Pipeline blast kills three; three missing

Published October 13, 2006

JEANERETTE, La. - A tugboat pushing two barges hit an offshore natural gas pipeline Thursday, causing an explosion that killed three people, left three missing and sent flames shooting 100 feet high, the Coast Guard said.

The tug and barges hit the gas line about 12:30 p.m. in West Cote Blanche Bay, about two miles from shore and about 100 miles southwest of New Orleans, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Nyx Cangemi.

The tugboat had two people on it, and six people were on the barge, Cangemi said. Coast Guard rescue crews recovered three bodies and two survivors. Three people remained missing.

One survivor was severely burned and taken to a hospital, said a Coast Guard spokeswoman, Veronica Bandrowsky, said. The other person was not injured, she said.

A helicopter crew was to remain out until midnight searching for the three missing people and return at first light today, Bandrowsky said, and water patrol members of a local parish were to be out through the night.

Students block Gallaudet campus, criticize president

WASHINGTON - Gallaudet University students blocked access to campus for a second day Thursday, escalating their protest against an incoming president they say lacks the skills to lead the nation's only liberal arts university for the deaf and hearing impaired.

"We're in the middle of a crisis here," said LaToya Plummer, 25, a junior from Suitland, Md..

Students eased their blockade of campus entrances Thursday night after meeting with District of Columbia police and university officials for three hours. Protesters agreed to open one entrance to avoid being arrested.

The protests began last spring when then-provost Jane K. Fernandes was appointed to replace president I. King Jordan, beginning in January, by the school's board of trustees.

Fernandes has said some people do not consider her "deaf enough" to be president. She was born deaf but grew up speaking and did not learn American Sign Language until she was 23.

Explosions at Minnesota iron ore plant kill worker

FORBES, Minn. - Two electrical explosions ignited a fire at an iron ore processing plant Thursday, killing one worker and injuring another, authorities said.

The workers were doing electrical troubleshooting when the explosions erupted in a motor control room and at a substation outside the United Taconite Mines plant, according to Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., the operator and majority owner of the plant.

One employee was treated for smoke inhalation, and a firefighter was taken to the hospital with a back injury.

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is investigating.

Law students reprimanded for 'Ghetto Fabulous' party

AUSTIN, Texas - A group of first-year law students at the University of Texas at Austin have been reprimanded by the dean for participating in a "Ghetto Fabulous"-themed costume party and posting pictures online.

"Among the many ways to happily party in Austin, this particular one was singularly heedless and odious," dean Larry Sager said in an e-mail Friday to the law school's student body.

Nick Transier, a first-year student who attended the party in September, said no offense was intended.

But the photos - in which partygoers carried 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor and wore Afro wigs and name tags bearing traditionally black and Hispanic names - upset black law students, said Sophia Lecky, president of the Thurgood Marshall Legal Society.

"I just thought it was kind of insensitive, it was mocking a group of people or a class of people in just a real stereotypical or negative way," Lecky said.

Transier said he and other partygoers have apologized to members of the Thurgood Marshall Legal Society.