Eight die in Papua plane crash – teenager boy lone survivor

Wreckage of the plane that crashed near Paniai, Papua, close to the Papua New Guinea border on Saturday. Image: Jakarta Post

By Nethy Dharma Somba in Jayapura

A plane crashed in the mountainous Gunung Menuk area in Pegunungan Bintang regency of Indonesia’s Papua province on Saturday, killing eight people on board, including the pilot and co-pilot  – but a 12-year-old boy survived.

Rescuers who reached the aircraft at dawn said they found the boy alive among the wreckage.

The crash was near Oksibil close to the border with Papua New Guinea.

“The survivor, identified as J, 12, has been evacuated from the crash site and taken to a hospital in Oksibil district to receive treatment for his broken right hand,” Pegunungan Bintang police chief Adjunct Commander Michael Mumbunan said yesterday.

He said the victim’s bodies were also being transported to Oksibil.

The Swiss-built plane, operated by PT Martha Buana Abadi, was found on Sunday at 6.15 am local time, according to Jayapura Search and Rescue Agency spokesman Yadianto.

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The plane departed from Tanah Merah airport in Boven Digul on Saturday at 1.42 pm and was scheduled to arrive at Oksibil airport at 2.20 pm.

“It took eight hours for search and rescue personnel to reach the crash site – comprising a two-hour drive and a six-hour trek through Kampung Okatem to Gunung Menuk,” Yadianto said.

In 2015, a Trigana Air twin turboprop plane crashed near Oksibil, killing all 54 on board.

Nethy Dharma Somba is a Jayapura-based reporter of the English-language Jakarta Post.

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Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Police again question Islands Business chief editor, ex-publisher in probe

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Police again question Islands Business chief editor, ex-publisher in probe

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

Islands Business managing director and editor Samisoni Pareti has again been questioned by Fiji police over an online article involving a local magistrate, the news magazine reports.

Pareti was today called to Criminal Investigation Department headquarters for the second time this week to answer allegations on an alleged breach of the Public Order Act.

The Director of Public Prosecutions will decide whether Pareti and colleague Nanise Volau must answer charges relating to alleged incitement to sedition.

LISTEN: Alarm in Fiji over police investigation into Islands Business

READ MORE: Police grill magazine editorial staff over story

Former IB publisher Netani Rika was questioned earlier today and released, the news magazine reported.

On Sunday, police questioned Rika, Pareti and Volau in connection with an article on Andrew See who recently ruled in favour of Air Terminal Services Limited (ATS) workers in an industrial dispute over Nadi International Airport. IB had alleged in its report that the magistrate’s contract had been terminated three weeks after his landmark ruling on January 20.

Islands Business reported on its social media website that police were “being assisted in their investigations” by Chief Registrar Yohan Liyanage, and Fiji Sun journalist Jyoti Pratibha, a claim later denied by the reporter in the Fijiian Newsroom social media page.

FBC News reported late this afternoon that police spokesperson Ana Naisoro had said Rika had been released while Pareti and Volau were still being questioned.

‘CLOUD OVER MAGISTRATE’ STORY CONTROVERSY
Cloud over magistrate in ATS case
– The Islands Business article that stirred the controversy
Alarm in Fiji over police investigation into Islands Business – ABC
Be ‘responsible, journalists reminded
Fiji Times
Police question magazine trioFiji Times
The Real Issues behind the ATS dispute – Fiji Labour Party
Air Terminal Services
Fiji police issue permit for FTUC march Islands Business

Vanuatu tourism sector calls for quick resolution over airport contract

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Vanuatu tourism sector calls for quick resolution over airport contract

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

Vanuatu aviation officials are trying their best to keep to an April timeline for breaking ground on runway repairs. Image: Dan McGarry/Vanuatu Daily Post

By Dan McGarry in Port Vila

On the day of the arrival in Vanuatu of World Bank Vice President Victoria Kwakwa, tourism industry stakeholders are reportedly calling for a quick resolution to an apparent impasse over the selection of a contractor to perform the upgrades to the Bauerfield airport runway.

In late December, a World Bank procurement expert told bidders that she hoped to be able to announce the winning bid within a month of the tenders being unsealed. Nearly two months have passed, however, and no announcement has been made.

The Vanuatu Daily Post has received reliable reports that the crux of the delay is an impasse over the preferred contractor. Sources have confirmed that there are differing opinions about which one should win, and that price is a concern for at least one of the parties.

READ MORE: Vanuatu airport runway repairs usher in new tourism era

Most parties will not speak on the record because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations, but aviation stakeholders stated last week that they were ready to ask for high level government intervention in order to break the impasse.

Over the weekend, government representatives confirmed that they were willing to intervene in the process.

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One political operative, who chose to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the affair, confirmed that a letter had been sent to a minister by tourism industry representatives, expressing concern at the economic cost of further delays.

It is widely known that several tourism operations are approaching the end of the line in terms of their ability to continue doing business at these depressed levels, and that any curbs on inflows over the upcoming peak season could spell disaster for them.

Expedited upgrade
The expedited runway upgrade bidding process had been designed with an eye to breaking ground in April, in order to ensure that any interruptions in service would not affect peak season tourist traffic.

Being able to announce completion of the runway upgrades by July might also have the effect of enticing Air New Zealand to return to scheduled service.

While arrival numbers from New Zealand are not huge, a vote of confidence from one of the most highly regarded airlines in the world would go a long way to reassuring travelers about the safety of the runway.

A completed runway upgrade might also convince Qantas to restore their code share with Air Vanuatu on their Sydney and Brisbane to Port Vila service.

Sources have confided that part of the problem stems from a lack of trust in the judgment of some parties. Vanuatu deferred to the World Bank’s choice of project manager during the emergency repair process, and later expressed regret when additional repairs were proven necessary.

Flight turned back
A Virgin Australia flight was turned back last year when additional damage was discovered on the runway, on a section that the project manager had deemed safe.

Nobody’s safety was affected because Airports Vanuatu Ltd was conducting visual inspections of the runway before every jet aircraft arrival and departure.

But the effect on the confidence of international tourism operators was palpably negative.

Parties to the negotiation have quietly accepted that the government’s position is understandable, and said that they view the Vice-President’s visit as an opportunity to “cut the knot” and move ahead with repairs to the runway.

Kwakwa is visiting the country to sign an agreement establishing a country office in Vanuatu.

She was joining at a signing ceremony yesterday by Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Jotham Napat, and Finance Minister Gaetan Pikioune.

Dan McGarry is media director of the Vanuatu Daily Post group.