December 18th, 2013
09:47 AM ET

Numbers Announced for $636 Million Mega Millions Jackpot

This holiday season just got a lot merrier for two insanely lucky people.

Two tickets matched the winning numbers in Tuesday night's $636 million Mega Millions jackpot - splitting the second largest prize in U.S. history.

One winning ticket was sold in Atlanta, and the other was sold in San Jose, California, lottery officials said.

The winning numbers were 8, 14, 17, 20 and 39, with a Megaball of 7. Twenty ticket holders will win $1 million after matching all the numbers except the Megaball.

Strong sales boosted the jackpot to $636 million from the previous estimate of $586 million, lottery officials announced late Tuesday morning.

That's tantalizingly close to the U.S. record - a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot split by three winning tickets in March 2012.

This jackpot was so large in part because Mega Millions became tougher to win. The prize rises with each miss, and no one won it since organizers increased the pool of numbers to choose from - making astronomical odds even longer - in October.

Virginia Lottery Executive Director Paula Otto spoke on "New Day" Wednesday and she had some advice for the two main winners.

Otto said: "Sign your ticket, sign it a couple of times, make certain it is in a very safe place. And perhaps, consult with some legal or some financial folks, before you officially come forward to claim that prize."

 

Posted by ,
Filed under: Interview • News • Videos
November 14th, 2013
09:52 AM ET

Southwest Airlines Pilot Apparently Tells Passengers 'We're Going Down'

As his plane made a rapid descent to normalize cabin pressure, a Southwest Airlines pilot went on the plane's loudspeaker and apparently told passengers the aircraft was going down, CNN's Michaela Pereira reports.

"At first it sounded like someone was coming over the PA to talk. Then it sounded like shots through the cabin, twice, back to back," passenger Grace Stroud told CNN. "Seconds later, the panicked captain said, 'We're in trouble; we're going down.'"

Another passenger, Shelley Wills, told CNN affiliate WTVD that the pilot made the remarks as the plane went into a nosedive when it neared the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

"He said, 'We're going down.' And everyone is looking around like, 'Is this a joke? Is he serious?' And then you felt the nosedive."

Soon after, the Boeing 737 leveled out and made an emergency landing at the Raleigh airport.

Asked about the WTVD report, a Southwest spokeswoman said it was inaccurate.

"Our pilot said he was descending to 10,000 feet. The report was not accurate from this customer. We landed safely," spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger told CNN.

But in an e-mail the airline sent Stroud, it acknowledged what Stroud suspected may have happened.

"As the captain was communicating his plan with the flight attendants, he inadvertently activated the PA system in the cabin," the e-mail said. "We sincerely regret any confusion caused by the relay of the information."

Southwest Airlines Flight 3426 had taken off from Tampa, Florida, and was headed to Raleigh. As it approached its destination, the pilot noticed a loss of cabin pressure - prompting him to make a earlier-than-usual descent.

"As the checklist mandates when there is a pressurization issue, our captain did communicate with flight attendants over the PA that he was initiating a descent to a lower altitude," Eichinger said. "The issue resolved itself, which is also not uncommon, and the aircraft landed normally at Raleigh-Durham."

For her part, Stroud said, "I know what I heard."

She said she talked to others seated around her, and they all agreed they heard the pilot say the same thing.

The FAA says it is investigating the incident.

For the "uneasy feelings" the experience may have caused her, Stroud was offered a voucher good toward a future flight.

Southwest Airlines recently gave CNN the following statement:

“We need to provide some context about a maintenance issue aboard Southwest Airlines flight 3426 on Tuesday afternoon from Tampa Bay to Raleigh-Durham.  As part of the procedure to resolve the issue, the Captain notified the Crew using the public address system that he was going down to a lower altitude just before an unplanned but controlled descent.  The maintenance issue was resolved before the flight safely landed at Raleigh-Durham.  The flight carried 96 Customers and a Crew of five.”

Posted by ,
Filed under: News • Videos