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Plane crashes during emergency landing

Written By kom limapulan on Rabu, 23 Juli 2014 | 09.35

Air crash...A TransAsia Airways passenger jet has crashed while making an emergency landing in Taiwan. Picture: File Source: Supplied

A PLANE making a second landing attempt in stormy weather has crashed at an airport on a small Taiwanese island, killing at least 47 people.

Taiwan's Transport Minister Yeh Kuang-shih was quoted by the government's Central News Agency as saying 47 people were trapped and feared dead, and another 11 people were injured after the plane crashed and caught fire while making a second landing attempt while being battered by typhoon winds. The plane reportedly lost contact with the control tower while coming in to land.

There were conflicting reports on the death toll from local officials and media, with Taiwan's Civil  Aeronautics Administration putting the toll at 51, reports AFP.

The plane had 58 people on board - 54 passengers and four crew members.

The flight was heading from the capital, Taipei, to the island Penghu, halfway between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan in the Taiwan Strait when it attempted an emergency landing in the city of Magong. The plane lost contact with the control tower, reports AFP. 

A local fire brigade chief earlier said 51 people had been killed.

Flight GE222, an ATR-72 aircraft operated by Taiwanese airline TransAsia Airways, was heading from the southern port city of Kaohsiung to the island Penghu, halfway between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan in the Taiwan Strait, according to the Taiwanese news agency.

It crashed outside the airport in Xixi village, and pictures showed in local media showed a handful of firefighters using flashlights to look at wreckage in the darkness.

Images from the scene appeared to show the jet had crashed onto a building.

Penghu is a lightly populated island that averages about two flights a day from Taipei.

Transport minister Mr Yeh was quoted as saying the flight carried 58 passengers and crew members.

Taiwan was battered by Typhoon Matmo early Tuesday morning, and the Central Weather Bureau was advising of heavy rain through the evening, even though the centre of the storm was in mainland China.


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Offspring’s big bombshell

Nina shares an intimate moment with Patrick's ghost before She says 'goodbye' for the last time. Courtesy Offspring/Channel Ten.

New man ... Ben Barrington as Thomas in Offspring. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

SPOILER alert. If you haven't yet watched Wednesday night's episode of Offspring, look away now. If you have, can we please talk about what just happened?

It was a plot shock that few saw coming, and one which will have lasting ramifications.

Nina Proudman, the main character played by Asher Keddie, has had a very ordinary year.

First her brooding partner Patrick died suddenly. Mere days later she had a baby, which she was forced to raise alone.

Now she's juggling new motherhood, her demanding job as a doctor, a cast of weird friends and family, and the ever-present Patrick grief that has dominated her thoughts.

The long and difficult road that has played out in the current season of the Network Ten hit series has been made a bit easier with the support of her quirky family.

Also helping Nina to slowly move on is single dad and man mountain, Thomas, a handsome distraction played by Ben Barrington who viewers met a few weeks back.

Handsome distraction ... Thomas, played by Ben Barrington, has given Nina, played by Asher Keddie, reason to smile. Source: Channel 10

OPINION: How much more can an Offspring fan take?

Since then, the pair have enjoyed awkward but touching dates, bonded over being single parents and braved a Proudman family function together.

All was going well and we fans were given some hope that happiness was on the horizon. And then tonight happened.

To recap, Nina was at work at St Francis when a heavily pregnant woman was brought in after going into early labour.

The patient, it was explained, had been booked to have her baby at a different hospital on the other side of town. But with no time to move her, she was admitted.

Nina and midwife-slash-failed-one-night-stand Leo, played by Patrick Brammall, kept the expectant mother calm while her husband made his way to the hospital.

In the final moments of this tense episode, he arrived. And it was Thomas.

Yes — Thomas. Nina's baldheaded gentle giant. The one we hoped might give her the happiness her life has been desperately missing.

Hold the phone — Nina's bloke Thomas did what?! Source: Supplied

There he was, sitting by his wife's side as she prepared to give birth to his child. Thomas was oblivious about the poo storm he had just waded into, until he saw Leo.

Nina had no clue about what was about to hit her.

She was pottering around somewhere else in the hospital, presumedly swapping her trademark over-sized scarf for an even bigger, drapier one.

As she prepared to re-enter the room, Leo bailed her up and broke the horrifying news.

He must've been mistaken, Nina insisted. Maybe it was another oversized bloke with a hybrid Kiwi accent and dopey puppy dog eyes.

Revelations ... Nina's sister Billie, played by Kat Stewart, will spit chips when she finds out what man mountain Thomas has been up to. Source: Channel 10

But when she peeked through the glass pane in the door, there was no denying it. The big ball of man was none other than her Thomas.

Or, as it turned out, someone else's Thomas.

End scene, roll credits, cut to Australia collectively picking up their jaws from the floor.

There are two more episodes until the season finale, which may wind up being the end of Offspring all together.

Growing speculation suggests Ten won't renew the drama, so the next few weeks could be the last chance to lap up Nina and the Proudmans.

Either way, let's hope there's some swift justice for cheating dog Thomas.

What did you think of the twist in Offspring tonight? Comment below.


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Man dies as beach hole caves in

Beach nightmare...California man Adam Pye was killed when a hole he dug on the beach caved in, trapping him as horrified friends frantically tried to save him. Picture: Faceboook Source: Supplied

A YOUNG man died after a hole he dug on a Northern California beach collapsed and trapped him in the sand for at least five minutes, authorities said Tuesday.

Adam Pye, 26, dug a roughly three-metre deep hole at Francis State Beach and was standing in it around 5.30pm on Monday when the sand started caving in around him, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Capt. Jonathan Cox said.

About 30 people, including the man's friends and bystanders, frantically dug with their hands, buckets and other improvised tools to expose his head.

They were able to free his head in about five minutes, just as firefighters arrived at the scene, Mr Cox said.

Tragic...Around 30 onlookers tried to dig Pye out with beach shovels, but by the time paramedics arrived he was unconscious and they were unable to revive him. Picture: Facebook Source: Supplied

"When they got there, they discovered he was unconscious," he said.

Paramedics managed to open his airways while about 30 firefighters, aided by the bystanders, used shovels and other equipment to pull out his body.

Rescuers extricated Pye in about 35 minutes and tried to revive him, but he died at the scene, Mr Cox said.

The beach is about 50 kilometres southwest of downtown San Francisco.

The San Mateo County Coroner's office confirmed the victim was Pye, of San Lorenzo.

He dug the hole on a campground area of the beach, about three to four metres from the water line, Mr Cox said.


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What the black boxes will tell us

UK air accident investigators will examine data from the black boxes of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The black box ... analysts have warned that they may not reveal all we would like to know about the final moments of MH17. Picture: Damien Simonart Source: AFP

ANYONE expecting the so-called "black boxes" from MH-17 to provide the 'smoking gun' on the tragedy — and who to blame — will be bitterly disappointed, according to experts.

But the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) will reveal vital clues such as the sound of impact and extent of damage.

Former senior air force officer and pilot John Oddie said the most important development that could come from the FDR and CVR, which are actually orange in colour, was the precise time that the missile struck the Boeing 777 aircraft.

BRING THEM HOME: Bodies depart Ukraine

INVESTIGATION: Forensic experts wait to access site

"That will line up with other events such as the firing of a missile to determine exactly when it was fired," the former Air Commodore said.

Mr Oddie said the FDR would not provide conclusive evidence about course deviations such as the 14km alteration that Russia says the aircraft undertook.

In a case such as MH17, where the crash scene had been severely contaminated, the flight data instruments would be even more important, but it is likely that other clues such as missile fragments embedded in the wreckage will ultimately sheet home blame.

The FDR will show what happened to the jet and possibly the force and direction of any impact.

Radar guided missiles usually attack the largest area of a target or the centre fuselage of an airliner, but there is a lag that could have resulted in the proximity fused weapon exploding close to the cockpit, instantly killing the pilots and preventing a radio call.

"If the crew couldn't get a message out the cockpit recorder is unlikely to show much at all," one expert said.

The handover ... a Malaysian investigator receives a black box from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 from people who claimed to be officials from the Donetsk People's Republic. Picture: Dmitry Lovetsky Source: AP

Radar readings and the aircraft's Automated Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADSB), a position broadcast based on global positioning systems (GPS) data, will provide the best clues regarding the exact location of the plane when it disappeared.

Both FDR and CVR can only be used for investigation purposes and airlines must use other methods to monitor a flight's progress or the performance of an aircraft and its systems.

They are normally done using on board quick access recording for maintenance staff or via telemetry to transmit data to airline headquarters or an aircraft maker such as Boeing.

The cockpit voice recorder resets every two hours and will pick up anything said by the pilots or any other noises audible in the cockpit including a missile explosion and catastrophic decompression.

That would allow investigators to possibly isolate the type of weapon used.

Mr Oddie said it was possible that Russia's claim that a Ukrainian fighter jet was tracking the airliner from a distance of between three and five kms was feasible.

"If a fighter doesn't want an airliner to know it is there then it won't emit the signals used by collision avoidance systems," he said.

The flight recorders include a power supply and crash survivable memory unit encased in stainless steel or titanium and rated to withstand an impact of 3400 times the force of gravity and temperatures up to 1000 degrees C. They are stored in the tail of the aircraft.

The FDR records up to 100 flight parameters ranging from altitude and airspeed to fuel levels and flap settings.

The black boxes from Flight MH-17 have been passed by Malaysian authorities to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch at Farnborough in England for forensic analysis by a team of international investigators.

The meticulous technical investigation will take months to re-create and analyse the final moments of the flight and the 298 souls on board.


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Craigslist murders as sex tryst goes wrong

Greg Slocum is still reeling from the murder of his eight-month pregnant daughter, Brooke Slocum.

Brady Oestrike allegedly killed two people. Photo: Facebook. Source: Supplied

A PREGNANT teenager offering sex to strangers on Craigslist has been strangled and her boyfriend brutally decapitated allegedly by a man they met in a park.

Brooke Slocum, 18, was held captive for five days at the Michigan home of suspect Brady Oestrike, 31 before she was found strangled in the boot of his car.

She had arranged to meet Oestrike at Wyoming's Gezon Park after contacting him through Craigslist.

Boyfriend Charles Oppenneer. Photo: Facebook Source: Supplied

Brooke Slocum held captive. Photo: Facebook Source: Supplied

According to WOOD TV8, Slocum offered to have sex with Oestrike if he paid for it. Her boyfriend Charles Oppenneer, 25, was to be present when they met.

The couple's flatmate, McKenzi Hallo, said Slocum, who was eight months pregnant at the time of her death, would use the site to meet people for sex.

"She said, you know, they would go and meet up and stuff and normally they would do stuff in the car. And Charlie would just either sit in the front seat and wait, or he joined," Hallo said.

According to his Facebook profile Brady Oestrike worked as a lineman, or powerline worker. Photo: Facebook. Source: Supplied

He enjoyed dressing up in medieval garb. Photo: Facebook. Source: Supplied

This photo was possibly taken on Halloween. Photo: Facebook. Source: Supplied

Police found Oppenneer's decapitated body in a wooded area on Wednesday after receiving a tip off about an abandoned vehicle. The exact cause of his death was unclear.

"We don't know what trauma was caused because after he was murdered, his head was removed by the suspect," Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody said.

"We have not been able to locate his head after a very thorough and exhaustive search."

Investigators said emails indicated that Slocum connected with Oestrike through an ad on the online service Craigslist and arranged a sexual encounter in which Oppenneer would be present.

Police got a warrant to search Oestrike's home on Thursday night but he fled. Police chased him for a short time until Oestrike crashed his car. He later shot himself in the head.

Another photo of Brady Oestrike with a medieval theme. Photo: Facebook. Source: Supplied

When officers searched his car they found Slocum's body in the boot.

Investigators collected at least 400 items from Oestrike's home, described as a "hellish environment", including firearms, ammunition and knives. They also seized a number of electronics items and possessions from both victims.

Oestrike has a criminal history, including two domestic assault complaints filed by his ex-girlfriend.


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LIVE: Comm Games Opening Ceremony

Anna Meares has addressed the media after being named Australia's Glasgow Commonwealth Games flag bearer, with the honour clearly not lost on the cyclist as she became very emotional while speaking of her pride in representing her country.

Anna Meares will be Australia's flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. Source: Getty Images

SCOTLAND is ready to party.

Some of the country's best-loved music acts will help kick off the Commonwealth Games and start a 12-day party in Glasgow.

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Details of the ceremony are being closely guarded, but singer Susan Boyle has already been announced as a star of the event, while veteran rock icon Rod Stewart will perform in a homecoming of sorts.

Boyle has sold 19 million albums since her breakthrough performance on a television talent show in 2009, when she left judges speechless with a rendition of 'I Dreamed a Dream' from the musical Les Miserables.

Susan Boyle with the Commonwealth Games baton. Source: AFP

Stewart, who was brought up in London but has a Scottish father, is an avid Celtic supporter and is a regular visitor to the historic 60,000 capacity stadium.

Other confirmed performers include indie singer Amy Macdonald and classical violinist Nicola Benedetti.

Australia will be led out by cycling legend Anna Meares, who was in tears after being revealed as her nation's flag-bearer earlier this week.

The victims of the MH17 plane disaster will be honoured at the ceremony, with many of the passengers from Commonwealth countries, including 44 Malaysians, 28 Australians, 10 Britons and others from New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Hong Kong.

The Australian team held a minute's silence at its official reception in Glasgow on Monday and Games organisers said they will pay tribute at the opening ceremony.

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Holland receives first bodies

PM Tony Abbott says two of the Australian victims of the MH17 disaster will be transported to the Netherlands this afternoon, but many bodies are still unaccounted for.

All the latest developments on the MH17 disaster.

The refrigerated train carrying the remains of those killed aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 has reached the government-controlled city of Kharkiv, finishing the first part of a journey out of the conflict zone where they have been stuck for days. WSJ's Margaret Coker reports. (Photo: Getty Images)

12.41am:

The first important step in Operation Bring Them Home was underway early this morning as the initial group of bodies from the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 arrived safely – and with a carefully orchestrated dignified ceremony – into The Netherlands.

In stark contrast to the distressing treatment of the bodies so far, the Dutch handling of the ceremony was respectful, simple and poignant. Forty black hearses lined up in precision to take the victims an hour's drive away to the north of the country for identification after more than an an hour of careful, and quiet removal of the simple wooden caskets from the two military aircraft that had brought the bodies from the Ukraine.

More than 1000 family members, and the Australian governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove and foreign minister Julie Bishop were at Eindhoven airfield for the arrival when the planes landed last night at 11.50pm from the Ukraine.

A bugler played The Last Post before military personnel carefully began unloading the first of the 40 caskets and positioning them into hearses, which were slowly driven along the empty airfield past King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands and then past the relatives.

From there, a police motorcycle accompanied the convoy to Hilversum where the identification of the bodies will take place over the coming days.

Associated Press earlier caused alarm when they mistakenly posted an online update that one of the aircraft carrying the bodies had crashed, before quicly clarifying that the plan had landed safely.

11.08pm:

THE bodies of the first victims are due to arrive in The Netherlands at 11.50pm (AEST).

Around 1000 distraught relatives and friends of the 298 victims will be able to witness the arrival of the planes but away from the eyes of the world's media.

Dutch officials have carefully positioned the grieving families next to the dignitaries, but behind a huge wall to enable them to see the arrivals of the coffins but to grieve in private.

In a carefully orchestrated and dignified arrival ceremony, the victims will arrive in two planes, 16 in a Dutch aircraft and 24 in the Australian c-17.

The back of the planes will open and there will be a minute's silence at the stroke of midnight -when complete silence will descend on the country.

Even planes arriving and departing from the local airport were suspended for the ceremony.

The first 20 bodies will be carried by military personnel out of the plane and carefully deposited into individual hearses, also driven by military personnel. Another 20 cars will then take the remaining coffins.

These 40 coffins - the first tranche of victims to arrive - will then depart in for an hours drive in a motorcade convoy to the north of the country to the military base and forensice laboratories at Hilversum.

Carrying the bodies ... a Boeing C-17 of the Australian Air Force at the Eindhoven Airbase, pictured on July 22, before the airlift from Kharkiv. Picture: Jerry Lampen Source: AFP

10.28pm:

TWO Ukrainian military fighter jets have been shot down in the east, according to the country's Defense Ministry.

The Sukhoi-25 fighters were shot down 1:30pm local time on Wednesday (7:30pm AEST) over an area called Savur Mogila.

Defence Ministry spokesman Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky says the planes may have been carrying up to two crew members each.

8.06pm

The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has discussed Australia being part of a peacekeeping force to send troops to East Ukraine as part of a multinational effort to secure the crash site of MH17.

Prime Minister Rutte told the Ukrainian prime minister of the country's options in a telephone call Wednesday night. His remarks have been released by Ukrainian officials in Kiev and reported in Dutch media but the Dutch government has refused to comment.

According to the Dutch media reports their government is "seriously considering'' sending soldiers or police, along with forces from other countries involved in the air disaster on July 17 to preserve the remainder of plane and its belongings. They say Rutte has spoken to Australian prime minister Tony Abbott and others about the plan.

The governments are frustrated that the plane and passenger belongings continue to be interfered with, compromising the investigation into the cause of the disaster.

7.19pm:

A pro-Russian militiaman has said his forces shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, according to a report in an Italian newspaper.

The Independent reports that when the disaster happened the rebel was told by his superiors that they had hit a Ukrainian military craft. "'We hit a plane from Kiev,' our commanders told us. "We thought we'd be fighting Ukrainian pilots landing in parachutes but instead we came across the corpses of civilians, the remains of bodies, along with suitcases and bags," he told Corriere della Sera newspaper.

The paramilitary was from the Oplot fighting unit. He was speaking at the Torez railway station where the bodies were being kept in five refrigerated wagons.

The militiaman would not reveal his name or rank, but the newspaper's website published his photograph with the story.

7.15pm:

"Our pain is intense and restless. We live in a hell beyond hell."

That's the message of Perth parents Anthony Maslin and Rin Norris, who lost their three children, as well as Mrs Norris's father, Anthony Norris, when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot out of the sky last Thursday.

In their first public statement since returning to WA on Sunday, the heartbroken parents said no one deserves the pain they are suffering, "not even the people who shot our whole family out of the sky".

The statement, printed here, was released through the Department of Foreign Affairs today.

Family heartbroken ... Evie, Mo and Otis Maslin lost their lives in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 diasaster. Source: News Corp Australia

6.23pm:

Wooden coffins were brought out on the tarmac of a Ukrainian airport as the first plane carrying corpses recovered from the crash site of Malaysian flight MH17 readied to leave for the Netherlands.

Australia's special envoy to Ukraine, retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston farewelled the first of the bodies of MH17 victims.

"We stand together, united and determined to give those who are lost the respect and dignity they deserve as they make their journeys back to their homelands and their loved ones," Mr Houston said at the ceremony.

Australia's Special Envoy ... Angus Houston speaks at a departure ceremony for the victims of the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 to the Netherlands. Picture: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

He thanked the Ukraine people and government for their help. Mr Houston stood with Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and a representative of the Dutch government to observe a moment's silence for the dead before the aircraft carrying their remains departed.

Mr Groysman said the flight was shot down by "shoulder-fired missiles of the Russian army".

"(The passengers) were dreaming about their holiday destinations but the flight was downed," he said.

Honouring our victims ... Ukrainian soldiers carry coffins with the remains of a victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash. Picture: Genya Savilov Source: AFP

"Those people who are guilty of this terrorist act will be punished." Australia's ambassador to Ukraine Jean Dunn and the London defence attache Colonel Peter Steel also attended the ramp ceremony, along with officials from the Netherlands and Malaysia. The coffins of fewer than 20 victims were loaded one by one onto a Dutch C-130 and an Australian C-17 by the surrounding guardsmen. The bodies are being taken direct to Eindhoven airport in the Netherlands, where they'll be officially received by the Dutch king and queen, and Australia's representative, Sir Peter Cosgrove.

On the move ... Ukrainian soldiers carry a coffin with the remains of a victim of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash to a military plane during a ceremony at the airport of Kharkiv, Ukraine. Picture: Genya Savilov Source: AFP

5.52pm:

The first planeload of MH17 victims is due to arrive later tonight in Eindhoven, in the south of the Netherlands, on an Australian RAF c-17 and a Dutch military plane, writes Jacquelin Magnay. The plane will be greeted by Dutch royalty, King Willem Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima, as well as the Australian Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and dignitaries from all of the 11 nations mourning their losses from the flight.

Journey home ... Australia's Boeing C-17 will transport the victims to Eindhoven. Source: AFP

After arriving in Eindhoven, the MH17 victims will be taken to Oudheusden Kazerne near Hilversum, a town 30 minutes outside Amsterdam.

It's a leafy place, and the military base is in the midst of a soothing forest. A team of 150 forensic specialists has been deployed to the base to help in the identification process.

5.40pm:

This heartbreaking graphic shows the seating plan for MH17's Australian passengers.

5.16pm:

Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston has told Mr Abbott an international investigation of the full crash site is vital because it may uncover more human remains, personal effects or pieces of wreckage.

The full site is about 50 square kilometres and covers farm fields and villages.

"We need a large team conducting a forensic search, a proper scouring of the site to identify anything that may have been missed up until now," Mr Abbott said.

"It might be the partial remains of a loved one. It might be a small, but critical, piece of the aircraft or the missile that is the key to the investigation." New bits of wreckage had been found as recently as Tuesday. Such an intensive search could only be done if the site was secure, Mr Houston told Mr Abbott.

5.10pm:

"It is quite possible that many bodies are still out there in the open in the European summer subject to interference and subject to the ravages of heat and animals," Mr Abbott told reporters in Canberra.

The Prime Minister has "serious concerns" about the collection of the remains.

"It has been up until now quite unprofessional," he said.

"As long as it's possible that there are any Australian remains out there we owe it to the families to do our utmost to recover them."

Site tramped ... a pro-Russian rebel touches the MH17 wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine. Source: AP

4.59pm:

The PM says it is possible the bodies of some Australian victims have been left "in the open at the crash site".

"It is unacceptable for the victims never to come home, he said, and the Australian Government owes it to the families to recover the bodies.

4.55pm:

Tony Abbott says the securing of the site — allowing full access of the site for an investigation — was at the heart of the UN resolution.

4.40pm:

The bodies of two Australian victims of the MH17 disaster are set to be transported to the Netherlands this afternoon, PM Tony Abbott says.

Morgue ... the train carrying the bodies recovered from the downed Malaysian flight MH17 arrives at the Malyshev Plant in Kharkiv. Source: AFP

The Australian victims will be received with honour by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove.

Based on early inspection of the carriages in Kharkiv, Mr Abbott said "we just don't know how many bodies we have".

"It is possible that some bodies are still out there in the European summer, subject to the ravages of heat and animals, " Mr Abbott said.

The Prime Minister said "we owe it to the families to do our utmost" to recover the 37 Australian victims.

"We will bring them home. We will bring all of them home. We must bring all of them home."

4.14pm:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is set to give a media conference on the MH17 disaster.

2.27pm:

Australian officials in Ukraine are hoping they'll soon have access to the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash site.

Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who is heading Operation Bring Them Home, told the ABC that things are moving quickly near the site and his team should get access "in the near future".

1.45pm:

AUSTRALIAN disaster experts could be allowed access to the MH17 crash sites as soon as today — and are fully braced for the investigative nightmare which awaits.

But News Corp's Charles Miranda can report the area, in eastern Ukraine, remains littered with personal belongins and important flight log books and passports of those aboard the doomed flight.

Sorry sight .... the main crash site of MH17 is left deserted. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: News Corp Australia

And, in a shocking example of evidence tampering, local emergency workers have been seen using angle grinders to cut up parts of the cockpit and front fuselage section of the Boeing Aircraft.

Later they used their van with a steel cable on a tow bar to drag the jet apart, unwittingly destroying potentially vital evidence.

1pm:

Former US president Bill Clinton has praised Foreign Minister Julie Bishop for her tireless work in securing a United Nations resolution so quickly after the MH17 disaster. Mr Clinton's speech at the International Aids Conference in Melbourne was crashed by a gang of rowdy protesters carrying home-made banners.

Praise for Australia ... former US president Bill Clinton waves as he leaves the 20th International AIDS Conference at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Source: Getty Images

11.40am:

Air crash investigators are unlikely to safely gain extended access to Flight MH17's sprawling crash site due to rising tensions in Donetsk as anger grows over the 100 missing bodies that remain unaccounted for.

Ukraine's Parliament has approved the call up of all men under the age of 50 for a military assault on the separatist stronghold, which may hamper the investigation even further.

The multinational team of aviation experts, including three Australians, had hoped to arrive at the crash site outside Donetsk to begin the forensic investigation of the cause of the crash.

Ukraine, however, has ordered a mass mobilisation against the two remaining separatists stronghold cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, the latter of which is expected to be conquered by government troops by this weekend.

Examiniation ... a Malaysian air crash investigator takes pictures of wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Source: AP

For the past three days outlaying towns and villages have been seized back by Ukrainian troops with varying reports on the number of casualties.

MH17 DAMAGE: Telltale signs of a supersonic hit

US intelligence officials say it is highly likely the Malaysia Airlines plane was downed by mistake by ill-trained pro-Russian seperatists using an SA-11 surface-to-air missile.

They said Russia was responsible for "creating the conditions" that led to the plane being shot down, but there was no evidence of direct Russian government involvement.

In his first lengthy response since the tragedy, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed it would do "everything in its power" to ensure the investigation can take place with the Kiev Government interpreting the remark as meaing Russia would further aid the separatists.

Train and bus stations in Donetsk are packed as people scramble to evacuate the city. Shops also began boarding up their shop windows despite the shops having been closed anyway since the chaos began in earnest in March.

Road blocks and separatists outposts visited by News Corp Australia saw an increase in military activity while in the city itself plain clothed intelligence officers are moving about public squares randomly performing identification checks.

Not all victims recovered

Dutch investigators overnight said there were still bodies on the ground at the crash site, contradicting Ukraine's claim they had all been removed.

Governor-General Peter Cosgrove is travelling to the Netherlands to receive the bodies of the Australians killed in the disaster.

"As far as we know at this moment we are talking about 200 victims which means there are probably remains left in the area where this disaster took place," leading investigator Jan Tuinder said.

"We are not sure of that but that's what I think at this moment. Certain is 200 victims that we are taking out."

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) added weight to Mr Tuinder's assertions, claiming body parts still lay scattered at the crash site.

"There were human remains that had not been picked up," OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw said after visiting the scene.

"What struck us is that we did not monitor any recovery activity in place," he said, pointing out that OSCE observers saw human remains in at least two areas at the sprawling crash site in rebel-held territory.

Horror scene ... Ukrainian State Emergency Service employees collect bodies of victims at the site of the crash of a Malaysia Airlines plane in Grabove. Picture: Bulent Kilic Source: AFP

MH17 'shot down by mistake'

Evidence gathered so far suggests separatists launched the SA-11 surface-to-air missile that blew up the Malaysian airliner, but it remains unclear "who pulled the trigger" and why, said a senior US intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"The most plausible explanation ... was that it was a mistake," and that the missile was fired by "an ill-trained crew" using a system that requires some skill and training, the official said.

They said Russia was responsible for "creating the conditions" that led to the plane being shot down, but there was no evidence of direct Russian government involvement.

In terms of who fired the missile, "we don't know a name, we don't know a rank and we're not even 100 per cent sure of a nationality," one official said, adding at another point, "There is not going to be a Perry Mason moment here."

Standing guard ... a pro-Russian separatist patrols the MH17 crash site. Picture: Dominique Faget Source: AFP

Russian operatives have been spotted on the ground in eastern Ukraine but the US intelligence community had no explicit proof that Russians were with the SA-11 unit that fired on the airliner, officials said.

US satellite and other "technical" intelligence confirmed the airliner with 298 people on board was hit by an SA-11 surface-to-air missile from an area controlled by the pro-Russian rebels.

Although the United States had observed a flow of heavy weapons, including air defence systems, into Ukraine from Russia, intelligence agencies had not seen the larger SA-11 missiles being moved into the country before the airliner was downed, officials said.

The Russian military had been training the rebels at a large base in Rostov on various weapons, including air defence systems.

But US officials said there was no explicit evidence of the Russians training the separatists on the SA-11 missile batteries.

THE HORROR OF MH17

Long road home for MH17 victims

A priority air corridor between Kharkiv in Ukraine and Eindhoven in The Netherlands will begin today as Operation Bring Them Home swings into action.

The remains of Australia's 36 victims and the remaining passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 will be prepared in Kharkiv overnight as Dutch investigators led the process of organising transport into the Dutch military base near Eindhoven.

Governor-General Peter Cosgrove is travelling to the Netherlands to receive the bodies of the Australians killed in the disaster.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he has asked Sir Peter to travel to the Netherlands.

He will be there for the arrival of Dutch and Australian aircraft carrying the remains.

"It is important for the families and for our nation that our people be received by one of our own," Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott says the identification of bodies could take some time.

"The task of identifying the victims is a process that must be conducted carefully and accurately," he said.

"By its very nature, it may take some weeks before we can honour the dead by returning them to those they loved and those that loved them. But we will bring them home." Mr Abbott says the government will transport victims' families to the Netherlands to accompany their loved ones home, if they so wish.

Standing guard ... Police officers secure the refrigerated train loaded with bodies of the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 as it arrives in a Kharkiv factory. Picture: AP Source: AP

The first flight of bodies will fly into Holland sometime around lunchtime AEST, the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte announced.

"Recovery of our people remains our first priority,'' said Mr Rutte.

"That is our aim and it is expected that (Wednesday) in the course of the day the first plane with victims arrives in Eindhoven. We will continue until all the victims are at home."

The relatives of the families were all informed by personal phone calls of the arrangements being made.

The bodies will be transported using an Australian plane, a Boeing C-17 as well as a Dutch C-130.

ANALYSIS: MISSILE HIT MH17'S FRONT-LEFT ENGINE

World mourns ... woman lights candles for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Tuesday. Picture: AP Source: AP

Identification could take months

Mr Rutte said that as soon as any bodies are identified the next of kin will be advised, and the remains will be released into their care as soon as it is practical to do so.

But he warned some of the bodies may take months to be identified.

He also cautioned that some of the bodies may not be able to be returned.

REBELS FINALLY HAND OVER BLACK BOXES

Mr Rutte also warned that the number of bodies on the train quoted by the rebels — 282 — may not be accurate.

It could be that around 200 bodies were on the trucks, he said.

The airlift of the bodies involves a shuttle of the planes "in a air corridor between Kharkiv and Einhoven,'' he told reporters.

"They will come in phases.''

IN PICTURES: WORLD MOURNS MH17

From Eindhoven, the victims will be transferred to the military base at Corporal Van Oudheusden Barracks in Hilversum.

This is the same town where the Dutch lost three entire families and the son of a fourth in the plane tragedy.

Tragic journey ... Police officers secure a refrigerated train loaded with bodies of the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. Picture: AP Source: AP

Australian forensic experts, including the team from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, led by Professor David Ranson will arrive in Amsterdam on Wednesday and will go straight to Hilversum.

The team will also include mortuary technicians, odontologists and fingerprint experts.

Relatives of the Australian victims have already provided police with DNA and other personal information about their loved ones which will also be used to help the identification process.

Professor Ranson said the work will be similar to identifying victims of the Victorian bushfires or the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

In memory ... Two KLM cabin crew reach out into a sea of flowers at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Picture: AP Source: AP

But the state of the bodies, which had laid in the hot Ukraine sun for nearly two days before being refrigerated, would not have helped stave off the decomposition.

The bodies of the Australian victims will ultimately be handed to a funeral contractor who will prepare them for the long journey home in specially iced caskets inside the cargo hold of the RAAF's biggest aircraft.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the task could take weeks and he did not rule out Australian involvement in a security operation around the crash site.

The United Nations Resolution authorises the presence of security elements on the ground and Mr Abbott said it should include countries whose citizens were killed and he again demanded that the site be secured.

Families waiting ... Police officers secure a refrigerated train loaded with bodies of the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 as it arrives in the Kharkiv railway station. Picture: AP Source: AP

'It looks more like a building demolition than a forensic investigation,' he said.

Mr Abbott said there was a ceasefire in place around the crash site and that would help investigators to do their work.

'I am much more optimistic today than I was yesterday,' he said.

Mr Abbott said he hoped the co-ordinator of Operation Bring Them Home, former defence boss Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, could visit the site as soon as possible.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the UN Security Council's unanimous adoption of Australia's strongly worded resolution sounded a warning to the pro-Russian separatists not to further contaminate the site or hamper investigators.

Sombre ... People attend a candlelight vigil to remember delegates who lost their lives on-board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 en route to the AIDS Conference 2014, at Federation Square in Melbourne. Picture: AFP Source: AFP


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Statham’s past as diver revealed

Early career ... Unearthed video shows Expendibles star Jason Statham competing as a diver for Britain during the 1990 Commonwealth Games. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

WE all know burly big screen star Jason Statham is a pro when it comes to treading the boards, but it seems he was pretty handy on a diving board as well, representing Britain at the 1990 Commonwealth Games.

Unlike his high-calibre big screen performances, Statham didn't nab a medal at the Auckland event, diving into eighth place on the one-metre springboard with a modest score of 487.26 points.

The star also took part in the three-metre springboard and 10-metre platform, where he finished 11th in both events.

Tough guy ... Action star Jason Statham in a scene from 2012 film 'Safe'. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Fortunately for Statham, his performances on the big screen have fared much better than his entries into the pool, with the actor rising to fame in films such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, The Expendibles, Mean Machine and The Bank Job.

Focus ... Statham was an elite diver before making a career change into Hollywood action pics. Source: Supplied

Still, if he was looking to recall former poolside glories, maybe he could pop over to Glasgow and get a few tips off of Matthew Mitcham on how to do it right.


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First MH17 bodies arrive safely

Paying respects ... Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston looks on a coffin is carried during a ceremony at Kharkiv Aiport, Ukraine. Picture: Dave Hunt Source: AAP

THE first important step in Operation Bring Them Home was underway early this morning as the initial group of bodies from the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 arrived safely — and with a carefully orchestrated dignified ceremony — to The Netherlands.

In stark contrast to the distressing treatment of the bodies so far, the Dutch handling of the ceremony was respectful, simple and poignant. Forty black hearses lined up to take the victims an hour's drive away to the north of the country for identification, after more than an hour of careful and quiet removal of the simple wooden caskets from the two military aircraft that had brought the bodies from the Ukraine.

More than 1000 family members, and the Australian governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove and foreign minister Julie Bishop were at Eindhoven airfield for the arrival when the planes landed last night at 11.50pm from the Ukraine. "It is important for the families and for our nation, that our people be received by one of our own," Mr Abbott said.

Leaving Ukraine ... a ceremony takes place at Kharkiv Aiport, ahead of bodies of victims of the MH17 crash being flown to The Netherlands. Picture: Dave Hunt Source: AAP

At midnight precisely the two back ends of the planes were opened and there was a minutes silence across the land. All flights at the airfield were suspended and the only noise was the tinkling of the flag poles in the gentle breeze. All of the flags of the 17 countries impacted by the disaster — some of the 298 passengers and crew had dual nationalities — were at half-mast.

A bugler played The Last Post before military personnel carefully began unloading the first of the 40 caskets and positioning them into hearses, which were slowly driven along the empty airfield past King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands and then past the relatives, believed to have included some relatives of Australians. They had been protected from the glare of the world's media by private screens, to allow them to grieve in private.

From there, a police motorcycle accompanied the convoy to Hilversum where the identification of the bodies will take place over the coming days. The two aircraft, one of which was an Australian RAAF C-17, will now fly back to the Ukraine to bring the rest of the victims home.

Sombre departure ... a coffin containing the body of a victim of the MH17 crash is loaded onto a plane for transport to The Netherlands. Picture: Brendan Hoffmann Source: Getty Images

Departure from Ukraine

The receipt of the victims' remains was in stark contrast to their treatment so far; defiled, lorded over by gunmen, and held to a tragic ransom, before beginning their journey home from Kharkiv in Eastern Ukraine.

The Prime Minister's Special Envoy, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston was in Kharkiv for the ceremony that marked the departure from the Ukraine to the Netherlands.

A close friend of Perth-bound Fatima Dycznczki said the return to The Netherlands meant "I can now have peace and rest in my heart''.

It is symbolic to Ms Ces De la Cruz, 32, and indeed all of the families and friends that their loved ones are returning to a country in peace: that no longer will they be lorded over by gunmen and violence.

"She is safe here," de la Cruz, from Amsterdam, says.

It could take months for Dycznczki to be returned to her crushed parents Jezy and Angela in Perth, but de la Cruz's heavy heart was lightened a little that Dycznczki was no longer a pawn in a political game.

A chance to say goodbye ... Fatima Dyczynski was on board Flight MH17, that was downed in Ukraine. Source: News Corp Australia

"I am very happy that she is coming here. I can say goodbye knowing she is back here with us. I know her parents want her, but just for a short time I can say goodbye,'' she said.

The route of 36 Australians killed on the flight will be similar.

Identification begins

Oudheusden Kazerne near Hilversum, where the bodies are to be taken from Eindhoven, is a leafy place, and the military base is in the midst of a soothing forest. A team of 150 forensic specialists has been deployed to the base to help in the identification process. More than 100 officials from various Australian agencies were in The Netherlands to support Operation Bring Them Home.

Mr Abbott has told the families of the Australian victims that once their remains have been identified, the government will bring family members to The Netherlands, if they wish, to accompany their loved ones home. The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has assured all of the families that they will be the first to be notified — and no one else — as soon as identification is obtained.

"This process will be methodical and may take some time," Mr Abbott said.

"The task of identifying the victims is a process that must be conducted carefully and accurately," he said.

"By its very nature, it may take some weeks before we can honour the dead by returning them to those they loved and those that loved them. But we will bring them home.

"Since the beginning the Government's objectives have remained firm: to retrieve the bodies, to secure the site, to conduct the investigation and to obtain justice for the victims and their families. The Australian Government will not rest until this is done."

Families mourn

Ms De la Cruz had been angered at the indignity and interference with the bodies in the immediate aftermath of the calamity.

She said her response was: "Don't touch her, I was so mad at the television, where is Fatima lying down there?''

It is a question that Dycznczki's family and friends are still struggling with. They still check her credit cards, scour the city for her car and ring her mobile to hear her smart, sassy voice.

Her memory is marked in an unusual fashion at the Schiphol Airport terminal makeshift memorial.

A sign ... a memorial to Fatima Dyczynski, who 'loved her caffeine fix', outside Schipol Airport, among the thousands of flowers. Source: News Corp Australia

Lying amid the thick blanket of sweet smelling flowers that grows ever wider each day there is a coffee cup, hand-drawn with a heart and the name "Fatima''.

Of all the tributes, pictures, notes, and the most heart wrenching of all, the stuffed animals and teddies, several clutching each other in support, a Starbucks emblem flicking in the candle light looks eminently odd, but touching.

But Dycznczki loved her daily caffeine fix, so much so she would have a tumbler-sized drink in her hand as she planned and developed her space technology company. Ms De la Cruz and Van den Boogaard had found the florists closed, and a local barista, sensing their distress came to their aid.

"It's a sign,'' said Ms de la Cruz, wiping tears.


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Porte suddenly our big Tour hope

Written By kom limapulan on Rabu, 16 Juli 2014 | 09.34

Australia's Richie Porte is a genuine chance of taking out the Tour de France. Source: AFP

RICHIE Porte has long been seen as Cadel Evans' heir apparent when it comes to Australia's next great Tour de France hope.

But no one, probably not even the man himself, expected the baton to be passed so quickly.

However it just so happens that the first Tour de France Evans has missed in 10 years coincides with Porte having to step up after his leader at Team Sky and defending champion Chris Froome crashed out.

The most dramatic first week of a Tour de France in memory claimed the scalp of some of the peloton's biggest names including Froome, Mark Cavendish, Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck all before the first rest day.

And as soon as Froome abandoned by getting into the team car battered and bruised after three crashes in two days, Porte became the man.

If Sky is to claim three consecutive yellow jerseys then it's suddenly up to a 29-year-old former Launceston pool lifeguard who came to cycling from triathlon when he was 21.

It wasn't so long ago (2009) Porte was still slugging it out on the continental scene with Tasmanian team Praties — now known as Avanti which races the National Road Series.

His first coach and owner/manager of the team Andrew Christie-Johnson remembers Porte starting out in cycling in 2006.

"He was a C-Grader in Tasmania riding handicaps so he's come a long way," said Christie-Johnson, who gets a text message from Porte after every stage of this year's Tour.

"I saw a steady progression but 2008 was the turning point and that's when we could see something special in Richie.

"He was fifth overall at the Herald Sun Tour and fourth place that year was Chris Froome riding for Barloworld but Chris had been riding a fair bit longer than him at that stage.

"He's a great guy, he appreciates help and when he comes back (to Tasmania) he comes on our training camps and tests our guys.

"Every single night of the Tour so far he's texted me so he's a good mate of mine.

"But the same way, if you do something bad by him he doesn't forget either."

When the Tour de France resumed last night after Tuesday's rest day with Stage 11 near the Swiss border, Porte was second overall, 2mins 23 secs behind Italian race leader Vincenzo Nibali.

Richie Porte celebrates winning stage five of this year's Tour Down Under. Picture: Sarah Reed Source: News Limited

Nibali is also 29 but has already won the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana. Contador might have gone home in a significant boost for Porte's yellow jersey chances, but Nibali is no mug.

Neither is Bauke Mollema (6th last year), Tejay van Garderen (5th in 2012) or Jurgen Van den Broeck (4th in 2012).

There is pressure on Porte as the new 'leader' of the biggest cycling team in the biggest bike race in the world.

But he finds himself in a win-win situation.

If he gives it everything he's got and becomes just the second Australian to win the Tour de France, then he'll become a legend.

But if he gives it everything he's got and falls short then he's no worse off, except perhaps for going home wondering if a golden opportunity had just gone begging.

But Sky is already down to seven men after losing Froome and Spanish all-rounder Xabi Zandio who also crashed out, so it's going to take a massive ask from here.

But Porte is a fighter and showed last year when he lights it up on the long, gradual climbs, besides Froome there's not too many others who can go the journey with him.

One of the big questions lingering over Porte is just how race fit is he, given illness forced him to miss the Giro d'Italia and then fail to finish Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour of Romandie this year.

But he hit back hard in the Criterium du Dauphine and the week before the Tour told News Corp he was "right where I need to be" and in fact felt fresher than ever.

Certainly in the first 10 days of this year's race he's shown he's up for the challenge.

A lot could happen in the Alps, but the penultimate stage of this year's race is a 54km time trial which could well decide the Tour.

Coincidentally, the penultimate stage of the 2012 Tour was a 53.5km time trial and was also the last time Porte and Nibali raced the Tour together.

That day, Porte put 1min 13 secs into his Italian rival but that was two years ago and this year's time trial is on completely different terrain.

Last weekend, SBS aired an interview, presumably shot long before the Tour even started, in which Porte said if he just podiumed in a Grand Tour in his career then he could retire to Tasmania a happy man.

But now Porte is suddenly in with a shot at not only standing on the podium but winning the Tour altogether whether he is ready for it or not.

For all the success of Orica-GreenEDGE and Simon Gerrans' incredible performances in the Classics, there is nothing like an Aussie contender for the yellow jersey to capture the imagination of the wider Australian sporting public.

Porte has accepted that responsibility with open arms and an entire nation of bleary-eyed cycling fans are behind him, willing him all the way to Paris.

Originally published as Porte suddenly our big Tour hope
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