Searchers seek survivors from midair collision

SAN DIEGO - Investigators were trying Friday to determine why a Coast Guard airplane on a nighttime search for a missing boater collided with one of four Marine Corps helicopters flying in formation to deliver troops to a training exercise on a military island off Southern California.

The collision occurred minutes after civilian air traffic controllers told the Coast Guard C-130 pilot to begin communicating with military controllers, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.

All seven people aboard the C-130 and the two-person crew of the Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter remained missing as a search of a 644-square-mile area focused on a debris field about 50 miles off the San Diego coast.

Wildlife officer loses gator at show and tell

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - Officials say a Florida Panhandle Fish and Wildlife officer lost a 5-foot alligator after bringing it to his daughter's school for show and tell.

Searchers scoured a wooded area surrounding the school Friday afternoon. The alligator jumped out of the man's vehicle Friday morning. The animal's mouth was taped.

Fish and Wildlife Spokesman Stan Kirkland says alligators have 'amazing' jumping ability and that allowed it to escape.

Parachutes fail in NASA moon rocket test

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Two of three parachutes malfunctioned in the test flight of a prototype moon rocket earlier this week, causing major damage to the booster, NASA said Friday.

The problem caused the Ares I-X booster to slam into the Atlantic Ocean harder than expected. The booster was badly dented by the impact.

Mission manager Bob Ess said Friday the damage is irrelevant because the booster is not meant to fly again. The parachute trouble does not detract from the overall success of Wednesday's flight, he said.

Airline kicks mom, toddler off California flight

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Kids will be kids, but one cranky 2-year-old was acting too much his age for a Southwest Airlines flight crew who kicked him off a plane getting ready to leave for San Jose.

Pamela Root said she was confident her son Adam's screams of 'Go! Plane! Go!' and 'I want Daddy!' would subside once the plane took off Monday in Amarillo, Texas.

But she said the plane taxied back to the gate and the pair was escorted off.

The 38-year-old stay-at-home mom wants an apology and compensation for the portable crib and diapers she had to buy for the extra night away from home.

Colo. ski town may legalize marijuana

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. - Voters in this Rocky Mountain resort town will decide next week whether to legalize pot for all adults at a time when the movement to allow medical marijuana is gaining steam around the country.

A measure before Breckenridge voters in Tuesday's municipal election would legalize possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana along with bongs, pipes and other pot paraphernalia. Supporters of the measure say it would inch the whole state closer to full legalization.

Other cities around the country have taken similar action in recent years, including a measure in Denver that decriminalized possession.

Search goes on for Navy plane, missing pilots

McALLEN, Texas - The U.S. Navy has identified two instructor pilots who have been missing since their plane disappeared Wednesday off the Texas coast.

The Navy said 29-year-old Lt. John Joseph Houston, of Houston, and 30-year-old Lt. Bret Travis Miller, of East Troy, Wis., were both instructors with Training Squadron 28 at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.

Rescuers resumed the search Friday morning for the pilots and their trainer aircraft not heard from since Wednesday.

Wash. troopers suspended over fake diplomas

SPOKANE, Wash. - Eight Washington State Patrol troopers who used diplomas from fake schools to try to get pay raises will be suspended but not fired.

The State Patrol reversed itself Friday and decided to modify a recommendation from August that the troopers be fired.