Plane missing in jungle
A small chartered plane has gone missing on Indonesian Borneo with four people on board, including an Australian, officials said yesterday. “The Cessna aircraft was carrying four people. The captain was Indonesian and an Australian, Peter John Elliott, was on board,” National Search and Rescue Agency spokesman Gagah Prakoso told reporters. “They left the city of Samarinda to conduct a short surveying flight in East Kalimantan province on Friday, but they didn’t return that evening.” The aircraft is owned by the the Indonesian company Intan Angkasa Air Services, Prakoso said. It was chartered by the Australian passenger’s Perth-based mining company, Elliot Geophysics International, which specializes in mineral, oil and coal exploration, according to its Web site. A team of 20 rescuers are searching through thick jungle, while eight are conducting an aerial search by helicopter and plane, Prakoso said.
Floods displace thousands
Authorities say 85,000 people have fled their homes after the worst flooding in years submerged hundreds of thousands of hectares of rice fields. Government emergency official Soe Tun says heavy rains over the last few weeks caused the inundation which has primarily affected the southern delta region. Soe Tun yesterday said that 70,000 people had fled their homes in the delta and were being housed at 219 emergency relief centers that have been set up at schools and monasteries. He says another 15,000 people are displaced elsewhere in the country. The delta region was devastated in 2008 by Cyclone Nargis, which killed about 130,000 people. Soe Tun says no casualties have been confirmed during this month’s flooding.
Man punches crocodile
A construction worker was bitten by a crocodile during a toilet break in a river in Malaysian Borneo, but fought off the huge reptile and escaped with his life. Pai punched the 2m crocodile in the eye after it bit him just above his right buttock and, despite being in incredible pain and soaked in blood, managed to summon help, reports said yesterday. The attack happened on Friday, when the 32-year-old decided to take his chances in the river in Sarawak state despite knowing it was infested with crocodiles. The laborer, an Indonesian who works at a nearby construction site, had just finished relieving himself when the animal bit him from behind. “Fortune favored me when the crocodile let go after I punched it in the eye,” he was quoted by tabloid Harian Metro as saying. “After being freed from the jaws of the crocodile, I found extraordinary strength to run and call for help even though my waist was extremely painful.”
Journalist’s body returned
The body of Mika Yamamoto, the veteran journalist killed while covering the civil war in Syria, has returned from the Middle Eeast. Her coffin was unloaded from a Turkish Airlines aircraft yesterday as the pilot and crew saluted her, and airport officials observed a moment of silence. Yamamoto’s two sisters, as well as colleague Kazutaka Sato, were aboard the same flight from Istanbul. Yamamoto and Sato, both with independent TV news provider The Japan Press, were traveling with the Free Syrian Army in the northwestern city of Aleppo on Monday when Yamamoto was fatally wounded in crossfire between rebels and Syrian government forces. Sato said the 45-year-old’s body will be handed over to police for an autopsy for further investigation.