The Odd Side – February 17, 2015

Wild Boar Causes Flight Delays At Spain’s Main Airport 

MADRID (AP) – Spain’s airport authority says a wild boar that broke through a perimeter fence at Madrid’s international airport caused runways to be shut briefly and two landings to be delayed.

The beast set off security alarms late Friday, and when cameras focused on the spot, operators observed it turning around and loping off through the hole it had made.

The incident happened 100 meters (330 feet) from the nearest stretch of runway. It delayed an incoming flight from London 20 minutes and a domestic flight from A Coruna 10 minutes, the airport authority’s statement said Saturday.

Newspaper El Pais reported the captain aboard Iberia flight 3179 inbound from London told passengers an animal had “surprisingly” forced him to abort a landing approach.

The hole was repaired later.

43-Foot Yacht Blocks Traffic in Snow-Clogged Downtown Boston 

BOSTON (AP) – A large truck towing an even bigger boat broke down in downtown Boston, snarling traffic in the heart of the city’s bustling financial district.

WCVB reported that the 43-foot yacht Maggie Mae was being hauled Wednesday to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for the New England Boat Show when the truck stalled.

Boston’s narrow streets are tighter than usual because of heavy snow accumulation over the past two weeks.

Workers eventually got the truck and boat out of the congested neighborhood.

It’s No Hoot: Oregon City to Post Signs About Attacking Owl 

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow inspired Oregon’s capital to post new warning signs in a park where four runners reported attacks from an angry owl likely defending its nest against perceived threats.

One jogger, a surgeon, said the owl hit him twice in Bush’s Pasture Park in Salem, and so hard he thought he was having a stroke or an aneurysm. Another said the bird swiped his longtime running cap and nicked his scalp.

Maddow suggested on air last week that the city should post a vivid yellow warning sign using the iconic pedestrian stick figure bent forward at a run. Above, claws extended, is a raptor.

Salem officials liked the idea.

Mark Becktel, parks and transportation services manager, said the city secured rights to reproduce the sign and is posting 20 of them.

“It’s just making people aware that there’s an owl there that for whatever reason swoops down and goes after people’s hats,” he said.

Officials previously put up handbills with printed warnings that Maddow said weren’t strong enough.

Police Chased Tractor-Trailer 34 Miles, Dodged Thrown Fridge 

BELLE VERNON, Pa. (AP) – A tractor-trailer driver threw items from his cab at police — including socks, shoes and a small refrigerator — as he led them on a 34-mile chase in western Pennsylvania, authorities said Sunday.

Police in Westmoreland County said a man called emergency dispatchers just before 2 a.m. Saturday and said he planned to wreck his truck. State troopers tried to stop the vehicle near Washington Township but the driver disregarded the emergency lights and sirens, and a pursuit began along Route 70 and later the Pennsylvania Turnpike, police said.

“During the pursuit, the driver threw numerous items at pursuing troopers from the cab,” including a steel canister that struck a Greensburg state police unit and disabled it, police said. The driver also threw a mini refrigerator before the truck was stopped with spike strips shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday.

The driver refused orders to leave the cab, police said, so troopers entered and used a stun gun to subdue him. He was taken to a hospital because officers believed he was under the influence of a controlled substance, and for other injuries, police said.

“It should be noted that during the pursuit the operator threw his shoes and socks at troopers. When the windows were broken to make entry into the cab, the operator’s feet were cut during his resistance to arrest,” police said. At the hospital, he was treated for cuts on his feet, and a blood sample was taken for testing.

The driver, identified as Christopher Charles Boyer, 47, of Mifflintown, is charged with aggravated assault, fleeing or attempting to elude, reckless endangering, resisting arrest and other counts. Court documents indicate he had requested representation by the public defender’s office, which rang unanswered Sunday.

State police told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Boyer was the only occupant of the truck, which hauls sand used in the hydraulic fracturing drilling process, known as fracking. Police did not disclose his employer.

Emergency Services Deduce ‘Banana’ in Pine Tree Is Geocache 

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Emergency personnel and a bomb disposal expert have determined that a suspicious “banana” hanging in a pine tree in Nebraska is simply a harmless geocache.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that a utility worker spotted the device wrapped in yellow tape and attached to a wire on Tuesday in northeast Lincoln.

The worker called 911.

Police, firefighters and a bomb technician determined the “banana” wasn’t a bomb, but a prize hunted by people on geocaching quests.

Geocachers across the world use GPS devices to track and find the hidden objects.

Lincoln fire investigator Chuck Schweitzer says city bomb technicians have been out on similar calls through the years as geocaching has grown in popularity.