. Asiri is also believed responsible for the "underwear bomb" with which Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to take down Northwest flight 253 on Christmas 2009, and for the printer bombs in the failed cargo bomb plot of 2010.

In public, U.S. officials say there is no credible information of an impending attack. Department of Homeland Security spokesman Peter Boogaard released a statement Monday evening, saying, "We have no indication of any specific, credible threats or plots against the U.S. tied to the one-year anniversary of bin Laden's death."

But earlier Monday, White House counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan called the al Qaeda group in Yemen the greatest threat to the U.S.

"AQAP continues to be al Qaeda's most active affiliate, and it continues to seek the opportunity to strike our homeland," said Brennan during a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C.

Brennan said bin Laden admitted al Qaeda had lost its way, agreeing that "a large portion" of Muslims around the world "have lost their trust" in al Qaeda.

Confessing to "disaster after disaster" in al Qaeda plots, Brennan said, bin Laden urged leaders to flee to places "away from aircraft photography and bombardment."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NATO Increases Air Surveillance Over Libya to 24 Hours

File photo of a NATO E-3A Sentry AWACS aircraft. USAF(BRUSSELS, Belgium) -- NATO has increased its airborne surveillance of Libya to 24 hours, the U.S. Ambassador to NATO told reporters on a conference call Monday.

"The decision was made to indeed increase the surveillance of the NATO-AWACS capability to make it 24/7, to have a better picture of what's really going on in this part of the world," Ambassador Ivo Daalder said speaking from Brussels, Belgium.

NATO's Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft had previously been providing surveillance about 10 hours a day.

Daalder said the planes will be used to look "for aircraft and ground traffic, both in Libya but also on -- at sea, so that's what it's looking for.  It really is a way to find out what's going on in terms of traffic is not looking for individuals."

The extended surveillance "was an agreement that we would look at these issues a little closer over the next few days so that when defense ministers meet on Thursday here in Brussels, they may be in a position to make a decision," Daalder added.

NATO officials could vote by Thursday on whether to ban all air traffic over Libya while considering the requirements of establishing a no-fly zone.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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