February 5th, 2012
03:29 AM ET

Papua New Guinea to shift to recovery mode in ferry sinking

Authorities in Papua New Guinea said Sunday it may be time to shift from rescue to recovery mode in their search for 98 people who remain unaccounted for in last week's ferry sinking.

"Whilst rescue operations are likely to continue, weather permitting, for some more time, basically we are looking for bodies from now onwards," said Capt. Nurur Rahman, rescue coordinator for the National Maritime Safety Authority.

"There is a high degree of confidence, that if there were any active survivors or persons inside life rafts or with lifejackets within the search area that they would have been sighted and recovered by now," Rahman added.

About 350 people were aboard the MV Rabaul Queen when it sank off the east coast of Papua New Guinea on Thursday - about 16 kilometers (10 miles) off Cape Fortification in the Vitiaz Strait.

The ferry was carrying passengers from the town of Kimbe on New Britain Island to Lae, the second-largest city in Papua New Guinea.

Some 246 survivors were rescued, and authorities found six bodies. Ninety-eight people are still missing, Rahman said Sunday.

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Filed under: Papua New Guinea • World
World War II battlefield found
June 7th, 2010
02:31 PM ET

Lost WWII battlefield found -– war dead included

An Australian trekker said he has discovered the site of a significant World War II battle in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, complete with the remains of Japanese soldiers right where they fell almost 70 years ago.

Former army Capt. Brian Freeman, an expert on the Kokoda Trail – a 60-mile trek through rugged mountainous country and rainforest of the island – said Monday he was led to the Eora Creek battle site where he found the remains of the soldiers.

The site about half a mile from the village of Eora Creek was believed to be the location of the last major battle that was pivotal in Australia’s campaign against the Japanese in Papau New Guinea.

Although the site was known to local villages, jungles reclaimed it after the battle of Eora Creek. Although locals hunted on the plateau surrounding the site, they avoided the 600-square-meter battle ground because of a belief that spirits of the dead were still present in the "lost battlefield."

What this means is that the site has apparently remained untouched since 1942.

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Filed under: Australia • Japan • Papua New Guinea • World