Chile Confirms Finding Human Remains, Debris, From Missing Plane

Pilots get off a F-16 plane after combing waters off the southern tip of South America searching for the Chilean Air Force C-130 Hercules cargo plane that went missing with 38 people aboard, at Chabunco army base in Punta Arenas, Chile, on December 12, 2019.  PABLO COZZAGLIO / AFP

 

Chile confirmed Thursday that human remains and debris found by search ships are from a military plane reported missing with 38 people aboard, and the chances of finding survivors is “practically impossible.”

“The condition of the plane wreckage that was found makes it practically impossible that there are survivors from this air accident,” Air Force chief Arturo Merino told a news conference in the southern port of Punta Arenas.

Merino, flanked by Defense Minister Alberto Espina and other officials, confirmed reports that human remains had also been recovered from the sea.

“Along with the parts of the plane that have been found, human remains have been found that are most likely to be body parts of those travelling on the C-130,” Merino said.

Search teams have been combing waters off the southern tip of South America for any sign of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, which disappeared late Monday.

Thirty-eight people — 21 passengers and 17 crew — were on board the plane headed to the Eduardo Frei base across the Drake Passage in the Antarctic.

Most were air force personnel, but also aboard were three people from the army, two from a private construction company and an official from a Chilean university.

Many of them were traveling to carry out logistical support tasks at the base, Chile’s largest in the Antarctic.

Officials said the debris was located in a 30 square kilometer area in the Drake Passage, where some 23 aircraft and 14 ships have been concentrating the search effort.

 Human remains 

On Wednesday, the governor of Chile’s far southern Megallanes region, Jose Fernandez, said rescuers had found human remains during the search for the plane.

“They told us that they had found other airplane debris as well as human remains from those on board,” Fernandez told reporters in provincial capital Punta Arenas, where many family members were gathering to be close to the rescue effort.

His comments came shortly after the air force issued a statement saying that, out of respect for family members, all information regarding remains would be “analyzed, validated and communicated” by the air force itself.

Earlier, the Chilean-flagged vessel Antarctic Endeavour located debris that “could be part of the remains of the sponges of the internal fuel tanks,” Air Force Commander Eduardo Mosqueira told a news conference.

He added that the wreckage was located around 16 nautical miles (30 kilometers) from the plane’s last known position when it disappeared from radar screens at 6:13 pm (2130 GMT) Monday.

A Brazilian navy vessel has also recovered wreckage, some 280 nautical miles from the far southern Argentinian port of Ushuaia, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter.

Search vessels and planes from the United States, Uruguay and Argentina were also combing nearly 385 square miles (1,000 square kilometers) around the plane’s last known position in the Drake Passage, a tempestuous body of water south of Cape Horn.

The Vatican said Pope Francis was following the situation closely and keeping the families of the missing in his prayers.

AFP

Search For Missing Sala Plane To Begin On Sunday

Cardiff In 'Shock' Over Sala's Disappearance
A picture released by Cardiff City FC via Noticias Argentinas, showing Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala posing with Cardiff’s jersey after signing for the club, in Cardiff, on January 20, 2019. HO / NOTICIAS ARGENTINAS / AFP

 

The privately-funded search for the missing plane carrying Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala will begin on Sunday, conditions permitting, the scientist leading the mission said on Saturday.

Sala was travelling from France to join up with his new club,  Premier League strugglers Cardiff City, in a light aircraft on January 21 when it went missing close to the Channel Islands.

Suspected debris from the plane washed up on the Normandy coastline on Wednesday.

Marine scientist David Mearns, who is directing the private search on behalf of the Sala family, said: “Tomorrow the weather will be good. We will be able to operate tomorrow.”

READ ALSO: Cardiff In ‘Shock’ Over Sala’s Disappearance

The search will be conducted “in close coordination” with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), with two vessels scouring around four square nautical miles of sea bed north of the Channel island of Guernsey.

Sala was flying in the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane after transferring from French team Nantes in a 17-million-euro ($19.3-million) move.

It vanished from radar around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Guernsey, with pilot Dave Ibbotson the only other person aboard.

Rescue workers suspended the official search for the aircraft last Thursday after an intensive hunt involving planes and boats failed to locate it.

AFP

Police Call Off Search For Missing Footballer Sala

Nantes’ Argentinian Italian forward Emiliano Sala/AFP

 

Police on Thursday ended their search for Premier League player Emiliano Sala, saying the chances of finding the Argentine alive three days after his plane went missing over the Channel were “extremely remote”.

The light aircraft transporting the 28-year-old striker, who signed for Cardiff City at the weekend, disappeared from radar around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Guernsey on Monday night.

The tiny island sits off the northern coast of France.

“We reviewed all the information available to us, as well as knowing what emergency equipment was on board, and have taken the difficult decision to end the search,” Guernsey said in a statement.

“The chances of survival at this stage are extremely remote.”

The police said they have informed the next of kin of Sala and the missing pilot, who has been identified as David Ibbotson.

The police said teams from the Channel Islands, the United Kingdom and France had searched an area of approximately 1,700 square miles (4,400 square kilometres), “with a significant amount of this searched more than once”.

 ‘It’s going to fall apart’ 

Sala, who signed on Saturday from French club Nantes for a reported fee of 17 million euros ($19.3 million), was flying to Cardiff in a single-engine Piper PA-46 Malibu aircraft.

Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), which is probing the disappearance, said the plane was registered in the United States.

It has emerged Sala expressed concerns about the jet on the flight, according to an audio message sent to friends and relatives.

“I’m on a plane that looks like it’s going to fall apart,” the rising star said in a rambling WhatsApp audio message from on board.

Police earlier said rescuers had spotted “a number of floating objects in the water” but had not been able to confirm whether these were linked to the plane.

British media said the pilot Ibbotson was a 60-year-old married father of three who lived in Scunthorpe in northern England.

Football agent Mark McKay confirmed Thursday he was involved in making the travel arrangements for Sala between France and Wales through the player and his agent Meissa N’Diaye.

“I began to look into arranging a private flight to take him to Nantes on Saturday morning,” he told Britain’s Sky Sports News.

“That evening, it was confirmed a plane was available to fly Emiliano on Saturday which could remain in Nantes until he was due to return to Cardiff.

“I have been in contact with officials from Cardiff and the player’s agent over these difficult past few days and will continue to do so.”

In Sala’s Argentine hometown of Progreso, his father Horacio told the press on Tuesday that the wait for news “makes me fear the worst”.

The striker, who had been at Nantes since 2015 and had scored 13 goals in all competitions this season, had signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with relegation-threatened Cardiff subject to receiving international clearance.

Flowers and scarves were laid outside the club’s stadium.

Tributes were also paid to Sala at several French Cup matches this week, while his former Nantes teammate Yacine Bammou raised his hands towards the sky in an emotional celebration after scoring for Caen on Wednesday.

AFP

Search Resumes For Missing Plane Of Cardiff Striker Sala

Nantes’ Argentinian Italian forward Emiliano Sala during the French L1 football match between Stade Rennais (Stade Resnais FC) and Nantes (FC Nantes) at The Roazhon Park in Rennes. AFP

 

Rescue workers on Thursday spent a third day hunting for a missing plane near the British island of Guernsey carrying new Premier League player Emiliano Sala, who is now presumed dead along with the pilot.

The light aircraft transporting the Argentine striker, who signed for Cardiff City at the weekend, disappeared from radar around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Guernsey on Monday night.

“The search is ongoing and a decision about continuing will be made once all assets have completed this morning’s search pattern,” Guernsey police said on Twitter at 1050 GMT.

Police on the island, which sits off the north coast of France, had earlier announced a resumption of the search after suspending efforts overnight.

Officials scoured the uninhabited island of Burhou, northeast of Guernsey, by foot Thursday morning, according to the force.

“No trace of the aircraft or those on board has been found,” it added.

Multiple aircraft, including from Britain and France, and lifeboats were used in the intensive search on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A pilot involved in the operations said there was now “no chance” of finding survivors.

Mike Tidd, from Channel Islands Air Search —  a voluntary rescue service for local waters — told Britain’s ITV: “The area has been very well covered, there is absolutely no chance of finding anybody alive now.”

He added that the most rescuers could hope to do was “pinpoint where the aircraft went in”.

 ‘It’s going to fall apart’ 

Sala, who signed on Saturday from French club Nantes for a reported fee of 17 million euros ($19.3 million), was flying to Cardiff in a single-engine Piper PA-46 Malibu aircraft.

Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), which is probing the disappearance, said the plane was registered in the United States.

It has emerged the Argentine footballer expressed concerns about the jet on the flight, according to an audio message sent to friends and relatives.

“I’m on a plane that looks like it’s going to fall apart,” the 28-year-old said in a rambling WhatsApp audio message from on board.

Police earlier said rescuers had spotted “a number of floating objects in the water” but had not been able to confirm whether these were linked to the plane.

The Guernsey coastguard on Wednesday named the pilot, the only other person in the plane, as David Ibbotson.

British media said he was a 60-year-old married father of three and lived in Scunthorpe in northern England.

Football agent Mark McKay confirmed Thursday he was involved in making the travel arrangements for Sala between France and Wales through the player and his agent Meissa N’Diaye.

“I began to look into arranging a private flight to take him to Nantes on Saturday morning,” he told Britain’s Sky Sports News.

“That evening, it was confirmed a plane was available to fly Emiliano on Saturday which could remain in Nantes until he was due to return to Cardiff.

“I have been in contact with officials from Cardiff and the player’s agent over these difficult past few days and will continue to do so.”

In Sala’s Argentine hometown of Progreso, his father Horacio told the press on Tuesday that as “the hours go by and I don’t know anything, it makes me fear the worst”.

The striker, who had been at Nantes since 2015 and had scored 13 goals in all competitions this season, had signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with relegation-threatened Cardiff subject to receiving international clearance.

The club called off Tuesday’s training session, and stunned supporters laid flowers and scarves outside the club’s stadium.

Tributes were paid to Sala at several French Cup matches this week, while his former Nantes teammate Yacine Bammou pointed towards the sky in an emotional celebration after scoring for Caen on Wednesday.

AFP

Search For Spanish Toddler In Well Enters Fifth Day

Jose Rosello (L), father of Julen who fell down a well, cries as rescue efforts continue to find the boy in Totalan in southern Spain on January 16, 2019.  JORGE GUERRERO / AFP

 

The search for a toddler who fell down a well in southern Spain in a tragedy that has gripped the country entered its fifth day Thursday, with hopes dwindling he would be found alive.

Julen Rosello, who is two, fell down a very narrow shaft more than 100 metres (330 feet) deep on Sunday while playing as his parents had lunch nearby in the town of Totalan near Malaga, family members said.

Rescuers are unable to get to where they believe the child is as a layer of earth, sand and stones believed to have been dragged down by Julen when he fell have blocked the well.

The toddler is believed to be underneath and the discovery of several strands of his hair by rescuers appears to confirm that theory.

As such, they are digging two tunnels, one parallel to the well and another at an angle aiming to reach Julen.

But the work is complicated by the state of the soil.

Engineer Juan Lopez told reporters that the vertical tunnel was progressing “for the moment without too many problems.”

But the horizontal one is causing “problems,” he added. Excavating that tunnel “within less than two days is really complicated,” he said.

This race-against-time recalls several other high-profile cases in the 1980s.

Alfredo Rampi, an Italian boy, was found dead in a well near Rome in 1981 while Jessica McClure, an 18-month-old girl, was rescued alive from a well in Texas in October 1987 after more than two days inside.

AFP

France Hunts Gunman After Attack On Christmas Market

Two members of the French police unit BRI walk on the Pont de l’Europe (Europe bridge), crossing the border with Germany over the river Rhine in Strasbourg, on December 12, 2018, as part of searches in order to find the gunman who opened fire near a Christmas market the night before, in Strasbourg, eastern France. Frederick FLORIN / AFP

 

Hundreds of police hunted Wednesday for a gunman who shot dead three people and wounded 13, eight seriously, at a famed Christmas market in Strasbourg, on the French border with Germany.

The attack took place Tuesday around 8 pm (1900 GMT) in the heart of the medieval city as the market was closing, sending crowds fleeing for safety.

Much of the centre and the European Parliament were on lockdown through part of the night as hundreds of police and soldiers searched for the gunman who was reportedly armed with an automatic rifle and a knife.

“The attacker, who was on the S list (of extremists watched by police), is actively being hunted by security forces,” local officials said in a statement.

“350 policemen and gendarmes are still deployed on the ground,” backed up by helicopters, elite units and soldiers deployed as part of a long-term nationwide anti-terrorism operation, the statement said.

The government raised the security alert level for terrorism to its highest, reinforcing border controls and those around all Christmas markets across France.

However, a terrorist motive “has not yet been established,” deputy Interior minister Laurent Nunez told France Inter radio.

The gunman, who was being monitored for religious extremism, is “known for a number of criminal offences (…) but has never been linked to terrorist offences,” he said.

 Religious extremism 

The gunman, who was being monitored for religious extremism, is “known for a number of criminal offences (…) but has never been linked to terrorist offences,” he said.

Strasbourg mayor Roland Ries said most of the victims were men, including one Thai tourist.

“Some were shot in the head,” Ries told BFM television. No children were hurt.

Soldiers patrolling the area as part of regular anti-terror operations after a series of attacks since 2015 exchanged fire with the suspect and wounded him,  police sources said.

A soldier was slightly injured by a ricochet from a shot fired by the gunman who managed to escape.

“I heard shooting and then there was pandemonium,” one witness, who gave his name as Fatih, told AFP. “People were running everywhere.”

He said he had seen three people injured and on the ground only a few metres (feet) from the city’s giant Christmas tree.

President Emmanuel Macron expressed on Twitter the solidarity of the whole nation after holding a crisis meeting with cabinet officials in Paris.

 Escaped arrest 

Two separate security sources told AFP on condition of anonymity that the shooter was believed to be a 29-year-old from the city.

Police had wanted to arrest him Tuesday morning on unrelated criminal charges, but he was not at home.

He was being investigated over an attempted murder, one of the sources said.

Tourist attraction 

The Christmas market in Strasbourg and the city’s illuminations are an annual attraction that draws hundreds of thousands of people.

Security has been stepped up in recent years after a series of attacks in France by Islamist gunmen and the Strasbourg market was long considered a possible target.

In 2016, a 23-year-old Tunisian killed 12 and injured 48 others when he ploughed a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

Three years after groups of jihadists gunned down and blew up 130 people in Paris on November 13, 2015, French counter-terror officials say their focus has shifted.

Rather than coordinated attacks, their main concern is attacking by “lone wolves” — self-radicalised individuals acting without links to terror groups such as Islamic State.

Most recently a 20-year-old Chechnya-born man went on a knife rampage in central Paris last May, killing one man and injuring four other people on a Saturday night.

A total of 246 people have been killed in terror attacks in France since 2015, according to an AFP toll.

AFP

Malaysia May Resume Search For Missing MH370 After Four Years

mh370
FILE PHOTO

 

The hunt for Flight MH370 may resume if new evidence comes to light, Malaysia’s prime minister said Wednesday, as a private search for the plane draws to a close.

The Malaysia Airlines jet vanished in March 2014 with 239 people — mostly from China — on board, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

US exploration firm Ocean Infinity was contracted for a three-month search for the Boeing 777 on a “no find, no fee basis”, which is set to end in the coming days after finding no sign of the wreckage.

The private search came after an Australian-led hunt, which covered a vast area of the southern Indian Ocean and was the most expensive in aviation history, was suspended last year.

Mahathir Mohamad, who became Malaysia’s premier for the second time after a shock election victory, indicated the government had no plans at the moment to resume the hunt.

“We have come to a stage where we cannot keep searching for something we cannot find,” he told a press conference.

“We understand the feelings of the relatives but we cannot allow the search to go on forever.”

But he added: “If we find any new information, we may resume the search.”

Ocean Infinity had stood to make up to $70 million if it found the jet or its black boxes.

The private US firm scoured over 112,000 square kilometers (43,000 square miles) of the seabed.

The ship conducting the hunt, Seabed Constructor, was a Norwegian research vessel carrying 65 crew, including two members of the Malaysian navy as the government’s representatives.

It used eight autonomous drones equipped with sonars and cameras, able to operate at depths up to 6,000 meters (20,000 feet).

Only three confirmed fragments of MH370 have been found, all of them on western Indian Ocean shores, including a two-meter wing part known as a flaperon.

AFP

Search For Malaysia’s MH370 To End In ‘Coming Days’

mh370
FILE PHOTO

 

A private hunt for Flight MH370 will end in the coming days, a search firm said Tuesday, about four years after the plane’s disappearance sparked one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries.

The Malaysia Airlines jet vanished in March 2014 with 239 people — mostly from China — on board, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

No sign of the plane was found in a 120,000-square kilometre (46,000-square mile) sea search zone and the Australian-led hunt, the largest in aviation history, was suspended in January last year.

After pressure from families, the former Malaysian government struck a deal with US exploration firm Ocean Infinity to restart the search in January on the condition it would only be paid if the Boeing 777 or its black boxes were found.

The firm stood to make up to $70 million if successful but did not find any sign of the airliner despite scouring the seabed with some of the world’s most high-tech search equipment.

The hunt was officially meant to end late April but was extended. However, the new government of Mahathir Mohamad, which came to power after a shock election win this month, announced last week the search was set to end.

Texas-based Ocean Infinity said in a statement Tuesday that “its current search for the wreckage of… Flight MH370 is shortly coming to an end”.

A spokesman added the hunt would end in the coming days, without giving a precise date.

The new hunt was in an area of about 25,000 square kilometers in the southern Indian Ocean, north of the previous search zone.

The ship conducting the hunt, Seabed Constructor, was a Norwegian research vessel carrying 65 crew, including two members of the Malaysian navy as the government’s representatives.

It scoured the waters for wreckage using eight autonomous drones equipped with sonars and cameras, and able to operate at depths up to 6,000 meters (20,000 feet).

Only three confirmed fragments of MH370 have been found, all of them on western Indian Ocean shores, including a two-meter wing part known as a flaperon.

The jet’s disappearance stands as one of the most enduring aviation mysteries of all time and has spawned a host of theories, with some blaming a hijacking or even a terror plot.

AFP

Bluetooth-Powered Stickers That Help Locate Lost Items

You get to misplace things or stuffs that are so very important that you have to painstakingly look for as you have no idea where what was. House keys, car keys, remote controls or even your pets in the house might go wandering on a day you don’t expect.

A company has decided to take the pain of making frantic search for your belongings as it has produced Bluetooth embedded sticker  called ‘StickNFind’ equipped with a low-energy technology which it ticked to be the solution.

With StickNFind, you hassle less as all your stuffs can be found without turning your house upside-down. These stickers are equipped with Bluetooth low-energy technology and are about the size of a quarter and weigh well under an ounce.

All you need do is to simply slap a sticker on anything (or anyone) and then use the accompanying app which would have been installed on your phone or tab (Newer iPhone, iPads and Android devices) to figure out where you put them last.

Each little tag also has sound and light that can be triggered separately.

The StickNFind app can be set to work kind of like radar or it can send you an alert when an item comes into range. You can also get a warning when an item goes out of range.

The radar-style function of the app can only tell you proximity, not direction. You’ll have to walk around and see where the signal gets stronger.

Each sticker uses a replaceable watch battery. The battery life estimate is a year with 30 minutes per day of average use.

Although, StickNFind is yet to go full-blown as the project is still in the pipeline for it has set an ambitious $70,000 goal on Indiegogo to put the project into full production.

The early-bird pledge price for two stickers is $35 (N5, 523.70). The highest pledge level is $150 (N23, 672.97) for 10 stickers.

The only thing StickNFind won’t help you with is if you lose your smartphone. Unless, of course, you have another smartphone or tablet around to help you find the one you lost.