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Jakarta Post

E. Java to conduct safety review after deadly waterfall incident

  • Indra Harsaputra and Wahyoe Boediwardhana

    The Jakarta Post

Surabaya   /   Thu, July 23, 2015   /  08:25 am

In response to a recent cliff collapse at Sedudo Waterfall in Nganjuk regency that killed three people, the East Java provincial administration said it would carry out safety assessments on the province'€™s disaster-prone tourist attractions to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

A rotten tree and rocks fell from the edge of the 105-meter-high Sedudo Waterfall in Ngliman village, Sawahan district, on Tuesday at 4 p.m. local time, killing three people and injuring six others when the debris fell onto them.

The waterfall, located 150 kilometers southwest of the province'€™s capital city of Surabaya, was swarmed on that day by visitors enjoying the Idul Fitri holiday season.

The three victims have been identified as Anang Mashuro, 35, and Sofyan Sahuri, 26, both of Surabaya, and Hendro Pramono Setiawan, 12, of Tulungagung regency. Those who were injured received treatment at the Bhayangkara Police Hospital in Nganjuk.

East Java Governor Soekarwo said the incident at one of the province'€™s most popular tourist destinations had been caused by an uprooted rotten tree that took soil and rocks with it as it fell.

'€œIn the aftermath of the incident, the administration has decided not to close the tourist site as that is not part of a solution. However, we will evaluate and map out tourist areas that are prone to disasters in order to prevent a similar incident from taking place,'€ he said on Wednesday.

Soekarwo said Madakaripura Waterfall in Probolinggo and Coban Rondo Waterfall in Batu were among tourist destinations in the province that were prone to landslides and needed an immediate safety review.

In December 2002, a similar incident occurred at Pacet Spring in Mojokerto regency, East Java, when the resort area was filled with visitors during Idul Fitri. As many as 21 people were found dead after they were swept away by a landslide which was triggered by extensive deforestation.

Last month, four people were killed while dozens of others were injured after a cliff collapsed at Sadranan Beach, Gunungkidul regency, Yogyakarta.

Separately, geologist Amien Widodo from the 10 November Institute of Technology (ITS), Surabaya, said the rockfall at Sedudo Waterfall indicated a lack of inspection by the site'€™s management.

'€œThe incident serves as a reminder for relevant agencies, including the East Java Forestry Agency and Energy and Mineral Resources Agency, to conduct regular assessments on disaster-prone tourist sites,'€ he said.

Amien added that the incident should have been anticipated, following an earlier landslide around the waterfall in May this year.

'€œIn May, we received a report on a landslide around Sedudo and the [recent] incident could have been anticipated by the resort management and local administration,'€ he said.

On Wednesday, the Nganjuk Police continued to keep the Sedudo Waterfall resort sealed off.

Speaking to The Jakarta Post on Wednesday, East Java Police chief spokesman Sr. Comr. Raden Prabowo Argo Yuwono said the closure of Sedudo Waterfall was needed as the police were still investigating Tuesday'€™s deadly incident. He, however, said the police had yet to name any suspects in the case.

'€œPolice are still gathering information from various parties, including the East Java Disaster Mitigation Agency [BPBD], state-run forestry firm Perhutani and the resort management to find out whether there are elements of negligence in the case,'€ he said.