Flight attendants forced to use toilet oxygen in emergency

Virgin Blue flight attendants had to use the oxygen masks in the rear toilets of a Boeing 737 during an emergency descent after they couldn’t tell if their crew oxygen masks were working, an investigation has revealed.
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In the rush to get oxygen flowing during a rapid depressurisation, one attendant yanked on the tubing, ripping it from its connection and rendering it useless.

The plane, which had departed Coolangatta for Melbourne with 145 passengers on board, experienced rapid cabin depressurisation after its two air supply systems failed.

The pilots, distracted by the unfolding emergency, didn’t immediately tell the cabin crew what was going on, the report said.

The pilots also forgot to turn on engine and wing de-icing systems, which could have created difficulties in flight control had ice formed, air safety investigators have found.

The investigators’ final report into the November 17, 2007 incident was released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau yesterday, cataloguing multiple technical and procedural failings.

A pressure valve fault triggered the shutdown of one of the two units pumping air into the cabin shortly after take-off. Then, cruising at 31,800 feet, the other air supply unit failed, triggering a rapid loss of cabin air pressure.

Investigators found:

The command pilot’s decision to continue the take-off after the first air supply unit failed was contrary to the airline’s procedures and increased the risk of in-flight technical problems;

Pilots trying to resolve the first air supply fault were distracted during the critical phase of take-off;

Pilots overlooked activating anti-ice systems in icy conditions on ascent and emergency descent;

Pilots were too busy to warn meal-serving crew about the nature of the emergency;

Crew had “inconsistent knowledge” of how emergency oxygen masks worked.

Pilots landed the plane safely at Brisbane Airport with no injuries to people on board.

In response to the report, the airline said: “Virgin Blue has rigorous operating procedures to which we expect all team members to adhere and we are also continuously reviewing and monitoring our operations.

“Ours is not a culture of blame but of continuous learning, training and improvement. As outlined in the ATSB report, Virgin Blue has implemented a range of actions as a result of this incident.”

Investigators say the lessons learned from the incident have been incorporated in Virgin Blue’s pilot, crew and technical training, manuals and procedures.

Fulham clinch dramatic Europa League final spot as Liverpool falls

Fulham completed their fairytale run to the Europa League final as the unfashionable English club defeated Hamburg 2-1 in the semi-final second leg on Thursday.Roy Hodgson’s side looked on the verge of elimination when they trailed to Mladen Petric’s first half free-kick with just 21 minutes left at Craven Cottage.But two goals in seven minutes from Simon Davies and Zoltan Gera sealed a dramatic 2-1 aggregate triumph and a place in the final against Spanish club Atletico Madrid – after they eliminated English giants Liverpool in a dramatic semi-final second leg at Anfield – on May 12.Hodgson’s team began their European adventure against Lithuania’s FK Vetra way back in July and had already exceeded all expectations in a magical run that included famous victories over holders Shakhtar Donetsk, Italian giants Juventus and German champions Wolfsburg.The Cottagers had even survived the draining effects of their enforced 18-hour bus journey to Germany in the first leg in Hamburg last week.Fulham have never won a major honour at home or abroad, but they will play in a first European final after the most significant result in the club’s 131-year history.With so much at stake, 19-goal leading scorer Bobby Zamora agreed to have a painkilling injection so he could start after missing Sunday’s defeat at Everton with an Achilles injury.Zamora had a chance to impress watching England coach Fabio Capello, but the former Tottenham forward never looked fit and was unable to convert a golden opportunity in the second minute.Gera’s flick sent Zamora through on goal yet, with just Frank Rost to beat, he shot straight at the Hamburg goalkeeper before his effort from the rebound was scrambled away for a corner.It proved a costly miss as Ricardo Moniz’s side gradually took control before going ahead in the 22nd minute.After Ze Roberto was fouled by Danny Murphy 35 yards from goal, Croatia forward Petric stepped up and unleashed a ferocious free-kick that caught Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer slightly flat-footed at it sped past him.Now Fulham needed to score twice as a draw would eliminate them on away goals.Hodgson’s side had recovered from a worse position to go through against Juventus, but the Germans, who had sacked boss Bruno Labbadia earlier in the week, were pushing for a killer second goal and Jonathan Pitropia was narrowly off-target with a powerful drive just before half-time.Zamora began limping heavily as the match wore on and it was no surprise when he was replaced by American forward Clint Dempsey in the 57th minute.Dempsey added more verve to the previously subdued Fulham forward line and Damien Duff went close with a first-time shot from Paul Konchesky’s low free-kick.Fulham were leaving more gaps at the back as they searched for an equaliser and David Jarolim forced Schwarzer to tip over after a quick Hamburg counter-attack.There was no sign of Fulham throwing in the towel though and Davies brought the hosts right back into the tie 69th minute.Murphy chipped a defence-splitting pass to Davies and the Welsh midfielder showed great skill to turn Guy Demel before firing past Rost.Suddenly, Fulham could sense another remarkable European victory and they piled forward.Their pressure was rewarded in the 76th minute when Davies’s corner ran through to Hungary forward Gera, who kept his composure to control and shoot past Rost as the Craven Cottage faithful went wild.AFP
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Hauritz hammered by teammates as whirlwind Warner strikes again

Nathan Hauritz’s chances of playing in Australia’s opening World Twenty20 match have dimmed significantly after the spinner again failed to take a wicket in the final practice match today.Hauritz played for the Windward Islands side against his Australian teammates, in order to give him a greater bowling challenge, but could not break through and finished with 0-34 from three overs.Having also failed to take a wicket against Zimbabwe on Tuesday, Hauritz is likely to be left out of the side for Sunday’s match against Pakistan despite the slowness of the pitch, and Australia would rely on Steve Smith along with part-time spinners David Hussey and Michael Clarke, who all picked up wickets.Australia cruised to victory over the Windward side that also featured Australians Dan Christian and Tim Paine, scoring 8-189 before dismissing the locals for 88 at Beausejour Cricket Ground.David Warner scored his second successive half-century and looks primed to be among the leading run-scorers for the tournament.Paceman Shaun Tait, who picked up two wickets, was happy for the hit-out after joining the team from the Indian Premier League on Sunday.”It was good to get a game in before the start of the tournament and it worked pretty well today,” Tait said.SCORECARDAustralia InningsD WARNER c Christian b Mathews 51S WATSON c James b Mathews 17M CLARKE b Cottoy 30D HUSSEY c Charles b Christian 49C WHITE c & b Kottoy 24B HADDIN c Paine b Mathews 1M HUSSEY run out 1S SMITH run out 5M JOHNSON not out 0D NANNES not out 1Sundries (4lb 5w 1nb) 108 wickets for 189Fall: 1-57, 2-80, 3-119, 4-172, 5-181, 6-182, 7-187, 8-187.Overs: 20.Bowling: Williams 2-0-30-0, Hauritz 3-0-34-0, Mathews 4-0-34-3, Cottoy 3.4-0-37-2, Christian 4-0-29-1, Mathurin 3.2-0-21-0.Windward Islands InningsT PAINE b Nannes 4J CHARLES c D Hussey b Tait 7 K LESPORIS b Watson 11C EMMANUEL c Haddin b Johnson 4D CHRISTIAN c White b Clarke 20D HECTOR c D Hussey b Smith 9N HAURITZ lbw b Clarke 4L JAMES not out 20M MATHEWS c & b Smith 3K COTTOY c & b D Hussey 3K WILLIAMS c Haddin b Tait 1Sundries (1w) 1Total 88Fall: 1-4, 2-16, 3-26, 4-44, 5-47, 6-57, 7-60, 8-65, 9-75, 10-87.Overs: 20Bowling: Nannes 4-0-21-1, Tait 4-0-19-2, Watson 2-0-10-1, Johnson 3-0-12-1, Smith 3-0-15-2, Clarke 2-0-6-2, D Hussey 2-0-5-1.Result: Australia won by 101 runs.
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Housing bubble to burst? History says ‘yes’

Australia’s housing bubble would defy worldwide trends and all historical evidence if it did not burst, a US investment fund has said.
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Jeremy Grantham, co-founder of Boston-based GMO, said Australian home prices continued to rise because the Reserve Bank’s rapid interest rate cuts during the financial crisis “protected” the nation’s housing bubble.

“But if they (home prices in Australia and the UK) don’t go back to … the old trend line multiple of family income, which should drive house prices, it will be the first time in history that such a bubble is not broken,” Mr Grantham said in a recent interview with the Financial Times.

“Now we have to see what happens when interest rates rise.”

The RBA, after cutting rates to a 50-year low as it moved to spur economic demand, began lifting the official cash rates in October, its most recent move coming earlier this month when the cash rate went to 4.25 per cent.

A consensus of economists is tipping another 25-basis-point rate increase next week, according to Bloomberg. Credit markets are pricing in a 50-50 probability of such a move when the RBA board meets on Tuesday.

Australian home-price growth has shown signs of flagging in the most recent quarterly price data. The national median house price rose 3.1 per cent to a record $542,800 in the March quarter, after a 4.8 per cent increase in last three months of 2009, according to figures from Australian Property Monitors that were released yesterday.

The average income-to-loan-size ratio was 3.5 times in 1998 but is now almost six times, based on mortgages today, according Fujitsu consulting data.

The nation’s home home prices have been supported by a growing population, a strong economy, a low unemployment rate and a chronic shortage of affordable housing, estimated by the government to be about 200,000 units this year.

In the interview, Mr Grantham also pointed to a bubble in the UK housing market.

House prices there, after dropping by almost 18 per cent in the year to February 2009, are now up 10.5 per cent in the year to April 2010, according to the Nationwide Housing Price Index.

Of the 34 bubbles GMO researched, including the US housing bubble and the dotcom stock bubble, 32 have returned to the trend that existed before the emergence of the bubble, Mr Grantham said.

GMO, a privately held global investment management firm, has $US107 billion under management.

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Six appeal: Blues sizing up Carney for halves spot

TODD CARNEY has emerged as the leading candidate for the NSW five-eighth jersey this year, with Country Origin officials poised to choose him at No.6 alongside Brett Kimmorley for next Friday’s selection trial at Port Macquarie.The Blues’ halves are expected to come from Country’s deep ranks, which include Carney, Kimmorley, Greg Bird, Trent Barrett, Brett Finch, Jarrod Mullen and Terry Campese, while likely Australian utility Luke Lewis is another option.Carney, who has played fullback for the Sydney Roosters this season, moves to halfback for their match against Wests Tigers at Campbelltown on Sunday to cover for the injured Mitchell Pearce.It is in the halves that Blues coach Craig Bellamy and Country coach Laurie Daley – also a NSW selector – want Carney tested against City, with Kimmorley firming as favourite to retain his Blues spot by playing alongside him.”That would be the favourite [combination] at this stage,” Country chairman of selectors Jock Colley said. ”Originally, a couple of weeks ago we were looking to play Carney at five-eighth after consultation with Laurie and Craig.”A few things have changed since then but it’s likely he’ll be there. We want to see how he goes this weekend at halfback. He was outstanding at five-eighth for us at Wollongong two years ago but he hasn’t played in the halves in the NRL for two years.”Cronulla captain Barrett is running second to Carney among the five-eighth hopes but Finch, Campese and Mullen are expected to be overlooked by Country selectors. Bird, who has impressed at five-eighth for Gold Coast this season, will be chosen at lock for Country.”We’ve got about 15 halfbacks to chose from,” Colley said. ”We’ll consult with the State of Origin selectors again. You’ve still got to look at Kimmorley because he could well be the State of Origin halfback. We want to win but ultimately for the survival of the game it’s an Origin trial.”City’s halves options are comparatively very thin. With Pearce and Brisbane halfback Peter Wallace sidelined with injuries Manly rookie Trent Hodkinson and Parramatta’s Kris Keating are in line to partner Rabbitoh John Sutton in the halves, although moving Wests Tigers captain Robbie Farah from hooker to No.7 is also an option.”With Mitch and Wal going down it does leave City a bit short,” Farah said. ”There’s a couple of young guys they could throw in, they could throw me in there. I haven’t thought about it and haven’t been asked anything about it.”Much of the City-Country selection decisions will depend on who Australian selectors opt for on Sunday for the Test against New Zealand in Melbourne on the same night.Country are likely to grant a representative debut to exciting Canberra fullback Josh Dugan if Kurt Gidley is chosen on the bench for Australia, displacing long-time bush servant Luke Patten. Raiders prop Dane Tilse could be another bolter with fellow Country props Michael Weyman and Josh Perry set to be in action against the Kiwis.
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