Sun, 28 Sep 2003

Family mourns after fatal ship collision

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Grief gripped Achmad Zainuddin and his wife Henny Sugiarti on Saturday as they mourned the death of their eldest daughter, Fitri Rahmawati, 6, and Henny's mother, Sundari, 50, who died in a collision between two ships near Tanjung Perak port, Surabaya, on Friday.

Henny's father, Suprapto, was injured in the incident and is being treated at the Tanjung Perak Port Hospital in Surabaya.

The three members of the family were on board the passenger vessel KM Mandiri Nusantara when a cargo ship, the Uni Glory, rammed into it off the Gresik coast in East Java on Friday morning. Three people were killed, 11 were injured and three others are missing as a result of the accident.

The third passenger who died was Iwan Gunawan.

Neighbors gathered at the couple's home in Bojonegoro to offer their condolences to the bereaved family. Their presence, however, failed to comfort Henny, who was deeply distressed and appeared to be in shock.

According to Achmad, he had a premonition that something bad was about to happen.

"On the night before the accident, Henny said she thought she smelled jasmine at home, but she did not know where the scent was coming from," said Achmad.

It is a tradition among the Javanese to scatter jasmine petals on the graves of the deceased in order to produce a sweet fragrance in the cemetery. It is also believed that when someone unexpectedly catches the scent of jasmine, in their workplace, for example, a family member or close relative is going to die, or the ghost of a deceased person is going to pay them a visit.

"She also asked me to see if I could smell it, but I said no," Achmad was quoted as saying by Antara.

At the time, Achmad tried to comfort his wife, saying the omen meant nothing. But still, he said that both he and his wife were unable to sleep for the rest of the night. Moreover, they had to pick up their daughter and parents at Tanjung Perak port the following morning.

The omen came true only hours later, when Achmad found out at the port that two of his family members were dead.

Sundari, Suprapto and Fitri were returning home to Bojonegoro after spending two years in Kalimantan.

In a separate development, Director General of Sea Transportation Tjuk Sukardiman visited the victims of the collision at the Tanjung Perak Port Hospital.

Tjuk said that the government had yet to determine the cause of the collision.