Patient may have exposed 8 to always-fatal disease

New Hampshire public health officials say an autopsy has confirmed a patient who may have exposed others to the rare brain disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob died of it.

After the patient died in August officials suspected Creutzfeldt-Jakob, an always-fatal disease characterized by rapidly progressive dementia. But the only way to confirm it is through a brain biopsy or autopsy.

The patient had brain surgery at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester in May. Officials warned eight other patients they may have been exposed because the proteins that cause the disease survive standard techniques used to sterilize surgical equipment.

Five others in Massachusetts and Connecticut also were notified because the equipment was rented and used elsewhere. But officials say such transmission is extremely rare.


Flight diverted to Boston over odor of fumes in cabin

Authorities say a Delta flight from Manchester, N.H., to Atlanta was forced to make an unscheduled landing in Boston over concern about an odor of fumes in the cabin.

Flight 1941 left Manchester-Boston Regional Airport at about 7:15 a.m. Friday with 144 passengers and five crew members.

Deputy Airport Director Brian O’Neil said an odor of fumes or possibly smoke caused the flight to be diverted to Logan Airport, where the plane landed safely. The MD 88 can carry more than 140 people.


Canadian hiker, 25, dies after falling on mountain

A 25-year-old hiker from Canada has died after he slipped and fell 150 feet while descending a Mount Washington trail.

Luc Paquette of Boisbriand, Quebec, was with a group of friends Thursday when he wandered off the Tuckerman Ravine trail to get a better look at a waterfall and fill his water bottle, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said. He slipped on the wet terrain and fell, landing on a small ledge about three-quarters of the way up a headwall. A 911 call was made about 5:15 p.m.

A number of people tried to help him Thursday, including a National Guard Black Hawk helicopter that raced up from Concord. It flew in close enough to the ledge to lower a rescue litter, yet stay away from the sheer edge of the headwall in what Fish and Game Sgt. Mark Ober described as a “harrowing display of flying.”

Rescue crews, including fellow hikers, the Appalachian Mountain Club, Mountain Rescue Service, Fish and Game and others worked on a small, wet treacherous ledge to treat Paquette and get him onto the helicopter in an attempt to save his life.

The helicopter left the mountain shortly before 8 p.m. and Paquette to Memorial Hospital in Conway, where he was pronounced dead.


Ex-ABC News correspondent sentenced in fatal crash

A Boston University journalism professor and former ABC News correspondent has been sentenced to three years of probation for vehicular homicide in Massachusetts.

Robert Zelnick, 73, was convicted this week in Plymouth of misdemeanor vehicular homicide and a civil infraction of failing to yield. The judge also ordered him not to drive and to write an apology letter to the victim’s family.

Zelnick, who lives in Brookline, was leaving Plymouth’s Pinehills Golf Club in October 2011 when he turned his SUV into the path of a motorcycle operated by Brendan Kennedy, 26, of Plymouth, authorities said. Kennedy could not stop in time and died of injuries sustained in the crash.

Kennedy was heading to his job at the club’s restaurant, where Zelnick had just dined after a round of golf, authorities said.

The two men knew each other, Zelnick’s lawyer, Raffi Yessayan, said.

Zelnick was not speeding or under the influence, but he shouldn’t have been driving given his medical condition, Yessayan said. He declined to say what the condition is, although Zelnick has previously said he has Parkinson’s disease.


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