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Aardvark missing after blaze rips through London Zoo cafe

London Fire Brigade said 70 firefighters and ten fire engines battle for over two hours to extinguis..

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  • London Fire Brigade said 70 firefighters and ten fire engines battle for over two hours to extinguish the blaze
  • It was centred on the Adventure cafe shop, which is close to the meerkat enclosure and contains petting area
  • Now staff said an aardvark has died after the disastrous fire this morning, with staff visibly upset at the scene
  • Four meerkats are missing after pre-dawn inferno, which also left eight people requiring medical treatment

By Iain Burns For Mailonline

Published: 02:50 EST, 23 December 2017 | Updated: 09:13 EST, 23 December 2017

An aardvark named Misha has died and four meerkats are missing after a devastating fire at London Zoo early this morning.

Eight people have also been treated for shock and smoke inhalation after the blaze tore through an enclosure at the park.

Desperate staff are believed to have risked their lives by smashing through glass in an attempt to save meerkats and other animals.

One aardvark – named as nine-year-old Misha – died following the 6am inferno, which began in the Animal Adventure section of the park before spreading to a gift shop and cafe.

Four meerkats, meanwhile, have also been reported missing.

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One aardvark - named as nine-year-old Misha - died following the 6am inferno, which began in the Animal Adventure section of the park before spreading to a gift shop and cafe. Pictured: The fire being extinguished earlier this morning

One aardvark – named as nine-year-old Misha – died following the 6am inferno, which began in the Animal Adventure section of the park before spreading to a gift shop and cafe. Pictured: The fire being extinguished earlier this morning

Four meerkats, meanwhile, have also been reported missing. Pictured: Misha, who has died after the shocking fire at London Zoo  Four meerkats, meanwhile, have also been reported missing. Pictured: Misha, who has died after the shocking fire at London Zoo  

Four meerkats, meanwhile, have also been reported missing. Pictured: Misha, who has died after the shocking fire at London Zoo

An upset member of London Zoo's staff is hugged by a fellow worker after the shocking blaze. Many members of staff were treated for smoke inhalation after the fire An upset member of London Zoo's staff is hugged by a fellow worker after the shocking blaze. Many members of staff were treated for smoke inhalation after the fire 

An upset member of London Zoo's staff is hugged by a fellow worker after the shocking blaze. Many members of staff were treated for smoke inhalation after the fire

The zoo said: 'Duty staff that live on site at the zoo were on the scene immediately, and started moving animals to safety'. Pictured: The roof smoking after being extinguished The zoo said: 'Duty staff that live on site at the zoo were on the scene immediately, and started moving animals to safety'. Pictured: The roof smoking after being extinguished 

The zoo said: 'Duty staff that live on site at the zoo were on the scene immediately, and started moving animals to safety'. Pictured: The roof smoking after being extinguished

Pictured: Smashed glass at the entrance to the meerkat enclosure after dozens of firefighters battled to extinguish a blaze at London Zoo this morning Pictured: Smashed glass at the entrance to the meerkat enclosure after dozens of firefighters battled to extinguish a blaze at London Zoo this morning 

Pictured: Smashed glass at the entrance to the meerkat enclosure after dozens of firefighters battled to extinguish a blaze at London Zoo this morning

Desperate zookeepers are believed to have risked life and limb smashing their way through the glass at the meerkat enclosure to save the cute critters - as the neighbouring cafe was being gutted by fireDesperate zookeepers are believed to have risked life and limb smashing their way through the glass at the meerkat enclosure to save the cute critters - as the neighbouring cafe was being gutted by fire

Desperate zookeepers are believed to have risked life and limb smashing their way through the glass at the meerkat enclosure to save the cute critters – as the neighbouring cafe was being gutted by fire

Llamas stand in their enclosure as firefighters remain on the scene following the devastating fire in London Zoo this morning  Llamas stand in their enclosure as firefighters remain on the scene following the devastating fire in London Zoo this morning  

Llamas stand in their enclosure as firefighters remain on the scene following the devastating fire in London Zoo this morning

Gamze Yildiz, 30, said: 'I was planning to go to the zoo today so this is really sad. I was scared that the zoo might get burned down when I heard about it but I'm very pleased they have got it out.' Pictured: The aftermath of the blaze Gamze Yildiz, 30, said: 'I was planning to go to the zoo today so this is really sad. I was scared that the zoo might get burned down when I heard about it but I'm very pleased they have got it out.' Pictured: The aftermath of the blaze 

Gamze Yildiz, 30, said: 'I was planning to go to the zoo today so this is really sad. I was scared that the zoo might get burned down when I heard about it but I'm very pleased they have got it out.' Pictured: The aftermath of the blaze

The London Fire Brigade said 70 firefighters and ten fire engines had worked to put out the fire at a cafe and shop area of the park, which is close to the meerkat enclosureThe London Fire Brigade said 70 firefighters and ten fire engines had worked to put out the fire at a cafe and shop area of the park, which is close to the meerkat enclosure

The London Fire Brigade said 70 firefighters and ten fire engines had worked to put out the fire at a cafe and shop area of the park, which is close to the meerkat enclosure

Keepers who live at the zoo are believed to have sprung into action immediately to get as many animals as they could to safety.

The zoo could be closed until after Christmas while vets work to ensure the safety of all 2,000 animals.

Specialist vets are now keeping a close eye on all animals inside the Animal Adventure enclosure amid fears they may have inhaled smoke.

London Zoo refused to say if they would re-open before Christmas but confirmed their doors would remain shut today.

The fire was under control by 9.16am.

A London Zoo spokesperson said: 'ZSL London Zoo can confirm that at approximately 6am on Saturday 23 December a fire broke out in the Animal Adventure section of the Zoo, and spread to an adjacent shop.

'Duty staff that live on site at the zoo were on the scene immediately, and started moving animals to safety.

'The London Fire Brigade were on the scene within minutes and the fire was brought under control by 9:16am.

The London Fire Brigade said 70 firefighters and ten fire engines were working to put out at the fire at the cafe and shop area of the parkThe London Fire Brigade said 70 firefighters and ten fire engines were working to put out at the fire at the cafe and shop area of the park

The London Fire Brigade said 70 firefighters and ten fire engines were working to put out at the fire at the cafe and shop area of the park

Fire crews from Kentish Town, Paddington, Euston, West Hampstead and other stations were sent to the sceneFire crews from Kentish Town, Paddington, Euston, West Hampstead and other stations were sent to the scene

Fire crews from Kentish Town, Paddington, Euston, West Hampstead and other stations were sent to the scene

Flashing blue lights of fire trucks could been seen inside the zoo as at least three engines waited outsideFlashing blue lights of fire trucks could been seen inside the zoo as at least three engines waited outside

Flashing blue lights of fire trucks could been seen inside the zoo as at least three engines waited outside

Firefighters at Adventure cafe and shop near the Meerkat enclosure at London Zoo where there was a blaze earlier todayFirefighters at Adventure cafe and shop near the Meerkat enclosure at London Zoo where there was a blaze earlier today

Firefighters at Adventure cafe and shop near the Meerkat enclosure at London Zoo where there was a blaze earlier today

London Zoo have refused to comment on how many animals and which breeds live in the Animal Adventure sectionLondon Zoo have refused to comment on how many animals and which breeds live in the Animal Adventure section

London Zoo have refused to comment on how many animals and which breeds live in the Animal Adventure section

Smoke rises above London Zoo in a photograph taken from Primrose Hill just before dawn this morning Smoke rises above London Zoo in a photograph taken from Primrose Hill just before dawn this morning 

Smoke rises above London Zoo in a photograph taken from Primrose Hill just before dawn this morning

'A number of zoo staff have been treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and shock.

'Our staff are now in the process of assessing the situation in difficult conditions. At present one aardvark is currently unaccounted for.

'We are immensely grateful to the fire brigade, who reacted quickly to the situation to bring the fire under control.

The blaze is understood to have taken around two hours to get under control and has left the air surrounding the top end of the park thick with smoke and burning plasticThe blaze is understood to have taken around two hours to get under control and has left the air surrounding the top end of the park thick with smoke and burning plastic

The blaze is understood to have taken around two hours to get under control and has left the air surrounding the top end of the park thick with smoke and burning plastic

The firefighters can be seen tackling the huge blaze at the zooThe firefighters can be seen tackling the huge blaze at the zoo

The firefighters can be seen tackling the huge blaze at the zoo

The zoo, in North London, is one of the capital's most popular attractions. Pictured: The fire brigade on the scene The zoo, in North London, is one of the capital's most popular attractions. Pictured: The fire brigade on the scene 

The zoo, in North London, is one of the capital's most popular attractions. Pictured: The fire brigade on the scene

'The zoo will remain closed until further notice, and we will work closely with fire investigators to determine the cause of the incident.'

London Fire Brigade station manager Clive Robinson, who attended the scene, said: 'The fire mainly affected the cafe and shop. Part of nearby animal petting area was also affected, although at this stage we don't know if any animals were involved.

'Firefighters worked hard to bring the fire under control as quickly as possible and to stop it from spreading to neighbouring animal enclosures. Crews will remain at the scene throughout the morning damping down any remaining pockets of fire.'

London Zoo has refused to comment on how many animals and which breeds live in the Animal Adventure section.

A spokeswoman for the LFB said: 'Approximately half of an adventure cafe and shop, which also contains an animal petting area, is currently alight.' Pictured: The fire being extinguished after dawnA spokeswoman for the LFB said: 'Approximately half of an adventure cafe and shop, which also contains an animal petting area, is currently alight.' Pictured: The fire being extinguished after dawn

A spokeswoman for the LFB said: 'Approximately half of an adventure cafe and shop, which also contains an animal petting area, is currently alight.' Pictured: The fire being extinguished after dawn

The spokeswoman added: 'It is not known if any animals are involved at this stage.' Pictured: Firefighters go into the cafe after dawnThe spokeswoman added: 'It is not known if any animals are involved at this stage.' Pictured: Firefighters go into the cafe after dawn

The spokeswoman added: 'It is not known if any animals are involved at this stage.' Pictured: Firefighters go into the cafe after dawn

Members of the public walking through Regents Park were devastated at how much of the site had been destroyed.

Gamze Yildiz, 30, said: 'I was planning to go to the zoo today so this is really sad.

'I was scared that the zoo might get burned down when I heard about it but I'm very pleased they have got it out.

'I imagine the staff and animals now need some time to get over this, but perhaps I will come tomorrow.'

The London Fire Brigade said 70 firefighters and ten fire engines had worked to put out the fire at a cafe and shop area of the park, which is close to the meerkat enclosure.

A spokeswoman for the LFB said: 'Approximately three quarters of an adventure café and shop and half of the roof [was] alight.

'An animal petting area is nearby.'

She added: 'It is not known if any animals are involved at this stage.'

Pictured: Four firefighters on the scene with a hose. An aerial ladder was also used to fight the blaze, the fire brigade saidPictured: Four firefighters on the scene with a hose. An aerial ladder was also used to fight the blaze, the fire brigade said

Pictured: Four firefighters on the scene with a hose. An aerial ladder was also used to fight the blaze, the fire brigade said

ZSL people press officer Emma Edwards said: 'The fire is in the adventure shop and cafe and the closest animals are in the children's zoo, a petting zoo with meerkats, porcupines, goats, pigs and other farmyard animals'ZSL people press officer Emma Edwards said: 'The fire is in the adventure shop and cafe and the closest animals are in the children's zoo, a petting zoo with meerkats, porcupines, goats, pigs and other farmyard animals'

ZSL people press officer Emma Edwards said: 'The fire is in the adventure shop and cafe and the closest animals are in the children's zoo, a petting zoo with meerkats, porcupines, goats, pigs and other farmyard animals'

The zoo, which is based in Regent's Park in North London, tweeted that it will be closed today until further notice.

Flashing blue lights of fire trucks could been seen inside the zoo as at least three engines waited outside.

The blaze is understood to have taken around two hours to get under control and has left the air surrounding the top end of the park thick with smoke and burning plastic.

The blaze is understood to have taken around two hours to get under control and has left the air surrounding the top end of the park thick with smoke and burning plasticThe blaze is understood to have taken around two hours to get under control and has left the air surrounding the top end of the park thick with smoke and burning plastic

The blaze is understood to have taken around two hours to get under control and has left the air surrounding the top end of the park thick with smoke and burning plastic

A dog walker said: 'I could smell the fire from Camden Town, I thought it was going to be a huge blaze but it seems like they've got it, so I'm quite pleased.'

ZSL people press officer Emma Edwards said: 'The fire is in the adventure shop and cafe and the closest animals are in the children's zoo, a petting zoo with meerkats, porcupines, goats, pigs and other farmyard animals.'

Fire crews from Kentish Town, Paddington, Euston, West Hampstead and other stations were sent to the scene.

An aerial ladder was also used to fight the blaze, the fire brigade said.

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Australia

Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms

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The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128

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Australia

Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official

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Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581

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Australia

Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection

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The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.

Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.

Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.

It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.

The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.

Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”

“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.

“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”

Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.

Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.

For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.

Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.

A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.

Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane

Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane

At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.

When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.

Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.

While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.

But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.

And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.

And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836

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