TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: NASA Van Crash in California Leaves 3 Dead

Re: NASA Van Crash in California Leaves 3 Dead

Henry Cabot Henhouse III (
Fri, 10 Dec 2004 11:19:45 -0800

Oh my, how news accounts vary ... I was watching the live local TV news
coverage. A motorist saw the van drive off and called the CHP, who responded
very quickly. Assessing the situation, they called for paramedics, etc. The
officers scaled down the treacherous terrain to see what they could do
... Nothing about a victim of the crash "climbing up" to get help...

Lisa Minter <> wrote in message ...

> By ROBERT JABLON, Associated Press Writer

> A commuter van from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory tumbled 200 feet
> off a twisting mountain road Wednesday, killing three people and
> injuring seven, at least four of them seriously, authorities said.

> The van was carrying 10 people to the laboratory when it plunged off
> the Angeles Crest Highway in the Angeles National Forest at about 6:30
> a.m. Wednesday morning and rolled down a mountainside about 15 miles
> north of downtown Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Fire Department
> inspector Ron Haralson said.

> "One person was able to get out of the van and make his way up to the
> road" to get help, Haralson said.

> The van was carrying six employees of the lab in Pasadena, two
> contractors and two NASA employees, said Blaine Baggett, a spokesman
> at JPL, which is the control center for several NASA projects,
> including the Mars rovers. The victims' names were not immediately
> released.

> "It's a very, very sad day for all of us at JPL," Baggett said, adding
> that employees will be offered grief counseling.

> Three people were pronounced dead at the scene. One person was flung
> from the van. Others lay trapped in the battered white van in the
> middle of a dense forest until firefighters arrived and tore off the
> doors to reach victims, who were then taken by helicopter to
> hospitals.

> Of the survivors, one person was in critical condition, three were in
> serious condition, two had minor injuries and one person was still
> being evaluated, Haralson said.

> The cause of the accident was not immediately known. Clouds and fog
> shrouded the site, at an altitude of about 1,500 feet. Snow dotted
> flanks of the mountain, but the road itself was clear.

> Hundreds of cars a day travel the highway, a twisting, two-lane
> blacktop with steep drops. Commuters living in the Antelope Valley
> area northeast of Los Angeles use it as a shortcut to reach a freeway
> in Pasadena.

> About 450 of the 5,500 people who work at JPL participate in its
> vanpool program, which involves about 30 vans, Baggett said.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: The fact that one news source reported
it one way and another source reported it another way does not mean
the one contradicts the other. I am sure CHP had *many* phone calls
about the matter right after it happened. I remember in 1972 when the
Illinois Central Railroad suburban train I was riding on collided with
the other suburban train leaving a few hundred people dead; as one of
the few (and probably first) person to walk off the train and view
the carnage all around me, I of course walked a few steps to the
nearest fire department 'call box' (as they were known in those days;
you opened the door on the little box and pulled the lever) and put in
an alarm. Some people fleeing for their lives from another exit on
the train probably did the same thing from pay phones on the station
platform, etc. I did not wait for 'my' firemen to arrive and explain
myself; thirty seconds or a minute later when I heard the sirens in
the distance and knew they were on the way, I walked out to the street
and flagged a cab and continued on my way to work. Later that day, the
_Chicago Daily News_ had me listed as the person who had first
notified authorities; on the TV news that evening, they interviewed
some excited lady who they said was first at the report. PAT]

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