Friday, 19 June 2015

Yogyakarta cliff collapses, kills four, 11 still missing

Eleven people were reported missing as of Thursday morning after a cliff collapsed at Sadranan Beach in Sidoharjo village, Tepus district in Gunungkidul regency, Yogyakarta, on Wednesday, says a local police chief.

“The number of people who have not yet returned home from the beach as of now is 11, as reported by relatives,” said Gunungkidul Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Hariyanto told on Thursday morning.

He added that police had secured a Toyota Avanza minibus at the parking lot of the beach area. “The car is probably owned by one of the victims. It is locked from the outside,” said Hariyanto.

Seven victims had been found as of early Thursday. “Four of them have died; two were injured and one survived,” he said.

A joint team from the Gunungkidul and Yogyakarta Search and Rescue agencies, police and Indonesian Military (TNI) is working around the clock to recover victims by using two excavators.

“The recovery method is to break the cliff material sandwiching the victims,” Yogyakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD Quick Response team coordinator Pristiawan said, adding that the recovery was halted at around midnight while waiting for the tides to ebb.

“It resumed immediately at 2 a.m. local time and is still ongoing until now,” said Pristiawan.

Police said relatives who wished to collect the bodies of the deceased need not ask for permission from the institution, provided that the bodies have been identified and a letter issued by the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team.

Later in the evening, Hariyanto said the search had been stopped as no more victims had been found.

“Based on observations made by many parties, we decided to stop the search,” Hariyanto was quoted by Antara as saying on Thursday evening.

The rock fall took place as hundreds of people were carrying out the local padusan ritual of cleansing themselves before Ramadhan, when suddenly the cliff collapsed and crashed onto dozens of visitors who were sheltering in its shade.

Dwi Ripto, an eyewitness from Salaman, Magelang, Central Java, said he went to Sadrana Beach with seven members of his family. After taking a dip in the sea, they took turns rinsing in fresh water.

“I was watching over the family’s belongings in the shade under the cliff and I even fell asleep,” Dwi told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Dwi was spared from the disaster when two of his relatives woke him up. “They asked me to take a dip in the sea,” he added.

After moving just a few steps away, the rock fall dropped on top of dozens of people.

As it located on the coast, the evacuation process was hampered by high tides.

As of Thursday afternoon, four bodies were picked up by relatives for burial.

Two victims who are still getting treatment are Karwati of Bulu hamlet, Bejiharjo village, Karangmojo, Gunungkuidul, and Ahmad Taufik, 30, of Logendeng hamlet, Ngablak village, Srumbung district, Magelang. Both are suffering from bruises, head injuries and fractures in several parts of their bodies.

The padusan tradition is practiced in several areas in the country to welcome the fasting month.

Friday 19 June 2015


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