It’s Thursday, September 30th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - The massive search for a young South Florida woman who disappeared in Orlando last week continued Wednesday, as dozens of deputies, family members and volunteers scoured the area where she had been last seen.
Deputies with K-9s were seen early Wednesday at the Arden Villas apartments where 19-year-old Miya Marcano had disappeared. At least one family member was also seen at the complex, and deputies had a staging area across the street where volunteers were meeting to join in the search. On Wednesday, aunt Semone Westmaas said she believes Marcano was kidnapped and taken out of the window of her apartment. Authorities haven't confirmed that information. Marcano, a Valencia College student, vanished Friday just before she was supposed to fly to Fort Lauderdale to visit her family, authorities said.
No. 2 - A passenger was detained after he opened the emergency exit of a plane and jumped onto the wing Wednesday at Miami International Airport, police said.
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The incident happened on American Airlines flight 920, which arrived in Miami after 7 p.m. from Cali, Colombia. The flight was deplaning at gate D22 when the man escaped onto the wing. U.S. Customs and Border patrol agents apprehended him immediately. The passenger, who was not immediately identified, will likely face federal charges.
No. 3 - Florida added just over 5,800 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, as the state's weekly case average and hospitalizations continued to drop to levels not seen since the summer surge.
The 5,819 new cases brought the state's seven-day average to 5,874 according to figures reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Florida's seven-day average had peaked at nearly 21,800 in mid-August but has been steadily declining since late August. Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations also continued to drop, down to 5,924 on Wednesday, according to the Florida Hospital Association. Hospitalizations had reached just under 17,000 in August. Florida's COVID-19-related death toll rose to 54,071 on Wednesday, an increase of nearly 500 since last Friday, when there were 53,580 deaths. The 7-day average of reported deaths has also been declining, though it can take up to several weeks for deaths to be confirmed and reported.
No. 4 - The federal government is following through on its assurance to reimburse school districts who are penalized by their states for using CDC-recommended protocols for fighting the spread of COVID-19, such as mandatory mask mandates.
The Broward County school district sees it as a promise made, a promise kept by the Biden Administration, even if the amount is a drop in the bucket compared to the district’s overall budget. It’s the principal that matters, that someone has their back in the ongoing battle with the state over mask mandates. The feds gave Broward County Public Schools $420,957, an amount equal to one year’s combined salary for the school board members. The state has been cutting an amount equal to one month’s worth of school board salaries every month. Click here to find out why the district’s superintendent says it’s important to get the money in a report from NBC 6;s Ari Odzer.
No. 5 - September is childhood cancer awareness month. According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, cancer is the No. 1 cause of death by disease for kids in America.
When she was 18, Bianca Maderal was diagnosed with stage 3 multifocal anaplastic astrocytoma. The brain cancer diagnosis changed Bianca’s life, but it did not define it. While undergoing multiple surgeries and treatments, Bianca founded Fight Like a Kid, an organization that provides care packages to kids in hospitals battling cancer. Bianca is now 23. She is overjoyed she is a cancer survivor, but she knows all too well she must continue her fight for other children still undergoing the most difficult days of their lives. Click here for her inspiring story in a report from NBC 6’s Laura Rodriguez.
No. 6 - A man in Florida captured an alligator outside a home Tuesday morning in an unconventional way – and it was all caught on camera.
Abdul Gene Malik, a former combat veteran turned gator wrangler from Philadelphia, was seen on video attempting to trap an alligator with a trash can as a crowd of people watched nearby. As seen in the now-viral video, Malik laid the trash can down in front of the gator and pushed it closer as it hissed loudly and moved back. Once the gator’s head was inside, Malik managed to close the lid as it violently flailed its tail around. The shocked crowd applauded as they watched Malik wheel the bin across the street to a lake inside the Central Florida neighborhood, where he dropped it on the bank and ran. The gator then wiggled itself back into the water.