WASHINGTON

Amendment derails bill

Angry House conservatives voted down a routine spending bill Thursday in a fight over gay rights, underscoring the passions surrounding a social issue that is dividing the Republican Party and the nation in this election year. The 305-112 vote killed a spending bill for energy and water projects, and may imperil GOP efforts to pass any more of the 12 annual appropriations bills for the upcoming budget year, work that is the most basic function of Congress. The implosion came a day after Democrats added an amendment to the energy and water bill protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination by federal contractors.

HORSE CAVE, Ky.

19 people escape flooding

Flash flooding threatened to trap a group of college students inside a Kentucky cave Thursday, but they navigated through neck-deep water to safety, authorities said. The 19 people who escaped had to clutch onto a rope to handle the swift currents of floodwaters near the entrance of Hidden River Cave. The group that spent more than six hours inside the cave included Clemson University students on a field trip, four tour guides and two police officers who got trapped when they tried to rescue the group.

RALEIGH, N.C.

Two Navy jets crash off coast

Two Navy jet fighters crashed off the coast of North Carolina during a training mission Thursday, and their four crew members were airlifted to a hospital with minor injuries after being plucked out of the Atlantic Ocean by a commercial fishing vessel and Coast Guard rescuers, officials said. The F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters, based in Virginia Beach, crashed about 10:40 a.m. off the coast of Cape Hatteras, following an “in-flight mishap,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tiffani Walker, a spokeswoman for Naval Air Force Atlantic. Walker did not have any further details.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.

Space station test goes awry

NASA hit a snag while trying to inflate an experimental room at the International Space Station on Thursday and put everything on indefinite hold. Mission Control ordered astronaut Jeffrey Williams to call it quits after the operation had dragged on for more than two hours, with the compartment barely expanding — just a few inches. Later in the day, NASA said engineers wanted to keep monitoring the compartment for any structural changes, and so another inflation try would not be made Friday.

Compiled from wire reports