“Freak, cyclonic gust of wind” blew plane over at Blackpool Airport

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A small plane used for flight training was damaged after it was flipped upside down by a gust of wind at Blackpool Airport.

 

The Piper PA-28 Cherokee reportedly blew over whilst parked on the tarmac at around 11am on Friday (October 29).

Pictures by aviation photographer Paul Webster show the light aircraft on its roof next to a rain soaked runway following the freakishly strong blast of wind.

The airport’s fire and rescue crew can be seen attending to the plane just moments after it was suddenly whisked off the ground and dumped upside down.

The Piper PA-28 Cherokee reportedly blew over whilst parked on the tarmac at Blackpool Airport at around 11am on Friday (October 29). Pic credit: Paul Webster

The Piper PA-28 Cherokee reportedly blew over whilst parked on the tarmac at Blackpool Airport at around 11am on Friday (October 29). Pic credit: Paul Webster

Insulate Britain protesters block road near Manchester Airport

A Blackpool Airport spokesman said: “We can confirm that it was a freak, cyclonic gust of wind that blew the light aircraft over.

“The aircraft was about to be under tow on the ground and unoccupied at the time.

“There was some light damage to the plane and it was recovered to the hangar for assessment.

Airport emergency response crews attend to the small aircraft which reportedly blew over in strong winds on Friday (October 29). Pic credit: Paul Webster

Airport emergency response crews attend to the small aircraft which reportedly blew over in strong winds on Friday (October 29). Pic credit: Paul Webster

“One of the team fortunately sustained only a minor injury, and was fully assessed at hospital, quickly released and is now, we are pleased to say, fully recovered and back supporting the rest of the team at the Airport.”

According to its registration (G-FMAM), the plane is owned by ATC Aviation, based in Hangar 3, which provides training for those seeking their PPL (Private Pilots Licence).

Friday’s freak incident is the first airport emergency the Council has had to deal with since taking over the day-to-day running of the site in Squires Gate Lane.

Blackpool Council bought the airport from previous owners Balfour Beatty for £4.25 million in September 2017, but its operating licences were only officially transferred from the Civil Aviation Authority to the Council last week.

The daily running of operations at Blackpool Airport has been taken in-house by Blackpool Council

The daily running of operations at Blackpool Airport has been taken in-house by Blackpool Council

You can read more about the Council’s acquisition of the airport and what it means for its future in our report here.

Fatal crash in 2007

On February 3, 2007, the same model – a Piper PA-28 Cherokee – was flying towards Blackpool Airport when it crashed on the Fylde Coast.

The flight had originated from Exeter Airport and the pilot was attempting to land in thick fog.

But he failed to locate the airport and continued several miles north before losing altitude and crashing in shallow water between Central and South Piers.

Both occupants were sadly killed.

 

 

“Very vulnerable” teenager with links to Blackpool still missing after 4 months

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A 17-year-old boy who disappeared in Manchester four months ago is still missing and police say he might be in Blackpool.

 

Anxhelo Qobaj remains missing after disappearing from the Crumpsall area of Manchester on Thursday, July 1.

Greater Manchester Police say the teenager is originally from Albania but has links to Blackpool and might be in the resort.

He is also known to have links to Liverpool and was often seen around Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester.

Anxhelo Qobaj, 17, has been missing from the Crumpsall area of Manchester since July 1, 2021. He is from Albania but police say he has links to Blackpool and might be in the resort

Anxhelo Qobaj, 17, has been missing from the Crumpsall area of Manchester since July 1, 2021. He is from Albania but police say he has links to Blackpool and might be in the resort

He is described as 5ft 7ins, with a slim build and short brown hair, curly on top.

A GMP spokesman said: “Since going missing in July, there have been no sightings of Anxhelo and he is a very vulnerable young person so we need to find him to ensure he is safe and well.”

You can call PC Dave Frame on 07393781595 or PC Helen McNeil on 07584 224 903 if you have any information that could help the officers find Anxhelo.

 

 

‘Critical incident’ reported at Blackpool Victoria Hospital amid surge in patients turning up to A&E

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A critical incident was declared at Blackpool Victoria Hospital due to the “continued increase in demand and high numbers of extremely unwell patients” turning up to A&E.

 

Trish Armstrong-Child, boss at the Whinney Heys Road hospital, said in a statement: “In doing so, it has enabled us to take a number of actions to try and relieve the pressures in the hospital.”

The hospital was this morning asked what those actions were.

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Ms Armstrong-Child added: “We are working closely with other health and social care partners to do all we can to prioritise our patients requiring acute hospital care and increase the flow of patients out of the hospital.

“We are also seeking mutual support where possible.

“We will continue to work hard to address the level of demand on our services and urge the public to help us, too, by using alternative health care support unless they are experiencing serious or life-threatening illnesses.

“Our colleagues are doing an incredible job in very challenging circumstances. Please continue to support them by accessing the most appropriate care – call NHS 111 first, this is a 24-hour service providing professional advice to get you the right care in the right place at the right time.”

It comes just days after The Gazette told how hundreds of people are pouring through the doors of A&E at Blackpool Victoria Hospital every day and are waiting hours to be seen.

Those needing to visit casualty were being warned they “will have a long wait to be managed and processed if your condition is not an emergency or urgent” and urged to be “patient if you still choose to attend”.

It comes as electronic signs outside the hospital, in Whinney Heys Road, today said there were 61 people sat in A&E, with the longest wait to see a doctor being five hours and 36 minutes.

The longest time to be triaged by a nurse – the first medical step at A&E – was given as 54 minutes, with the average time spent in the department listed as three and a half hours.

One source said yesterday there was a lengthy wait for Covid beds, with “patients being kept on ambulances”, with “up to six in the queue currently”.

It was a similar picture last week, they said.

Vic bosses recently installed a new audio system which airs “subtle” messages in various accents to “encourage patients to consider alternative services for their next health intervention”.

That’s on the back of figures that show few people were calling 111 first – and that the Vic was failing to hit its target of treating 95 per cent of people within four hours of their arrival at A&E.

Documents shown to bosses last month revealed that number so far this year was 83.16 per cent.

Some patients, particularly those suffering from mental illnesses, were forced to wait over 12 hours – a breach of target.

The papers also revealed concern over delays in handovers – the process of paramedics passing patients over into the care of hospital staff.

They added: “The easing of lockdown has significantly increased the number of ED attendances – overwhelming the ED/trust.”

Over the summer, the number of patients turning up to casualty topped 250 daily, with the department struggling with social distancing.

An action plan put in place to ease the pressure was put in place and was being reviewed twice weekly.

But talks were held between deputy chief executive Prof Nick Latham and director Mark Beaton, who said the £13m work to overahaul A&E and build an ‘emergency village’ may not be enough to cope over the long-term.

On Wednesday, medical director Dr Jim Gardner said there had been a “pretty dramatic increase” in the number of people being treated in hospital for Covid.

He said the surge was “putting additional pressure on the system”.

Speaking during a coronavirus briefing, Dr Gardner said 87 patients within 14 days of a first positive Covid test were in hospital – up from 54 last Wednesday – plus 39 who are “in because of Covid but are beyond 14 days”.

Some 77 people were in general beds at the Vic, seven were in the intensive care unit there, while three were at Clifton Hospital in St Annes.

“Sixty-seven patients are over the age of 65 and, in fact, 26 are over the age of 85,” Dr Gardner said.

“I haven’t got a breakdown of the full immunisation status for all of them but some will have had two immunisations and will have benefitted from that, there’s no question.

“But the point I want to get across is that we are seeing Covid affecting again the older population who are coming into hospital.

“Even though we are seeing more infections in the younger population, we are seeing more hospitalisations in the older population.”

 

 

How to prepare pets in Blackpool for Bonfire night and the sound of fireworks

Home | Blackpool Gazette

As Bonfire Night fast approaches, pet owners may find themselves more stressed than excited by the prospect of the bangs and shrieks of fireworks all night long.

 

The charity PDSA says this bonfire season may be a particularly challenging one for new pet owners.

Top tips on how to help your pets include:

Begin early

Bonfire Night can be very stressful for your pets

Bonfire Night can be very stressful for your pets

The earlier you can start your pre-fireworks prep, the better. Play firework noises quietly throughout the house and pair these with their favourite treat. If they show any signs of stress, stop the noises, and try again at a lower volume when they are not reacting. Continue to do this all year round, so your pet builds up positive associations with these sounds.

Secure your garden

Secure your home and garden in advance, as fearful furry friends may panic and scarper. Ensure any ‘escape routes’ – such as holes in fences – are inaccessible.

Set up a hideaway

Create a safe, quiet place for your pet

Create a safe, quiet place for your pet

Create a ‘den’ in a quiet room or cupboard, which your pet can use as a safe space to hide in. It’s important that your pet already views this space as a safe place that they can escape to. Make it extra cosy with blankets and their favourite toys and treats, and add pillows or cushions to help absorb the loud noises – you can also do the same to hutches for smaller four-legged friends, who may also appreciate some extra bedding to hide away in.

Create calm vibes

Using pheromone products can help anxious pets, as the scents they release provide a calming effect to relax a stressed pooch or puss. You can even prepare a calming playlist, as music with a repetitive beat might help to disguise the loud bangs from fireworks and may keep your furry friend relaxed.

Speak to your vet

If you’re concerned your pet has a severe phobia of fireworks, it’s best to speak to an expert. Your vet can advise you on measures to improve the phobia, such as professional behaviour therapy or prescribe medications to help.

 

 

Police seize and destroy 230 plants in Blackpool cannabis farm raid

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A cannabis farm with around 230 plants has been raided at a business premises in Blackpool.

 

Officers raided the building in Dickson Road yesterday (Thursday, October 28) after a tip-off from concerned members of the community.

No arrests have been made at this stage, but Lancashire Police say an investigation is ongoing to find those responsible for the illegal drugs farm.

The raid was attended by Electricity North West whose engineers were shocked to find the electrics overloaded with banks of high-power transformers.

Lancashire Police said around 230 plants have been removed from the business premises in Dickson Road, Blackpool and will be destroyed

Lancashire Police said around 230 plants have been removed from the business premises in Dickson Road, Blackpool and will be destroyed

Blackpool Council also visited the building and declared it unsafe, with its building control officers issuing a prohibition notice on the premises.

Adding to the danger of overloaded electrics, the cannabis growers had deactivated the fire alarms to avoid them going off and attracting attention to their illegal operation.

After electricity engineers made the building safe, Blackpool Neighbourhood Taskforce and their colleagues on the Blackpool North Neighbourhood Team began dismantling the grow.

Lancashire Police said around 230 plants have been removed and will be destroyed.

Blackpool Council also visited the building and declared it unsafe, with its building control officers issuing a prohibition notice on the premises

Blackpool Council also visited the building and declared it unsafe, with its building control officers issuing a prohibition notice on the premises

A police spokesman said: “Yesterday (October 28), Blackpool Neighbourhood Taskforce, alongside Blackpool North Neighbourhood Team, Blackpool Council and Electricity North West have executed a drugs warrant on Dickson Road, Blackpool.

“As a result of this, around 230 cannabis plants have been removed and the premises put under a prohibition by the council.

“This information has come directly from community concerns and has enabled a warrant to be obtained from the courts and executed.

“Whilst no arrests have been made, there is an investigation ongoing to identify the individuals involved.

The raid was attended by Electricity North West whose engineers were shocked to find the electrics overloaded with banks of high-power transformers

The raid was attended by Electricity North West whose engineers were shocked to find the electrics overloaded with banks of high-power transformers

“This is not just about removing cannabis from the streets. These premises are some of the most dangerous and cause significant fire risks for everyone around it.

“As you can see in the photos, the large banks of transformers and plug sockets can overload the system and cause fires. In conjunction, the fire alarm has been disabled.

“This was a business premises and is attached to other buildings so a fire can be devastating for the local residents if a fire breaks out.”

Adding to the danger of overloaded electrics, the cannabis growers had deactivated the fire alarms to avoid them going off and attracting attention to their illegal operation

Adding to the danger of overloaded electrics, the cannabis growers had deactivated the fire alarms to avoid them going off and attracting attention to their illegal operation

Blackpool continue to run the risk of FA sanctions after crowd trouble mars Blackpool’s game against Stoke City

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool continue to run the risk of FA sanctions after last night’s game against Stoke City was marred by more crowd trouble.

 

Missiles were launched onto the pitch and in the direction of Stoke players during Blackpool’s 1-0 defeat on Wednesday night.

It’s believed coins, lighters and bottles were among the items to descend onto the playing surface from the North Stand.

Stadium announcer Tony Parr even had to read out a message over the public address system to remind fans not to throw objects onto the pitch.

Referee John Busby, meanwhile, was seen picking up some of the missiles and will inevitably include the crowd trouble in his official report.

This is just the latest incident to mar a Blackpool game played at Bloomfield Road this season, with pyrotechnics and missiles also thrown in previous matches.

It’s understood the FA were already investigating the disorder at Bloomfield Road this season, so they’re likely to take a dim view of the latest trouble.

Referee John Busby was spotted picking up some of the objects thrown onto the pitch

Referee John Busby was spotted picking up some of the objects thrown onto the pitch

The Seasiders are likely to be charged and fined, but there’s also a chance the punishments could even be more severe.

Speaking to The Gazette prior to the derby against Preston North End last month, chief executive Ben Mansford revealed partial stadium closures could be a possible implication if the misbehaviour doesn’t stop.

“There’s a strong suggestion we will now face strong sanctions from the EFL and FA and they could be considerable again,” he said.

“Some of the implications could well be a reduced capacity in the North Stand. It could be that blocks A and B are closed for certain games.

“I just hope the minority of individuals involved realise the extreme damage they’re doing to this football club and how badly they are undermining the huge amount of unbelievable work done by Critch and his staff and players.

“There are so many knock-on consequences: increased police cost, EFL and FA sanctions and fines, not selling alcohol to fans… the list goes on.”

 

 

 

Woman and her sons, 18 and 15, quizzed after ‘her boyfriend is found strangled to death inside Blackpool home’

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A woman and her two teen sons were arrested after the death of her boyfriend at their home in Layton, The Gazette understands.

 

The 39, 18, and 15 year olds were quizzed by detectives after being held on suspicion of murder in the early hours of the morning.

It comes after paramedics were called to Poulton Road, Layton, where they found the man, in his 30s, with neck injuries.

They fought to save him but he was declared dead at the scene, where crime scene investigations were spotted by shocked neighbours.

Poulton Road in Layton, where a man in his 30s was found dying inside a semi-detached house shortly before 2am on Thursday, October 28, 2021. A woman, 39, man, 18, and boy, 15, said to be his partner and her sons, were arrested on suspicion of murder before being released under investigation (Picture: Google Street View)

Poulton Road in Layton, where a man in his 30s was found dying inside a semi-detached house shortly before 2am on Thursday, October 28, 2021. A woman, 39, man, 18, and boy, 15, said to be his partner and her sons, were arrested on suspicion of murder before being released under investigation (Picture: Google Street View)

The trio, who were described by one source as “traumatised”, were released under investigation pending reports from the pathologist, which are expected to take several months to come back.

Detectives are trying to determine exactly what happened during a domestic row.

No weapon was recovered from inside the semi-detached house and it was feared the man was strangled.

In a statement, Lancashire Police said: “We were called by the North West Ambulance Service at 1.56am [on Thursday] to reports of an altercation at an address in Poulton Road, Blackpool.

“Officers attended and found a man in his 30s unresponsive. Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, he sadly died at the scene.

“Enquiries are continuing to understand the full circumstances of what happened.

“[The suspects] have all been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

“We believe that the parties involved in the incident are known to each other and there is no threat to the wider community.”

One neighbour described seeing forensics experts arriving at the £135,000 home.

She said: “They’ve taken a car away also. It looks like quite a bad incident. The police have been door-knocking.”

Officers were expected to finish their investigation at the home late this afternoon.

While detectives are not looking for anybody else, anybody with information can call 101, quoting log number 0132 of October 28, 2021.

 

 

Pumpkins in the Park set to return to Lytham after dazzling debut

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Lytham’s bumper event to mark Halloween will be back next year.

 

Officials at Lowther Gardens were delighted with the success of the nine-day Pumpkins In The Park event – the biggest ever staged at the West Beach venue – despite it climax, on Halloween itself, October 31, being plagued by heavy rain.

Thousands of people turned out for the free fun extravaganza, which included pumpkin carving, a treasure hunt, a ghost trail, drive-in cinema, creative crafts and face painting, and as well as a busy funfair.

A key feature was that every evening, the Gardens hosted a light-up parade of fire breathers, giant puppets and everything that glowed.

Delilah and Rosie Coome were among those who enjoyed Pumpkins In The Park

Delilah and Rosie Coome were among those who enjoyed Pumpkins In The Park

Pumpkins in the Park festival brings Halloween fun galore at Lowther Gardens

“We think we achieved this and we were incredibly proud of the programme we put together over the nine-day event, and of the fact that thousands of families came through the gardens with really positive feedback and excitement for the event to happen again next Halloween.

“We had a greater response than we ever expected. “To see the faces of the families enjoying themselves was magical and seeing the park lit up was beautiful.”

 

 

Bonfire Night 2021: Here’s the weather forecast for Blackpool and the Fylde coast

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Following a week of heavy rain and strong winds, here’s the weather forecast for Blackpool and the Fylde coast on Bonfire Night.

 

With nearly all events cancelled last year due to Covid, 2021 is a chance for families in and around the Fylde coast to make up for lost time.

If you are looking to enjoy a fireworks display on Friday (November 5), you’ll be glad to know the day looks set to be relatively dry.

Rain looks most likely to fall between 3pm and 6pm, with the Met Office predicting a 50% of participation between these times.

Here's the weather forecast for Blackpool and the Fylde coast on Bonfire Night (Photo by Jamie Street)

Here’s the weather forecast for Blackpool and the Fylde coast on Bonfire Night (Photo by Jamie Street)

Wind will reach a maximum speed of around 13mph at 3pm before dropping to around 11mph at 9pm.

The day will start off fairly chilly with the mercury predicted to drop to around 5C at 6am.

Temperatures will rise to a maximum of 9C at midday – where it is expected to stay for the rest of the day.

This is the weather forecast for Blackpool from 3am until 11pm on Friday:

3am – Cloudy / 20% chance of rain / 5C

6am – Cloudy / 10% chance of rain / 7C

9am – Overcast / 10% chance of rain / 8C

Midday – Cloudy / 10% chance of rain / 11C

3pm – Cloudy / 50% chance of rain / 11C

6pm – Overcast / 50% chance of rain / 11C

9pm – Overcast / 10% chance of rain / 11C

 

 

Blackpool among the Lancashire beaches contaminated by human waste amid raw sewage scandal

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Warnings have been issued to visitors at Blackpool, St Anne’s, Cleveleys and Bispham

 

Alert: A sea outfall pipe in Blackpool
Alert: A sea outfall pipe in Blackpool (Image: United Utilities)

Beach-goers are being warned after raw sewage was discharged into rivers and the sea in Lancashire during the past 48 hours.

The Surfers Against Sewage charity, which tracks combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and pollution risk forecasts (PRFs) has issued a number of alerts across Lancashire due to heavy rainfall in the last two days.

Overflow sewer and storm pipes have discharged sewage into the River Ribble and Irish Sea along the Fylde Coast.

Combined sewer overflows are safety release valves that pump out human waste from the sewage system into rivers or the sea during periods of heavy rainfall in order to prevent waste from backing up into homes.

An alert for St Anne’s and St Anne’s North beaches reports: “Storm sewage has been discharged from a sewer overflow in this location within the past 48 hours. Water quality may be affected here by a number of sewer overflows that discharge into the River Ribble and the estuary south of the beach.”

Blackpool North beach has also been affected with an alert reporting: “Storm sewage has been discharged from a sewer overflow in this location within the past 48 hours. A sewer overflow discharges south of the beach around the centre of this beach – the sewerage facilities of the area were upgraded in 2010.”

Warning: An alert has been issued for Bispham Beach
Warning: An alert has been issued for Bispham Beach

Further north, an alert has also been issued for Cleveleys and Bispham beaches, which states: “Storm sewage has been discharged from a sewer overflow in this location within the past 48 hours. A sewer overflow discharges to the southern end of the bathing water while various overflows from the Blackpool area may also affect water quality at Cleveleys.”

Surfers Against Sewage, which was set up in 1990, is described as “a community dedicated to the protection of oceans, waves, beaches and wildlife”.

The charity’s motto states: “We fight long and hard to protect what we love and we won’t stop until it’s completely clean, safe and protected for everyone, forever.”

In February this year Blackpool Council revealed that annual water sampling and testing was due to resume this year after being suspended due to the Covid pandemic.

Blackpool’s Central, South and North beaches carried forward the results from 2019 and are rated ‘good’, while Bispham maintained its ‘excellent’ classification.

Investment: New sea outfall pipes being constructed near Blackpool
Investment: New sea outfall pipes being constructed near Blackpool (Image: United Utilities)

A report read out during a council meeting in February said ongoing protection of the bathing water included monitoring the impact of new longer sea outfall pipes provided at Harrowside and Anchorsholme as part of a £150m investment by United Utilities.

The issue has been at the centre of public debate over the past week after Tory MPs voted against an amendment to the Environment Bill that would have put a legal duty on water companies to stop raw sewage from being dumped into waterways.

Yesterday, however, the UK Government U-turned and announced that legal controls will be placed on water companies that dump raw sewage in rivers and the sea after a significant backlash.