Two die in crash at Fla. airfield

TAMPA, Fla. - A small airplane that may have had trouble landing struck another aircraft that was taxiing at an airfield, and both burst into flames yesterday, killing two people, authorities said. Two other people were critically injured.

Both planes were single-engine craft known as "experimental," or amateur-built, officials said. An experimental aircraft club was hosting a pancake breakfast at the Arthur Dunn Airpark, which does not have a control tower.

One airplane was apparently flying low or had just landed when it crashed into the other plane around 8:30 a.m., said Scott Gaenicke, spokesman for the Titusville Fire & Emergency Medical Services. One plane was registered to Christen Air Inc. in Wilmington, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's online aircraft registry. The other was registered to a Daytona Beach, Fla., man.

- AP

N.Y. giveaway turns into melee

NEW YORK - A video-sharing Web site set out to celebrate Leap Day by handing out prizes worth up to $29 outside Union Square Park but wound up triggering a melee.

As the clock ticked toward the Friday event's scheduled time - 2:29 p.m. - people shouting "Make it rain!" and "Give me my money!" trampled one another and mobbed the costumed representatives of CashTomato.com

Some people wrested bags of cash-stuffed envelopes and other items from the CashTomato workers, said Jason Buzi, who identified himself as the company's senior vice president. "It turned out to be a lot of aggressive people," he said. "Maybe next time, I would plan this better."

- AP

WTC endures in new assault ship

AVONDALE, La. - The USS New York, an amphibious assault ship built in part with scrap steel from the ruins of the World Trade Center, was christened yesterday as a source of strength and inspiration for the nation.

Thousands of people, including friends and families of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, gathered near the hulking gray ship, trimmed in red, white and blue banners. The bow stem, which contains 7.5 tons of steel from the site, bore a shield with two gray bars to symbolize the twin towers and a banner over that declaring "Never Forget."

The steel from the towers is now part of the ship that splices through the water, leading the way. "It resurrects the ashes, so to speak, to do great things for our nation," said Bill Glenn, a spokesman for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding.

- AP

Elsewhere:

A Las Vegas motel patron

hospitalized after possible exposure to ricin is "holding his own" in intensive care, his cousin said yesterday as investigators puzzled over why the strictly controlled poison was in the man's room. Thomas Tholen said he didn't immediately want to say more about Roger Von Bergendorff or the discovery Thursday of several vials of ricin in his extended-stay motel room.

Authorities said they found

the bodies of an adult and two children at a rural East Texas home where they had gone on a report of a shooting and a fire. Police in Rains County said one adult was hospitalized early yesterday, and two people were taken into custody.

Hundreds of tourists

and other well-wishers flocked to the Plaza Hotel yesterday for the New York landmark's reopening after a three-year, $400 million renovation.