news

Friday's news in 5 minutes.

1. A family is desperate for answers after 20-year-old student died on a luxury Mexican holiday.

A family is desperately searching for answers after a 20-year-old woman died in mysterious circumstances at a five-star resort in Mexico.

Abbey Conner, was found face-down and unresponsive in the hotel’s swimming pool just hours after arriving at the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar resort with her family in January, the Journal Sentinel reports.

Her brother, 22-year-old Austin, was also found unconscious by her side.

The siblings’ parents, mum Ginny McGowan and stepdad John, were not notified of the incident until they alerted hotel staff that their children had failed to meet them for dinner.

When they arrived at the hospital, where Abbey and Austin had been taken, they found their son sedated. But Abbey was unresponsive and required a ventilator to help her breathe.

A few days later, Abbey was declared brain-dead and her family made the decision to take her off life support.

Her family are now searching for answers after her death certificate declared she had died from “accidental drowning”. But her blood alcohol level was 0.25, and her family believes she may have been drugged.

Mexican investigators only interviewed three hotel staffers in relation to the incident – and police notes failed to document where the interviews took place. Ginny said no one from the luxury resort spoke to them after her daughter’s death.

The circumstances surrounding the incident are equally as bizarre. After landing at the hotel, Abbey and Austin had headed straight for the pool and drank together at the swim-up bar.

ADVERTISEMENT

They agreed to meet up with their parents at 7pm for dinner.

Austin said he and Abbey were talking to a group of young guys at a bar. The last thing he remembers is taking a shot.

He had no idea what was in the drink, and the next thing he knew he was waking up in an ambulance.

He said there’s “no way in hell” he was intoxicated enough to “go to sleep face down in a pool”, and believes he and his sister were drugged.

“Knowing that we got played or are victims of some sick person drugging us is almost surreal,” he said.

The siblings’ father, Bill Conner, is now raising money for organ donation awareness, after Abbey’s organs saved lives.

“The loss of my daughter’s life is obviously beyond tragic, however it has allowed four males from the ages of 20-60 to live because Abigail was an organ donor,” a GoFundMe page set up in Abbey’s honour reads.

2. New Zealand woman killed by “jet blast” of a plane at a world-famous Caribbean tourist spot.

A 57-year-old New Zealand woman has been killed after she stood too close to an airline taking off from a Caribbean airport, the NZ Herald reports.

The woman was visiting Maho Beach, famous for being close to Princess Juliana International Airport. Tourists often visit to experience the thrill of low-flying aircraft coming into land.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to reports, the woman was one of several others who were holding on the fence separating the beach from the runway.

The jet blast from a departing Boeing 737 is believed to have blown her backwards, causing her to fall and hit her head on the pavement.

She was rushed to a nearby hospital, but died from her injuries a short time later.

Signs along the beach warn of the dangers of standing too close to the airport.

3. Nicole Kidman among Aussie nominees for the 2017 Emmy awards.

Australia’s Nicole Kidman, Judy Davis and Geoffrey Rush are all nominated for 2017 Primetime Emmy awards, while their television series will also face off in the same award category.

Kidman is up for the Limited Series actress Emmy for her role in Big Little Lies, a television adaption of the novel by Australia’s Liane Moriarty. Her co-star Reese Witherspoon is also in the running.

Similarly, Rush has been nominated for the Limited Series Actor award, for his role as Albert Einstein in Genius.

Davis received a nomination for Supporting Actress in a Limited Series for her role in Feud: Bette and Joan.

All three of the Australian actors’ projects are also in competition for a gong in the Best Limited Series category.

Kidman’s Big Little Lies is up for 16 Emmys all up.

ADVERTISEMENT

HBO’s Westworld and NBC’s Saturday Night Live tied for the most nominations for the 2017 Emmy Awards, earning the most with 22 each.

Other leading nominees announced on Thursday in Los Angeles include Feud: Bette and Joan and Stranger Things with 18 nominations; Veep with 17 bids, and Fargo with 16 nominations.

The Emmys will be handed out a September 17 ceremony in Los Angeles.

4. Parents of seriously ill 11-month-old Charlie Gard storm out of court after disagreement with judge.

The parents of seriously ill 11-month-old Baby Charlie have stormed out of a court hearing after after a disagreement with the judge.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates left Thursday’s hearing when the judge suggested that their argument has not been consistent, AAP reports.

Chris Gard punched a table, while his wife said: “We said he’s not in suffering and in pain. If he was we wouldn’t be up here fighting for that.”

“This (hearing) is supposed to be independent,” Sky News quoted Gard as saying as he left the court.

The court adjourned for lunch shortly afterwards and it was not immediately known if Gard and Yates planned to return to the court after the break.

The couple want the judge to rule that they can take their son to the United States for experimental treatment.

Great Ormond Street Hospital argues experimental treatment in America won’t help and may cause suffering for Charlie, who suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic disease that has left him brain damaged and unable to breathe unaided.

ADVERTISEMENT

The hospital says there is no known cure and believes his life support systems should be turned off.

A succession of judges has backed specialists at Great Ormond Street. Britain’s Supreme Court ruled it’s in the boy’s best interests to be allowed to die with dignity. The European Court of Human Rights rejected an appeal from the parents, which briefly stalled their legal options.

But days afterward, President Donald Trump and Pope Francis gave the parents new hope by shining an international spotlight on the ethical debate.

Francis issued a statement insisting on the need to respect the wishes of the parents to “accompany and treat” their son to the very end.

Americans United for Life and other groups have seized upon the case, arguing the infant needs a “chance at life.”

Petitions have circulated to offer support and others have arrived at Charlie’s bedside to pray.

5. Former PM John Howard says Aussies shouldn’t be quick to judge Donald Trump.

Australia can trust Donald Trump even though his style of presidency is unusual, former prime minister John Howard insists.

The controversial US president has come under scrutiny since he was elected in 2016, but Mr Howard says Australians shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

“The style of President Trump is unusual…I accept that some of his style is provocative, but in the end it’s what he does that matters,” Mr Howard told a United States Studies Centre event in Sydney on Thursday, AAP reports.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We have to be careful we don’t fall into the trap of rushing into judgement.”

Mr Howard called out people writing off the US president after just seven months as “foolish”, and dismissed claims the relationship between Australia and China was under strain because of Mr Trump.

He disputed the idea that Australia would need to choose which country it remained allies with.

“This argument that we’ve got to make a choice between the US and China, if any government implemented that they would be doing immense damage to Australia’s future,” he said.

The nation’s second longest-standing prime minister gave the nation’s current leader a “10 out of 10” for the way he has dealt with the new US president.

“I think Malcolm Turnbull has managed him very well,” Mr Howard said.

He also praised Mr Trump, particularly his response to the war in Syria, calling it “outstanding” in comparison to the actions of his predecessor Barack Obama.

While Mr Howard was quick to defend Mr Trump, he did admit surprise at the outcome of the US presidential election.

He thought Americans wouldn’t accept the Republican’s style, but it was the “accumulated disillusionment” by America’s middle class that gave Mr Trump the presidency.

“You’ve got this deep deprivation middle class Americans feel … and for enough of them Hillary Clinton represented a continuation of the same-old-same-old, and that was critical to the outcome of the election,” Mr Howard said.

And for that reason, he’s sure the former businessman and television personality will stay in the top job for the entire four-year term.

“I think he will still be president, I really do,” Mr Howard said.

6. Melbourne recycling plant fire forces evacuation of more than a hundred homes.

ADVERTISEMENT

Firefighters have been working through the night trying to contain a massive inferno at a Melbourne recycling plant that forced the evacuation of more than a hundred homes.

The blaze broke out at the Coolaroo SKM Recycling factory on Thursday morning, and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade says it could continue burning for three days, AAP reports.

Emergency services issued an evacuation warning for toxic smoke for the suburb of Dallas at 8.30pm on Thursday night, with very poor air quality levels detected by the Environment Protection Authority.

Hundreds of people were advised to collect their medicines, pets and belongings and check on their neighbours before evacuating.

An evacuation centre was set up at the Broadmeadows Aquatic Leisure Centre and a community bus was being used to ferry residents out.

Paramedics are stationed at the centre in case anyone presents with breathing difficulties from the smoke, and emergency services doorknocked houses to make sure everyone got out.

Factory staff and nearby businesses were evacuated earlier on Thursday and are unlikely to be able to return for several days.

“We’re saying it could go up to three days to put the fire out completely,” MFB deputy chief officer Ken Brown said on Thursday night.

The toxic smoke is being caused by a mix of materials.

“It’s a mixture of cardboard, paper and plastic and they’re ground up into fine pieces of stockpile ready for the recycling process,” he said.

“They burn rapidly, they burn deep-seated and they’re very hard to extinguish.”

A watch and act warning for smoke remains in place for a number of suburbs across Melbourne’s north including Broadmeadows, Campbellfield, Fawkner, Glenroy, Jacana, Westmeadows.

Do you have a story to share with Mamamia? Email us [email protected]

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???