Published March 22, 2010

After a plane crash, what happens to passengers' luggage? I'm thinking of the Hudson River splashdown, for example. Does the airline attempt to recover and deliver these belongings? Is returning bags or belongings considered a responsibility of the airline?

There is a voluntary process developed by the National Transportation Safety Board in conjunction with air carriers for returning baggage and other personal belongings to passengers or their families after airline accidents. How much baggage can be retrieved depends on the extent of damage in the accident. After investigators go through everything, airlines usually hire a third party to clean baggage and other belongings. Airline wreckage is considered a biohazard site.

If belongings are intact, they can be delivered to passengers or family members. If the ownership of recovered belongings isn't known, airlines often make photos available to passengers and family members so they have an opportunity to claim their items. The airline is responsible for returning belongings, not the NTSB.

In the case of US Airways Flight 1549, which collided with Canada geese shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in New York on Jan. 15, 2009, and ditched into the Hudson River, the airline hired a contractor to recover, sort, clean and restore more than 30,000 passenger belongings.

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Ike was first with TelePrompTer

How many presidents in the past have used TelePrompTers?

For more than half a century, presidents have been using TelePrompTers, the New York Times reports. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first to use them, but the paper says he was not a fan of the TelePrompTer.

The paper says presidents have typically used TelePrompTers for important speeches, like President George W. Bush's 2002 speech to the United Nations on Iraq, as well as State of the Union addresses, Oval Office addresses and inaugural speeches. But President Barack Obama also uses them for routine announcements.

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Handling Olympics equipment

When the Olympics are over, what happens to the equipment the athletes use, such as curling stones and brooms?

The curling rocks will stay at the Vancouver Olympic Center as the Vancouver Curling Club will move into the facility by the 2011 season, said Terry Kolesar, the director of communications for USA Curling. The brooms belong to the athletes, so they took them home, Kolesar said.

According to an article on Around the Rings, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games has been auctioning memorabilia, including sports equipment from several events, on eBay. The site also reported that half of the city's 6,000 street banners will be sold by UNICEF for Haiti earthquake relief.