Thursday, 20 August 2015

All Indonesia plane crash bodies recovered

The bodies of all 54 people killed in a plane crash in eastern Indonesia have been recovered from a remote jungle site and flown to hospital, an official says.

Authorities had initially hoped to use helicopters to transport the remains of Sunday's crash (local time) from the site in Papua province, but bad weather meant the bodies had to be carried on foot out of the jungle.

Hundreds of locals and rescuers were involved in the arduous task of taking the bodies about 15 kilometres to the settlement of Oksibil, the intended destination of the Trigana Air plane.

Captain Beni Sumaryanto, Trigana Air's service director of operations, said all the bodies had been recovered, and had now been flown on to the Papuan capital Jayapura.

"They are now in the police hospital at Jayapura for identification," he told AFP. "After that they will be given to the families."

The ATR 42-300 plane had set off from Jayapura on what was supposed to be a 45-minute flight to Oksibil, but lost contact 10 minutes before landing as it sought to descend in heavy cloud and rain.

When rescuers reached the crash site two days later, they found the twin-turboprop aircraft in pieces scattered across a fire-blackened clearing, and the bodies of the 49 passengers and five crew who had been aboard.

Investigators are still combing the crash site for one of the plane's flight data recorders, after having recovered the aircraft's other "black box", the cockpit voice recorder, earlier this week.

The devices should provide vital clues about what caused the crash.

Thursday 20 August 2015

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At least 13 killed in landslide in southwest China

Thirteen people have been killed in a village in southwestern China after heavy rain created a huge landslide.

Eleven people are also missing in the village near Luzhou in Sichuan province.

Police and firefighters are searching through the mud and rubble for survivors, the report said.

Photographs showed debris and earth piled up to two-metres high and a bus partly buried in mud.

Warning signs have been set up along several roads in the area with slopes in danger of collapsing.

Villagers whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the landslide on Monday have been housed in temporary shelters or are staying with friends or relatives, the report said.

Twelve of the bodies have been identified.

The village struck by the landslide houses member of the Miao ethnic minority group.

At least 28 people were killed in flooding and landslides in Sichuan province last month.

Thursday 20 August 2015

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First bodies recovered from Indonesia plane crash site

The first bodies of 54 people killed when a plane went down in eastern Indonesia were Wednesday carried from the remote crash site after bad weather hampered efforts to airlift them.

Authorities also revealed rescuers were still looking for one of the Trigana Air plane's two "black boxes", the flight data recorder, after initially saying that both had been found.

The remains of 17 people who died when the plane crashed during a short flight in bad weather Sunday were taken by hundreds of locals and rescuers through jungle and over mountains in Papua province.

The bodies arrived at the settlement of Oksibil, the intended destination of the ATR 42-300 plane, after a gruelling, hours-long journey.

Four bodies had already been flown on to Papua's capital Jayapura while the other 13 were still in the local hospital, transport ministry spokesman J. A. Barata told AFP. The recovery effort was halted at nightfall and will resume Thursday.

Authorities had initially hoped to use helicopters to airlift the bodies from the site, but bad weather made it too dangerous to fly in the area Wednesday.

"The current conditions make it impossible for us to use helicopters, so we have to do it via land," said local military spokesman Pudji Teguh Rahardjo.

Officials initially believed that both black boxes -- the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder -- had been found in the wreckage.

But transport ministry spokesman J. A. Barata said Wednesday the flight data recorder, which takes readings from many different parts of the aircraft, had not yet been recovered.

The tragedy was just the latest air accident in Indonesia, which has a poor aviation safety record and has suffered major disasters in recent months, including the crash of an AirAsia plane in December with the loss of 162 lives.

It took rescuers two days to reach the site, about 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Oksibil, after initial efforts were hindered by the rough terrain and bad weather.

They found the twin-turboprop aircraft in pieces scattered across a fire-blackened clearing, and the bodies of the 49 passengers and five crew who had been aboard.

They also recovered some of the 6.5 billion rupiah ($470,000) in government social assistance funds that was being transported for distribution to poor families. Some of the money was badly burnt.

A team of three investigators from France's BEA agency, which probes air accidents, and four technical advisors from ATR, a European plane maker based in France, is heading to Indonesia to look into the accident.

The plane had set off from Jayapura on what was supposed to be a 45-minute flight to Oksibil, but lost contact 10 minutes before landing as it sought to descend in heavy cloud and rain.

The airline has said the accident was likely caused by bad weather.

Trigana Air, a small domestic Indonesian airline, has experienced a string of serious incidents and is banned from flying in European Union airspace.

Thursday 10 August 2015

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Forensic Team Finds Mass Grave in Chungui, Ayacucho

A team of forensic specialists have found the remains of 50 men, women and children in Ayacucho, in five mass graves outside the town of Oronccoy.

The investigation has shown that the bodies were buried in 1985, at the height of the internal conflict between Shining Path rebels and the military and police. In this particular case, the victims were executed by members of the special police force known as the Sinchis.

The forensic work at the site, in a remote area far from roads and communication, will conclude on August 28.

According to the district attorney, witnesses have stated that the murders were committed before dawn one morning n January 1985 at Estaca Parada, some three hours from Oronccoy. Because of the fear of attacks either by Shining Path or the military, several families had chosen to live together.

Oronccoy is in the district of Chungui, which in 2013 gave a proper burial to the identified bodies of 79 people killed between 1984 and 1985 by both the Shining Path and the military.

The district was the hardest hit in the conflict and lost 17 percent of its population — more than 1,300 people— in what Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called “the most cruel and devastating bloodbath” perpetrated by the “insanity of Shining Path and the brutal repression of the military and police forces.”

Oronccoy was abandoned by most of its townspeople in the 1980s, but many of them slowly returned a decade later in a government-supported program to reclaim their homes and farms.

Thursday 20 August 2015

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China landslide rescue suspended for safety concern

Rescue work has been suspended amid fears of more slides at a mining site in Shaanxi where 56 people remain missing.

Zhao Fasuo with the Chinese Commission for Disaster Reduction says the danger for search crews at the site is just too high at the moment.

"Too much digging among the rubble of the original slide has the potential to cause movement of on the hills behind. So we need to be aware of this. Of course we are trying to do everything we can to find the bodies of those still missing. However, we have to do this both responsibly and scientifically for the safety of those on the ground."

At the same time, forecasters are warning of heavy rains in the region for the next 2 to 3-days, leading to fears of even more slides taking place.

Official 12 people are confirmed dead following last week's deadly slide, which hit overnight on Monday while crews were sleeping in their dorms.

10 managed to escape, while 4 others were initially pulled from the rubble.

However, given the time which has passed since the slide hit, its highly unlikely any of the 56 others still listed as missing will be found alive.

Thursday 20 August 2015

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