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12 people die as small plane crashes in PNG

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SYDNEY — Twelve people, including an Australian, were killed when a light plane crashed just short of a landing strip in remote Papua New Guinea, reports said on Thursday.

The aircraft was flying in the rugged west of the Pacific country on Wednesday evening when its engine failed mid-air, sending it into a nose-dive, the PNG Broadcasting Corporation said.

It crashed into a swamp close to Kiunga airstrip.

“Yesterday we encountered a tragedy, a plane crash,” Kiunga`s police commander Joe Puri told local media.

“A small plane that arrived from Oksapmin just before landing crashed into the swamp, with all the passengers, including the pilot, dead.”

The broadcaster said three children were among those killed while Australian media said the Australian on board was the pilot.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed one of its nationals was on the Sunbird Aviation flight and that it crashed on approach to Kiunga.

“We continue to work closely with Papua New Guinea authorities,” a department spokesman told AFP, without confirming whether or not he was the pilot.

“Our thoughts are with the passengers and crew of the aircraft and their families. Due to privacy obligations, we are unable to provide further information.”

AFP

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Over 70% of deep-sea fish of Atlantic Ocean have ingested plastic : Study

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Fragments of plastic are found throughout the world, from nearly every continent to nearly every body of water. But, researchers recently have found 73 percent of Northwest Atlantic deep-sea fish are also eating it — the highest reported frequency of plastic-eating fish in the world.

Plastic particles were found in some of the most remote parts of the Atlantic Ocean with almost three quarters of a sample of more than 230 deep-water fish collected by NUI Galway scientists having ingested plastic particles.

The contamination level among the fish species, located in the northwest Atlantic thousands of kilometres from land and 600m down in the ocean, is one of the highest reported frequencies of microplastic occurrence in fish worldwide, according to the study published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

The NUIG scientists, as part of the study, participated in a transatlantic crossing onboard the marine institute’s Celtic Explorer vessel.

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PhD candidate and lead author Alina Wieczorek said, “Deep-water fish migrate to the surface at night to feed on plankton [microscopic animals] and this is likely when they are exposed to the microplastics.”

During this research cruise they took dead deep-sea fish from midwater trawls such as the spotted lanternfish, rakery beaconlamp, stout saw-palate and scaly dragonfish.

Microplastics are small plastic fragments that commonly originate from the breakdown of larger plastic items entering the ocean. Other sources may be waste water effluents carrying plastic fibres from clothing and microbeads from personal care products. Due to their low density, most of these microplastics float at the sea surface.

The fish ranged in size from the smallest species the Glacier Lantern at 3.5cm to the largest species, the stout saw-palate at 59cm.

Agencies

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