Southern California breaking news and trends

No injuries when Delta jet struck by lightning en route to LAX

Los Angeles International Airport

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A Delta jet was struck by lightning Saturday morning about eight miles northwest of LAX at 6,000 to 8,000 feet altitude.

While many Angelenos woke this morning to loud, prolonged thunder, a Delta Airlines passenger jet was hit by lightning as it prepared to land at Los Angeles International Airport.

The Airbus A330, which originated in Narita, Japan, landed safely without incident.

LAX spokesman Albert Rodriguez told the Associated Press that rescue vehicles were sent to the runway after lightning struck the front section of the plane as it approached the airport a few minutes after 8 a.m.

Ian Gregor, the Public Affairs Manager for the Federal Aviation Administration-Pacific Region, told CBS2 the plane reported the strike “about 8 miles northwest of LAX at 6,000 to 8,000 feet altitude.”


The best and worst times to be at LAX: 2.24M holiday travelers expected

LAX Encounter restaurant

Photo by monkeytime | brachiator via Flickr Creative Commons

2.24 million passengers are expected to pass through Los Angeles International Airport during the 2012-2013 holiday season, LAWA announced Thursday. That figure represents a 5.38 percent increase in a passenger volume over last year.

LAWA considers the holiday season to be the 13-day travel period beginning Friday, Dec. 21 (the day the world is supposed to end), through Wednesday, Jan 2 (provided it doesn't). LAX spokeswoman Katherine Alvarado gave KPCC's Bianca Ramirez some travel tips for the intrepid holiday travelers.


  • Print your boarding pass BEFORE getting to the airport.
  • Figure out your airline's terminal BEFORE getting to the airport.
  • Check the status of your flight BEFORE driving to the airport.
  • Abide airline size and weight restrictions for luggage.
  • Pack gifts unwrapped in carry on bags AND checked bags.
  • Allow enough time for check in and security screening (2-3 hours).
  • Seek alternatives to driving and parking at the airport (ie: Flyaway bus, Metro Green Line, shuttles, taxis).


Man arrested at LAX with luggage filled with weapons also had rape porn in his computer


Items found in Yongda Huang Harris's luggage at LAX

The cover of Kurt Saxon's "The Poor Man's James Bond", a book that was found in Yongda Huang Harris's luggage along with a variety of weapons.

The Boston man arrested Friday at LAX after customs agents found him sporting what appeared to be a bulletproof vest, was carrying more than just knives, body bags, and a smoke grenade in his luggage.

Yongda Huang Harris, 28, who wore flame retardant pants as he flew from Japan to LA, allegedly had a laundry list of curious objects in his suitcases according to Homeland Security, including:

- Three lead-filled, leather-coated billy clubs

- A collapsible baton

- A full-face respirator

- A variety of knives and a hatchet

- Body bags

- A Tyvex biohazard suit and various masks

- Duct tape and batteries

- Oven mitts and cooking tongs

- Hand cuffs, leg irons, and plastic flexi-cuffs

- A device to repel dogs

Once investigators inspected Harris's laptop, they discovered Japanese fantasy rape writings, pornography, and "Poor Man's James Bond" - a book that describes how to make bombs and other weapons, ABC News reports.


LAX tops MIT's list of airports likely to spread a simulated pandemic

LAX Encounter restaurant

Photo by monkeytime | brachiator via Flickr Creative Commons

Encounters at Los Angeles International Airport.

Some U.S. airports have yoga rooms, some offer live music, some are known for free ping pong, and others are singled out for their likeliness to spread global pandemic. Welcome to LAX. The yellow curb is for wheezing only.

MIT researchers published in the journal PLoS ONE, the findings of a computer simulated global health crisis that points to the U.S. airports most likely to contribute to the inital spread of infectious disease.

The "early-time" spread simulation examined the first few days of a multiplying contagion, considering airport location, passenger travel behavior, connecting airport patterns, flight wait times, where the outbreak originates, and data from existing pandemic models. 

Locations implicated in early spread stage were found to be different than locations posing a high risk later in the ordeal. The observation led to the identification of three airports deemed "early-time super-spreaders": JFK in New York, LAX in Los Angeles, and HNL in Honolulu.


Baggage: Drug couriers to plead guilty in TSA bribery case

Mercer 20886

Brian Watt/KPCC

TSA baggage X-ray at LAX.

For their part in a bribery scheme invoiving TSA agents at Los Angeles International Airport, two suspected drug couriers, Charles Hicks and Andrew Welter, have agreed to plead guilty to one count each of conspiracy, the U.S. attorney's office said Tuesday. Each man faces a maximum of five years in prison.

Not to be confused with the four TSA screeners charged in April with taking bribes and allowing massive amounts of cocaine to blow through security at LAX, this pair of defendants belongs to a different case where marijuana was smuggled onto planes leaving Los Angeles.

The men paid up to $500 -- via an intermediary -- for each piece of drug-filled luggage that made it through security, court documents showed. The suspected TSA employees named in those documents have not been charged.