The Hero from the Woods: The Unlikely Rescue of Shannon Lorio

Soul Bulbs

It was a day most likely like any other in 2010 when Shannon Lorio hopped in her car and headed off down a familiar road.  It was a winding rural road in Georgia she had probably travelled down more times than she could count.  But what she didn’t count on was her car fish-tailing on a tight curve taken too fast.  Having careened off the road, Shannon ended up being thrown partly through the back window of her car.  When she regained consciousness, injured and in a great deal of pain,she discovered she wasn’t alone.  An unlikely savior has appeared out of the woods and come to her side in the form of a stray dog.

The german shepherd jumped to the back of the car and cleaned the blood from Shannon’s face when she lost consciousness again.  The next thing she was aware of was the dog pulling her…

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Castlemartin firing notice February 13

Wales Air Forum

Live firing takes place at Castlemartin. Details are published under the Firing Notice link under Related pages.

Unscheduled firing may take place without prior warning, and firing may be cancelled without notice. Please ring 01646 662367 from 08:00hrs each day to hear the firing programme for that day.

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path passes through the Eastern side of the Range and is open to the public on non-firing days. Please keep to the road and footpath itself which is marked by white Posts. All other areas of the Range are OUT OF BOUNDS to the public.

Red flags (Red lights by night) will be displayed whenever the Range is active.

During non-firing times, the Range Danger Area is patrolled by serving military staff and in addition, troops under training are briefed to challenge any civilians they see on the range.

Live Firing Times Information

For further information on live firing…

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12 killed in coal mine accident in China

Coal Mountain

Twelve miners were killed and three others remained trapped in a private coal mine accident in northeast China on Wednesday.

Three miners were rescued as the work was still underway to save other three person trapped inside the mine in Heilongjiang province.

Those killed included three miners who entered the Yongsheng colliery to pump out water on Tuesday night, but poisonous gas caused them to faint, state-run Xinhua reported.

Rescuers were sent to the site, but some of them were also affected by the toxic gas.

Rescuers said the poisonous gas may have been carbon monoxide.


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South Africa: Train packed with schoolchildren and commuters crashed into another full train near Pretoria, injuring up to 300 people – initial reports – 310113 1445z

A passenger train packed with schoolchildren and rush-hour commuters has rammed into another full train near the South African capital Pretoria, injuring up to 300 people, medics say.

(Photo: Rescuers work on the site of a train accident near Kalefong station, Attridgeville, in the west of Pretoria on January 31, 2013

The accident took place before 8.00am (1700 AEDT) on Thursday when a commuter train heading from the suburbs to the capital ploughed into the stationary train on the same track.

Medical workers said up to 300 people had been treated for various degrees of injury.

“We do have 20 seriously injured,” said Johan Pieterse of Tshwane Emergency Services.

“Both of the trains were full of commuters and between them were lots of school children on the way to school,” said Pieterse.

“We counted about 50 plus children,” he added. At least three people were said to be in a “critical” condition, according to Chris Botha, a spokesman for emergency services provider Netcare.

“The people who were critically injured suffered multiple injuries to the body,” said Botha.

At least one person was airlifted to the nearby Milpark Hospital, others were taken by ambulance and many were treated at the scene.

Rescue workers struggled to cut away the tangled wreckage of the trains to free the passengers.

One of the train drivers was freed from the carriage after he was trapped for two hours.

“He’s critical at this stage,” said Pieterse.

The trains were operated by Metrorail, the country’s rail system in cities.

The cause of the accident is unknown. “At this stage we do not want to speculate,” said Metrorail spokeswoman Lillian Mofokeng.

It is just the latest serious rail accident to hit South Africa’s urban rail network.

Thursday, 31 January, 2013 at 12:22 UTC RSOE

More details from

Sabotage cause of train crash?

Thu, 31 Jan 2013 12:03 PM

“Two passenger trains packed with school children and rush-hour commuters collided near the South African capital Pretoria on Thursday, injuring up to 300 people in a crash the authorities blamed on cable theft.

The crash took place at around 7.10 am (0510 GMT) when a commuter train heading from the suburbs to the capital ploughed into a stationary train on the same track.

Medical workers said up to 300 people have been treated for various degrees of injury.

“Two are critically injured, one driver and one passenger” and there are 19 seriously injured, said Mosenngwa Mofi, chief executive officer of railway operator PRASA.

It was not immediately known how many children were injured.

“Both of the trains were full of commuters and between them were lots of school children on the way to school,” said Johan Pieterse of Tshwane Emergency Services. “We counted about 50 plus children.”

Every day around 20 000 people use the blue line between the residential suburb of Kalafong and central Pretoria.

Rescue workers initially struggled to cut away the tangled wreckage of the trains to free the passengers.

One of the train drivers was freed from the carriage where he was trapped for two hours.

“He’s critical at this stage,” said Pieterse.

Police and railway investigators looking into the cause of the crash zeroed in on the theft of 25 metres (yards) of copper cable linked to the signalling system.

The removal of the cable forced drivers to switch to manual operations, which require a control centre to tell drivers if a section of track is clear before they can proceed.

“What could have led directly to the accident is still subject to investigation,” said Mofi. “Cable theft is the root cause of the accident.”

While cable theft is common in South Africa, Mofi speculated that the motive may not have been to get the valuable copper.

He said striking railworkers may have been responsible for removing the cable, as part of a pattern of sabotage seen in an industrial dispute with the owners.

“We do have a strong suspicion that it is linked with the current strike,” said Mofi. “During the strike there have been serious acts of sabotage.”

Transport Minister Ben Martins did not rule out sabotage, but said the police and justice department are investigating.

“It is time to see cable theft as an attempted homicide or attempted murder,” he said.

The crash is the latest serious rail accident to hit South Africa’s ageing urban rail network.

In 2011, 857 commuters were injured in Johannesburg’s Soweto township when a passenger train smashed into a stationary train during the peak rush-hour period.

PRASA has itself described its passengers as “travelling like cattle”.

Over 90 percent of commuter trains in South Africa date back to more than 50 years, the most recent dating from 1986.

The network is currently undergoing a major revamp to upgrade its fleet, spending 123-billion rand ($14-billion, 10-billion euros) over 20 years.”

Meanwhile Business Day Live says 20 people were seriously injured and 150 were “walking injured”.

“A METRORAIL train driver was critically injured when two passenger trains collided in Pretoria on Thursday, Tshwane emergency services said.

A helicopter airlifted him to a nearby hospital at 9am, emergency services spokesman Johan Pieterse said.

Mr Pieterse said 20 people were seriously injured in the crash that occurred at about 7am, and 150 were “walking injured”.

Police at the scene said one of the trains was stopped on the railway line between Cor Delfos and Saulsville, when it was rammed from behind by another.

Among other things damaged were the power lines on top of the trains.

Earlier, Mr Pieterse said the railway line between Cor Delfos and Saulsville had been completely closed because of the accident.” –

Prasa investigating cause of Pretoria train crash, with cable theft a possible factor

“THE cause of an accident involving two trains near the Kalafong railway station in Pretoria on Thursday morning is not known, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) said.

A Metrorail train driver was critically injured when a passenger train rammed into the back of another, stationary train on the railway line between Cor Delfos and Saulsville.

“The cause of the accident is not known at this moment. However, we can confirm we experienced cable theft in the early hours of this morning. As a result the automated signal was off. The trains were operated manually,” Prasa rail operations CEO Mosenngwa Mofi said.

“We have prioritised giving care to the commuters and employees who were on both trains … and we would like to wish them a speedy recovery,” he said.

Mr Mofi said technicians were repairing the damage. One line would be operating for the afternoon peak.

A board of inquiry would be instituted to investigate the cause of the crash, which caused about R22m in damage to infrastructure and rolling stock. Among other things damaged were the power lines on top of the trains.

The critically injured driver was airlifted to a nearby hospital, Tshwane emergency services spokesman Johan Pieterse said. Twenty people were seriously injured in the crash around 7am, and 150 were “walking injured”.

Earlier, Mr Pieterse said the railway line between Cor Delfos and Saulsville was completely closed because of the accident.

Transport Minister Ben Martins visited the scene. He and an entourage, which included provincial transport officials, walked on the railway lines towards the wreckage of the trains.

On Thursday, the railway service from Pretoria to Saulsville was stopping at Electro station, with a shuttle bus service to and from Saulsville station.” –

And finally, from the BBC

South Africa commuter trains collide near Pretoria

BBC NEWS 31 January 2013 Last updated at 11:38

Train crash

At least 300 people, including many schoolchildren, have been injured when two passenger trains collided near the South African capital, Pretoria, officials say.

Medical workers say 28 people were seriously hurt.

The theft of cables used for signalling, compounded by human error, caused the crash, said the head of South Africa’s rail authority.

South Africa is in the process of overhauling of its ageing rail network.

The early morning accident happened when a train crashed into a stationary train near Attridgeville, a township west of Pretoria.

“Both of the trains were full of commuters and between them were lots of schoolchildren on the way to school,” a spokesman for the regional emergency services told the AFP news agency.

A helicopter has airlifted one of the train drivers to a nearby hospital after he was trapped in the wreckage for two hours.

A spokesman for the local emergency services told the BBC it had transported more than 200 people, three of whom were critical, while 19 had serious injuries.

The private Netcare 911 service said it had assisted 100 people, with three critical and three more seriously injured.

The injured have all been taken to hospitals in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

“When cables are stolen it affects our signalling system,” said rail authority head Mosenngwa Mofi.

“We then move to what we call manual operations.”

In 2011, at least 800 people were injured when a speeding train hit a stationary one near the township of Soweto.


UK: Memories of the great flood of 1953 – 310113 1310z

The Great Flood of 1953

Canvey Island

“In the early 1950s Europe was still recovering from six years of war. Rationing of certain items was still in force. Hardly anyone owned a television set and a telephone was considered a luxury that ordinary working-class people could not afford. Communication with the outside world was therefore minimal; people learned about the news via the radio set or from reading days-old newspapers. Most people were still trying to get their lives back on track; some wives were welcoming back repatriated husbands who had changed beyond recognition. Some men couldn’t adjust to life back in ‘Civvy Street’. Family life was a struggle as people had to cope by themselves as best they could: there were no Samaritans to call, and no such thing as counselling for bereavement1. Neighbours relied upon each other and doors were rarely locked. Significantly, there were no social plans in place in the event of severe storms at sea affecting populated coastal areas. Nor were there any emergency procedures in place which would alert the authorities to evacuate people at risk of flood in advance.

(Photo: Thames Pilot Site

Storm Surges

A storm surge happens when the wind pushes the sea towards the coast, with low air pressure2, wind direction and high tide being significant factors. Between 31 January and 1 February, 1953, a storm surge occurred over the North Sea. The sea level rose by several metres, causing severe flooding to low-lying coastal areas, particularly eastern England, Scotland, Belgium and The Netherlands. It took four days for the flood water to recede, and there was widespread sewage damage. This ‘once-in-250-year event’ was responsible for thousands of deaths and colossal destruction of property. It has been described as ‘the worst national peacetime disaster to hit the UK’. US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists placed the 1953 gale into the top 15 of the most significant meteorological events of the 20th Century.

The Human Cost

Thousands of people lost their lives: many of them drowning in their own beds. The first to die were the crew of a working trawler, the Michael Griffiths from Fleetwood, Lancashire, which sank without trace off the Outer Hebrides; all hands were lost. The Princess Victoria ferry abandoned ship off Belfast and over 130 passengers and crew drowned in the Irish Sea. The Netherlands, with many people living in areas below sea-level, suffered the greatest human toll: 1,836 people were killed during that dreadful night. In Belgium another 22 people died. Lincolnshire was one of the most badly affected areas of the UK, with waves over six metres high battering sea defences all along the east coast. Of the 307 people who were killed in England that night, 43 of them died in Lincolnshire. Not one home in the seaside town of Cleethorpes escaped the deluge, and the railway embankment was enveloped. The length of promenade stretching from Cleethorpes Pier to Wonderland was destroyed. A miracle occurred in Lowestoft: families whose homes were flooded headed for a local church and not one person was killed nor even seriously injured.


The floodwater reached more than two miles inland in England, and hurricane force winds were registered at Felixstowe in Suffolk, where 39 deaths were recorded. Some of these were entire families, swept away after they had scrambled onto the anticipated safety of the roof of their single-storey homes. Violet Sparrow of Felixstowe saved the lives of her own three children then went to the aid of elderly neighbours, practically pushing them up into her loft to join the children. Her husband, who had been on coastguard duty, arrived home later the following day. Fearing the worst, he shouted their names. The children heard him and shouted back, and he helped rescue them all from their refuge. Another family thought they were safe sheltering in their loft. The mother took four children up into the loft, and the father managed to manipulate the pram containing baby Keith as far up as he could carry it. The pram couldn’t be hoisted up onto the rafters, and as both parents had to hold two children each to prevent them from falling, the decision was made to let the pram float on top of the flood water. Hours later they realised the baby was very quiet, and when they checked him, the distraught parents found he had succumbed to the cold and he could not be revived.


The fierce winds brought down telephone lines in Norfolk and Lincolnshire so there was no way to warn those living further south of the ravaging storm headed their way. Waves breached the banks of The Wash, and the town of King’s Lynn lost 15 inhabitants. Another 66 people died in Heacham, the neighbouring village. When the storm surge reached its peak the tide was 8ft (2.5m) higher than was usual. In Essex coastal regions, 95 people perished in the Clacton-on-Sea and Canvey Island areas.


In East London more people drowned when over a thousand homes were deluged. The floodwater reached as far as the embankments in Victoria and Chelsea. The Thames and the River Lea burst their banks: only the fact that the storm was abating prevented the engulfment of the London Underground.


One Lincolnshire survivor, Gertrude Trevethick of Sea Lane, Saltfleet, later wrote in her diary about the ‘night of horror and fear’ when the sea flooded her family home. Her husband carried their children upstairs to safety while she gathered tins of food, clothes and a kettle. With the children all huddled together in one bed, Mr and Mrs Trevethick then watched helplessly from the bedroom window as the sea consumed their neighbours’ bungalows. The Trevethicks lost three friends that dreadful night, Mrs Clayton, Mrs Millward and Mr Frost, who all drowned. She recorded how Saltfleet farmer Herb Horton recovered his own father’s body and dispatched his mother off to hospital, then worked on all through the night, using his tractor to rescue trapped people and transporting them to safety.

No doubt there were many unsung heroes on the night of the great flood. Five people, however, were awarded the George Medal for their bravery and gallantry.


Four of them were two Lincolnshire policemen, a fireman from Great Yarmouth and an American serviceman. The other was Reis Leeming, a 22-year-old stationed at the US air base at Sculthorpe, Norfolk, who battled through the night in a small rubber dingy to rescue 27 trapped people. Eventually the young airman collapsed with exhaustion and thought he was going to die himself as he was suffering from severe hypothermia. He awoke in hospital to the news that 31 people from the air base and family accommodations had died, 16 of them were American citizens. A fleet of haulage vehicles carrying 30 rowing boats was dispatched to Sutton-on-Sea but they could not reach the cut-off village, the swollen sea barred their way for a mile and a half (2.4km). Rescue attempts had to be put on hold until the Army arrived with specialist vehicles.

The Safe’s Safe

Before the Army could leave after they had done all they could to assist the rescue effort, the manager of Lloyds Bank Sutton-on-Sea branch, which was completely submerged, requested their help with the removal of the bank safe, (which contained about £ 5,000), to their branch in Alford. This task was accomplished using a winch, a ramp, a flat-back lorry and lots of manpower.


The economic impact of the storm surge was enormous: ships, including trawlers, were sunk and livelihoods lost. Many herds of cattle drowned; huge areas of low-lying arable land flooded and became unsuitable for crop-growing for many years afterwards due to contamination. Over a hundred roads, including 11 major routes, were impassable and 200 miles of railway was cut off in England alone. Fresh water stored underground was polluted with sea water. Many thousands of homes that were flooded could not be repaired, so they had to be demolished, meaning tens of thousands of survivors of the flood were displaced.

Affected people were devastated at the unbearable loss and destruction, and some locals never recovered from crushed spirits and broken hearts. A stressed Cleethorpes grocery shop owner, having surveyed the uninsured ruined stock, never went back, and his abandoned shop was sold the following year3. The railway track, which terminated at Cleethorpes Station, was relaid. New sea defences were erected and the promenade replaced. The entire promenade received a make-over in a modernisation programme during the 1990s.

The British Conservative government, headed by Prime Minister Anthony Eden, instigated the rebuilding of sea defences where they had existed and instructed the building of new flood protection. The Met Office established the ‘Storm Tide Forecasting Service’ which provided details of tidal surges and forecasts of wave activity over the next 24 hour period. The Queen, who was staying at Sandringham in Norfolk at the time of the devastation, visited nearby Hunstanton. The Duchess of Gloucester, representing the Queen, met with dignitaries and local survivors at Alford in Lincolnshire.

In The Netherlands, attention was focused on the closure of the dykes which had failed to give protection to the people living in areas below sea-level. The Deltawerken (Delta Plan) was conceived with the intention of preventing such a repeat of the tragic 1953 disaster. (see video below)

In London, planning for the Thames Barrier began, but was only completed in 1982, 29 years after the disaster. It

(Photo: Thames Barrier

protects 45 sq miles (116.5 sq km) of the capital which is vulnerable to the risk of flooding. This should last until 2070; it’s hoped that a new barrier at Long Reach will be in place by then. The National Rivers Authority was created in 1989 to take charge of flood defences in England and Wales. When the Environment Agency was formed in 1996, they became responsible for flood defences and warnings over the entire UK. In 2003, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh unveiled a plaque in Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1953 great flood.

Wallasea Wetlands

One of the last4 areas to be cleared after the flooding, Wallasea Island near Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, has since been turned into The Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project, the UK’s largest man-made wetland. The UK Government had allowed the Lappel Bank cargo terminal to be developed in the 1990s, destroying the wetlands and marshes in the Medway estuary in Kent in the process, even though they were protected under the European Union’s Birds’ Directive. Following an upheld challenge by the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), the European Court ruled that the Government had acted illegally, so the Wallasea Wetlands Creation Project was undertaken to make amends for the loss. The UK Government spent £ 7.5m on ‘coastal engineering’ to create a new habitat of 115 hectares of salt marsh, mudflats, saltwater lakes and seven created islands for many wading birds like lapwings, oystercatchers and avocets.


The Future

Environment Agency Flood Warnings
(Click image to visit EA)

No-one can predict the next major meteorological event but in the 21st Century we have the benefit of instant communication and 24-hour rolling news services via television and the Internet. People living in flood-risk areas can access information for their locality and make preparations in the event of such a devastating scenario recurring.

There’s no doubt that storms and resulting floods will continue to affect coastal regions, but hopefully not at the cost of multiple human lives.

With climate change as an additional factor, surges will happen more often, and the risk is increasing. The return period for a 1.5m surge in the North Sea the interval over which you’d expect it to happen again at least once is 120 years at the moment. By the 2080s we expect a 1.5m storm surge could happen in the North Sea at least once every seven years. But our warning systems are a lot better than they were then, so loss of life on the scale of 1953 is pretty unlikely.
– Sean Clarke of the UK Met Office, speaking in 2003

1 In February 1952 the UK and Commonwealth reeled with shock at the unexpected death of King George VI, a frail, cancer-stricken man whose refusal to leave London during the Blitz endeared him and his family to the nation. The tragedy catapulted his daughter Princess Elizabeth to the throne and Queen Elizabeth, whom Adolf Hitler once described as ‘the most dangerous woman in Europe’ because she was held in such high regard, was relegated to the role of Queen Mother.
2 If air pressure decreases by one millibar, sea level rises by one centimetre.
3 His shop on the corner of Warneford Road and Oxford Street was sold unseen as a ‘thriving business opportunity’ to a couple from Leeds, Yorkshire, who were unaware of the unrepaired flood damage. They had to rebuild and decorate before they could open for business.
4 Sometime during the 1970s.” – BBC News (photos inserted from other sources)


The sea surges above the coast, flooding whole areas of East Anglia. It is the worst disaster in peacetime Britain. Using rare, original film, discover the stories behind the disastrous floods of East Anglia.

Sixty years ago, on 31 January and 1 February 1953, over 300 people died in flooding on the East Coast of England. Today such floods are predicted by a warning system implemented after the 1953 flood. Flooding is expected to get worse due to climate change.
Dr Anna Carlsson Hyslop from the Department of Sociology tells us more:


An old film about the Dutch Watersnood in 1953 and the abundant international help we received.
It ends with a short speech from queen Juliana.