World Travel Watch: Airplane Safety in Peru, Metro Bombings in Moscow and More

World Travel Watch: Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

03.31.10 | 10:50 AM ET

World Travel Watch is a weekly report designed to help you make informed judgments about travel. Conditions can change overnight, so always make your own inquiries before you leave home. The U.S. State Department and embassies or consulates are good places to start.

Australia: Queensland Tourist Train Shut Down by Landslide

A popular tourist train in Queensland, the Kuranda Scenic Railway, was shut down following a derailment caused by a mudslide that buried the track about 10 miles into its journey between Cairns and Kuranda March 26. Engineers were brought in to clear the tracks, stabilize the slide and reopen the railway, but when it will be ready is uncertain. The route is closed at least through Easter. The train runs through North Queensland’s World Heritage tropical rainforest.

Bangladesh: Bag Snatchers Target Rickshaw Riders

A U.S. Embassy Dhaka employee riding in a rickshaw recently was yanked out and dragged along the street when a thief reached from a passing vehicle and snatched her purse. The incident serves as a reminder to be careful with purses, backpacks or other bags with straps in places where bag snatching from vehicles is common. Serious injury can occur if a bag is wrapped around your arm or shoulder. In Bangladesh, the Embassy advises against carrying such bags on rickshaws.

India: Curfew Imposed in Hyderabad Over Communal Violence

Three days of Hindu-Muslim clashes that erupted over an argument about flags for a religious festival caused two deaths, at least 80 injuries and a curfew in Hyderabad, a city in South India where global technology companies have a major presence. The riots took place in the old city away from the technology centers, but tensions remained high despite a heavy police presence that brought the situation under control. Hyderabad has experienced sporadic unrest in recent months over a push to carve a new Indian state out of Andhra Pradesh called Telangana.

Peru: Nazca Airline Regulation Follows Recent Crash

Peruvian authorities implemented new regulations to improve safety on flights over the famous Nazca Lines following a crash that killed seven people Feb. 25. Since 2007, seven incidents involving 12 deaths have occurred with flights involving locally-hired, single-engine aircraft. The new regulations include two civil aviation inspectors assigned to the airport in Nazca. All aircraft must now have a co-pilot aboard with functioning controls for the co-pilot to use. Come April 5, any aircraft placed in service will need to be no more than 15 years old and able to accommodate eight passengers and two crew. By August 1, no planes flying here may be more than 30 years old. Authorities have also reduced congestion by eliminating the lowest flying altitude previously allowed. The local airlines would prefer to keep their old planes flying through renovation with new parts rather than replacing them, but they must comply with the regulations. Meanwhile, the cost of flights has increased from $50 to $70.

Russia: Moscow Metro Bombings Deadliest Since 2004

The deadliest attack in Moscow since 2004 occurred March 29 when two female suicide bombers detonated bombs in the Moscow Metro system, killing 39 and injuring at least 70, many seriously. The bombers were believed to be from the North Caucasus and the attack in retaliation for the killing of an Ingushetian militant leader by Russian security forces in March. A Chechen rebel leader vowed last month to take the war to Russia’s cities, and authorities were concerned that this might be the beginning of a series of attacks. Security has been tightened throughout Moscow with a heavy police presence. Frequent checks of ID papers, especially for foreigners, are likely. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow advises visitors to carry identification at all times.

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