August 14th, 2013
03:35 PM ET

2 killed in UPS plane crash

The pilot and co-pilot of a UPS cargo plane died Wednesday when their jet crashed, broke into pieces and burned near Birmingham's airport, officials said.

While UPS said the status of its crew remained unconfirmed, Birmingham Airport Authority Chairwoman Gaynell Hendricks and the city's mayor confirmed the deaths.

"It's a grim scene," Hendricks told CNN affiliate WBRC.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Air travel • Alabama
April 24th, 2013
10:27 PM ET

Barges on Alabama's Mobile River explodes

A fire broke out on Alabama's Mobile River on Wednesday night after two barges with natural gas exploded, the city's fire department said on Twitter.

The Mobile Fire-Rescue Department, on its official Twitter feed, reported that it had "units on the scene on east side of Mobile River where a fuel barge has exploded and is on fire."

Minutes later, the fire department issued an update stating that two barges had exploded.

Three people injured in the incident were transported to a local hospital.

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Filed under: Alabama
Auburn University removing poisoned oaks
Oak trees at Auburn University that had been poisoned by an Alabama fan in 2010 will be chopped down on Tuesday.
April 23rd, 2013
07:44 AM ET

Auburn University removing poisoned oaks

Two years of rescue efforts could not save them. So, Tuesday, Auburn University will remove two iconic trees that a disappointed fan of its inner-state rival poisoned, after his team lost a game to Auburn.

The landmark live oaks, used for celebrations by fans, who rolled them with toilet paper after big victories, were over 130 years old. The Auburn oaks will disappear from the campus gathering place, Toomer's Corner, at 7 a.m. CT.

Local television news cameras will broadcast the removal live.

FULL STORY
April 4th, 2013
03:35 PM ET

Coast Guard suspends search for shipyard worker

The Coast Guard said Thursday it has suspended its search for a shipyard employee who has been missing since high winds blew him into the Mobile River in Mobile, Alabama, on Wednesday.

The winds also caused a Carnival cruise ship to break loose from a repair dock.

An official with the city's fire department said that the missing employee and another person were in a guard shack at the BAE shipyard that was blown into the Mobile River. One of them was found in the water.

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Filed under: Alabama • U.S. Coast Guard
Carnival Triumph breaks loose
The Carnival Cruise ship Triumph is undergoing repairs at a dock in Mobile, Alabama.
April 3rd, 2013
05:15 PM ET

Carnival Triumph breaks loose

One person is missing after high winds in Mobile, Alabama, caused the disabled cruise ship Carnival Triumph to break loose from its dock.

There were conflicting reports as to where the missing man was working.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Accidents • Alabama • Travel • U.S.
March 22nd, 2013
09:22 PM ET

'Bama fan pleads guilty to poisoning Auburn oaks

An Alabama man pleaded guilty Friday to poisoning oak trees that drew generations of Auburn University football fans celebrating victories, officials said.

Harvey Updyke will serve at least six months of a three-year sentence for criminal damage to an agricultural facility, a felony, Lee County District Attorney Robbie Treese said in a statement.

The plea brings to an end the criminal proceedings in an act in 2010 that outraged Auburn fans and others upset that the trees at Toomer's Corner were poisoned.

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Filed under: Alabama • Crime • U.S.
Arrival time for stricken cruise ship moved back
February 14th, 2013
07:46 AM ET

Arrival time for stricken cruise ship moved back

The Carnival Triumph, the cruise ship that had been marooned in the Gulf of Mexico, is expected to arrive in Mobile, Alabama, between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET Thursday, according to an official briefed on plans for the recovery of the vessel.

On Wednesday, the plan was for the vessel to arrive in the early Thursday afternoon, but rough waves overnight has slowed the recovery.

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Filed under: Alabama • Travel • U.S.
February 13th, 2013
03:15 AM ET

From national championship to jail for 4 Alabama football players

Just a month after reveling in the glory of a national championship, four members of the University of Alabama football team have been arrested after a pair of campus robberies.

The accused are all freshmen members of the Crimson Tide team, which beat Notre Dame in a resounding 42-14 victory last month to clinch the BCS National Championship.

Three players are charged with robbery, and one is charged with fraudulent use of a credit or debit card.

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Filed under: Alabama • Crime • Justice • Sports • U.S.
February 4th, 2013
10:30 PM ET

Officials: Rescued 5-year-old is 'laughing, joking, playing, eating'

A 5-year-old boy held hostage nearly a week is safe and the Alabama man who held him hostage is dead, law enforcement officials say.

[Update 10:30 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama called FBI Director Robert Mueller to compliment him for the role federal law enforcement officers played in resolving the hostage situation in Alabama today, a White House official told CNN. "The president praised the exceptional coordination between state, local, and federal partners, and thanked all the law enforcement officials involved during the nearly week-long ordeal for their roles in the successful rescue of the child."

[Update 10:17 p.m. ET] Law enforcement officials in Alabama expressed gratitude and relief at the successful conclusion of the week-long hostage ordeal in Midland City.

At a 9 p.m. news conference, Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said getting the 5-year-old hostage out alive was the goal of everyone on the scene.

"This is a very special child," Olson said. "He's been through a lot, (and) by the grace of God he's OK. ...

"I'm a father, a lot of these men and women that's been sacrificing tireless hours, they're parents as well. It's a relief to be able to reunite mother and child."

The boy, whose name is Ethan, is with his mother at a local hospital, said Steve Richardson, special agent in charge of the FBI's Mobile regional office.

"Ethan is laughing, joking, playing, eating - the things you would expect a normal 5-year-old child to do," Richardson said.

The officials refused to divulge any details of the rescue operation, saying they expect to need to employ the same tactics in another situation someday in the future.

Olson said officials believed Ethan was in danger.

"That's why we went in - to save the child," he said.

[Update 5:46 p.m. ET]

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley issued the following statement:

"Shortly after 3 p.m., I spoke with Col. Hugh McCall of the Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier.  They informed me that law enforcement had breached the bunker, the child was safe and the abductor was killed.

"I want to thank the law enforcement, first responders and all additional personnel who worked tireless hours to bring this situation to a resolution.  They performed heroic efforts, and they should be praised for how they handled themselves in a professional manner.

"I am thankful that the child who was abducted is now safe.  I am so happy this little boy can now be reunited with his family and friends.  We will all continue to pray for the little boy and his family as they recover from the trauma of the last several days.

"At the same time, we also want to remember the family and friends of the bus driver - Charles Poland, Jr.  This man was a true hero who was willing to give up his life so others might live.  We are all inspired by his courage and bravery.

"I ask everyone across the state - and the nation - to continue to lift up these families and the entire Midland City community in your prayers."

[Earlier updates] Steve Richardson, the FBI's special agent in charge of the local office, said at a brief news conference that negotiations with Jimmy Lee Dykes had "deteriorated" during the past 24 hours, and that Dykes had been observed holding a gun.

At 3:12 p.m. CT, FBI agents entered the bunker and safely recovered the young hostage, Richardson said.

He said Dykes was dead and the child appeared to be physically unharmed. He did not say how Dykes died.

Richardson and other law enforcement officials declined to answer any questions.

The abducted boy, whose name is Ethan, has been taken to a hospital about eight miles from the place where he had been held hostage, Alabama Rep. Steve Clouse told CNN.

"Finally, this nightmare has come to an end," he said.

A neighbor of Dykes' said Monday he heard it end.

"I heard a big boom and then I heard, I believe I heard, rifle shots," Byron Martin told CNN. "Literally made me jump off the ground."

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Filed under: Alabama • Crime • U.S.
February 3rd, 2013
04:54 AM ET

Alabama sheriff: 5-year-old hostage gets chips, toys as standoff enters 6th day

A gunman barricaded in an underground bunker with a 5-year-old hostage is making the boy "as comfortable as possible," authorities said, as the standoff in southeastern Alabama entered its sixth day Sunday.

Police have said little about what, if any, demands have been made by the man who they say killed a school bus driver and grabbed the kindergartener Tuesday afternoon before holing up in the bunker in Midland City.

"We continue to maintain an open line of communication 24 hours a day, whenever he wants to talk," according to a statement released by Alabama State Troopers. The statement, obtained by CNN affiliate WSFA, was released after authorities canceled a news conference because there was "no new information" to report.

Those negotiations are being carried out between the suspect and authorities through a 60-foot plastic ventilation pipe that leads from the bunker, authorities said.

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Filed under: Alabama • U.S.
February 2nd, 2013
06:20 AM ET

Authorities tight-lipped as standoff over child hostage enters 5th day

Midland City, Alabama (CNN) - As an armed standoff entered its fifth day Saturday, authorities negotiated through a ventilation pipe with a man accused of barricading himself and a 5-year-old hostage in an underground bunker in southeastern Alabama.

Police have been tight-lipped about a possible motive since the hostage drama began unfolding in Midland City with the shooting of school bus driver and the abduction of the 5-year-old.

In a sign of perhaps how tense negotiations are between authorities and the suspect, officials have refused to detail what, if any, demands have been made by the suspect.

On Friday, the Dale County sheriff did confirm what neighbors have been saying and news outlets around Midland City have been reporting since the standoff began - the suspected gunman's identity.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Alabama • Crime • U.S.
January 29th, 2013
10:44 PM ET

Sheriff: Man shot on Alabama school bus

One man was shot on a school bus in Alabama on Tuesday, the Dale County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Wally Olson said in a written statement the suspect had not been taken into custody.

Michael Senn, a pastor, told CNN affiliate WSFA that he spoke to several students who had been on the bus.

He said a girl described the shooter getting aboard.

"He told most of them to get off the bus," Senn related. "And then he grabbed a little boy and shot the bus driver four times."

CNN affiliate WTVY reported the child is being held by the shooter.

Olson said a command post had been established at Private Road 1539 and U.S. Highway 231 near Midland City, Alabama, in the southeastern corner of the state.

WTVY reported that authorities said a hostage situation was ongoing.

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Filed under: Alabama
ESPN apologizes for Musburger comments on quarterback's girlfriend
Former Miss Alabama USA Katherine Webb drew just as much attention as her boyfriend Monday night
January 8th, 2013
05:29 PM ET

ESPN apologizes for Musburger comments on quarterback's girlfriend

The attention that Brent Musburger gave to the girlfriend of Alabama's quarterback during last night's championship college football game apparently made ESPN a little uncomfortable.

ESPN on Tuesday afternoon apologized for the play-by-play man's gushing about Katherine Webb's beauty as the network showed her in the stands at the game Monday night.

"We always try to capture interesting storylines and the relationship between an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama and the current Alabama quarterback certainly met that test. However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that," ESPN said.

CNN was not able to reach Musburger for comment through ESPN.

"Wow, I'm telling you, quarterbacks you get all the good-looking women. What a beautiful woman. Wow!" Musburger said during one of his several in-game comments. Webb subsequently became an Internet sensation as Alabama trounced Notre Dame. Read more about Musburger's comments, the public's reaction, and the reaction from Webb herself.

Storm damage reported in Mobile, Alabama
Storms damaged property in Mobile, Alabama, Thursday morning.
December 20th, 2012
11:32 AM ET

Storm damage reported in Mobile, Alabama

[Updated at 11:32 a.m. ET] The storm that swept through the Mobile, Alabama, area on Thursday morning damaged five Red Cross disaster trailers, an agency official tells CNN. The storm also broke windows in the Red Cross building, but no injuries were reported to Red Cross staff.

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Filed under: Alabama • Weather
December 13th, 2012
11:26 AM ET

FBI: Shooting at federal courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama

A worker at the federal courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama, shot himself in the head Thursday, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

The man walked into the chief clerk's office at the Hugo Black U.S. Federal Courthouse "mumbling about a will. He then put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger," CNN affiliate WBMA reported, citing a source inside the courthouse. The FBI confirmed the source's report, WBMA said.

FULL STORY
December 10th, 2012
09:24 AM ET

Report: Possible tornado in Birmingham, Alabama

A possible tornado touched down in northern Birmingham, Alabama, early Monday morning, the National Weather Service said on its website.

There are reports of several houses damaged, including houses with roofs torn off, the web site said. Power lines were also down.

Phone calls by CNN to the Birmingham Department of Emergency Management were not immediately returned. There were no initial reports of injuries.

iReport: Are you there? Send photos, video, but be safe

 

November 10th, 2012
07:17 PM ET

No. 1 Alabama falls to No. 15 Texas A&M

Top-ranked Alabama was defeated Saturday night by Texas A&M, 29-24, shaking up the BCS National Championship picture.

A dramatic finish stunned the crowd in Tuscaloosa.

Despite the loss, Alabama, the defending national champion, still has a shot at this year's crown.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Alabama • College football • Texas
October 11th, 2012
01:07 PM ET

Lawyer: South Alabama student killed after police used unnecessary force

A University of South Alabama student was killed after campus police used deadly force that could have been avoided, a lawyer for the student's family said after viewing surveillance video of the incident.

Authorities in Mobile have been investigating why the officer shot and killed an 18-year-old freshman who they say was naked and acting erratically outside the campus police station early Saturday.

The man, later identified as Gilbert Thomas Collar of Wetumpka, Alabama, repeatedly rushed and verbally challenged the officer in a fighting stance, the school said.

The family attorney, Jere Beasley, says, "without reservation, there is nothing on the surveillance tape that justifies the use of deadly force."

"The officer comes out of the building with his gun out of his holster," he added. "It took place over 20 or 30 seconds."

Beasley said the student was unarmed and was shot and killed by an officer who should have had access to pepper spray and a baton.

"Something happened that caused him to act in an unusual, distressed manner," Beasley said. "The fact he came to the police station indicates he was not necessarily looking for trouble. In fact, I think he was looking for help."

Campus police immediately contacted the district attorney's office to request an external investigation, and the Mobile County Sheriff's Department will assist, the school said.

The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave pending internal and external investigations, the school said.

School spokesman Keith Ayers called it a "campus tragedy" for the university family but offered no other details, citing the investigation.

Water trapped between levees
August 29th, 2012
10:28 PM ET

Water trapped between levees

  • New Orleans mayor imposes dusk-to-dawn curfew
  • More than 817,000 without power across 5 states
  • Isaac's maximum sustained winds slip to 60 mph
  • Emergency crews rescue people stranded by floods

Refresh this page for the latest updates or read the full CNN story here.

[Updated 10:28 p.m. ET]

[Updated 10:20 p.m. ET] Water that overtopped levees was trapped in Plaquemines Parish with nowhere to drain. Officials were considering intentionally breaching a levee downstream to allow some of the floodwater to flow back out of the inundated area, Gov. Bobby Jindal said.

Parish President Billy Nungesser said parish officials will go out at low tide to check the back levee - a second line of defense - at the town of Braithwaite and determine where to punch holes in it. It will be Saturday, at the earliest, before crews can cut the levee open, letting water flow out into the marsh.

[Updated 10 p.m. ET]

[Updated 9:52 a.m. ET]  New Orleans officials said there had been 12 incidents of looting. Police said arrests were made in each case, but didn't specify how many people were involved.

[Updated 9:48 p.m. ET] Lake Pontchartrain's water levels are "beginning to stabilize," St. Tammany Parish officials said, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Water had spilled out from the lake and flooded low-lying areas of the parish.

Rescues continue in areas around the vast Louisiana lake, including Lewisburg, Guste Island, Lacombe and Slidell, the newspaper's website reported.

[Updated 9:29 p.m. ET] Joey Amann gathered family and friends into his home in Hancock County, Mississippi, to ride out the storm, he told CNN affiliate WALA.

"You know, we just figured we'd be safer in numbers. Since our house is eight feet off the ground, we figured we'd be safer there but the water just kept coming," Amann said.

"It was scary. I mean, I've never seen the water raise this fast on this road and I've been here all my life. It just came out of nowhere."

The group ended up being rescued by emergency personnel in boats.

Amann told the station he lost his home to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"Thirty-six years I've lived here, and it's just devastating," he said. "Seven years ago, we were going through the same thing. No one thought it would be this bad, but it's worse than we anticipated."

FULL POST

August 28th, 2012
11:11 PM ET

Isaac 'producing a dangerous storm surge' along northern Gulf Coast

Governments, business and residents in New Orleans and the central Gulf coast rushed Tuesday to complete last-minute preparations to bear the brunt of Hurricane  Isaac.

The storm made initial landfall Tuesday evening as a Category 1 hurricane after graduating from tropical storm status Tuesday afternoon.

Read the full CNN.com story here.

[Updated 11:29 p.m. ET]

[Updated 11:11 p.m. ET] Hurricane Isaac is "producing a dangerous storm surge" along the northern Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 p.m. ET update. Flooding from heavy rainfall will follow the storm surge, the NHC said.

At 11 p.m. ET, the storm's center of circulation was about 75 southeast of Houma, Louisiana, or 75 miles south-southeast of New Orleans, still moving at 8 mph with 80 mph maximum sustained winds.

[Updated 11:01 p.m. ET] Designer John Nelson created this fascinating and oddly beautiful visualization of every hurricane recorded since 1851. It's reproduced by Fast Company.

The image takes some getting used to, as it employs a southern polar projection; that is, Antarctica is in the center of the picture, with the other continents extending away from it. Hovering your mouse over the map enlarges an area so you can see greater detail.

Nelson created the map using data from NASA Visible Earth and NOAA International Best Track Archive, according to Fast Company.

[Updated 10:45 p.m. ET] Tropical Depression 11 rapidly intensified Tuesday evening and became the 11th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Kirk, the National Hurricane Center said. Kirk is located in the middle Atlantic and is not likely to become a threat to land.

[Updated 10:40 p.m. ET] Utility companies in four states report more than 200,000 customers have lost power because of Hurricane Isaac, all but 1,000 of them in Louisiana.

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