Engine failure? No, co-pilot just spilled coffee on plane’s instrument board

SERBIA: Blamed initially on engine failure, it emerged that a government jet carrying Serbia’s president to Italy last week was forced to turn back when the co-pilot spilled coffee on the instrument board.

Advisers to President Tomislav Nikolic described being “thrown around the cabin” when the plane — a 34-year-old French-built Falcon 50 — began tumbling through the air on Friday.

The plane landed safely back in Belgrade, but Nikolic was forced to cancel his official visit to meet Pope Francis in the Vatican, and his advisers put the incident down to yet another malfunction on the ageing, incident-prone aircraft.

One adviser said she would “never step foot on that plane again”, saying the fall had lasted “for what seemed like an eternity”.

An investigation determined that the co-pilot, Bojan Zoric, had spilled coffee on the instrument board “due to ongoing turbulence”.

“I began wiping the board and accidentally activated the ‘emergency slat’ button”, which turned off the automatic pilot and the plane began losing altitude, Zoric said.

The pilot took over command, managed to pull the plane up, and sought permission to turn back to Belgrade, Zoric said, adding that one of the engines stopped working but was restarted on the way back to the airport.

Zoric’s licence was temporarily suspended.

Platinum poop


An Alaska woman suspected her family’s dog snatched her wedding ring, but she couldn’t find proof — until the diamond-encrusted platinum band turned up months later at a local baseball field.

Nikki Balovich lost her ring in January, when she was pregnant and often took it off her swollen finger.

She suspected Halli was the culprit because the 40kg mastiff puppy often carries household items in its mouth. She spent time searching for the band, including checking Halli’s poo outside.

“I gave up, I thought it was long gone,” she said. “We take the dog everywhere with us, on hikes, on the boat — what were the chances we’re going to find it?”

Balovich had no evidence of the dog’s involvement until last week, when she saw a post on a Facebook sales site about a ring being found in an “unusual place”.

Balovich had a gut feeling and contacted the poster, Bob Potrzuski. It turned out his wife found the ring while picking up dog poo at a local sports field. Balovich also recently volunteered at the field, and brought along Halli.

Balovich was reunited with her ring recently, on her husband’s birthday. “It’s been on my hands ever since. My hand was feeling naked without it.”

Three courses... of steak


A competitive eater has conquered three 72-ounce (2kg) steak dinners in about 20 minutes during a food challenge held at a restaurant in Amarillo, Texas.

Dozens of people gathered outside The Big Texan Steak Ranch To watch Molly Schuyler eat the steaks, plus three baked potatoes, three shrimp cocktails, three salads, and three rolls.

Schuyler finished her first steak dinner in 4 minutes and 18 seconds, which beats the restaurant’s record of 4 minutes and 58 seconds, which she set last May.

She had to turn down a fourth steak because she was sick of the taste — not because she was full.

READ MORE: Watch woman break record by eating three 72-ounce steak dinners in 20 minutes .

Zoo goes to sh....


Detroit Zoo is planning to turn abundant piles of animal manure into energy.

The zoo in Royal Oak said construction on the anaerobic biodigester will begin soon and be completed this year.

The biodigester will turn about 400 tonnes of manure a year as well as other organic waste into methane-rich gas. This gas will be used to help power the 1,675m sq Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex, saving $70,000 to $80,000 (€65,000 to €75,000) in annual energy costs.

The system also will convert manure into compost that will be used to fertilise animal habitats, gardens and public spaces.

Belly dancer flagging


An Egyptian court has sentenced a popular Armenian belly dancer to six months in prison for “insulting the Egyptian flag” after she allegedly wore a tight dress in its red, white, and black colour scheme.

The court in Agouza, west of Cairo, said Sofinar Gourian, known as “Safinaz”, was fined almost €2,000 and paid another €1,500 bail pending appeal. The case had been initiated by a private complaint.

Insulting the flag was made illegal in 2013.

Gourian, who lives in Egypt, had argued that she did not insult the flag intentionally and as a foreigner was less aware of Egyptian laws.


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