Blog Posts by Eric Pfeiffer

  • 84-year-old woman rescued after car crashes into ocean (VIDEO)

    Rescuers pull 84-year-old Ursula Nixon from her submerged vehicle. (Live Leak)An elderly woman escaped almost certain death after a group of strangers bravely dived into the ocean to save her after her car crashed into the water.

    The Portland Press Herald reports that 84-year-old Ursula Nixon lost control of her car, driving through two fences and submerging her blue Nissan into Maine's Portland Harbor.

    "It looked like it was barreling pretty fast," Michael Wells, one of the rescuers, told the paper. "I saw it go over the edge and then water splashed up."

    Katie Nelson was first in the water, climbing on top of the sinking vehicle and then through the car's rear window to pull Nixon out to safety.

    "I just remember pulling myself up and looking in at her and there was water all in the front of the car and she was in the front seat," Nelson told local NBC affiliate WCSH 6. "I said, 'Hi, I'm Katie,' and she's like, 'I don't want to die in here, I'm going to drown.' And I'm like, 'No, no you're not. You're going to grab my hands and we're going to pull you out.'"

    In

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  • Pilot fakes imminent plane crash before marriage proposal (VIDEO)

    Kennedy and Thompson in the middle of the pilot's prank proposal (YouTube)A Chicago man took unusual marriage proposals to new heights when he faked an impending plane crash before asking his girlfriend to marry him.

    Commercial pilot Ryan Thompson took his girlfriend, Carlie Kennedy, for a ride in a small aircraft to view the Chicago skyline. What Kennedy didn't know was that Thompson had concocted an elaborate and terrifying prank as a prelude to his marriage proposal.

    Midway through their flight, Thompson told Kennedy that the plane was experiencing a serious malfunction and asked her to read the emergency instruction manual.

    "At that moment, I genuinely thought something was wrong with the plane, and that we were going to crash," Kennedy, 28, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

    As the plane appears to be descending out of control, Kennedy reads the phony emergency instructions, which instruct the passengers to begin the, "Ring Engagement Procedure."

    Kennedy still thinks she's reading a genuine emergency response plan and continues reading the next step of instructions, which say," "Determine if he is a good mate," and "Note: He will always love and honor you."

    "I genuinely did believe that we were going to die," Kennedy told ABC News. "I felt like our lives depended on me making it through that checklist."

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  • ‘Stoner dog’ epidemic sees dramatic rise in number of hospitalized pets

    Getting your dog high on pot may be more akin to abuse than entertainment. (CBS4)Colorado veterinarians have a message for medical marijuana users: Don't get your dog stoned. Marijuana is toxic in a dog's system, they say, and has even resulted in some canine deaths.

    "There are huge spikes in the frequency of marijuana ingestion in places where it's become legal," veterinarian Dr. Debbie Van Pelt told local CBS affiliate WTSP. "They basically have lost a lot of their fine motor control, they have a wide-based stance and they are not sure on their feet."

    Before medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado, local vets say they saw only a handful of cases of dogs exposed to the substance per year. But now, those numbers have more than quadrupled.

    The vets say most of the dogs are getting high from medical marijuana edibles left out in the open by their owners. Marijuana edibles are cookies, brownies and other foods prepared with a butter laced with THC, the psychoactive ingredient in pot.

    And while some pet owners may think it's funny to get their dogs high, the vets say pot is actually toxic to a dog's system. Cats are similarly vulnerable to negative effects from inhaling second-hand marijuana smoke or eating edibles. Cat experts say many owners inaccurately believe that marijuana will have a similar effect on their cats as catnip.

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  • Rare ‘fire whirl’ caught on film (VIDEO)

    A "fire devil" was caught on video by a filmmaker traveling in Australia. (Live Science)A filmmaker has captures rare and exciting footage of "fire whirls" in the Australian outback.

    Chris Tangey was scouting locations in Australia, and his camera was ready when the whirl, or "fire devil," materialized. A fire whirl occurs when a vortex of flame is created. Put simply, it is basically a tornado made of flames.

    Fire whirls are almost never captured on film or in photos. They are most commonly formed during wildfires when warm updraft winds connect with the wildfire. Though they usually expire after a few minutes, they can be deadly.

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  • Czech president shot by air-gun-wielding assailant (VIDEO)

    Czech President Vaclav Klaus as he is shot by an airsoft pistol (YouTube)In an eerie scene captured on video, Czech President Vaclav Klaus is approached by an armed assailant and shot in the arm. However, the attacker, who was dressed in camouflage, was carrying an "airsoft" gun that fires only harmless, plastic shells.

    Airsoft guns are replicas of actual firearms, bearing a striking similarity to the real thing. They have become a popular alternative to paintball for recreational purposes. You can even buy airsoft guns modeled after firearms used in science-fiction films such as "Aliens."

    "You really did not manage this well," Klaus, 71, reportedly told his bodyguards, in what may be the understatement of the year, as reported by local television station Nova.

    In the video, the attacker simply walks up to Klaus and shoots him in the arm without anyone apparently taking notice. Klaus gives him a confused, stern look before turning back to the crowd he was greeting. He was reportedly taken to the hospital after the incident but suffered only minor bruises after the incident.

    Even if his intentions were not lethal, the attacker apparently had a political message, saying the Czech government was "blind and deaf to the laments of the people," before being taken away by police.

    However, the most interesting aspect of the aftermath may be that the attacker, who described himself as a 26-year-old communist sympathizer, was able to give an interview to the station before police apprehended him.

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  • NYC gym teacher claims 6-year-old student beat him up

    "tiny terror" Rodrigo Carpio (New York Post)At 5-foot-10 and 220 pounds, gym teacher John Webster is not a slight figure. But the former college football player claims a 50-pound, 6-year-old student physically assaulted him and sent him into therapy.

    The New York Post reports that Webster fractured his ankle and injured his knee, all at the hands of 4-foot-2 Rodrigo Carpio. Walker says he now has to wear a brace on his right leg.

    "It's sort of like an angel-devil sort of thing," Webster, 27, said of Rodrigo. The boy "looks like an angel, but then, all of a sudden, that halo turns into horns. It's been a nightmare. It's embarrassing. It's humiliating."

    And there's reportedly more than just the incident with Webster. Rodrigo, a first-grader at PS 330 in Queens, also allegedly kicked the school principal and pinched several other individuals, including a school security officer.

    Webster told the Post that the confrontation started when he was escorting several students to the school cafeteria.

    "I tried to hold his wrists, and he began biting me,'' Webster said. "I took him to the principal's office, and he kicked me in the ankle, and one kick landed right on my knee. I felt a pop.''

    Lawyer Andrew Siben, who is representing Webster, described Rodrigo as a "tiny terror."

    "It's sad that teachers like Mr. Webster are not offered protection from someone who can endanger other teachers and students," Siben told the paper.

    However, Rodrigo's parents say the allegations are ridiculous.

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  • Rare albino whale spotted off coast of Australia (VIDEO)

    Migaloo is seen swimming with another whale. (White Whale Research Centre)A rare albino humpback whale has been spotted off the coast of Australia.

    And unlike the terrifying creature in "Moby Dick," this white whale has been drawing the enthusiastic attention of maritime tourists. CNN reports that the whale, nicknamed "Migaloo" by researchers, is the only known all-white humpback adult in the world today.

    Whale watchers have even set up a website to track Migaloo's annual migration.

    In July, researchers spotted a nearly all-white humpback that they say may be related to Migaloo.

    Peter Harrison, director of marine ecology research at Southern Cross University in Australia, says researchers have been tracking Migaloo since 1991 and believe he is now in his 20s.

    "Everyone here is quite excited," Oskar Peterson, who runs a whale tracking website, told CNN. "We see him almost every year now, but it's still front page news when he turns up."

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  • The world’s first faked photo

    Documentary filmmaker Errol Morris may have uncovered the world's oldest staged photograph, a wartime image taken in 1855.

    Radiolab spoke with Morris, who unleashed his legendary attention to detail upon Roger Fenton's renowned photo, "The Valley of the Shadow of Death," considered to be one of the oldest known photographic images of warfare.

    The photo was taken during the Crimean War (1853-1856) and shows a road littered with cannonballs. The Crimean War was a massive conflict that saw Russia battling with Britain, France, Sardinia and the remnants of the Ottoman Empire for control over the declining Ottoman Empire.

    The Crimean War itself is arguably history's first "modern" war, featuring new communications technology (the telegraph) and weaponry, along with the use of photography. And Fenton's photographs taken during the war are considered to be some of the earliest ever to document warfare.

    From Radiolab:

    "[I]t turns out there were actually two photos--both taken from the same spot over 150 years ago. One image famously shows a road littered with cannonballs, while the other shows the same road with no cannonballs (they're off to the side in ditches). Which one came first? And why would the cannonballs have been moved?"

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  • Amy and Jason Wright on the day of their wedding. (Morning Call)A newlywed couple's marriage is off to a rough start after thieves took more than $10,000 worth of gifts that the couple left unprotected outdoors overnight.

    "Somebody had come and taken all of the wedding gifts," Amy Wright, the bride, told local Pennsylvania affiliate WFMZ. "Every last card was gone, the boxes, the gift bags."

    To be clear, the wedding gifts weren't just sitting out on the sidewalk. But they were left unattended inside the outdoor tent where the wedding reception was held. Amy, 30, and her husband Jason Wright, 31, spent the morning after their Saturday night celebration filling out a police report.

    "We noticed there were no gifts on the table [in one tent], and we said, well, somebody must have moved them into the house," Amy told the Morning Call. "We checked with our friends, and no one seemed to know what happened to the gifts.

    "We had to call every family member and friend and ask them what did you give, it was embarrassing," Amy told the station.

    The gifts

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  • Man goes street surfing through flooded British town (VIDEO)

    Ryan Hart surfs through the middle of a flooded U.K. town. (YouTube)In the age of ridesharing, people are always coming up with new ways of getting to work. But Ryan Hart tried a unique approach, when he hitched a surfboard to the back of a pickup truck and surfed through the streets of a flooded English town.

    'There were four of us and we thought we'd have a change and do some outdoor surfing," Hart told Metro U.K. "Me and a friend put a rope on the car and went for it. We didn't think it would work but it worked like a dream."

    In the first section of the video, Hart rides his board upright through the flooded streets of Castleford, West Yorkshire, which, reported, recently suffered the worst storms in more than three decades.

    Of course, a water-based jaunt through your local town square is not without its inherent risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that floodwaters often contain sewage and can be full of dangerous bacteria.

    The World Health Organization adds that floodwaters can contain some very specific diseases, including typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis, hepatitis A, malaria, dengue and dengue haemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, and West Nile fever.

    Watch Hart's full voyage:

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