By ROBERT JABLON, Associated Press Writer
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. -
A commuter van from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory tumbled 200 feet
off a twisting mountain road Wednesday, killing three people and
injuring seven, at least four of them seriously, authorities said.
The van was carrying 10 people to the laboratory when it plunged off
the Angeles Crest Highway in the Angeles National Forest at about 6:30
a.m. Wednesday morning and rolled down a mountainside about 15 miles
north of downtown Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Fire Department
inspector Ron Haralson said.
"One person was able to get out of the van and make his way up to the
road" to get help, Haralson said.
The van was carrying six employees of the lab in Pasadena, two
contractors and two NASA employees, said Blaine Baggett, a spokesman
at JPL, which is the control center for several NASA projects,
including the Mars rovers. The victims' names were not immediately
"It's a very, very sad day for all of us at JPL," Baggett said, adding
that employees will be offered grief counseling.
Three people were pronounced dead at the scene. One person was flung
from the van. Others lay trapped in the battered white van in the
middle of a dense forest until firefighters arrived and tore off the
doors to reach victims, who were then taken by helicopter to
Of the survivors, one person was in critical condition, three were in
serious condition, two had minor injuries and one person was still
being evaluated, Haralson said.
The cause of the accident was not immediately known. Clouds and fog
shrouded the site, at an altitude of about 1,500 feet. Snow dotted
flanks of the mountain, but the road itself was clear.
Hundreds of cars a day travel the highway, a twisting, two-lane
blacktop with steep drops. Commuters living in the Antelope Valley
area northeast of Los Angeles use it as a shortcut to reach a freeway
About 450 of the 5,500 people who work at JPL participate in its
vanpool program, which involves about 30 vans, Baggett said.
NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the daily
media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at
http://telecom-digest.org/td-extra . New articles daily.
*** FAIR USE NOTICE. This message contains copyrighted material the
use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. This Internet discussion group is making it available without
profit to group members who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information in their efforts to advance the
understanding of literary, educational, political, and economic
issues, for non-profit research and educational purposes only. I
believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material
as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish
to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go
beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright
owner, in this instance Associated Press.
For more information go to: