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Sept. 17, 2011 at 6:01 PM   |   Comments

9 dead in Nevada air race crash

RENO, Nev., Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Friday's crash at the Reno Air Races in Nevada killed eight spectators and the pilot, officials said Saturday.

Scores of people were injured Friday afternoon, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported. Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center said 28 people were transported there, and 14 were seriously enough hurt to be admitted.

The official death toll was three late Friday, including the pilot, Jimmy Leeward, 74, of Ocala, Fla. For spectator deaths, only the two victims pronounced dead at a hospital were counted. The National Transportation Safety Board said Saturday seven people died at the crash scene and two others died in the hospital.

The NTSB began its investigation Saturday.

"Our job is to identify what caused this accident, so we can make safety recommendations to make sure it does not happen again," NTSB member Mark Rosekind said.

Leeward was an experienced pilot who had worked as a stunt flier in movies. He said investigators were examining photos of the plane taken just before the crash that indicated a piece of the tail may have gone missing.

Rosekind also said the pilot's age and medical history would be investigated.

Leeward was flying a vintage P-51 Mustang, a World War II fighter plane.

A number of pilots have been killed at the Reno Air Races over the years, but this is the first crash that has killed spectators.

Mayor Bob Cashell said he hopes the National Championship Air Races will remain in Reno.


Eleanor Mondale, daughter of ex-VP, dies

MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Eleanor Mondale, a Minnesota TV host and daughter of Vice President Walter Mondale, died early Saturday, six years after she was diagnosed with cancer.

Mondale, 51, who lived in rural Prior Lake with her third husband, rock musician Chan Poling, had been receiving hospice care for a month, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

"Joan and I must report that our wonderful daughter, after her long and gutsy battle with cancer, went up to heaven last night to be with her angel," Walter Mondale said in a statement.

Mondale spent a lot of time in her early years on the campaign trail. Her father, Jimmy Carter's running mate in 1976 when they won and 1980 when they lost, ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic candidate against President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

She later had a high-profile social life that included dating Arnold Schwarzenegger and rock musician Warren Zevon and brief marriages to Chicago Bears tackle Keith Van Horne and Minneapolis radio DJ Greg Malban, who used the on-air name Greg Thunder.

Mondale worked in broadcasting with jobs that included reporting for CBS' "This Morning" and covering horse racing for ESPN. After living in Los Angeles for several years, she returned to Minneapolis and became one of the hosts of "Mondale and Jones" on WCCO Radio.

She married Poling in June 2005, the same month she got her cancer diagnosis. The couple lived on a farm that they shared with dogs, chickens, mini-horses and one mini-donkey.


Homemade boat nearly through NW Passage

YELLOWKNIFE, Northwest Territories, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- A Russian crew aboard a boat made with bamboo, rope and duct tape has nearly completed its journey through Canada's Northwest Passage, a crew member said.

The homemade boat, "Rus," which is about 25 feet long, was southwest of Victoria Island crossing from Nunavut into Northwest Territories waters, crew member Aleksey Skripov said by satellite phone, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The four sailors are making the journey as part of the Orion Expedition, a multiyear, round-the-world, trans-arctic trip.

Since leaving St. Petersburg, Russia, a few months ago, they have sailed through the Baltic and North seas and across the Atlantic Ocean, the CBC said.

A Mountie who saw the craft last month in Clyde River, Nunavut, said the boat looked like something out of "Gilligan's Island."

Olga Volynkina, the daughter of a crew member, said the crew is relying on a backup engine after the main engine failed recently.

The crew needs the main engine to cross the Bering Strait to get back to Russia, and the sailors hope to get the engine fixed next week in Barrow, Alaska, she said.

The journey is to end in Anadyr, in Russia's Chukotka region, in late October or early November.


Greek PM calls off U.S. trip

ATHENS, Greece, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Greece's financial crisis has prompted Prime Minister George Papandreou to call off his trip to the United States this week, Greek media reported Saturday.

The BBC said state TV, quoting government sources, reported Papandreou, who had intended to attend U.N. and International Monetary Fund meetings, canceled the trip after consultations with Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

Eurozone finance ministers, meeting in Poland, decided Friday to hold off paying the next round of emergency loans to Greece while the country's finances are reviewed, Voice of America reported. The Greek government has said it would run out of cash in October unless it gets the $11 billion infusion.

Greece's debt amounts to about 150 percent of its gross domestic product, raising fears among European nations it could default on its financial obligations.

"Technically we have all the chances of taking a decision in the first part of October so as to disburse before mid-October for Greece, but really on the condition that Greece meets all the fiscal and other conditions. And now the ball is in the Greek court," EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Ollie Rehn said.

The United States' concern over the Greek situation is reflected in U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's appearance at the meeting in Poland where he pushed for quick action by Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country has the world's fourth-largest economy, was quote by VOA as saying: "Everything which needs to be done to keep the euro stable, needs to be done. Everything that goes against this aim must be avoided."


Kara Allen, Ted Kennedy's daughter, dies

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Kara Kennedy Allen, daughter of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, suffered a fatal heart attack at a Washington health club, her family says.

The Boston Globe, citing people close to the family, said she was found in the steam room Friday night by another member after she had gone for a swim.

"My daughter was my best friend," Joan Kennedy, the senator's ex-wife, told ABC News. "She stayed with me all summer long in Hyannisport."

While she was involved in charitable organizations, Kennedy Allen, 51, generally kept out of the public eye. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2002 but told the Globe in an interview six years later, after surgery and chemotherapy, that she was running five miles a day.

In 2009, she accepted the Medal of Freedom for her father from President Barack Obama. Soon after, she read Psalm 72 at the senator's funeral.

Kennedy Allen was the senator's only daughter. She is survived by a son and daughter from her marriage to Michael Allen, which ended in divorce, and by her brothers, Patrick, a former congressman, and Edward M. Kennedy Jr., a lawyer.

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