Hit by train, hand amputated

An unidentified woman was struck by a Regional Rail train at Market East Station last night and had to have a hand amputated, authorities said.

The woman was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital for treatment, and her condition was unknown.

SEPTA said the woman ended up under the train.

SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney said the woman was struck by a Chestnut Hill West train about 7:20 p.m. Authorities were still investigating last night.

He died unhooking container

A ship worker who died when he fell two stories into an empty cargo hold about 8:15 p.m. Sunday was trying to unhook a container from an overhead crane when he fell, police said.

The unidentified Croatian man, 46, worked as the chief officer of the Star Tramp, which was docked at Pier 84 on Columbus Boulevard near Oregon Avenue. He was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:12 p.m.

The ship was chartered by Uni Cargo Corps of Germany and was carrying cocoa beans from the Ivory Coast, police said.

Early New Year's fireworks

New Year's Eve revelers won't have to wait until midnight to catch the city's year-end fireworks display. Mayor Nutter announced yesterday that SugarHouse Casino is paying for two fireworks shows on Dec. 31, at 6 p.m. and at midnight.

The Delaware River Waterfront Corp. is producing both shows, with fireworks to be launched from barges in the river. Sound tracks will play on both sides of the river, from speakers at the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing and Wiggins Park in Camden.

Tax-rebate deadline near

Older adults and people with disabilities are reminded that the deadline to apply for rebates of up to $975 from Pennsylvania's property-tax/rent-rebate program is Dec. 31. Free application assistance is available.

Property-tax/rent-rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and information are available online at www.PaPropertyTaxRelief.com and by calling 888-222-9190, between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Guilty plea in beating death

A Hatboro man pleaded guilty yesterday in a Montgomery County court to involuntary manslaughter for clubbing his ex-girlfriend's male pal to death with a baseball bat.

Thomas Bellezza, 51, who also pleaded guilty to possessing an instrument of a crime, had planned a fight Feb. 9 with the victim, Robert Masten, 53, of Horsham, said Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Strubel. Bellezza was purportedly jealous of the relationship, although it didn't appear that Masten and the woman had a romantic connection, Strubel said.

During the scuffle, Bellezza was able to grab the bat from the victim and struck Masten with a deadly blow, she said. The defendant called authorities for help, but "the defendant did have a chance to retreat from the fight," Strubel said. Bellezza faces 7 1/2 to 15 years in prison.

- Staff and wire reports