Friday, 21 August 2015

Netherlands: Urk fisherman identified after more than 47 years

[Translated from Dutch]
More than 47 years after the Urk fishing vessel UK 91 with five crew on board perished, one of the passengers has been identified as 28-year-old Albert Zwaan. He remained unidentified and buried in a special cemetery in Schiermonnikoog, the municipality of Urk confirmed Friday.

The identification was done by DNA testing in collaboration with the Dutch Forensic Institute (NFI). The Fisherman's family had provided a DNA sample in June this year and then compared with genetic material in the database for missing persons. "There was a quick match," said Izanne Linden of the cold case team central Netherlands.

UK 91 sank during a storm on January 24, 1968 about 20 kilometers north of Ameland. A corpse washed ashore on Schiermonnikoog months later, but could not be identified with the technology at that time and it could not be established who he was. The identity has now been confirmed as Albert Zwaan.

The cold case team and the NFI went to Urk this summer to collect DNA samples. "Family members of 32 missing fishermen were given the opportunity to donate DNA," says De Wit-Linden. "Many people took that opportunity."

The cemetery on Schiermonnikoog exhumed five graves last year to collect DNA material from the unidentified remains. For reasons of privacy, the cold case team can not say if families of the other crew members of the UK 91, which have not been found either, have provided their DNA.

The identification is part of a major project to identify seven hundred unknown bodies buried in the Netherlands.

Friday 21 August 2015

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Indonesia concludes crashed plane recovery efforts

Indonesia’s search and rescue agency has concluded operations involving a plane that crashed in the mountains of eastern Papua, following the recovery of the 54 victims on board and the black box.

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 said yesterday. Authorities had initially hoped to use helicopters to transport the remains of last Sunday’s crash from the site in Papua province, but bad weather meant the bodies had to be carried on foot out of the jungle.

Henry Bambang Soelistyo, the agency’s chief, confirmed to Anadolu Agency on Friday that efforts had ended after the discovery Thursday of the flight data recorder that had been missing since the plane crashed last weekend.

Hundreds of locals and rescuers were involved in the arduous task of taking the bodies about 15km 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 said. “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.

"During the five days of operation, everyone worked professionally. Thanks to all team members," Soelistyo said.

He added that Disaster Victim Identification teams had begun to identify the recovered bodies.

As of early Friday, seven victims -- including a flight attendant and a postal worker who had been transporting around 6.5 billion rupiah ($470,000) to be distributed to the poor in the region -- had been identified, reported.

Tatang Kurniadi, National Committee on the Safety of Transport chief, told Anadolu Agency that they would prepare a preliminary report on the contents of the black box before submitting the recorders to the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The report, however, will take between six months and one year to complete.

Benny Sumaryanto, Trigana Air Service director of operations, told Anadolu Agency that the legal heirs of each passenger would receive compensation worth 1.25 billion rupiah (almost $89,700).

"The compensation will be given for all passengers on board, including the crew," he said.

The flight crashed Sunday around 7 miles from an airport in Oksibil -- a remote settlement near the border with Papua New Guinea.

Ground rescuers had traipsed through thick vegetation in the Bintang Mountains Regency for recovery operations at the spot, which is at an altitude of around 2,529 meters (8,300 feet).

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Indonesian postal service said Friday that of the 6.5 rupiah billion being transported on the flight, only 5.8 billion rupiah had been recovered by search teams.

Abu Sofyan -- who like many Indonesians uses only one name -- was quoted by as saying that the missing cash was likely burnt, and adding that "surely no funds have been lost as it was all insured."

Friday 21 August 2015¨

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Bihar: 13 feared drowned as boat capsizes in Rohtas

Thirteen persons including four women were feared drowned after a boat capsized in river Sone near Dehri-on-Sone, about 145 kms south-west of Patna. Of the 17 persons travelling on the boat, mostly vegetable growers, four were rescued.

The occupants on the boat were travelling to an island in the middle of the river for agricultural purposes when the boat met with the mishap, Dehri-on-Sone sub-divisional officer Pankaj Patel said.

"The boat capsized in the swirling waters. Till now bodies of four women have been found" Patel said.

The occupants were residents of Tar Bungalow and Shiv Ganj localities at Dehri. Search operations are underway to find the missing women and help of local divers and NDRF team is being taken to locate other missing persons, SP Manavjit Singh Dhillon said. DM Sandeep Kumar R Pudakalkatti is also camping on the spot.

Friday 21 August 2015

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MH17: Bones buried two-feet deep in crash site

The impact of fire and fall during the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy had caused some of the bones of the victims to be buried as deep as two feet underground, said D13 (Bank Data/DNA) chief assistant director, ACP Hussein Omar Khan.

The Royal Malaysian Police Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) commander for the MH17 tragedy said the victims' bones were found buried in the ground when the recovery team made its final mission in April this year.

"Until April this year, only 296 victims had positive identification while the other two victims were unidentified.

“Therefore, the recovery team made a final mission in April this year," he said, adding that only the Netherlands and Malaysia went on this final mission as Australia felt it was highly risky.

"We used armoured and bullet-proof cars to get into the crash site," he recalled in his talk titled 'Mass Fatality Investigation: The MH17 Experience' at the International Conference on Environmental Forensics organised by Universiti Putra Malaysia on Thursday.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it was brought down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board.

Hussein said during the final mission, the recovery team had to dig the crash site area as some of the bones were found to be buried in the soil.

"Archaeology forensics was used in the search this time. It was surprising to find bones 40cm and two-feet deep in the ground," he said.

Hussein said after the final mission, the recovery team believed the last two victims were identified and 99 per cent of the recovery operation was completed.

"Now grass has grown on the crash site and it is unlikely the recovery team will go there again unless there is any necessity," he added

Friday 21 August 2015

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Police DVI team identifies four bodies

The National Police Disaster Victims Identification (DVI) team has identified four victims from the Trigana Air plane that crashed in Pegunungan Bintang regency, Papua, on Sunday.

During a press conference at the Bhayangkara Police Hospital In Ja-yapura on Thursday, the head of the National Police Medical Center, Brig. Gen. Arthur Tampi, said the four victims were identified from their medical records and belongings.

Earlier, the DVI team had taken DNA samples from relatives of 53 of the 54 victims, but had yet to take samples from the relatives of Mario, a Trigana Air mechanic, who were still to arrive from Jayapura.“We target to identify 10 bodies daily,” said Tampi.

According to Trigana Air operational director Benny Sumaryanto, Trigana Air will cover the costs of transporting the bodies to their home towns.The heirs of each victim will get Rp 1.35 billion (US$100,000) from Trigana Air and Rp 100 million from state insurance firm PT Jasa Raharja in compensation.

Benny said that the compensation would be handed over after all the required data was provided. “It may take three to four weeks to deliver the compensation because we still need identification, such as birth certificates, identity cards and household cards, so as to prevent mistakes when handing over the compensation,” said Benny.

Benny said that currently the families of all the passengers and crew members were already in Jayapura. All the victims are currently being identified at the Bhayangkara Police Hospital.

As many as 50 body bags were transported from Oksibil to Jayapura on Thursday by Trigana Air planes and an Indonesian Military (TNI) MI helicopter.

“All the bodies have already arrived at the hospital for identification,” said Papua Police chief Brig. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw.Families of victims who have yet been identified have been assembled at the Tongkonan building, owned by the Toraja community association, located 200 meters from the hospital.“They are given psychological counselling in addressing the disaster they’re facing,” said Papua Police chief spokesman Sr. Comr. Rudolf Patrick.

Separately, Papua Police deputy chief Brig. Gen. Rudolf Rodja said the search and rescue team had found the flight data recorder, part of the black box, which is to be sent to Jakarta on Friday. National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) head Air Marshal FHB Sulistyo had earlier handed over the plane’s flight cockpit recorder to the National Transportation Safety Committee.

Friday 21 August 2015

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