July 12, 2012

Mount Marathon     Photo: jseattle/Flickr

Runner Vanishes In Grueling Alaska Race

Call for rule changes after other serious injuries

A runner in the punishing annual Mount Marathon trail race in Seward, Alaska, has been missing since July 4 and is presumed to be the competition's first fatality in a year where several serious course injuries have sparked a call for rule changes. Race officials last saw Michael LeMaitre, a 66-year-old race newcomer, about 200 feet from the summit, lagging well behind the rest of the pack. Alaska State Troopers called off a search for LeMaitre last weekend, but the Seward Volunteer Fire Department has elected to continue with help from the Alaska State Defense Force. The three-mile race, first run in 1915, has participants tackle a 3,022-foot verticle to the top of a peak before descending the same route over slick rock and loose shale. In this year's race, Matthew Kenney, a 44-year-old veteran racer, slipped over a cliff and is currently in an induced coma. Black Hawk helicopter pilot Penny Assman, a 34-year-old rookie racer, fell off the same cliff, breaking ribs and suffering a lacerated liver, despite a volunteer EMT attempting to break her fall. Race officials are considering changes in light of this year's tragedies.

Read more at the Juneau Empire


    Photo: Franco Pecchio

9 Climbers Dead in Mont Blanc Avalanche

Hazardous slide conditions stall search

Nine climbers are dead and at least four are missing after an avalanche on a peak in the Mont Blanc range in France. The mountaineers were ascending Mount Maudit when a climber above them triggered a slab avalanche, sending a massive sheet of ice and snow sliding down the slope. Eleven additional climbers were hospitalized with injuries from the avalanche. "There was no weather bulletin giving any avalanche warning," Eric Fournier, the mayor of Chamonix, told The Guardian. Emergency crews searched the avalanche zone with dogs and helicopters, but called the search off before nightfall due to concerns about futher slides.

Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle


41 were injured by stingrays     Photo: Courtesy of JamaicaMAX.com

Stingrays Injure 41 at California Beach

Lifeguards set up triage center

San Diego beachgoers are on alert for stingrays after 41 people were injured and one taken to the hospital on Wednesday. Lifeguards and paramedics set up a triage area near the beach at La Jolla Shores with buckets of hot water to break up the protein toxins and ease the intense pain caused by the stingray barbs. While the number of injuries is higher than usual, it is not unheard of for this time of year. Once the water gets above 50 degrees, stingrays are an everyday sight along the Southern California coastline. in 2010, 130 people were stung over a four-day period at the same beaches. Lifeguards suggest shuffling your feet upon entering and exiting the water to avoid taking stingrays by surprise.  

Read more at The San Diego Union-Tribune


    Photo: timparkinson/Flickr

Dog Euthanized for Pitbull Resemblance

Breed Illegal in Northern Ireland

The international campaign to save a Belfast, Northern Ireland, dog deemed an illegal "pitbull-terrier type" ended Wednesday after the deadline for further appeals expired and the dog was put down. Seven-year-old Lennox, whom his disabled owner said was a bulldog-labrador cross, was identified by Belfast City Council dog wardens as a "possible" pitbull type in 2010 and impounded, despite having never harmed anyone. Victoria Stilwell, host of Animal Planet's It's Me or the Dog, was a vocal opponent of the council's decision and even offered to pay for the dog's rehoming outside of Northern Ireland. "I think the council had something to prove, and they were going to do it even though it was wrong," Stilwell said. The case has been a rallying point for opponents of "breed-specific legislation," which outlaws certain types of dogs.

Read more at GlobalPost