Indonesia’s river cleanup drowns 11 students, 10 rescued

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JAKARTA, Indonesia – Eleven students drowned and 10 others were rescued during a school trip to clean up a river in Indonesia’s West Java province, officials said on Saturday.

Local officials said 150 students from an Islamic high school were participating in the cleanup on Friday along the banks of the Cileueur River when 21 of them slipped into the water.

“The weather was good and there was no flash flooding,” said Deden Ridwansyah, head of the Bandung search and rescue bureau. “These children who drowned were holding hands. One of them slipped and the others followed,” Ridwansyah said.

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Nearby residents and a rescue team managed to save 10 of the students, who were sent to a nearby hospital.

Rescuers remove a body from the water during a search for drowning victims in a river in Ciamis, West Java, Indonesia, Friday, October 15, 2021.
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Rescuers remove a body from the water during a search for drowning victims in a river in Ciamis, West Java, Indonesia, Friday, October 15, 2021.
(Associated press)

Rescuers used large orange inflatable rafts to search for casualties and all of the students were found after the search ended on Friday evening.

Rescuers search for drowning victims in a river in Ciamis, West Java, Indonesia, Friday, October 15, 2021.

Rescuers search for drowning victims in a river in Ciamis, West Java, Indonesia, Friday, October 15, 2021.
(Associated press)

The students were apparently not wearing flotation devices. Some reports said they were trying to cross the river, which is popular for rafting and indoor tubing, when they fell into it.

Rescuers search for drowning victims in a river in Ciamis, West Java, Indonesia, Friday, October 15, 2021.

Rescuers search for drowning victims in a river in Ciamis, West Java, Indonesia, Friday, October 15, 2021.
(Associated press)

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The rains cause frequent landslides and flash floods in Indonesia, where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near flood plains.

In February 2020, a flash flood killed at least six students who drowned in a river in the Sleman district of Yogyakarta province.

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