Boy who survived Papua plane crash was saved by father's embrace

PHOTO: The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

A 12-year-old boy, the only survivor of Saturday's plane crash in Papua, was saved when his father jumped out of the plane holding him just before it crashed in the Mount Menuk area of Oksibil district, Pegunungan Bintang regency.

"As the plane was falling to the ground, his father embraced him and then they jumped. The father hit his head on a rock and was killed, while Jumadi was knocked out," Gandi, the boy's uncle, said on Sunday.

The fifth-grader was the only survivor on Saturday, when a PAC light utility aircraft crashed into the Mount Menuk area, killing eight, including Papua New Guinea pilot Leslie Suvuve, Balinese copilot Wayan Sugiarta and Jumaidi's father, Jamaluddin.

Andre Tukan, a nurse at the Oksibil Regional Hospital, said that Jumaidi had told him that as the plane prepared to land in Oksibil, it suddenly entered a dark cloud and came out onto a cliff, which triggered the emergency alarm. His father then held him in his arms and jumped out of the plane.

After he regained consciousness, continued Andre, Jumaidi crawled back inside the plane to look for something to drink. He stayed in the wreck until the Search and Rescue (SAR) team found him in the early hours of Sunday.

Bhayangkara Jayapura Hospital head Adj. Sr. Comr. Heri Budiono said Jumaidi was in stable condition. He had lightly injured his right hand during the crash.

"He arrived at the hospital in a stable hemodynamic condition. He has no serious bleeding, just a few [minor] injuries," Heri said, and that a medical team was running tests to deter Jumaidi's condition.

Jumaidi is the youngest of three children. His father Jamaluddin, who originally came from Palopo, South Sulawesi, was a trader.

Jayapura SAR spokesman Yadianto said the plane had crashed nose down. The team had recovered the bodies of all eight victims and taken them to the Oksibil hospital, where their families could claim them and take them back to their hometowns.