World Indonesian flash flooding sweeps 250 students into river leaving six dead, five missing

23:40  21 february  2020
23:40  21 february  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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At least six students were killed and dozens others went missing after a flash flood reportedly swept away more than 250 students who were trekking on “When the students were alongside the river , a sudden flood with torrential currents occurred and swept away the students . At the moment, a joint

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A flash flood hit hundreds of students and teachers who were hiking along a river on Indonesia 's main island of Java, killing at least six of the students , officials said. Five others were reported missing . The group of 250 junior high students was conducting

a person sitting on a chair in a room: Local villages and rescue teams have rescued 246 students but five students remain missing. (Supplied) © Provided by ABC NEWS Local villages and rescue teams have rescued 246 students but five students remain missing. (Supplied) A mass search-and-rescue operation has been mounted to find the bodies and survivors of a tragic adventure that placed 250 Indonesian students in the path of a torrential river surge.

Six junior high school students have been confirmed dead and more than a dozen remained missing after night fell in the swollen Sempor Valley north of Yogyakarta in central Java.

The entire group of 250 years 7 and 8 students had set off on a "scouts" walk, described in Indonesian as 'susur sungai', or 'follow the river'.

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But the ill-judged activity in a region popular for organised outdoor adventures proved fatal for the teenagers when heavy rains gushed down the riverbed and swept them away or left others scrambling in desperation to escape up steep banks.

Amid the early chaos first rescuers were unable to account for more than 100 students.

As night started to fall, bodies were found washed kilometres downstream, some of the teenagers found their way back to a nearby village and 28 were treated in a health clinic.

One local villager, Mr Dudung, who organised the outward-bound activity, told how the river had been "normal" before the group walked off to follow its course.

"Possibly the students were wiped by a sudden flush of water from rain upstream," Mr Dudung explained.

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Local volunteers help stranded kids

The hike begun in the afternoon soon after Friday prayers, but when the scouts were caught by the river surge, alarm was raised and calls for help were sounded over the public address system in a nearby mosque.

"Many who were trapped — stranded on the banks or on trees — survived with the help of villagers," Mr Dudung said.

Indonesian floods. © Getty Indonesian floods. As hours passed, professional rescue teams including police and the Yogyakarta branch of the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) bolstered the volunteer corps.

Spectators watching the rescue effort from atop a concrete bridge captured video footage of limp bodies below them being lifted and carried from the water by men who did not attempt resuscitation.

After multiple checks of the student roll by a team which expanded to a total of 180 members, BASARNAS branch chief Wahyu Effendi provided an early evening update of the grim toll.

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"Six dead. 246 survived. five missing," Mr Wahyu reported.

"The river is flowing so strongly. We will evaluate [later] whether to continue searching or whether we will resume in the morning."

The ferocity of the torrent and the speed with which it swept the victims downstream meant the best hope for containing the toll was that the missing had climbed away from the river but not been accounted for at the village muster point.

Indonesian floods. © Getty Indonesian floods. Official updates provided by the rescue chief later in the night put the number of students missing as high as 17.

This wet season, much of Indonesia, not only the island of Java, has been lashed by frequent and unusually heavy downpours with tragic consequences.

Before this flash flooding in the Sempor Valley near Yogyakarta, at least 564 natural disasters had struck the country in only the first two months of the year, according to the national disaster management authority.

Flooding and landslides accounted for most of the tally with 102 people dead and a million Indonesians displaced by the destruction wreaked by all forms of disaster.

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