Mon, 14 Jul 2003

Five UI students drown in Anyer, two survive

Damar Harsanto and Zakki Hakim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Five University of Indonesia (UI) students drowned at Cikuya Beach in Anyer, Serang regency, Banten, after being swept away by strong currents on Sunday morning.

Two other students survived the tragedy. All the dead were men, who were attempting to rescue a woman.

The seven students were among 150 members of the UI Executive Student Board (BEM UI) who were holding an annual meeting at the Vila Pasau Resort, Anyer.

Three students -- Dini Wulandarika of the school of computer sciences (2001); Murniati, the school of literature (2002); and Anditama Wahyuda, the school of economy (2000) -- were found dead not long after the incident.

The bodies of two other students -- Asep Saifuddin, school of computer sciences (2002), and Muhammad Tauhid, school of public health (2002) -- were found by the Search and Rescue team, stuck in a coral reef, about 500 meters from were they disappeared at 3:15 p.m. and 3:25 p.m. respectively.

Two survivors -- Dewi Indriyana, the school of social and political sciences (2001) and Alex, the school of computer sciences -- were rushed to Krakatau Steel hospital for treatment.

Eyewitness Mas Ahmad Fiza, who is also a member of BEM UI, told The Jakarta Post that the organizers had warned fellow students to remain on the beach due to the high tide and strong currents.

"We arrived at the beach at around 6:30 a.m. for the team building program. I think the girls got carried away with the situation and made a circle on the reefs. One of them, Murniati, slipped and fell in the sea at around 7:30 a.m. along with six other girls. They were quickly swept away from the beach," he said.

Fiza said the boys quickly made a human chain to try to help their friends. When the strong waves came, the chain was broken and they realized that some of them could not swim.

"When we were trying to help them, some of us just saw the 'no swimming' sign on our right side. We were so naive."

Chief of the Cinangka Police subprecinct, Adj. Comr. Ade Kusnadi, told the Post by telephone that there were two signs on the beach, banning visitors from swimming.

"The (students) have no idea about the sea here. Therefore I suggest all visitors follow the instructions," he said, adding that police had quizzed several witnesses, including the meeting committee, over the incident.

Ade said that last year there was also an accident at the beach that claimed one life.

UI's deputy rector overseeing student affairs Ari Susilo said that the meeting, which started on Friday and was attended by all BEM officials, was to discuss the annual BEM program for next year.

Families of the victims came to the hospital to claim the bodies of their loved ones.

Dini Wulandarika was taken by her relatives to Bekasi for burial, Murniati and Tauhid were both taken to Depok.

Asep's corpse was stored at the Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital morgue. His relatives from Tegal, Central Java, were coming to claim him.

Tauhid's body was taken to his house at the Beji Permai complex in Depok.