ORLANDO, Fla. — The water was only about 3 feet deep where Michael Stone, wearing a life vest, drowned in a water park ride at Aquatica this summer after apparently passing out face down, Orange County Sheriff’s Office reports show.

Stone was found unresponsive in Roa’s Rapids — a river-style ride at the SeaWorld Orlando water park that warns riders “will be exposed to forces, speeds and other intense features that may cause distress or injury to persons with pre-existing health conditions.”

Just shy of his 59th birthday, Stone dealt with health problems, including high blood pressure and a history of strokes and seizures before his July 16 death. The Savannah, Ga., resident lived in Je’DaDe Personal Care Home, which provided nursing care.

SeaWorld disclosed Stone’s death in a state report that lists all the ride-related injuries or illnesses requiring an immediate hospital stay of at least 24 hours. The state released the report Monday.

“We included this death in our quarterly report in an abundance of caution,” SeaWorld said in a statement, adding, “The park responded accordingly and immediately called Orange County Fire Rescue.” SeaWorld declined to comment further.

Stone’s three-day vacation included 13 fellow residents from his personal-care home. They made a final-day stop at Aquatica. The certified nursing assistant who joined them said Stone seemed alert and otherwise had no health issues on the trip.

The assistant said Stone and the residents, all wearing life vests, did a lap about 2:50 p.m. in what she described as a slow-moving track of water, according to the sheriff’s report.

“On the second lap, she looked back but did not see Michael so she got out of the water,” the report said. “She heard a commotion and saw lifeguards clearing an area behind her and saw Michael being pulled out of the water.”

A park visitor alerted a lifeguard, who jumped into the water; together, they pulled Stone to the edge of the attraction. The lifeguard, who was helped by a second lifeguard, performed CPR until Orange County Fire Rescue arrived.

It was unclear how long Stone was in the water; the incident was not captured on video. Stone was transported to Dr. Phillips Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:20 p.m.

—Orlando Sentinel


FCC chair says agency can’t revoke TV licenses over newscast

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission lacks authority to revoke broadcast licenses in retaliation for news reporting, its chairman said Tuesday in his first public remarks on the topic since President Donald Trump threatened the licenses of news networks six days ago.

“I believe in the First Amendment,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in remarks at an event in Washington. “The FCC does not have the authority to revoke a license of a broadcast station based on the content of a particular newscast.”

Trump on Oct. 11 asked whether FCC licenses should be taken from NBC after the network published a story saying he’d called for a tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal in a meeting with military and security officials.

The president later told his 40.6 million Twitter followers that, “Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!”

The FCC doesn’t license networks. It issues licenses to owners of television stations, which must be periodically renewed. NBCUniversal, the parent company of the network, is owned by Comcast Corp., which owns 10 NBC stations, including in New York and Los Angeles. The television network also broadcasts through more than 200 stations owned by independent businesses.

Pai, a Republican FCC member since 2012 who was elevated to chairman by Trump in January, said last month in Washington that freedom of speech “should unite Americans across the ideological spectrum.”

—Bloomberg News


Nearly 3,000 Huma Abedin-sent government emails uncovered on Anthony Weiner’s laptop

NEW YORK — Anthony Weiner is still putting his estranged wife in legal danger.

State Department officials, in a three-page court filing last week, informed the watchdog group Judicial Watch that 2,800 government-related work documents were recovered from Weiner’s laptop.

The documents came from Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton’s top advisers, and emerged last year as investigators probed Weiner’s online sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

“This is a disturbing development,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Our experience with Abedin’s emails suggest these Weiner laptop documents will include classified and other sensitive materials.”

Judicial Watch brought a lawsuit in May 2015 after attempts via the Freedom of Information Act failed to produce State Department business emails sent or received by Abedin using a nongovernment email address.

But the cache of documents may not provide a treasure trove of information, as the court papers noted “a significant portion of these documents may be duplicative of material already reviewed and processed.”

According to reports last year, Abedin originally claimed she had no idea how the glut of emails wound up on her disgraced spouse’s laptop.

She did not surrender the computer to State Department investigators when turning over other devices with government correspondence.

Weiner, who was convicted last month in the sexting scandal, will surrender on Nov. 6 to start serving a 21-month prison term.

—New York Daily News


Britain’s royal baby No. 3 is due in April, palace confirms

Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s new sibling will arrive in the spring, Kensington Palace has said.

The third child of Britain’s Prince William and wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is due in April — the same month the couple will celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary.

“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to confirm they are expecting a baby in April 2018,” said a tweet from the palace on Tuesday.

As with her other pregnancies, the 35-year-old duchess is suffering from severe morning sickness; she has kept a low profile since the September pregnancy announcement.

However, on Monday, during a charity event at Paddington Station, her husband confirmed to a royal subject that “she is feeling much better.”

The child will displace William’s younger brother, Prince Harry, as fifth in line to the British throne, which has been held by 91-year-old Queen Elizabeth II since the death of her father, King George VI, in 1952. (Her coronation took place a year later.)

Currently, the line of succession names Elizabeth’s son Prince Charles, 68, as the heir apparent and her grandson William, 35, and great-grandchildren George, 4, and Charlotte, 2, as her direct successors, respectively.

—Los Angeles Times


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