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Canadian-owned plane battling Australian wildfires crashes, killing 3 – CTV News

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TORONTO —
A Canadian-owned water bomber being used in the fight against the wildfires in Australia crashed Thursday, killing three American firefighters.

The C-130 Hercules aerial water bomber belonged to B.C.-based Coulson Aviation, which had leased it to the Australian government.

Company president Britton Coulson told CTV News Vancouver Island earlier this month that Coulson had “pretty much all” of its aircraft in Australia as part of the firefighting effort, including two C-130s.

Authorities have said little publicly about the cause or details of the deadly collision. Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said witnesses had described a “large fireball associated with the crash.”

According to Coulson Aviation, the plane had left the community of Richmond, Australia, with retardant for a firebombing mission.

The three crew members who were killed are all Americans. Coulson has significant operations based in Oregon.

With files from CTV News Vancouver Island and The Associated Press

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Air Canada, other airlines suspend flights to China over coronavirus fears – Global News

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Air Canada and British Airways are among a slew of airlines suspending flights to China as fears spread about the outbreak of a new virus that has killed more than 130 people.

Several other airlines including Finnair, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific and Singapore-based Jetstar Asia are reducing the number of flights to the country as demand for travel drops because of the outbreak.

British Airways said Wednesday it is immediately suspending all flights to and from mainland China after the U.K. government warned against unnecessary travel to the country amid a virus outbreak.

READ MORE: Health ministry says 4 Japanese evacuees from Wuhan taken to hospital with cough, fever

The airline operates daily flights from London’s Heathrow Airport to Shanghai and Beijing. It took the measure a day after Britain’s Foreign Office updated its travel advice on China, warning against “all but essential travel” to the mainland, not including Hong Kong and Macao.

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Air Canada said it was cancelling select flights to China to “better match capacity with expected demand.” Currently, the carrier operates 33 flights a week to China.

“The resulting capacity reduction is relatively small,” a spokesperson told Global News. “Those customers who are affected will be notified and provided with alternate travel options. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will adjust accordingly.”

Air Seoul, a budget airline, became the first South Korean airline to suspend its fights to mainland Chinese destinations that wasn’t Wuhan, stopping its flights to the cities of Zhangjiajie and Linyi.

Lion Air said it has cancelled more than 50 flights to China well into February. The flights are from five international airports in Denpasar, Manado, Surabaya, Jakarta and Batam to 15 airports in China.






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Lion Group spokesman Danang Mandala Prihantor said the suspension would be phased in gradually and would continue until further notice.

China has cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities to prevent people from leaving and spreading the virus further. The outbreak has infected more than 6,000 on the mainland and abroad.

Hong Kong airlines are cutting the number of their flights to the mainland by about half through the end of March in response to government virus-control efforts.

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Cathay Pacific Group said flights to 24 mainland destinations would be reduced to 240 weekly. The company owns Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, Cathay Dragon and Hong Kong Express.


READ MORE:
Too early to know if China lockdown effective in limiting coronavirus spread: experts

Helsinki, Finland-based Finnair, which has actively promoted its position linking Asian and Western destinations, said it was cancelling three weekly flights to Beijing Daxing International Airport through late March, as well as its twice-weekly flights to Nanjing. It will continue operating flights to four other mainland Chinese destinations, including Beijing Capital Airport.

Jetstar Asia said it will temporarily suspend flights to the Chinese cities of Hefei, Guiyang and Xuzhou starting Thursday through the end of March due to a drop in demand.






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Travelers in U.S. don face masks to protest against novel corona virus, though officials say risk of illness in country low


Travelers in U.S. don face masks to protest against novel corona virus, though officials say risk of illness in country low

South Korea’s second-largest carrier, Asiana Airlines, said it will temporarily suspend flights to the Chinese cities of Guilin, Changsha and Haikou starting next month.

Korean Air, South Korea’s biggest airline, said it is also considering grounding some of its flights to mainland China as passenger demand drops. Korean Air had operated four flights a week to the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, before suspending them on Jan. 23.

Taiwan’s Eva Air announced a partial cancellation of flights to and from mainland China for two weeks starting Feb. 2. In addition, the airline also has stopped providing towels, magazines, table clothes, and is limiting blanket and pillow in flight.

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— With files from Global News

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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Canada cuts consular staff in China amid coronavirus outbreak – CBC.ca

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Canada is reducing its consular staff in China due to the coronavirus outbreak, as some citizens stuck in the affected region say they are frustrated by the lack of help from the federal government.

Global Affairs Canada announced the reduced staffing at its diplomatic missions in China on Twitter and on the Beijing embassy’s social media pages in Chinese on Wednesday. Canadians who need emergency consular assistance are being told to contact the emergency watch and response centre in Ottawa.

There have now been more than 6,000 cases of the novel coronavirus reported globally — the vast majority of them in China — and 132 related deaths.

Some Canadians trapped in Wuhan, China, due to strict travel restrictions say they’re safe but feeling abandoned by their consular officials.

Consular offices were closed Saturday through Tuesday due to the Chinese New Year.

Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is looking at ways to help Canadians stuck in China.

“We are working very closely with our consular officials in China. We’re listening and concerned about the Canadians who are right now in the affected zone,” he said. 

“We will look at what we can do. There are many countries looking at different ways to help out. It is a complex situation, but we’re doing everything we can to support Canadians.”

All visa application centres in mainland China are temporarily closed, and consular office will be providing only basic services such as passport renewals and emergency services such as medical assistance, emergency benefits and missing persons.

According to the embassy’s post, the immigration service will continue to provide services and prioritize the processing of travel documents for customers and permanent residents “who need to travel urgently to Canada for humanitarian and compassionate reasons.”

Global Affairs Canada’s emergency response centre can be reached by phone at 613-996-8885 or by email sos@international.gc.ca.

The government has launched a website dedicated to the coronavirus and set up an information hotline.

This afternoon, the House of Commons health committee will begin hearings on the government’s response to the outbreak. Scheduled to appear today are Stephen Lucas, the deputy health minister, Public Health Agency of Canada president Tina Namiesniowski and Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam.

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Theresa Tam is scheduled to appear at the House of Commons health committee Wednesday afternoon. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Several countries have started repatriating their citizens from the affected region in China.

A Japanese flight carrying 206 evacuees home included four people with coughs and fevers. The three men and one woman were taken to a Tokyo hospital on separate ambulances for treatment and further medical checks.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu has stressed that the risk to Canadians remains low, but said any consular assistance to Canadians in China will be provided in a way that protects the health and safety of Canadians abroad and at home.

Today, she said she is working with Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne to develop a plan to assist Canadians.

“I’ve actually also had my counterparts work with the U.S. officials that are working on their repatriation, and we’ll have more to say about that this afternoon,” she said.

‘Tailored response’

On Tuesday, Champagne said the government will provide consular services to all Canadians trapped in the coronavirus-affected region of China due to commercial travel restrictions.

He said the government would provide a “tailored response” based on the needs of the Canadians in the area — but did not say if an aircraft would be dispatched to repatriate people from the Wuhan area.

“We’re looking at all options to assist them,” he said.

Champagne said that 250 Canadians in the affected area have now registered with Global Affairs, and 126 have requested consular assistance to get home.

“We are in contact with them. We’re trying to contact everyone, assess their specific need for assisted repatriation,” he said.

“We’re at the same time consulting with our allies and looking at the different options that people are considering, also in contact with the Chinese authorities.”

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Beyond Meat products pulled from Tim Hortons’ Canadian restaurants – Financial Post

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Tim Hortons restaurants have stopped selling Beyond Meat products at its coffee and doughnut shops across two of Canada’s biggest provinces.

The chain had been serving both the Beyond Burger and a Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich made with the company’s imitation sausage products. While the items had originally been available across Canada at nearly 4,000 locations, they were scaled back in September to the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.

“We introduced Beyond Meat as a limited time offer. We are always listening to our guests and testing new products that align to our core menu offerings. We may offer Beyond Meat again in the future,” Tim Hortons said in an e-mailed statement.

The rollback marks a rare setback for the plant-based meat maker, which currently has partnerships with Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s and Dunkin’ Donuts in the U.S., and recently announced an expansion of its partnership with Subway in Canada to begin serving meatball subs nationwide.

A Beyond Meat spokesperson confirmed this was a limited time offer and the companies may work together in the future. Restaurant Brands International Inc., the parent company of Tim Hortons, didn’t respond.

Beyond Meat tumbled almost 4 per cent in New York trading Tuesday after the stock was downgraded to neutral by JPMorgan. The shares extended declines after the close of regular trading on the Tim Hortons report. The stock has soared more than fourfold since it went public last year.

Bloomberg.com

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