Friday, 3 July 2015

Medan plane crash: Families urge release of bodies

Families of the victims of Tuesday’s plane crash in Medan, North Sumatra, have expressed disappointment over the slow release of the bodies of their loved ones, even after physical identification.

One relative, Yenti Arizona, 35, of Pekanbaru, said that she had been in Medan for two days to recover the bodies of her two nephews killed in the crash. However, as of Thursday, the bodies had yet to be released from the morgue.

“I saw for myself their bodies on Wednesday. I was able to recognize them because they were still intact. They could be easily identified because their student cards and ID cards were still in their wallets,” Yenti told The Jakarta Post at Adam Malik General Hospital on Thursday.

Yenti said that her nephews, Rizki Budi Prakarsa, 20, and Rinaldi Widyanto Putra, 15, had left Pekanbaru on board the Hercules aircraft on Tuesday at 9:05 a.m. local time.

The plane stopped in Medan for a transit, crashing three minutes after taking off from Soewondo Airport on its way to Tanjung Pinang with 110 passengers and 12 crew members on board.

Yenti said she was disappointed that the processing of civilian victims had been slow, while the bodies of soldiers had been quickly identified and sent to their hometowns.

Mikhael Asak Sirait, 46, of Medan told the same story, saying that the bodies of his two nieces, Ester Yosephin, 17, and Rita Yunita, 14, had been identified on Wednesday, but on Thursday had still not been released.

The head of the National Police’s Health and Medicine Center (Pusdokkes), Arthur Tampi, denied accusations that the police’s disaster victim identification (DVI) team had delayed sending home the bodies of civilian crash victims.

“Don’t misinterpret the identification process. We have no intention of slowing down the process of sending bodies home,” Arthur told the press at the hospital on Thursday.

He also denied rumors that the DVI team had given priority to military victims. He did confirm, however, that the bodies of all military personnel killed in the crash had been identified and sent to families for burial.

As of midday on Thursday, Arthur said, 63 of the bodies had been identified and sent home to their respective families. He also said that by Friday, identification would be more difficult, as the decaying bodies became less easy to recognize.

Meanwhile on Thursday in Semarang, Central Java, the body of Capt. Sandy Permana, the plane’s pilot, was buried at the Giri Tunggal heroes’ cemetery in a military ceremony led by Adi Soemarmo Air Base commander Col. Haris Haryanto.

“Indonesia has lost one of its best sons. He died in the line of duty,” Haris said in his eulogy.

Sandy is survived by his wife Fitriana Hapsari and two daughters, 3-year-old Putri and 2-year-old Zahira. In Sragen, Central Java, a military funeral ceremony was also held at a public cemetery in Nglorog subdistrict, Ngrampal district, for Second Sgt. Joko Purwanto, who was killed in the crash.

The deputy commander of the Army’s Semarang Ahmad Yani International Airport, Lt. Col. Wahyu Jatmiko, led the ceremony, which was also attended by personnel from the Military District Command 725 Sragen.

Friday 3 July 2015


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