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Jakarta Post

Death toll rises to eight after flash flood sweeps away scouts in Yogyakarta

  • Bambang Muryanto and Gemma Holliani Cahya

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta/Jakarta   /   Sat, February 22, 2020   /   12:19 pm
Death toll rises to eight after flash flood sweeps away scouts in Yogyakarta Rescue personnel look for missing scouts at a weir in Sembor River, Donokerto village, Sleman, Yogyakarta, on Feb. 22. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)

A joint search and rescue team reported on Saturday that eight students had died during a flash flood that swept away a group of scouts trekking on the banks of the Sembor River in Donokerto village in Sleman, Yogyakarta.

“Rescue team personnel have found eight bodies and are still looking for two more that are still missing,” said Yogyakarta Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) head Lalu Wahyu Effendi on Saturday at noon.

The dead and missing students are all girls aged 12 to 15 years old. Meanwhile, 23 students were injured during the incident.

Wahyu said the rescue operation was under way, with 853 personnel deployed to find the missing students. The operation had continued at 7 a.m. on Saturday.

“The focus of the search today is from the location of the incident [in Donokerto village] to [Pondok Gajah Homestay in Sleman], with a total area of operation of 25.19 kilometers. The personnel are divided into four teams, dispatched to separate locations,” as written on the agency’s official Twitter account, @Pusdalops_diy.

Several rescuers were also looking at a weir located near the incident. A diver searched for victims at the bottom of the river, as observed by The Jakarta Post.

Read also: At least six dead after flash flood sweeps away 250 students in Yogyakarta

The victims were among 257 seventh and eighth graders of Turi 1 junior high school taking part in scouting activities on Friday. The student participants went river trekking despite the weather conditions.

Tarnoto, the head of Dukuh hamlet in the village, said hamlet residents had remined the scout group to cancel the river trekking on Friday because drizzling had started at the time.

“The sky was full of dark clouds above the river’s upstream area. The residents were worried that it would rain in the upstream and cause a flash flood,” Tarnoto told the Post.

He went on to say that Sempor River had for years been used for trekking and was known for its cleanliness.