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Three days after Ecuador quake, hopes for survivors dwindle

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Three days after Ecuador quake, hopes for survivors dwindle | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Three days after Ecuador quake, hopes for survivors dwindle
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


ECUADOR: Earthquake-stricken Ecuador faced the grim reality of recovering more bodies than survivors as rescue efforts moved into a third day on Tuesday and the death toll climbed over 400 in the poor South American country.

Praying for miracles, desperate family members beseeched rescue teams to find their missing loved ones as they dug through the debris of flattened homes, hotels, and stores in the hardest-hit Pacific coastal region.

In Pedernales, a devastated rustic beach town, crowds gathered behind yellow tape to watch firemen and police sift through rubble into the night. The town’s soccer stadium was serving as a makeshift relief centre and a morgue.

“Find my brother! Please!” shouted Manuel, 17, throwing his arms up to the sky in front of a small corner store where his younger brother had been working when the quake struck on Saturday night.

When an onlooker said recovering a body would at least give him the comfort of burying his sibling, Manuel yelled: “Don’t say that!”

But for Manuel and hundreds of other anxious Ecuadoreans with relatives missing, time was running out.

As of Tuesday, rescue efforts would become more of a search for corpses, Interior Minister Jose Serrano told Reuters. The death toll stood at 413, but was expected to rise.

The quake has injured at least 2,600 people, damaged over 1,500 buildings, and left 18,000 people spending the night in shelters, according to the leftist government.

Visiting the disaster zone on Monday, a moved President Rafael Correa said rebuilding would cost billions of dollars and may inflict a “huge” economic toll on the OPEC nation of 16 million people.

CRUSHED BODIES

In many isolated villages or towns struck by the quake, survivors struggled without water, power, or transport. Rescue operations continued, but the sickly, sweet stench of death told them what they were most likely to find.

“There are bodies crushed in the wreckage and from the smell it’s obvious they are dead,” said army captain Marco Borja in the small tourist village of Canoa.

“Today we brought out between seven and eight bodies.”

Nearly 400 rescue workers flew in from various Latin American neighbors, along with 83 specialists from Switzerland and Spain, to boost rescue efforts. The United States said it would dispatch a team of disaster experts while Cuba was sending a team of doctors.

To finance the costs of the emergency, some $600 million in credit from multilateral lenders was immediately activated, the government said.

Ecuador also announced late on Monday that it had signed off on a credit line for $2 billion from the China Development Bank (CDB) to finance public investment. China has been the largest financier of Ecuador since 2009 and the credit had been under negotiation before the quake.

— Phuket Gazette Editors



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Southeast Asia

Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet

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Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Japan Times

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ new 88-passenger Mitsubishi Regional Jet is testing the skies just as rivals Embraer and Bombardier are moving to sell off their manufacturing operations for jets with up to 160 seats to Boeing and Airbus.

At stake, particularly in the market for jets with fewer seats, is US$135 billion in sales in the two decades through 2037, according to industry group Japan Aircraft Development.

More cities in Asia and Europe are seeking to link up with each other and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the first airliner built in Japan since the 1960s, began certification flights last month in Moses Lake, Washington.

With fewer seats and smaller fuselages, regional jets are a different class of aircraft from larger narrow-body planes such as Boeing’s 737 or Airbus’s A320. The MRJ has a range of about 3,220 kilometres. The seating is 2+2 instead of 3+3 in a small Airbus or Boeing single-aisle jet.

After spending at least US$2 billion over more than a decade, the manufacturer is looking to get its jet certified and start deliveries to launch partner ANA Holdings.

Mitsubishi initially planned test flights in 2012 but blew past that deadline because of production difficulties. Now, the company, which makes ships, nuclear power plants and aerospace components, expects to have the plane ready for customers next year, a timetable that will test the company, said Mitsubishi Aircraft president Hisakazu Mizutani.

Mitsubishi Heavy is not the only Asian manufacturer betting that it can build aircraft cheaper and more efficiently. Commercial Aircraft of China (Comac) has a new regional jet in service, while Korea Aerospace Industries is studying whether to develop a 100-passenger aircraft.

“The aviation market in Asia is expected to grow further in the coming years and there will be demand for these aircraft,” said analyst Lee Dong-heon at Daishin Securities in Seoul.

“The shift in the regional aviation segment we have seen over the last year or so has opened opportunities.”

“The MRJ is fully capable of competing in the market.”

Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet | News by The Thaiger

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World

Missing 14 year old Thai boy found dead in Tokyo

The Thaiger

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Missing 14 year old Thai boy found dead in Tokyo | The Thaiger

The mother of a Thai teenager who went missing in Tokyo last Monday has revealed that she has found her son but that he had died.

Yuwajitra Watchara-arpa has not revealed the cause of the death of 14 year old Thian Sukanonsawat on the social network, saying merely that he had passed peacefully from an “unexpected accident”.

The mother thanked everybody for helping to find her son. She however asked for privacy following his death, saying the family would not answer any queries or contacts.

Thian went missing on Monday night, not longer after he and his family arrived in Tokyo for a holiday. His parents stayed in one room and their three children, Tien among them, shared another room.

After her mother found out that her son had gone missing, she alerted police and asked to see the hotel’s security video footage. CCTV footage showed the boy leaving the hotel room on the fifth floor in the middle of the night and walking towards an elevator in his night clothes and hotel slippers.

His mother turned to Facebook to seek help in locating her son. She said the boy had no money, mobile phone or transportation pass cards.

Her post went viral and was shared by many Facebook users including the Thai Embassy in Tokyo and the Thai communities in Japan.

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Travel

Boeing investigation continues as attention turns to the engines

The Thaiger

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Boeing investigation continues as attention turns to the engines | The Thaiger

Within the past six months, two Boeing 737 Max 8 have fallen out of the sky, both during the early climbing phase of the flight.

In October, Lion Air Flight 610 crashed just off Jakarta, killing 189 people. And in March, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, killing 157 people.

Whilst the investigations continue into the two horrifying incidents, both Boeing and some early evidence from the data recorders, has revealed possible problems with software that was developed as a work-around to a problem that Boeing had introduced with the new model 737 aircraft.

The work-around was called the MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) which would push the nose of the plane down if the software detected the plane had the risk of stalling (nose too high, not enough airflow over the wings). But why did the new Boeing 737 Max model jets need this new software?

The answer uncovers a rush to manufacture as Boeing was under pressure to come up with a new plane to compete with their rivals Airbus. The European manufacturer had developed a newer, lighter, more fuel efficient update to their single-aisle A320. And airlines were buying it instead of the latest Boeing 737.

Boeing, instead of designing a new plane, would do a make-over of the older model. But they needed to get it out to the market quickly. This rush to market market may have contributed to the two recent crash incidents.

VOX has prepared an excellent short documentary on the issue that may be at the root of the deaths of 346 people.

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