Sat, 27 Sep 2003

Search for miners halted as landslide kills rescuer

Theresia Sufa, The Jakarta Post, Bogor

Tragedy struck the same place twice when a rescue worker searching for the bodies of four miners buried beneath a landslide in Bogor regency last week was decapitated during a landslide on Friday morning.

The death of Dadi Kusmayadi, 32, a long-serving volunteer from the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) Bogor chapter, forced the rescue team to abandon its search for the dead sand miners in Pasir Buncir hamlet, Lengkong subdistrict, Caringin district.

Dadi, who was helping to search for the missing miners, was caught in a rock fall but had nearly reached safety when his luck ran out. A rock sliced through his neck.

Dadi's brother Doni Susilo, who is also member of the PMI team, said Dadi had extensive experience helping find victims buried by landslides.

Doni said his brother, who had been a PMI volunteer for 18 years, was often called "bulldog" due to his ability to smell buried corpses.

The team, which also consists of military and police officers, temporarily halted the search after the death at 8 a.m.

On Thursday, the rescue team recovered the body of a fifth miner, Ujang Zakanuri Karta, at a depth of 15 meters.

Ujang was among five miners buried alive by the landslide on Sept. 20. Six others suffered severe injuries.

The search for the victims was difficult as the area is prone to landslides due to illegal sand mining. Although the regency administration has closed the area, many sand mines were still illegally operating.