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MANHUNT: Vehicle recovered in Conn. may be tied to suspect; UMass-Dartmouth searched; air travel moving

Friday, April 19, 2013
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Connecticut State Police say a vehicle believed to be linked to a wanted Boston Marathon bombing suspect has been recovered.

Police said in a news release Friday that a gray Honda CRV with Massachusetts plates was found in Boston. Authorities had said earlier that the vehicle “could possibly be occupied by” the suspect wanted in the Boston attacks. The suspect has since been identified by law enforcement officials and family members as 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev .

His brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed overnight.

The news release provided scant other details about the vehicle.

The two men are suspected of killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer late Thursday, then stealing a car at gunpoint. Monday’s bombings killed three people and wounded more than 180 others.

School closed

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has closed campus and ordered an evacuation after confirming that a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings is registered there.

The school did not say what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is studying or whether he had lived on campus. Police are still searching for him.

School officials say they closed the campus “out of an abundance of caution.”

Student Brie McCarron tells The Associated Press that police and SWAT teams have descended on campus. She says students who know Tsarnaev say he lives in a dormitory.

She says: “Everyone is freaking out.”

Dartmouth is about 65 miles south of the area where authorities are searching Tsarnaev.

Planes flying

Mass transportation to and from the Boston area is virtually shut down Friday morning as police conduct a massive manhunt for one of two suspects in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing. The exception is air travel, as planes continue to take off and land at Logan International Airport.

Authorities in Boston suspended all mass transit, telling commuters via Twitter this morning: “Go/stay home.” Businesses were asked not to open.

Amtrak has stopped trains north and south of Boston. All major intercity bus lines have suspended service to the area. Passengers are being allowed to get refunds or rebook for travel at a later date. And the airlines are allowing customers to change plans without paying a fee.

Amtrak stopped service about an hour south of the city in Providence, R.I. It has also suspended its entire Downeaster service, which runs from Brunswick, Maine to Boston, according to spokesman Cliff Cole.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which operates commuter trains into Boston as well as the city’s subway — called the T — and the city’s buses suspended all operations. The one exception appears to be the Silver Line bus between Logan and downtown.

The MBTA suggested that people do not congregate at stations and bus stops.

All major highways remained open, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The exception is in Watertown, Mass., the center of the manhunt.

Megabus has canceled at least 18 buses between Boston and New York, New Haven, Conn., Hartford, Conn., Burlington, Vt. and Philadelphia. More than 1,000 passengers were affected, according to spokesman Mike Alvich. They received emails offering a refund or the option to rebook for free.

Bolt Bus, Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines have all also suspended service. Passengers booked on canceled Bolt trips have already received refunds to their credit cards, according to Timothy Stokes, spokesman for Greyhound and Bolt Bus.

Logan airport remains open, although getting there will be a challenge for many passengers. On a typical day, the airport has about 1,000 flights, according to flight tracking site FlightAware. Fewer than 10 flights had been canceled by 10 a.m., mostly because of weather delays in New York, according to FlightAware.er

Fewer than 10 flights have been canceled Friday morning, most of them coming from areas where the weather is bad.

JetBlue, the largest airline in Boston with about 120 daily flights, is allowing anybody scheduled to fly to or from Boston to change their ticket for free. Delta — which has about 70 daily Boston departures — also hasn’t canceled any flights in Boston. Spokesman Morgan Durrant says the airline expects on-time departures and is considering extending a travel waiver issued earlier in the week.

American Airlines hasn’t canceled any of its 31 daily flights in Boston. The airline is allowing passengers scheduled to fly today to rebook onto flights Saturday or Sunday without penalty, according to spokeswoman Andrea Huguely.

The Federal Aviation Administration imposed an air traffic restriction on the Boston area “to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities.” It bars flights below 3,000 feet in a radius of 3.5 miles around the manhunt area. Such restrictions have minimal impact on commercial flights in the area.

 

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