North Carolina News – July 23

North Carolina News – July 23


Brothers’ bodies found after helicopter disappears

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say the bodies of two brothers from Virginia have been found after the helicopter they were traveling in disappeared off the North Carolina coast. The Tyrrell County Sheriff’s Office says officials were notified Thursday that the body of one man was found in the Albemarle Sound. Responders recovered the body of John Arant and a short time later, they found the body of his brother, Alan, who was the pilot of the aircraft. Emergency responders began their search after a concerned friend notified officials that they lost communication with the helicopter Monday evening. The helicopter was heading for the Dare County Regional Airport in North Carolina from Mecklenburg Brunswick Regional Airport in Virginia.


Uber driver charged with sexually assaulting customer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A sheriff’s office in North Carolina charged an Uber driver with sexually assaulting a customer. A news release from the Wake County Sheriff’s Office says investigators have charged Muhammad Arslan Afzal with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree forcible sexual offense, indecent exposure and sexual battery. According to investigators, the driver stopped his car on the shoulder of Interstate 540 near Knightdale early on May 9 and asked his passenger to move to the front seat to help him with his GPS. The sheriff’s office says the driver assaulted the woman, then drove her to her destination before he fled the area.


Major North Carolina hospitals to order staff to get vaccine

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Major hospital systems across North Carolina will soon require workers to get a COVID-19 shot if they want to keep working at the facilities. The decision comes as state health officials warn of a rise in cases fueled by the delta variant. Communities with large unvaccinated populations have been particularly hard hit. The state Healthcare Association said on Thursday that Duke Health, Atrium Health and many UNC Health hospitals will soon compel workers to get vaccinated. Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state’s top public health official, praised the group’s decision and encouraged all residents to come in for a vaccine.


McCrory pushes for 3 GOP primary debates in Senate race

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Former Republican North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory wants to have three debates with U.S. Rep. Tedd Budd and former Rep. Mark Walker. The three Republican candidates are competing for the party’s nomination for an open 2022 U.S. Senate seat. McCrory raised the most money in the latest reporting period but Budd has seen an uptick in momentum after getting the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. McCrory announced on Thursday that he would like one of the primary debates in the late fall and the other two in early 2022. Walker agreed to the debates. Budd’s campaign says it will have that discussion on its own timeline.


Suit: Activism got players tossed from women’s college team

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Eight former members and a manager of a North Carolina women’s college basketball team say in a lawsuit that they were tossed off the team because they spoke out on racism and social justice. Their suit also says Black players were told they didn’t belong at the school. The lawsuit filed earlier this month says a player and manager had organized a symposium at Lenoir-Rhyne University on racism and social injustice. According to the lawsuit, women’s basketball coach Grahm Smith kicked the eight women and manager off the team. The school says an independent investigation had found no evidence that the coaches fostered a culture of racial insensitivity.


Sheriff: Deputy on leave while restraint investigated

MORGANTON, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina sheriff’s office is investigating after a video was posted on social media showing a man collapse while a deputy appears to restrain him by his neck. The News Herald reports that in the video posted Saturday the Burke County sheriff’s deputy is seen holding a man with the crook of his elbow pressed against the man’s neck. It said the man is seen going limp while the deputy lowers him to the ground. Another video appears to show the man awake and standing after his collapse. Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant says a deputy is on administrative leave with pay while the incident is investigated.


Feds urge rental websites to warn of elevator dangers

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging vacation rental websites to warn customers of the dangers of home elevators and require hosts to lock elevators until they’re inspected. The request comes days after the death of a 7-year-old Ohio boy who got trapped between an elevator car and the shaft at a North Carolina beach house. In a Tuesday letter, the commission’s acting Chairman Robert Adler urged Airbnb, VRBO and others to “act immediately to protect consumers.” An Airbnb spokesperson says the company is reviewing the letter, but didn’t have further comment.


Coast Guard: Search for missing helicopter suspended

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search along the North Carolina coast for a helicopter with two men aboard that disappeared near Albemarle Sound during a flight from Virginia. The search was suspended Wednesday after Coast Guard personnel and partner agencies searched a combined area of 3,303 miles over 38 hours. A concerned friend notified the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina command center that they lost communication with the helicopter Monday evening. The Coast Guard says the two unidentified men left Mecklenburg Brunswick Regional Airport and were heading for the Dare County Regional Airport. Sector North Carolina Chief of Response Cmdr. Corrie Sergent says suspending a search is one of the hardest decisions they make.

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