31 People Rescued As Amphibious Tour Bus Sinks

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Yellow Duckmarine promises a “splashdown” ending to each of its tours – but it looks like some passengers got a little more than they bargained for. Twenty-seven people were taken to the hospital when an amphibious tourist bus sank shortly after entering a dock in the United Kingdom, the BBC is reporting. The incident is the second involving the same company – and the same dock – in the past few months.

There were 31 people on board the Yellow Duckmarine when its landing at Liverpool’s Albert Dock went awry shortly before 4 p.m. An eyewitness tells the news outlet the vessel took about four minutes to sink, and many people – including children – had to climb out and swim to safety. More than two-dozen people were taken to the hospital to be treated, reporting injuries that ranged from cuts and bruises to shock.

The tour company told the BBC it was working with the coastguard and police to find out the root of the problem. In March, Yellow Duckmarine was banned from going into the water after one of its boats sank, forcing passengers to be moved onto a pontoon. Just last month, three vehicles were declared safe to give tours again, but obviously it seems like everything hasn’t been sorted out.

The video below shows people making their escape from the bus, including a mother holding a baby above the water.

Plane Took Seven Flights With Dead Stowaway In Wheel Well

Adrian Pingstone, Wikimedia Commons

A plane operated by Russian-based charter airline I-Fly completed seven flights before maintenance workers finally noticed a dead stowaway in the wheel well, the Aviation Herald is reporting.

The industry watchdog reports that after an otherwise uneventful flight from Rimini, Italy, to Moscow, Russia, maintenance workers found bloodstains on one of the main landing gear struts. After inspecting the wheel well, the crew found the remains of a male carrying a Georgian passport, who was later identified as 22-year-old Giorgio Abduladze. An autopsy revealed the man, who was wearing only a T-shirt and shorts, had frozen to death four days prior to being found, during which the aircraft had completed at least seven flights.

“Apparently the man died from exposure to cold; we suspect that he was a stowaway,” a spokesperson for the investigation told RT.com.

Experts are fiercely debating whether or not maintenance crews should have noticed the body sooner. Some say the inner gear doors only get opened during a weekly check. Either way, sneaking into the undercarriage of a plane comes with an extremely low survival rate. In fact, a recent BBC article noted that from 1947 until September 2012, there were 96 known stowaway attempts that resulted in 73 deaths.

[via news.com.au]

Sweden’s Male Train Drivers Wear Skirts Following Row Over Uniform

Sweden Train
Dan Clay, Flickr

At least a dozen train drivers in Sweden have taken to wearing skirts as they go about their job after their employer banned them from wearing shorts.

The men, who operate trains north of Stockholm, wanted to wear shorts during warmer weather but were forbidden from doing so after their train line was taken over by a new company this year. The drivers said they collectively decided to wear skirts once summer started because they were much more breathable than pants.

“The passengers stare at us but so far no one has said anything – well, not to me, anyway. And I don’t mind as it’s more about comfort,” one driver told the BBC.In an interesting twist, the company operating the train line has given the male conductors the green light to continue wearing the female attire. A representative explained the decision to a local newspaper, saying, “Our thinking is that one should look decent and proper when representing Arriva and the present uniforms do that. If the man only wants [to wear] a skirt then that is OK. To tell them to do something else would be discrimination.”

London City Airport Is Creating The Ultimate Streamlined Passenger Experience

Have you ever wished you could use one smartphone application to bring up your boarding pass, track your luggage in real-time, use a map to find your airport gate and step into a pre-booked curbside taxi? According to a report by the BBC, the possibility isn’t too far off – in fact, a technology is in the early stages of testing at London City Airport.

The concept behind the technology is what’s called the “Internet of Things,” which in essence allows a variety of devices or machines to communicate with each other. So long as these individual objects can connect to the Internet, it’s feasible that an overarching platform could allow them to communicate with one another, and in turn relay that information to people. Not only will this create a better overall user experience at the airport, but if you find yourself getting held up on the way to your gate and missing your plane, your luggage won’t be boarded. Saving travelers from hassles is as simple as that!

“Everything that’s uncomfortable, inconvenient or just a pain in the neck about traveling, we’re trying to turn into a more pleasurable experience,” Robin Daniels, a representative from Living PlanIt, the tech company leading the project at the airport, told the BBC. Although this machine-to-machine communication is still in development, we’re hoping this streamlined experience catches on at all airports soon.

[Photo credit: Flickr user ​johnno_oz]

Travel Farther To Be Happier, Says Science

In a new study conducted at the University of Vermont, researchers have discovered that the farther you are from home, the happier you are. The BBC reports that social scientists mined data from 37 million geotagged tweets sent by 180,000 people to determine the correlation between happiness and travel, in a science that The New York Times calls “twitterology.”

Tweeters’ happiness was determined by the frequency of positive words (“beach,” “beautiful,” “amazing,” etc.) and negative words (“no,” “can’t,” “never,” and so on) in their tweets. Some words carried more positive or negative weight than others. The researchers then compiled the data to give a measure of happiness based on a scale they call the hedonometer.

As it turns out, the farther people had traveled from their centralized location, which the researchers took to be the average between work and home, the happier were their tweets. Moreover, those who traveled farther afield on average were happier than all the others.

Despite the seemingly obvious correlation found in the results, the study pointed out that happiness might simply be correlated to a higher socioeconomic status. Those who can travel far and wide usually have the money and time to do so, after all.

But there’s also the question of whether we really are tweeting our genuine feelings when we’re traveling. Personally, I’ve never seen someone say that they are “col” – crying out loud – in my feed, while the lol-ers run rampant. I’ve met travelers who have been hit by cars, had every piece of their gear stolen and who have been caught in natural disasters, and they tend to put a positive spin on it, at least in social media. And just glance at the examples of the “13 Travel Tweeters That Drive Us Crazy” to witness the unmitigated affected gaiety. But we know that happy people deal with hardships better, so perhaps this preponderance of positivity is support for the findings after all?

[Photo Credit: nan palmero]