Apple Maps directions send drivers to Alaska airport — via the main runway

Before Wednesday, if you wanted driving directions to Fairbanks International Airport, it was not a good idea to consult Apple Maps.

applemaps_alaskarunwayAt least twice in the past three weeks, out-of-town drivers who followed directions on their iPhones ended up driving across the main runway and arriving on the passenger jet side of the terminals.

“These folks drove past several signs. They even drove past a gate. None of that cued them that they did something inappropriate,” Melissa Osborn, chief of operations at the Fairbanks airport, told the Alaska Dispatch.

As of Wednesday evening, Apple technicians had fixed the problem, but airport officials have said they asked the computer giant early this month to disable the map.

The first incident occured Sept. 6 when airport personnel, the TSA and police stopped a rental car that drove across the runway in broad daylight, according to the Alaska Dispatch.

It happened again on Friday, which is when the airport closed the access road that led drivers across the runway.

Apple Maps has had problems since dumping Google as its default mapping site in June 2012.

In December, Apple had to redraw error-filled Australian maps after iPhone users became stranded in a national park in scorching temperatures with no mobile phone reception.

Oklahoma prisoner dialed 911 to report escape


Joshua Silverman

Prisoner Joshua Silverman passed up a taste of freedom last week and called the police instead.  Silverman could have fled with two other inmates who stole the unattended transport van he was riding in, but he dialed 911 and alerted authorities about the escape.

“Uh, yes, ma’am, you’re probably not going to believe this, but I’m a prisoner in a van, and I’m here with a couple of these other cats,” Silverman politely explained to the 911 operator last Tuesday. “A couple of the guys that were in the van jacked the van … at the hospital.”

Guards from a private prison transport company had stopped in Weatherford, about an hour west of Oklahoma City, to deliver some ill inmates to a hospital. They left eight other prisoners, including Silverman, in the van unsupervised.

With the guards gone, authorities say inmates Lester Burns and Michael Coleman kicked out a partition in the van and moved up front, where the keys remained and the motor was still running so the prisoners could have air conditioning.

Burns and Coleman drove the van for about a mile before ditching it and fleeing on foot, according to police.

Silverman, one of six inmates left behind, was reluctant to escape. Still shackled, he somehow managed to get out of the van – perhaps through the kicked-out partition – and dialed 911 with a cellphone police believe he might have found in the vehicle.

During the nearly four-minute audio clip that Weatherford police released Thursday, Silverman struggled to explain the van’s whereabouts. After the dispatcher asked for a specific location, the prisoner volunteered to walk to a nearby road to flag down an officer.

“We’re in Oklahoma somewhere. I don’t know because we’re not on a road and I’m not from here,” Silverman told the dispatcher. “I just don’t want to get shot by no cops or nothing.”

The dispatcher asked Silverman where the rest of the prisoners were. Five other inmates remained besides him.  “We’re all in the van,” he said. “Two of the dudes took off. The dudes that were doing whatever they were doing took off.”

Silverman remained on the phone until a patrolman arrived on the scene. “The cops are right here!” he told the dispatcher.

Silverman was in custody on drug-related charges and being taken to Wisconsin on the day of the escape, Weatherford Assistant Police Chief Louis Flowers said Thursday. Wisconsin court records indicate Silverman was convicted of bail jumping, drug manufacturing and disorderly conduct during the past several years.

Flowers said Silverman’s call Tuesday helped police narrow their search for Burns and Coleman, who were taken back into custody later that day. “It helped us locate them a lot quicker,” Flowers said. “We didn’t know what direction they were traveling in and his call helped us” pinpoint their location.

Coleman was being held in an assault case and Burns for nonpayment of child support, police said.

All of the inmates were from jails in the western and northern U.S. and were being transported to agencies in those parts of the country.

Crocodile hides under bed for eight hours before man wakes up

image1052That monster under the bed could be an eight-foot crocodile — that is, if you work at a nature lodge in Zimbabwe.

Guy Whittall, the 40-year-old former captain of Zimbabwe’s cricket team, woke up one morning blissfully unaware that a crocodile had spent the night under his bed. Whittall only noticed the crocodile when a housekeeper started screaming.

“The really disconcerting thing about the whole episode is the fact that I was sitting on the edge of the bed that morning, bare foot and just centimetres away from the croc,” Whittall told New Zimbabwe.  He also explained that crocodiles are quiet hiders by nature.

Despite resistance from the croc, Whittall and his staff managed to pull it out from under the bed and return it to its natural habitat.

“I just remember thinking goodness gracious, that’s one for the books. I’m pretty sure everyone in Humani checks under their bed before going to sleep now anyway,” he said.

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