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January 29, 2007

Navy Ends Search for Missing Crewmembers

The Navy called off the search for three missing crewmembers of a Navy helicopter that crashed in the ocean last Friday. The helicopter crashed about 50 miles off of California’s southern coast during a training mission, killing one sailor and leaving three others missing.

The Navy searched for the remaining crew members through the night and into Saturday afternoon before putting an end to the search. "The cold water temperature and the time that elapsed since the crash occurred led Navy officials to conclude that aircrew survivability is extremely unlikely," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Elizabeth Meydenbauer.

The Navy knows the location of the sunken helicopter, which went down at about 4:30 p.m. CST Friday, but they are unsure of whether or not the wreckage will be recovered, Meydenbauer said.

The helicopter was based at the Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, and was on a mission off the USS Bonhomme Richard at the time of the crash. According to a Navy spokesperson, the pilot radioed a Mayday, but gave no indications of mechanical malfunctions or a fire.

The names of the sailors onboard the copter have not yet been released, pending family notification.

Wisconsin Man Scheduled to Leave Hospital After 16-Story Fall

The Wisconsin man who fell 16 stories from a hotel window in downtown Minneapolis is expected to return home from the hospital on Saturday.

Joshua Hanson, 29, fell from a window on the 17th floor of the Hyatt Regency on Nicollet Avenue at 1:30 a.m. Jan. 20.

Hanson, who survived the fall with a broken leg and a collapsed lung, will go home to his parents’ house in Blair, Wis., where he co-owns and operates a sports-bar.

Hanson is breathing on his own, talking, walking with assistance, and undergoing physical therapy, said Nancy Kindschy, Hanson’s aunt. He is expected to make a full recovery in an unspecified amount of time, Kindschy said.

Oakdale Man Killed in House Fire

A 61-year old man died Saturday morning while trying to escape from a house fire in Oakdale.
A neighbor saw smoke billowing from the mobile home located on Scarlet Oak East in the Whispering Oaks Manufactured Home Community and called 911 around 9:30 a.m.

When firefighters and police arrived at the scene the mobile home was in flames. "There was fairly significant flames when the officer and firefighters first arrived," said Oakdale Police Sgt. Jack Kettler. Firefighters found the man lying unconscious within a few feet from his door and pulled him out of the burning house. They attempted to revive him with CPR but were unsuccessful, Kettler said.

Investigators believe that the fire started in the kitchen around 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning, though the official cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

The victim’s name has not yet been released, pending notification of the family.

At Least 250 Insurgents Killed by Iraqi and U.S. Forces

Iraqi and U.S forces have killed at least 250 insurgents in the Shiite city of Najaf during heavy fighting on Sunday, according to an Iraqi interior ministry official. The insurgents killed were part of a group of about 600 gunmen who were stationed outside of the Shiite holy city.

According to officials the gunmen were planning to take control of Najaf and to kill Shia clerics including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

During the fighting the gunmen fired a missile at a U.S helicopter causing it to crash just north of the city, killing two American soldiers, the U.S military said.

At least three Iraqi security forces were killed and 15 others wounded in Sunday’s fighting, Iraqi police Col. Ali Jraiwi said.

Heavy fighting still continues today in Najaf, which is located about 100 miles south of Baghdad.

Sword-Wielding Teen Shot to Death by Police

A high school student and his mother are dead and three others injured after a sword attack involving police in Huron, S.D. John Gilchrist, a 16-year-old sophomore at Huron High School, was shot to death by police after attacking an officer with a sword early Friday morning. The officers then searched the home to find the body of the boy’s mother, Betty Gilchrist, 49.

Four Huron police officers arrived at 1461 McDonald Drive at 5:48 a.m. in response to a 911 call. At the home they found Josh’s 14-year old sister, Rebekah Gilchrist, injured with cuts to her arms and hands.

Police then encountered Josh Gilchrist who, according to officers on the scene, was wielding a three-foot long sword. Gilchrist then turned on the police and struck officer Dan Kight multiple times with the sword, prompting two of the officers to open fire on Gilchrist, killing him.

After shooting Gilchrist police found the dead body of the boy’s mother and an injured foreign-exchange student who had been living with the family.

Kight, 34, was treated for his injuries at Huron Clinic and released. The foreign-exchange student was treated at Huron Regional Medical Center and released.

Rebekah Gilchrist was taken to a hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. “To all those concerned and praying for Bekah, she is stable and improving with non- life-threatening injuries," her father, Jon Gilchrist, said.

The two officers who fired their guns are on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation by South Dakota authorities. No motive for the attacks is known at this time.