New Website Reunites Hotel Guests With Lost Possessions

Have you ever settled into your seat on an airplane only to be struck with the realization that you’ve left something valuable in your hotel room? If so, you’re not alone in experiencing that sinking feeling. Each year, thousands of hotel guests leave behind everything from toys to ipad chargers to wedding rings – and getting them back (if they ever do) often involves many fruitless phone calls and emails.

However, a new Internet portal is helping to reunite lost items with their owners. Chargerback works by allowing hotels to upload a description of whatever it is they’ve found when clearing out a guest’s room. Guests can also log onto the site and enter information about their missing possessions. If there’s a match, the website alerts the guest who can either go and pick up the item themselves or opt to have it shipped to them for an average cost of $10-13.The website officially launched today but already around 30 hotels in the U.S. have gotten onboard. The company behind the initiative believes there’s a need for this kind of service and says their research has shown that around a third of adults surveyed had lost an item valued at more than $150 when away from home. Chargerback told USA Today it is considering expanding the lost and found service to include other locales such as airplanes and rental cars.

[Photo credit: gorbould]

Aircraft Goes Missing In The Antarctic

A Twin Otter aircraft like the one missing in the AntarcticA small aircraft carrying three crew members has gone missing in the Antarctic. The plane, which is operated by Kenn Borek Air, was flying from the South Pole to Terra Nova Bay when it went down, immediately setting off its emergency locator beacon. There is no word on the condition of the three men at this time.

The Twin Otter aircraft that the crew was flying is used to make routine supply runs and shuttle scientists, explorers and adventure tourists to various research stations and camps in Antarctica. The plane was on its way to an Italian base when it went down over a remote mountain range.

Poor weather in the area is preventing search and rescue teams from mounting any kind of operation at the moment. The region where the plane crashed is being hit with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour and heavy snow is expected to fall there as well. The locator beacon indicates that the aircraft is in a zone that is under New Zealand’s SAR jurisdiction, but Canadian, American and Italian teams are standing by to lend assistance once the weather improves.

Kenn Borek Air operates with a motto of “anytime, anywhere” and is known for flying explorers, adventurers and scientists to very remote corners of the globe. Their fleet of aircraft includes a number of Twin Otter planes, which are highly regarded for their versatility and reliability, even under the most challenging of circumstances. Kenn Borek pilots and crew are also very experienced professionals who are accustomed to dealing with bad weather in challenging environments.

The aircraft that went down is equipped with survival gear for extreme conditions and enough food and water to last at least five days. With a little luck, the crew managed to put the plane down safely and are now simply waiting for assistance.

[Photo Credit: Kenn Borek Air]

Rafter Mysteriously Goes Missing In Grand Canyon

The Grand CanyonThe National Park Service has a mystery on their hands and it is proving to be a difficult one to solve.

Twenty-one-year-old Kaitlin Kenney was part of a month-long private rafting party in the Grand Canyon when she mysteriously went missing last week. Kenney was last seen on Friday, January 11, in a camp near Tapeats Creek along the northern bank of the Colorado River. What happened to her after that is still open for speculation, as no trace of the young woman has been found since.

Other members of the rafting group used a satellite phone to contact the Park Service over the weekend and the NPS scrambled search parties to go looking for Kenney. Searching from both the air and on the ground, teams have combed the area where she was last seen and so far have come up empty. The Park Service says that they spent two days checking every accessible trail, beach, drainage and backcountry area in the vicinity to no avail. The search is ongoing, although efforts have been scaled back.

What might have happened to the missing rafter is open to debate. Other members of her party say that she would never have tried to climb out of the canyon on her own and speculation is that she may have accidentally fallen into the water sometime in the night. At this time of year the Grand Canyon can be a cold place and the waters of the Colorado are frigid, making hypothermia a real danger. SAR teams have combed the river looking for Kenney, however, and still haven’t found any clues.

[Photo Credit: National Park Service]

Missing Antarctic yacht update: two crew members found

Two crew members from the yacht that went missing in the antarctic have been found.Yesterday we posted a story about a Norwegian yacht that went missing in the Antarctic with five crew members aboard. Two of those crew members have now been located, alive and well, on the continent itself, and they are reportedly providing clues that could help search and rescue teams find the missing ship.

When the story first broke, we knew that the yacht, christened the Berserk, was last known to be sailing in the Southern Ocean approximately 18 nautical miles off the coast of Antarctica. The crew had planned to make a brief visit to the continent to drop off two people, who were hoping to make the journey to the South Pole on ATV’s. Apparently that drop off did occur, as Jarle Andhoey, the skipper of the yacht, and an 18-year old crew member, contacted search teams via satellite phone yesterday and have been providing crucial information about the missing ship’s planned route. That information could be instrumental in discovering where the yacht is at this time.

Two days ago the Berserk activated its emergency locator beacon indicating that it was in trouble. At the time, storms were raging across the Southern Ocean, bringing high winds and very rough seas to the region. Those storms prevented rescue operations from commencing for nearly another day, and by the time search and rescue teams were able to enter the area, the emergency beacon was no longer transmitting. All attempts to contact the vessel have been fruitless as well. Three crew members, including two Norwegians and a British national, are believed to have been aboard the Berserk when it went missing.

Search teams are continuing to comb the area today, holding out hope for a miracle. It is possible that the yacht is now adrift without power on the Southern Ocean, simply waiting to be found. But with each passing hour, the chances of finding the boat and her crew grow a bit smaller.

[Photo credit: Berserk Expeditions]

Pack spare passport photos – International travel tip

When traveling abroad, it is a good idea to have an extra set of passport photos packed among your belongings.

In the event that your passport is lost or stolen, you can save valuable time by immediately taking these photos to the embassy or consulate when you apply for a replacement. Without the photos, you may find yourself frantically searching for a photo lab in a potentially unfamiliar city or town.

[Photo: Flickr | selmerv]