A tragic accident at San Francisco International Airport, a crippling transit strike, and a landmark decision on same-sex marriage were among local news events that received national and international recognition. Here are the top Bay Area news stories of 2013.
Asiana Airlines Flight 214 on arrival at San Francisco International Airport from Incheon, South Korea on July 6 when the Boeing 777 hit the end of the seawall just before the runway and crashed. Two passengers died at the crash scene, including one after being run over by two fire department trucks. A third died in a hospital several days later. 181 others were injured, among them three flight attendants thrown onto the runway while still strapped in their seats when the tail section broke off.
Two Santa Cruz police officers investigating a sexual assault were killed by the suspect who later died in an exchange of gunfire with other officers on February 26. Sgt. Loran “Butch” Baker and Det. Elizabeth Butler were the first Santa Cruz police officers ever to be killed in the line of duty. The gunman, Jeremy Goulet had prior felony arrests in Oregon.
Bay Area Rapid Transit Workers went on strike for 4 days in July, turning the Bay Area commute into chaos. After Gov. Brown ordered a 60-day cooling off period, new deadlines came and went. Finally on October 18, following signs an agreement was at hand, word came that contract talks had broken down and another strike was under way. Four days later, an agreement was reached although now even that agreement appears to be in jeopardy.
A limousine carrying nine women to a bridal party caught fire while traveling across the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge. The limo was only rated to carry eight passengers while a mechanical problem caused the chassis to sag onto the wheels, sparking the fire. Five passengers were killed, four were injured while the driver was unhurt. The tragedy prompted a bill increasing limo safety regulations which was subsequently enacted into law in October.
On June 26, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that backers of Proposition 8, California’s ban of same-sex marriage, had no right to appeal a federal court ruling that overturned it, paving the way for same-sex marriages to resume. The news drew loud cheers from large crowds gathered at San Francisco City Hall and in the city’s Castro District. Also that day, the high court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which had prohibited the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriage.
A member of the Artemis Racing team, 36-year-old Olympic gold medalist Andrew “Bart” Simpson, was killed May 9 when his boat capsized on San Francisco Bay while on a training run ahead of the America’s Cup series. The deadly accident capped a series of controversies and setbacks for the America’s Cup event in San Francisco.
After years of delays, cost overruns, and a controversy over bad bolts, the new $6.4 billion eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened on September 2. The nighttime opening followed an afternoon ceremonial opening instead of a planned public celebration; a relatively low-key event that did not even include the governor. The new span – the largest public works project in California history – replaced the cantilever structure that was damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
Classified documents detailing a mass electronic surveillance program started in 2007 which mined data from tech firms such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft were leaked to the The Washington Post and The Guardian by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The disclosures were published by the Guardian and Post on June 6. Government officials, including President Obama, have defended the program, saying it has helped to prevent acts of terrorism and it is subject to independent oversight.
Twitter had a dazzling debut on the NYSE November 7, instantly leaping more than 70 percent above its offering price, far exceeded even Wall Street’s lofty hopes. By the closing bell, the social network that reinvented global communication in 140-character bursts was valued at $31 billion. The debut was expected to encourage more entrepreneurs to consider IPOs, which lost their luster after Facebook’s first appearance on the Nasdaq was marred by glitches.