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Santa gets wild ride in hot air balloon

MIDVALE, Utah (AP) -- If only Santa was as good with hot air balloons as with reindeer sleighs.

A man in a Santa outfit took a wild ride through Utah skies Christmas Eve when his balloon took off without a pilot.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Santa was tossing candy to kids from the balloon during a Midvalley Elementary School fundraiser when the craft landed too hard and the pilot tumbled out.

That left Santa alone and the lighter balloon shot back into the air.

Police Sgt. Torin Chambers says Santa traveled 1.7 miles across Midvale before the craft lost enough air to come down.

Chambers says neither Santa nor the pilot were hurt. "Santa's fine and everything's good."

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Crash at ski resort kills two, injures one

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) -- Authorities say two people have died and one is injured after a man on a snowboard collided with a woman and her daughter on skis at a Wyoming ski area.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported that the 22-year-old man and the 5-year-old girl were pronounced dead at a Casper hospital after the collision Friday at the Hogadon Ski Area. The mother has been hospitalized but her condition and injuries weren't available.

No names have been released.

Natrona County sheriff's Lt. Mark Sellers says the mother and girl were stopped on a ski run when the snowboarder collided with them.

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Jesse Jackson Jr. says he's not perfect

CHICAGO (AP) -- Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. says he's a "public servant" not a "perfect servant."

The Democrat tells the Associated Press that even as he's been dogged by links to disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and questions about his relationship with a female "social acquaintance," he's never deviated from his mission of bringing jobs to his Chicago area district.

Jackson says he carries the burden of his "personal shortcomings" even as he tries to help others.

The Democrat spoke after delivering a rousing Christmas message Saturday to hundreds of detainees at Cook County Boot Camp with his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

It was a rare public address for the congressman, who has repeatedly denied interviews since allegations surfaced that Blagojevich may have offered to sell him a Senate appointment.

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Engine fire warning diverts plane safely

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Maintenance crews will inspect a Southwest Airlines jet that made an emergency landing at Oakland International Airport when the pilot received warning of an engine fire.

Southwest Airlines spokesman Brad Hawkins said the Los Angeles-bound flight landed safely in Oakland minutes after taking off from San Francisco International Airport around 9 p.m. Friday.

As the plane was ascending, a warning tone indicated there was a fire in one of the plane's engines. Hawkins said the pilot shut the engine down and diverted to Oakland.

None of the 108 passengers and five crew members aboard was injured. The passengers were put on another flight and arrived in Los Angeles before midnight.

Hawkins said crews will try to determine whether there was in fact a fire, and if so, what caused it.