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Author Topic:   NASA JPL Van Crash
posted 12-08-2004 03:23 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just found this story a few mintues ago.

NASA Commuter Van Tumbles Down California Mountain, Killing 3 People, Injuring 7 Others

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. -- A commuter van from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory tumbled 200 feet off a twisting mountain road Wednesday, killing three people and injuring seven, at least four of them seriously, authorities said.

The van was carrying 10 people to work at the laboratory when it plunged off the Angeles Crest Highway in the Angeles National Forest at about 6:30 a.m. and rolled down the mountainside, Los Angeles County Fire Department inspector Ron Haralson said.

"One person was able to get out of the van and make his way up to the road" to get help, Haralson said.

The van was carrying six employees of the lab in Pasadena, two contractors and two NASA employees, said Blaine Baggett, a JPL spokesman. Their names were not immediately released.

"It's a very, very sad day for all of us at JPL," Baggett said, adding that employees will be offered grief counseling.

Three people were pronounced dead at the scene. One person was flung from the van. Others lay trapped in the battered white van in the middle of a dense forest until firefighters arrived.

Firefighters tore off the doors to reach victims, who were taken by helicopter to hospitals.

Of the survivors, one person was in critical condition, three were in serious condition, two had minor injuries and one person was still being evaluated, Haralson said.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known. Clouds and fog shrouded the site, at an altitude of about 1,500 feet. Snow dotted flanks of the mountain, but the road itself was clear.

Hundreds of cars a day travel the highway, a twisting, two-lane blacktop with steep drops. Commuters living in the Antelope Valley area northeast of Los Angeles use it as a shortcut to reach a freeway in Pasadena.

JPL is the control center for several NASA projects, including the Mars rovers.

About 450 of the 5,500 people who work there participate in its vanpool program, which involves about 30 vans, Baggett said.

Rick Boos

Posts: 828
From: Celina,Ohio U.S.A.
Registered: Feb 2000

posted 12-09-2004 09:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any word yet as to who was in the van? VERY sad day for a great team!!!!!

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-09-2004 11:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
JPL Community Mourns Loss of Three Colleagues
December 08, 2004

Leadership of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory expressed their deep concern today after a vanpool accident that took the life of three riders and injured several others.

"All of us at JPL are shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of several of our colleagues in this tragic accident," said JPL Director Dr. Charles Elachi, who was on business travel in Washington. "This is a terrible loss for all of us, but most particularly for the victims' families and their immediate co-workers here at the Laboratory."

The Laboratory is mourning the loss of Dorothy Forks, an employee in JPL's Human Resources Department; Jane Galloway, a manager in JPL's Business Operations Office and Kerri Lynn Agey, an administrator for Wackenhut Security, a contractor at JPL.

According to law enforcement sources, the van carrying 10 riders from the Palmdale/Lancaster area to JPL near Pasadena went off the road on Angeles Forest Highway in the San Gabriel National Forest. The riders included six JPL employees, two NASA employees, and two employees of JPL contractor companies.

"We would particularly like to thank the public safety agencies that responded so quickly and effectively to help our people in the van," said Elachi. "The California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff and other agencies provided invaluable help."

The injured were transported to area hospitals. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, two had been released. According to the hospitals, two remain hospitalized in fair condition, one in good condition, and two others are listed as critical but stable.

JPL employs a total of 5,500 employees and contractors at its main facility in the San Gabriel foothills above Pasadena. Approximately 450 employees participate in 30 vanpool groups bringing in workers from around the greater Los Angeles basin.

All times are CT (US)

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