Way back when: Today in history
BY GENE CURTIS
Friday, February 01, 2013
2/01/13 at 2:59 AM
1978 - Polanski flees
Movie Director Roman Polanski, 44, who had been free on $2,500 bond after pleading guilty to a charge of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, fled to France on the eve of his scheduled sentencing in Santa Monica Superior Court. Polanski was arrested in Switzerland in 2009 and placed under house arrest after he arrived there to receive a lifetime achievement award at a Zurich film festival. Swiss authorities declined to extradite him to the U.S. nearly a year later because, a Swiss justice minister said, the U.S. had failed to refute defense arguments that the filmmaker had actually served his sentence before fleeing Los Angeles. Although Polanski was a free man, he was still considered a fugitive in the U.S.
1991 - In-air crash kills 34
A USAir Boeing 737 airliner preparing to land at Los Angeles International Airport struck a Sky West commuter plane that was taking off, killing 34, including former Tulsan Jeffrey Steen, 30, of Palmdale, Calif. Officials said that more than half of the victims had survived the crash but were unable to reach the burning airliner's exits. "I can't think of a comparable situation," Jim Burnett, of the National Transportation Safety Board, said. Steen had owned a clothing store in Eton Square before moving to California a year earlier.
2004 - 244 trampled at Hajj
At least 244 people were trampled to death during a ritual called "stoning of the devil" at the annual Hajj pilgrimage at Mina, Saudi Arabia, attended by about 2 million Muslim pilgrims. During the stoning ritual, pilgrims throw rocks, shout insults or hurl their shoes at three stone pillars in actions that are supposed to demonstrate their disdain for Satan. The stampede broke out on one of two ramps leading to the 50-foot stone pillars. The same area was the scene of similar deadly incidents in 1998, 2001 and 2003.
2012 - Upset win sets off riot
The home soccer team won an upset victory over Egypt's top club, Al-Ahly based in Cairo, prompting soccer fans to rush the field in the seaside city of Port Said in a melee that one player said was "like a war." The rioting left at least 74 people dead and 248 injured. Witnesses told The Associated Press that riot police largely failed to intervene in the clashes and a stampede following the Al-Masry team's victory. Another match in Cairo was halted by authorities because of the Port Said violence, and fans angered by the move set fire to the bleachers at the main stadium in the Egyptian capital, authorities said. No injuries were reported there.
Roman Polanski works on the set of a movie. AP file