Saturday was supposed to be a happy day for the family of Khoirunnisa Nurcahyani Sukmaningtyas, a seventh grader of SMP 1 state junior high school in Turi, Sleman, Yogyakarta, as they were to get together to celebrate the student’s birthday.
Unfortunately, they had to gather instead at her funeral that day as she was one of victims of a flash flood on the Sempor River in Yogyakarta’s Sleman that swept away a group of scouts from the junior high school who were hiking by the river on Friday.
Rescuers had found and recovered eight bodies by Saturday noon, including Khoirunnisa, who was buried in Girikerto village in Sleman.
Some mourners were unable to hold back their tears as Khoirunnisa’s grandfather, Sumarno, gave a speech during the funeral, criticising the school for not taking safety into consideration before proceeding with the riverside hike with more than 200 students.
“For SMP 1 Turi and other schools, please be more careful next time. Do mind the weather conditions so similar incidents will never happen again, ” Sumarno said during the funeral.
He added that everyone, especially teachers, should use the accident as a lesson.
“I cannot imagine if the 250 students had all been lost, ” he said while holding back tears.
The incident occurred on Friday, when 249 seventh and eighth graders from SMP 1 Turi went hiking along the banks of the Sempor River as part of a scouting activity involving both girls and boys.
During the hike, the river suddenly flooded and the currents swept away many of the students.
On Sunday, a search and rescue (SAR) team scouring the river recovered the bodies of the remaining two missing junior high school students, raising the death toll to 10.
“We found the bodies around the Matras Dam, about 400m from where (the students were swept away in the flood), ” SAR operations commander Asnawi said in a statement on Sunday.
The bodies were recovered in the early hours of Sunday and taken to the Bhayangkara Police Hospital in Yogyakarta for identification, he said.
“With the discovery of all the victims, the SAR operation is now complete, ” Asnawi said.
All 10 fatalities were female students, who were all wearing long skirts that made them especially prone to being dragged away by the strong currents, according to Yogyakarta National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) head L. Wahyu Efendi. — The Jakarta Post/ANN
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