Indonesian soldier dies saving children from sinking vehicle

Indonesian soldier dies saving children from sinking vehicle
A victim's relative shows a photo of preschool students and teachers riding an armored personnel carrier
PHOTO: The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

Private Randi Suryadi, 25, who died on Saturday in an accident involving an armored personnel carrier, 14 preschoolers and six teachers, was saving the children before he succumbed to exhaustion and was carried away by the current of Bogowonto River.

Endah Purwaningsih, a survivor who was treated in the hospital, said Sunday the military personnel moved fast to save all. "They held us all, carried us," she said.

Besides Randi, the principal of Ananda Preschool, Iswandari, 51, also died in the accident.

The accident happened when dozens of preschoolers from several schools came to an Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) base in Purworejo, Central Java, on Saturday morning. The children were allowed to ride three M113 armored personnel carriers around the base. The first batch rode safely, but the second batch had one carrier slip on loose ground near the river. It tipped over and fell into the river.

Such field trips have been routinely hosted by the Kostrad base.

Army spokesperson Brig. Gen. Alfert Denny Tuejeh said in his release that Private Randi died in his attempt to save the other passengers from the sinking vehicle.

His body was returned to his hometown in Sumedang, West Java, while Iswandari was buried in Purworejo on Sunday morning. Reports said Randi had asked permission to leave next week to marry.

As of Sunday, four survivors, three children and an adult, were still being treated in Purworejo Regional Hospital.

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