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By MATT SEDENSKYAssociated PressMIAMI — The Coast Guard will suspend its search at sunset for two teenage fishermen who've been missing for a week, officials said Friday.However, Capt. Mark Fedor said the search would continue in the meantime and has been a 'true all hands on deck effort'.The 14-year-old boys, Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, went missing last Friday and their capsized boat was found Sunday. The Coast Guard has searched waters from South Florida up through South Carolina without success.The boys' families say they plan to continue a private search even after the Coast Guard's efforts end.The announcement brings to an end a massive sea-and-land search by the Coast Guard, which sent crews out night and day, scouring the Atlantic in hopes of finding the boys. They chased repeated reports of objects sighted in the water, and at times had the help of the Navy and other local agencies. But since the boat was found overturned, no useful clues turned up.The families had been holding out hope that items believed to have been on the boat, including a large cooler, might be spotted, or that the teens might even have clung to such an object in their struggle to stay alive. Even as hope dimmed, experts on survival said finding the teens alive was still possible. The Coast Guard continued its search, saying it would do so until officials no longer thought the boys could be rescued.The saga began July 24, when the boys took Austin's 19-foot boat on what their families said was expected to be a fishing trip within the nearby Loxahatchee River and Intracoastal Waterway, where they were allowed to cruise without supervision. The boys fueled up at a local marina around 1:30 p.m. and set off and later calls to Austin's cellphone went unanswered. A line of summer storms moved through and when the boys still couldn't be reached, police were called.The Coast Guard launched the search that would stretch on into an eighth day.The boys grew up on the water in Tequesta, Fla., constantly boated and fished, worked at a tackle shop together and immersed themselves in a life on the ocean. Their families said they learned to swim before they took first steps. They clung to faith in their boys' knowledge of the sea, even saying they thought they could have fashioned a raft and spear to keep them afloat and fed while adrift.Many unknowns about the boys' status persisted throughout the ordeal, including whether they were wearing life jackets (one was found near the boat, but it wasn't clear how many were aboard) and whether they had food or water. The Coast Guard said it tried to err toward optimism in its own assessment of how long to press on, assuming a best-case outcome.Along the way, some suggested the teens shouldn't have been allowed to boat on their own. Many others, though, voiced support, saying voyages with set boundaries are normal among boating families, and that the parents had no control over what ultimately happened.Locals turned out night after night for vigils, poured money into a collection to fund private search efforts, used their own boats and planes and walked the coastline in pursuit of any little clue that might make a break. The efforts got an early boost from a high-profile neighbor of the families, NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath, who helped garner publicity for the story.Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.Photo: AP
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The waters where Olympians will compete in swimming and boating events next summer in South America's first games are rife with human sewage and present a serious health risk for athletes, an Associated Press investigation has found.
The AP analysis of water quality revealed dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from sewage in venues where athletes will compete in water sports. Nevertheless, an Olympic official said Thursday there are no plans to monitor for viruses, which many experts consider the biggest problem.
In the first independent comprehensive testing for both viruses and bacteria at the Olympic sites, the AP conducted four rounds of tests starting in March. The results have alarmed international experts and dismayed competitors training in Rio, some of whom have already have fallen ill with fevers, vomiting and diarrhea.
These ailments could knock an athlete out for days, potentially curtailing Olympics dreams and the years of hard training behind them.
"This is by far the worst water quality we've ever seen in our sailing careers," said Ivan Bulaja, a coach for the Austrian team, which has spent months training on the Guanabara Bay. "I am quite sure if you swim in this water and it goes into your mouth or nose that quite a lot of bad things are coming inside your body."
Sailor David Hussl has already fallen ill.
"I've had high temperatures and problems with my stomach," Hussl said. "It's always one day completely in bed and then usually not sailing for two or three days."
Water pollution has long plagued Brazil's urban areas, where most sewage isn't collected, let alone treated. In Rio, much of the waste runs through open-air ditches to fetid streams and rivers that feed the Olympic water sites and blight the city's picture postcard beaches.
The Rio de Janeiro state environmental agency released a statement Thursday questioning the AP's testing and accused virologist Fernando Spilki, who carried out the testing, and his university of "seeking notoriety."
Spilki, a respected scientist who is a board member of the Brazilian Society for Virology and editor of its scientific journal, is not being paid by the AP to conduct the testing.
The environmental agency's note underscored its position that the Olympic waters are safe, "with the exception of the Marina da Gloria," where sailing competitions will kick off and which as recently as May was six times above Brazil's legal limit for fecal coliforms. In June, it was slightly above the limit.
The agency did not mention that the government's own data shows that on eight occasions this year, most recently on June 25, the waters in Copacabana Beach where long-distance swim events will be held spiked above the legal bacteria limits — considered unsafe for bathers.
Mario Moscatelli, a biologist who has spent 20 years lobbying for a cleanup of Rio's waterways, said the state environmental agency was trying to divert attention from the serious pollution problem affecting water.
"For years now we've seen the flow of raw sewage, which contains fecal coliforms and other bacteria, viruses, protozoa and an infinite number of pathogenic microorganisms that can cause everything from ringworm to hepatitis," Moscatelli said.
Dr. Richard Budgett, medical director for the International Olympic Committee, said after seeing the AP findings that IOC and Brazilian authorities would stick to their program of testing only for bacteria to determine whether the water is safe, as that is the accepted norm globally.
"We've had reassurances from the World Health Organization and others that there is no significant risk to athlete health," he told the AP on the sidelines of an IOC meeting in Malaysia.
WHO didn't respond to repeated emailed and phoned requests for comment.
Budgett's advice for athletes who will compete in the virus-laden waters? "Washing your hands is an extremely important part of reducing the risk of infection of any sort," he said.
Water experts say such safeguards aren't enough to protect athletes who get drenched during competitions and have an almost certain chance of being infected by the viruses entering their mouths, nose, cuts on skin or any opening of the body.
Brazilian authorities had pledged that a major overhaul of the city's waterways would be among the Olympics' most significant legacies. But the stench of raw sewage still greets travelers arriving at Rio's international airport. Prime beaches remain deserted because the surf is thick with putrid sludge, and periodic die-offs leave the Olympic lake littered with rotting fish.
More than 10,000 athletes hailing from over 200 countries are expected to compete in the Aug. 5-21, 2016, games. Nearly 1,400 of them will come into contact with waters contaminated by rampant sewage pollution as they sail in the Guanabara Bay; swim off of Copacabana Beach; and canoe and row on the brackish waters of the Rodrigo de Freitas Lake. Starting next week, hundreds of athletes will take to the waters in Olympic trial events.
The AP's tests over five months found not one venue fit for swimming or boating, according to international experts, who say it's too late for a cleanup.
"What you have there is basically raw sewage," said John Griffith, a marine biologist at the independent Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Griffith examined the protocols, methodology and results of the AP tests. "It's all the water from the toilets and the showers and whatever people put down their sinks, all mixed up, and it's going out into the beach waters."
In the U.S., Griffith said, areas with such levels of contamination "would be shut down immediately."
Many water and health experts in the U.S. and Europe are pushing regulatory agencies to include viral testing in determining water quality. But Leonardo Daemon, coordinator of water quality monitoring for Rio state's environmental agency, said Brazilian regulations are based on bacteria levels.
"What would be the standard that should be followed for the quantity of virus? Because the presence or absence of virus in the water ... needs to have a standard, a limit," he said.
Spilki, the Brazilian virologist, carried out four rounds of viral and bacterial water testing for the AP, collecting samples at three Olympic sites.
His testing looked for three different types of human adenovirus that are typical "markers" of human sewage in Brazil. In addition, he tested for enteroviruses, the most common cause of upper respiratory tract infections in the young, which can also lead to brain and heart ailments. He also tested for rotavirus, the main cause of gastroenteritis globally.
The test results consistently found high counts of active and infectious human adenoviruses, which cause explosive diarrhea, violent vomiting, respiratory trouble and other illnesses.
The concentrations of the human adenoviruses were roughly equivalent to that seen in raw sewage.
Associated Press sports writer Stephen Wade and senior producer Yesica Fisch in Rio de Janeiro and sports writer Stephen Wilson in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, contributed to this report.
The ChildSafe School Supplies & Backpack Drive benefits abused and neglected children. ChildSafe serves over 4,300 students and is looking to expand. To learn more, see the information below.
BACKPACK & SCHOOL SUPPLY DRIVEMonday, July 2710 am - 6 pmTriPoint Event Center3233 N St Mary's St.(210) 675-9020Childsafe-SA.org
Help ChildSafe students start the school year off right by donating any of the supplies listed below...
All donations will benefit ChildSafe families.
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