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  • Plane crash in Branson kills four

    Published: Tuesday, March 21, 2006
    Witness: 'You could hear the people screaming'

    BRANSON, Missouri (AP) -- A twin-engine plane crashed and burned Monday in a cluster of theaters near the heart of this resort city, not far from the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, killing all four people aboard.

    The plane went down along the city's main entertainment strip after taking off from Point Lookout, Missouri, for Lubbock, Texas, FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said.

    The pilot reported some kind of difficultly and tried to return to the airport, Molinaro said.

    Terry Ware, who works for a plumbing company near the crash site, said the plane sounded as if it had engine trouble as it passed over her office.

    "My boss saw it in the air, and he said it was making some very erratic movements," said Ware, who ran to the scene but could not get close because of the intense fire.

    "You could hear the people screaming," she said. "You couldn't get close enough to help them before the fuel went off."

    Mike Willett, manager of a storage facility, said the plane struck the corner of the building and burst into flames.

    "The plane shook my house when it hit," said Willett, who lives on the property.

    The tail of the plane was the only part of the wreckage that could be seen on a short tour led by fire officials.

    Skies in the area were overcast, but there were no storms or unusual weather at the time of the crash, the National Weather Service said.

    The aircraft was flying under instrument flight rules and was registered to a dentist, according to Greg Martin, another FAA spokesman.

    Branson, about 185 miles southeast of Kansas City, is a popular tourist destination in the Ozark Mountains.
  • Pirate radio interferes with Miami pilots

    Published: Monday, March 20, 2006
    Hip-hop broadcasts continue despite equipment seizures

    MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- Airline pilots departing from Miami International Airport are getting an earful of something unexpected: Hip-hop tunes from a pirate radio station that sometimes interfere with their communications with the control tower.

    The music comes on a pair of frequencies from a station that calls itself Da Streetz.

    "It's intermittent. Not all day, everyday," said Kathleen Bergen, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman. "But clear communication between air control and the pilots is a critical part of flying."

    Authorities traced the signals to an antenna at a nearby warehouse but did not find the disc jockey, although they did confiscate equipment including three computers and a CD player.

    Despite that discovery and the seizures, the broadcasts have continued, authorities said.

    Pilots who pick up the broadcasts switch to a different frequency to speak with air traffic controllers, Bergen said.

    The FAA said it has conducted about 30 similar investigations of pirate broadcasts interfering with airport transmissions in the past decade.

    The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is helping with the investigation under a state law that went into effect a year ago. The law makes it a felony to interfere with signals from licensed public or commercial stations, or to broadcast without a license.

    Authorities said the owner of the warehouse had no idea the building was being used by an illegal radio station.
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