Archive for May, 2013

Probe of I-5 bridge collapse shifts underwater

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

By Seattle Party Bus Rentals

Work crews have begun removing debris from the collapse of the Interstate 5 bridge into the Skagit River, as workers Monday retrieved two vehicles, a travel trailer and some bridge beams.

The first priority for the crews will be to retrieve the items the National Transportation Safety Board — the agency investigating the collapse — wants to examine. Those include the two vehicles as well as certain pieces of the steel-truss bridge’s beams.

Of particular interest is beam “U4,” the second crossbeam in the southbound direction, which wound up underwater, NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman has said.

The extraction must be slowly executed, to avoid damaging evidence. By 8:30 p.m. Monday, some of the downed beams were loaded onto a barge for NTSB’s examination, and an empty barge was moving into position, said Kris Olsen, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

After the NTSB is satisfied, then the rest of the debris can be removed, making way for the building of a temporary span to replace the portion of the bridge that collapsed.

The temporary section could be in place, and the bridge open, by mid-June, state officials have said.

This week, the state will repair a second bridge span that also was damaged by the overheight truck load Thursday, said Harvey Coffman, state bridge-preservation engineer. One overhead beam will be replaced with a salvaged part from the wreckage, he said, while a new piece will replace a large vertical beam that’s badly bent.

Approximately 10 overhead crossbeams were hit by drilling equipment estimated at 15 feet, 9 inches tall, hauled by a truck destined for Vancouver, Wash. Hersman mentioned Saturday that a corner of the truck’s load appeared crumpled afterward, so it may have been knocked slightly lower after the first couple of hits.

Late Sunday, barges transporting cranes and excavators — which have mounted hydraulic shears to cut damaged beams, steel and concrete — began arriving at the collapsed span.

On Monday, crews removed from the river the pickup that an Oak Harbor couple had been driving, and the camper trailer it had been pulling. They also retrieved an orange compact SUV a Mount Vernon man had been driving.

All three drivers survived with minor injuries.

The NTSB wants to examine the pickup and SUV to help them reconstruct the sequence of events Thursday evening.

Part of the agency’s investigation also involves talking with the driver of the pilot car that preceded the truck.

Washington state requires trucks that exceed height restrictions use a lead pilot vehicle that has a height pole attached to it.

In this case, the driver of the pilot car was supposed to alert the truck driver by radio if there were any height issues along the way.

The State Patrol detained the pilot-car driver after the accident Thursday, interviewed her and took measurements of her Dodge Ram pickup, NTSB officials have said.

The NTSB has that information as well as the driver’s identity and has reached out to her, but as of Monday afternoon had not been able to schedule an interview or to examine the vehicle and measuring pole.

Some witnesses apparently had said they saw the pilot car’s pole wagging as it was crossing the bridge.

Hersman said some of the witness statements “will be conflicting” and that her team was still putting together the complete picture.

Monday afternoon, work crews were preparing to cut the pieces of the bridge beams the NTSB has specified it wants to see.

“The agency hasn’t given us the green light to start demolition,” said Chesson. “Until they say it’s done, we can’t go in there and go full-bore.”

In the meantime, the Transportation Department is taking advantage of the opportunity to do a thorough examination of the bridge. That includes looking for any collapse-related damage but also any other repairs that might be needed, such as fixing potholes.

“This is our opportunity to go over the bridge with a fine- tooth comb while there’s no traffic on it,” Chesson said.


Powerball Jackpot Swells to $600 Million With California’s Participation

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Seattle Party Bus Rentals

As the countdown ticks on to tonight’s record Powerball drawing, the jackpot has swollen to $600 million, largely due to California’s participation in the game, lottery officials said.

In the one month since California joined the list of 42 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands in playing, Powerball fever has swept across the Golden State.

California, the country’s most populous state, has skyrocketed to the top three states in terms of ticket sales, alongside Florida and New York, according to lottery officials.

Read more: Seven States That Won’t Cash In on Powerball

“Once California joined the Powerball family, we helped change the dynamics to this game because of the mere size of the state and the number of players that we have,” a California lottery spokesperson told ABC News.

PHOTO: A sign at a store advertises the Powerball Lottery in Oklahoma City, Friday, May 17, 2013.
Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo
A sign at a store advertises the Powerball… View Full Size
Powerball Madness: More Than $600M Up for Grabs Watch Video

The size of the jackpot has created a frenzy that has also driven ticket sales, according to lottery officials. The previous record for a Powerball jackpot was $587.5 million on Nov. 28, 2012.

Tickets sold at a rate of 600,000 per hour in New York on Friday, New York lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman told

It’s expected they’ll continue to sell at such a rapid rate until the 10 p.m. ET cut-off time tonight. The winning numbers will be drawn at 10:50 p.m. ET, perhaps minting a few new millionaires.

However, if no one matches all five numbers plus the Powerball, the jackpot will continue to balloon.

Kelly Cripe, media director for the Texas Lottery, which is one of the states in the Powerball lottery, said the next drawing would be May 22 and estimated the pot would be at least an astonishing $925 million. The frenzy of such a massive jackpot would likely push it even closer to $1 billion.

The odds of winning the grand prize are one in 175,223,510, according to the Powerball website.

While tonight’s jackpot is a Powerball record, it’s not the biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. That honor belongs to the Mega Millions, which paid out a record $656 million on March 30, 2012.


Watch a crazed audience member attack Justin Bieber onstage

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Watch a crazed audience member attack Justin Bieber onstage

15 hrs ago

We’ve all joked about wanting to attack Justin Bieber, but it’s not so funny when someone actually does it. This intense footage shows an attacker rushing the stage and trying to hug Bieber/grope Bieber/avenge Bieber’s abandoned monkey during a performance of the song “Believe” at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, on Sunday night. Fortunately for Beeb’s legions of fans, security guards quickly subdued the attacker and the only one hurt in the incident was an innocent piano. To his credit, Bieber finished the song without pausing, then returned to the stage after a short break to perform two more hits. [Source]

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