July 3, 2012
In Medford, OR a 2-year-old fell off a three-story downtown building. Twenty-year-old Kristen Beach caught the boy as he fell and may have saved the toddler’s life. The boy was unharmed as Beach held fast to his torso during the fall, her knees giving way under his weight.
“I said: It’s OK, baby; if you fall, I will catch you,” Kristen Beach recounted.
Beach was outside her apartment building on Main Street talking to her mother when she heard screams from across the street.
The boy was hanging onto a small lip around the edge of the roof of the former Fluhrer’s Bread building. Beach knew the boy did not have the strength to pull himself back up onto the roof after she spent about two minutes talking to him while he just hung there. She told the boy she would catch him and he ended up letting go.
“He was crying when he was up there. I could see the tears and the snot running down his face,’ she said. “I was completely ready. But I was terrified.”
Cathy Blake, Beach’s mom, said she was next to the Medford Hotel when she saw the boy dangling from the roof.
“My daughter ran over very quickly,” she said. “I got on the phone and called 911. She was so brave to run over there and stand there and wait for the little boy to drop. She was just at the right place at the right time.”
Soon after the emergency service providers arrived, the father drove up and went to the hospital with the boy, Blake said.
“If my baby was in the same predicament, I would hope somebody else would do the same thing,” Beach said.
Medford police Sgt. D.J. Graham said the baby was examined by medical personnel and didn’t appear injured. He said Medford police and fire officials at the scene couldn’t believe that Beach had the mind to actually catch the baby. “It’s amazing,” said Graham.
A single-family residential unit is located inside the building where the boy’s family lives, Graham said. The mother, 22-year-old Amelia Marion Elizabeth Smith, was arrested and charged with child neglect and endangering a minor. She posted bail Sunday night.
After police arrived the boy’s mother came out of the building and was very grateful, Beach said.
“She just hugged me and said ‘thank you, thank you.”
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June 7, 2012
When a tsunami hit Japan’s northern coast last year, the waves tore four dock floats the size of freight trains from their fishing port of Misawa and turned them over to the currents. One of those docks floated up on a nearby island. Two have never been seen again. And one made an incredible journey across 5,000 miles of ocean to Oregon beach.
After it ran ashore on Tuesday, the Japanese Consulate was able to track down the origin. Deputy Consul Hirofumi Murabayashi said that it was one of four owned by Aomori Prefecture that broke loose from the port of Misawa during the tsunami.
In the dock were hundreds of millions of organisms, including a tiny species of crab, a species of algae, and a little starfish all native to Japan. Scientists are concerned about these organisms and what might happen if they get a chance to spread out on the U.S. West Coast. Akihisa Sato, an engineer with the dock’s Tokyo-based manufacturer, said the docks were used for loading fish onto trucks.
“This is a very clear threat,” said John Chapman, a research scientist at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. “It’s exactly like saying you threw a bowling ball into a China shop. It’s going to break something. But will it be valuable or cheap glass. It’s incredibly difficult to predict what will happen next.” Plans were being well thought-out by state authorities to scrape all the living things off the dock and bury them in the sand so they would not spread, Chapman said.
Scientists expected much of the floating debris to follow the currents to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, yet tsunami debris that can catch the wind are making their way to North America. Just recently a soccer ball washed up in Alaska and a Harley Davidson motorcycle in a shipping container in British Columbia.
Once the dock float got into the ocean, it was pushed steadily by the prevailing westerly winds, and the North Pacific Current, said Jan Hafner, a computer programmer in the University of Hawaii’s International Pacific Research Center. He is tracking the 1.5 million tons of tsunami debris estimated to still be floating across the Pacific.
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