Island mystery ‘solved’
A researcher yesterday claimed to have solved the riddle of a mystery island shown on Google Earth and world maps which does not exist, blaming a whaling ship from 1876. The phantom landmass in the Coral Sea is shown as Sandy Island on Google Earth and Google maps and is supposedly midway between Australia and New Caledonia. However, according to Australian scientists, who went searching for it last month, it could not be found. Intrigued, Shaun Higgins, a researcher at Auckland Museum, started investigating and claims it never existed, with a whaling ship the source of the original error. “As far as I can tell, the island was recorded by the whaling ship the Velocity,” Higgins told ABC radio, adding that the ship’s master reported a series of “heavy breakers” and some “sandy islets.” “My supposition is that they simply recorded a hazard at the time. They might have recorded a low-lying reef or thought they saw a reef. They could have been in the wrong place. There is all number of possibilities,” he said. “What we do have is a dotted shape on the map that’s been recorded at that time and it appears it’s simply been copied over time.”
Workers injured as rig tilts
About 90 workers were injured yesterday when an oil rig being built at a shipyard tilted to one side, the Ministry of Manpower said, amid reports of explosions and snapping cables. One worker was in critical condition and 22 others were seriously injured during the incident at the Jurong Shipyard, the ministry said in a statement. “Preliminary findings indicate that the jack-up mechanism of one of the legs of a three-legged jack-up rig had failed, causing the rig to tilt to one side,” the ministry said. “Some 90 workers have been sent to four hospitals — the majority had minor injuries with one worker in a critical condition and 22 seriously injured.”
Briton dies after chase
A 28-year-old British man has drowned after jumping into the sea in the resort town of Pattaya after being chased by a group of Thai men wielding sticks and knives, police said yesterday. The man, and two other Britons, aged 29 and 30, leapt into Pattaya Bay late on Sunday morning after being chased through a restaurant by several Thai men who they had argued with the previous night. A fishing boat was only able to rescue the victim’s two companions. Police said the Thai men alleged the British trio were drunk and had destroyed property in a hotel in the early hours of Sunday, prompting the argument and chase when the two groups met again several hours later. No arrests have been made so far in connection with the incident.
Troops receive drink ban
US troops in Okinawa, southern Japan, have been banned from drinking off base, a US military statement said, following a spate of crimes including the alleged rape of a local woman. The move is the latest clampdown by military commanders on their sometimes rowdy charges as they look to contain seething anger in their host community. “Drinking alcohol in off-base establishments is prohibited for all service members on Okinawa,” the US Forces in Japan said on Facebook over the weekend. “On base alcohol sales will cease at [10pm] each night, which includes clubs” and shops. The statement also said drivers departing base will be subject to breathalyzers while passengers and pedestrians may also undergo “sobriety tests.”