Monday 29 September 2014
Special Edition 103
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Coober Pedy Council welcomes runway resolution
The District Council of Coober Pedy is extremely pleased to advise that REX is now accepting bookings for the Adelaide
Coober Pedy route post November 13th.
After much deliberation it has been agreed that REX can continue to operate into Coober Pedy under the current
terms and conditions as long as the town’s runway is widened in an expeditious manner.
Mayor Steve Baines said, “I would like to thank Neville Howell and his team at REX for taking this lead on this
issue and investing a huge amount of time and effort in achieving this result”.
“Council is still working hard to procure funding to widen the runway and are hopeful that this will be completed
in the near future.
“Many of the key events are being staged over the Easter long weekend, and the uncertainty over the REX flights
had the potential to have a major negative impact. We are extremely pleased that REX has taken the lead in sorting
this matter out and reiterate that Council, on its part, will do all it can to have the runway widened as quickly
as possible so the solution to the issue is permanent”.
Coober Pedy flights fix sparks hope of 'better relations' between airlines and CASA
Australia's Regional Aviation Association is hoping a resolution over commercial flights to Coober Pedy is part of
ongoing improvements in relations with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
Last Thursday, Regional Express (Rex) reversed a decision stopping future flights to Coober Pedy after resolving
issues with CASA over the width of the town's runway.
Flights will continue as normal while the runway is widened.
Regional Aviation Association CEO Paul Tyrrell says it reflects better relations with CASA, which is undergoing
changes including a new board.
"I think the previous decision that was restricting Rex airlines so much that they really were finding it difficult
to fly in - that was a bad decision - now there's some sense come into this," he said.
"Rex and the council, everybody has been given some time to make the surface appropriate and not stop any services.
"There is a new board being appointed, a new head of CASA being organised, so we're hoping for much better relations in the future."
Search for teen's body in Coober Pedy mine shaft called off
ABC News, Thursday 25 September
A search for the body of a teenager last seen in 1990 has been called off at Coober Pedy in South Australia's far north.
Major Crime detectives, State Emergency Services (SES) personnel and local volunteers had been scouring mine shafts in the
area for the remains of 16-year-old suspected murder victim Karen Williams.
SES digger Michael White said workers faced tough conditions searching inside the shafts.
"Without the blower running things get very hot because you have no air flow," he said.
"Things do get somewhat debilitating with the amount of dust that can build up."
Police called off the operation after failing to find any trace of her.
Police started the search confident of a result after two witnesses came forward with new information.
A 42-year-old man was charged with Karen's murder last year but a search in the outback opal mining town in
2013 also failed to find any remains.
A $200,000 reward has been offered to anyone who can lead to the discovery of her body.
On Wednesday 24 September ABC News reported: "Karen Williams case: SA Police confident of finding teen's body in Coober Pedy
Police searching through broken bottles and metal in an unused mine shaft at Coober Pedy remain confident of finding the
remains of a teenager last seen in 1990.
Investigators are now into their third day searching for the remains of 16-year-old murder victim Karen Williams within
a 150-metre zone on the outskirts of Coober Pedy in South Australia's far north.
Police were searching "very confined" spaces in shafts that were about 20 metres deep.
"They're very narrow and it's challenging work to actually get the rubbish out," Superintendent Des Bray said.
"There's broken bottles, metal and all sorts of things, but once that can be cleared, we can move quite quickly."
There are an estimated 250,000 shaft entrances in the opal fields surrounding the remote town, some of which were
unsuccessfully searched last year.
Officers have returned to the site after two witnesses came forward with new information.
Superintendent Bray said investigators would search another three mine shafts today.
"We wouldn't come and put in all this effort if we didn't think that we were optimistic of finding her," he said.
"We're still very confident that we're in the right area and it's just a matter of putting in the effort."
A 42-year-old man was charged with Karen's murder last year.
A $200,000 reward has been offered to anyone who could lead to the discovery of her remains."
On Tuesday 23 September ABC News reported: "POLICE have found 'nothing of significance' during a fresh search for the
remains of murder victim Karen Williams on the outskirts of Coober Pedy.
Major Crime detectives, local police, State Emergency Service mines and rescue team, local council staff and several
local community volunteers began excavating a site near Flat Hill Rd and Maliotis Blvd this morning.
The search was prompted by new information from several sources pinpointing two precise locations about 1km from the
town centre that are likely to be where the teenager was dumped after being abducted, bashed and thrown down a mineshaft 24 years ago.
It is likely to take up to four days after two unsuccessful searches for her remains last year.
Police have been told the Opal Inn Hotel could clearly be seen from site on the night Karen was buried 24 years ago.
Major Crime Investigation Branch Detective Superintendent Des Bray said nothing of significance was found and a search of
the second site near the Stuart Highway had begun.
“The top soil from one of those corners has been completely excavated and a mineshaft has been located and that was searched.
“We have commenced preparation at a second site on the corner of Flat Hill Rd and the Stuart Highway and we have excavated the
top soil there and uncovered several shafts.
“That excavation of the top soil is ongoing and we expect within the next few hours to finalise that process.”
An anthropologist and forensic response remain on standby in Adelaide and will go to Coober Pedy if any remains or
evidence is recovered.
Karen, 16, was last seen sometime between 5am and 6am on Saturday 4 August, 1990 and her disappearance was declared a
major crime in October 1990.
In November last year, Major Crime detectives arrested former Coober Pedy man Nikola Novakovich, 42, and charged him
with the murder of Karen Williams.
The Supreme Court last month rejected a bid by Novakovich to have the case against him permanently stayed and he will
face trial in February.
A $200,000 reward remains on offer to anyone who can lead police to the discovery of her remains.
Anyone with information about Karen’s disappearance should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or at www.sa.crimestoppers.com.au"
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