POSTED: Saturday, April 25, 2009

15 people hurt on Air Canada jet

Fifteen people aboard an Air Canada jet were injured after their flight encountered severe turbulence southwest of the islands early yesterday. Four of the injured were treated at Oahu hospitals.

The Australia-to-British-Columbia flight was diverted to Honolulu where it landed at 1:10 a.m. Nine passengers and two flight attendants were treated for minor injuries and released. They were aboard the plane when the jet left Honolulu for Vancouver at 3:16 a.m.

But two other passengers and two other flight attendants were taken to two hospitals for further treatment. The four have since been released. The two passengers were expected to continue their journey to Vancouver later today and the flight attendants were expected to leave today, according to an Air Canada news release.

The flight from Sydney, Australia, had 256 passengers and 17 crew members, the airline said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the Boeing 777-200LR encountered severe turbulence 100 miles southwest of Honolulu.

Haleakala park gets fencing funds

The National Park Service plans to spend $750 million on projects nationwide though a federal economic stimulus package that includes $1.3 million to repair and replace fencing at Haleakala National Park.

Ron Nagata, Haleakala's resource management chief, said the project involves fixing and replacing at least 10 miles of fencing to keep out and control the entry of animals into the national park.

“;It's going to be a huge project,”; Nagata said yesterday.

Nagata said the park plans to contract the work, allowing the hiring of workers from the private sector.

Abercrombie wants marine study

Rep. Neil Abercrombie is introducing legislation to study the impact of human activities on marine mammals.

The proposed $25 million per year program is particularly aimed at assessing the impact of Navy sonar on whales.

Abercrombie said everybody needs to know what they're talking about in the contentious debate.

The legislation marking Earth Day was introduced Wednesday.

It would create a national research program focusing on the effects of all human activities on whales and other sea-dwelling mammals.

Abercrombie said, “;We need to end the fighting and resolve these issues.”; But he said that requires “;expanded and focused research.”;

Neighbor island watch

POLIHALE » The road to Polihale State Park in west Kauai reopens today. The road, heavily damaged by severe flooding in December, was fixed with the help of a “;small army of volunteers”; the state said. Camping permits will be available again beginning Monday.

KEAUKAHA » The horseshoe courts at Onekahakaha Beach Park in Keaukaha near Hilo will be officially named the Uncle David K. Calles Sr. Horseshoe Courts in a ceremony at 10 a.m. today. Calles, 82, was instrumental in the development of 12 nationally sanctioned courts at the park in 2002 and regularly maintains them.

KEANAE » A mudslide in East Maui Thursday night forced the shutdown of a section of the Hana Highway yesterday to allow state and county road crews to clear debris and mud.

The mudslide occurred about 10:30 p.m. Thursday near mile marker 21 about two miles on the Keanae side of Puaa Kaa State Wayside Park, making travel to and from Hana impossible.

New Zealand official speaks

John Mataira, consul-general of New Zealand in Los Angeles, will deliver the commemorative address at the annual ANZAC commemoration which be held at 10 a.m. today at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

ANZAC Day commemorates the 1915 landing of 30,000 Australian and New Zealand Army Corps troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula in an attempt to force Turkey out of World War I. Fighting alongside British and other Allied soldiers, more than 12,000 soldiers died in a campaign that was ultimately unsuccessful.

Adm. Timothy Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, Mayor Mufi Hannemann and other military, veteran and civilian organizations will lay wreaths.