Police have confirmed that they believe the identities of the seven people found deceased at an Osmington property on Friday morning include three generations of the Miles family.
At a media conference held at the Margaret River Police Station on Saturday morning, WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the formal identification process was still continuing.
Police Commissioner Chris Dawson and Shire President Pam Townshend
“The investigation into the suspicious deaths of seven people, four of them children, is ongoing,” he said.
“Formal identification is still ongoing, however I can say that the three adults and four children are all from the same family.
“Given the information that is already in the public, I wish to confirm that police believe the deceased to be Peter John Miles, 61 years, Cynda Miles, 58 years, Katrina Miles, 35 years – mother to the following four children.”
Cynda Miles, believed to have been one of the people found at the Osmington property.
Commissioner Dawson then read the names and ages of the children lost in the tragedy – Katrinas daughter Taye Cockman (13) and sons Rylan (12), Ayre (10) and Kayden Cockman (8).
We are stunned and still trying to understand how this could happen. We respectfully ask that the community refrain from speculating on the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.
Miles Family representative
Members of the Miles family released a statement on Saturday afternoon, asking the community to refrain from speculating on the incident.
“We are devastated by this shocking event. We are stunned and still trying to understand how this could happen.
“We respectfully ask that the community refrain from speculating on the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.
“We thank the community for their support and ask that our privacy is respected as we grieve.”
Commissioner Dawson said the examination of the crime scene would another several days.
“We know that the members of this family were deeply connected to the town of Margaret River.
“Many people who know the family are deeply feeling the loss, and the community, understandably, do want answers.
“Police are some way from completing their investigations and all the information that we need to get to perform our duty on behalf of the state coroner.
“I wish to clarify a few additional points from yesterdays media release – only one victim was found outside the buildings.
“A female adult was found inside the main house, and five people were found deceased in what I would describe as a converted shed structure – a female adult and four children.”
“I also can now confirm that police have recovered three firearms at the location and all three firearms are licensed to Peter Miles.”
The Commissioner said he was in the region to provide support to local police, investigators and first responders who attended the scene of the shooting.
“Its very important that we do provide that support – I know that my officers here are dealing with a very tragic scene.
Also speaking at the media conference was Shire President Pam Townshend, who spoke of the pain felt throughout the regional community.
““I offer my condolences to the family and the community,” Ms Townshend said.
“Im devastated that this tragedy has happened in this community, and in such a small community.
“It has a huge effect. In this community we are all so well-connected.
Ms Townshend said the Shire and State Government would be providing community crisis care and counselling as well as a central location for tributes, reflection and remembrance.
“We ask the community that if they want to offer flowers, cards, or any other item of their choosing, there is an opportunity to leave them at the Church Gallery and the Margaret River Community Resource Centre.
“If families would like to come, we are providing this area which is a place where the community can reflect and offer their condolences.
“Skilled volunteers, along with a range of agencies and professionals will be available to offer their support.”
Community support services
Community support services will be available at the Church Gallery at the Margaret River Community Resource Centre at the following times:
1pm – 3pm, Saturday 12 May
1pm – 3pm, Sunday 13 May
1pm – 3pm, Monday 14 May
Members of the community affected by the tragedy can meet with support workers free-of-charge, or may choose to attend the location to gather with friends, family and fellow community members.
Children are welcome to be included in counselling sessions, or short-term childcare support can be provided while other family members seek welfare support.
Early next week the Shire will consider any additional welfare and community support requirements and the public will be updated as to details of these arrangements at the earliest opportunity.
Anyone who is wishing to place a tribute for the family is invited place their items on the verandah of the Church Gallery at the Margaret River Community Resource Centre.
Community support contact information
Should you be unable to attend the Church Gallery community support sessions, or choose to seek support independently, please note the following services are available:
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
- Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
- Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636
- Headspace – 1800 650 890
- Rural Link – 1800 522 002
- Alcohol and Drug Support Line – 1800 198 024
- Margaret River Surgery – 9757 2766
- Margaret River Medical Centre – 9757 2733
- Margaret River Hospital – 9757 0400
- Margaret River Community Mental Health Services – 9757 3547
- Margaret River Senior High School Student Services – 9757 0795
- Willmott Health and Wellbeing – 9757 2677
- South West Community Alcohol and Drug Service – Suicide Prevention – 9721 9256
- South West Counselling Services – 9754 2052
- Lamp Margaret River – 9754 1834
- Margaret River Community Centre (Financial Emergency Relief) – 9757 3200
Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms
The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.
The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.
All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.
It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.
British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.
The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.
The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.
It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.
“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.
“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”
The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.
It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official
Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.
The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.
Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.
Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.
“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.
“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.
Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”
However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.
Australia’s tight restrictions
The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.
Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.
A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.
Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.
Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.
Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.
Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.
The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.
While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.
Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.
In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581
Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection
The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.
Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.
Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.
It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.
The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.
Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”
“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.
“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”
Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.
Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.
For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.
Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.
A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.
Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane
Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane
At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.
When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.
Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.
While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.
But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.
And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.
And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836
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