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Family's emotional plea after 9yo died on flight, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP

1. Family pleas for better emergency procedures after 9-year-old died on flight.


Just half an hour into a four hour flight from Auckland to Samoa on Boxing Day, a young boy started to panic.

The nine-year-old suffered a severe asthma attack and screamed out that he felt like he was going to die.

Three hours later – and about 20 minutes before the Samoa Airways plane landed – he did.

The boy’s family are now speaking out following the Boxing Day tragedy, calling for better procedure to be followed in future emergency cases.

A family spokesperson told the NZ Herald they wonder why the flight wasn’t turned around when he initially showed distress.

“We have nothing but praise for the flight attendants, but question whether the pilot followed best practice operational procedures,” she said.

“Many are saying that the plane should have turned back for Auckland.”

She said the family was told by the pilot about 90 minutes into the journey that it was too late to turn back.

“There’s some concern by the family with the accountability so that it doesn’t happen to anyone else. The main thing is to push them to review their procedures.”

Aviation New Zealand executive officer Bill MacGregor told the Herald that each airline had its own protocol, but an emergency landing was common if there are major medical emergencies.

He said only 30 minutes out, a return to Auckland could’ve happened. Further in the flight would’ve require a diversion to Niue or Tonga, both of which are about three hours into the flight.

Following his death, the boy’s body was taken back to New Zealand and a family service and funeral was held where his mother spoke of her love for her son.

2. ‘He’s left everything out there.’ Aussie teen’s epic Australian Open win.

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Six months after being handed a grand slam lesson by Rafael Nadal, Aussie fighter Alex de Minaur is hoping to turn the tables on the Spanish great.

The 19-year-old Sydneysider dug deep to topple Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen in a five-set thriller on Wednesday night and book a spot in the Australian Open third round.

His next challenge is a Friday showdown with Nadal, who walloped the teenager 6-1 6-2 6-4 in their maiden meeting at Wimbledon last year.

“Whenever he steps out on court, he always has that presence. No one can take that away from him,” de Minaur said of the 17-time grand slam winner.

“I’ve just got to go out there, try to focus on my side of the court, generally just go out there, have fun. Hopefully take it to him.”

Seeded 27 after only cracking the world’s top hundred last June, de Minaur has enjoyed a meteoric rankings rise, and is on a seven-game winning streak that included his first ATP title in Sydney.

That run looked in danger when Laaksonen came from two sets down to force the round-two match into a deciding set.

But de Minaur rallied for a 6-4 6-2 6-7 (9-7) 4-6 6-3 triumph in three hours and 52 minutes.

While compatriots Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic have attracted negative headlines after round-one Melbourne Park exits, de Minaur has garnered support with his fighting spirit.

“Every time I step out on court, I leave 150 per cent out there. That’s the bare minimum,” he said.

“You want the players in the locker room to know you as that kid that fights ’til the end, has that never-say-die attitude.”

De Minaur is still getting used to the spotlight that comes with being Australia’s top-ranked male player but says he keeps a low-key routine.

“I still go have an acai bowl in the morning. I do the same things a 19-year-old kid would do.”

“I’m very fortunate to be in the position that I am, to be able to play the sport that I love every single day. I’m never taking that for granted.”

Nadal has knocked out Aussies James Duckworth and Matthew Ebden without dropping a set en route to the third round and said he wouldn’t be taking his younger opponent lightly.

“He’s a great player, young, playing with big confidence after winning matches. It will be a tough one,” the 31-year-old said.

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De Minaur, who spent time growing up in Spain, said he recalled watching Nadal win his sole Australian Open on television in 2009.

“I think this is what you play for, to play the biggest guys and the best guys at the top of their level on the biggest stages,” he said.

3. Man critical after Bondi Beach swim.

A man is fighting for his life after he and two others were pulled from the water at Sydney’s Bondi Beach.

Emergency workers were called to the southern end of the beach just before 7.30pm on Wednesday.

Police said officers arrived to find members of the public performing CPR on a 21-year-old man.

Police were told two 20-year-old men he was swimming with were also rescued and have been released from hospital.

The older man is in a critical condition in St Vincent’s Hospital.

4. Temperatures to hit 49 degrees in parts of Australia.

Australia’s scorching summer will continue on Thursday following a day of extreme heatwave conditions which pushed temperatures in some regions to 80-year highs.

Much of NSW baked in high intensity heat on Wednesday but worse is to come.

Record heat in South Australia moved into much of western and central NSW, which saw temperatures in the high 40s across much of those areas on Wednesday, a Bureau of Meteorology spokesman told AAP.

However the majority of the state is forecast to exceed 41C until Friday, something the Bureau says hasn’t been experienced since the 1940s.

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Whitecliff in the northwest, has recorded the highest temperature so far with 48.2C just before 3.30pm.

By midday on Wednesday, the mercury had soared beyond 45C across much of NSW’s central west and at 3pm Wilcannia, Mulurulu, Ivanhoe and Hay topped 47C.

Sydney train commuters are meanwhile being warned there could be delays across the network as temperatures rise.

Extreme heat is forecast until Saturday for eastern NSW and the ACT, however a cooler change is expected for coastal communities in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania on Friday.

In South Australia, a record-breaking heatwave has seen 16 people with heat-related conditions present at hospital emergency departments in the 24 hours to Wednesday evening, with seven admitted for further treatment.

More admissions were expected with authorities warning health issues were more likely after several days of sustained hot weather.

Over the past three days maximum temperatures across South Australia have been running 10 to 14 degrees above average.

Some regional centres posted record highs on Tuesday, including Port Augusta and Tarcoola where the mercury climbed to 49C and 48.9C respectively, all-time highs for those areas.

Tarcoola is expected to reach 47C on Thursday.

While in Melbourne’s CBD the mercury only reached 26.7C, elsewhere in Victoria reached the mid 40s.

In Mallee, Swan Hill reached 45.9C just before 5pm – just 0.3 degrees off the area’s January record.

Mildura hit 45.4C and is expected to be almost as hot on Thursday.

In Queensland, Ballera and Birdsville both hit 45.3C after 2pm and Windora was 43.3C just after 4pm.

5. YouTube bans pranks, dangerous challenges.

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YouTube has updated its guidelines to ban prank and dangerous challenge videos.

The Google-owned video platform said while it is a home for light-hearted prank videos, it wanted to reinforce that any stunts that place people in danger are against site policy.

The platform has been home to a variety of challenges – such as the ice bucket challenge to raise money for charity – but one inspired by Netflix show Bird Box – where users are encouraged to carry out a range of activities, including driving, while blindfolded – has caused concerns.

In a new post to the FAQ section on its website, the company said: “YouTube is home to many beloved viral challenges and pranks, like Jimmy Kimmel’s Terrible Christmas Presents prank or the water bottle flip challenge.

“That said, we’ve always had policies to make sure what’s funny doesn’t cross the line into also being harmful or dangerous. Our Community Guidelines prohibit content that encourages dangerous activities that are likely to result in serious harm, and today (we are) clarifying what this means for dangerous challenges and pranks.”

Last year a public awareness campaign was launched in the US after an increase in poisoning reports linked to a video challenge to eat detergent pods went viral on the site.

“We’ve updated our external guidelines to make it clear that challenges like the Tide pod challenge or the Fire challenge, that can cause death and/or have caused death in some instances, have no place on YouTube,” the site said.

“We’ve made it clear that our policies prohibiting harmful and dangerous content also extend to pranks with a perceived danger of serious physical injury.

“We don’t allow pranks that make victims believe they’re in serious physical danger – for example, a home invasion prank or a drive-by shooting prank.

“We also don’t allow pranks that cause children to experience severe emotional distress, meaning something so bad that it could leave the child traumatised for life.”

YouTube is one of several social media and internet services that has been accused of failing to properly police its platform, with legislators in the UK and the US warning they may introduce regulation if firms do not become more proactive.

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