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PILOT ERROR LED TO KENTUCKY CRASH, U.S. SAYS

WASHINGTON

The pilots were primarily responsible for the fatal crash of a regional jet last year that killed 49 people at a Kentucky airport because they failed to notice obvious signs that they were headed to the wrong runway, safety investigators concluded Thursday. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the pilots' errors and their failure to "cross check" that they were on the proper runway were the principal causes of the accident. The board also blamed "nonpertinent" chitchat between the pilots about a colleagues' job prospects just before the crash as a contributing factor. The plane, a Delta Connection regional jet operated by Comair, crashed while trying to take off from a too-short runway in the pre-dawn darkness of Aug. 27 at Lexington's main airport. The accident was the worst U.S. commercial jet crash since November 2001.

DENVER

TB patient out of hospital

The tuberculosis patient who created an international health scare when he flew to Europe for his wedding was released from a hospital Thursday after successfully completing inpatient treatment, officials said. Andrew Speaker, an Atlanta lawyer who had a multidrug-resistant strain of TB, underwent surgery July 17 to remove a diseased portion of his right lung. The doctors who treated him at National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver do not consider him to be completely cured, but the lung operation and antibiotic treatments "have eliminated any detectable evidence of infection," the hospital said. Speaker, who spent eight weeks in the hospital, will still need to continue antibiotic treatment for about two years.

HELENA, MONT.

10.4M awarded in car-seat suit

A jury ordered child safety seat maker Evenflo Co. to pay $10.4-million to the parents of a 4-month-old boy who died of head injuries in a car crash. The district court jury awarded $3.7-million in punitive damages to Chad and Jessica Malcolm on Thursday, a day after deciding the Livingston couple should receive $6.7-million in compensatory damages for the death of their son, Tyler. Evenflo has lost at least three cases over its car seats, for a total of $19.6-million, according to the couple's attorney.

MOJAVE, CALIF.

2 killed, 4 hurt in airport blast

An explosion killed two workers and critically injured four others at a Mojave Desert airport site used by the pioneering aerospace company that sent the first private manned rocket into space, authorities said. The blast at a Mojave Air and Space Port facility belonging to Scaled Composites LLC also left some toxic material, said Kern County fire Capt. Doug Johnston. All of the victims worked for Scaled. Scaled is the Mojave-based builder of SpaceShipOne, the first private manned rocket to reach space, and is developing a successor for the new space tourism business Virgin Galactic. The accident involved nitrous oxide, but it was not known if an actual rocket motor test was under way or whether it occurred during preparation for a test, fire Inspector Tony Diffenbaugh told KABC-TV.

Elsewhere

CONVICTED: THREE WHITE FORMER POLICE OFFICERS WERE CONVICTED IN MILWAUKEE THURSDAY OF BEATING A BIRACIAL MAN OUTSIDE A PARTY AND VIOLATING HIS CIVIL RIGHTS, BUT A SUSPENDED OFFICER WAS ACQUITTED IN THE CASE.

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