Jakarta. The National Search and Rescue Agency, or Basarnas, announced on Monday (03/07) that one of its helicopters had crashed near Canggal Bulu village in Candrinoto, a hilly area in Temanggung, Central Java, while underway to evacuate residents from the Sileri Crater eruption on the Dieng Plateau.
Speaking during a press conference in Jakarta on Monday, Basarnas's director of infrastructure and facilities, First Marshal Wahyu Adjaja, and its head of data and information, Brig. Gen. Latif Ainul Yakin, confirmed that the eight occupants of the helicopter — four crewmembers and four Basarnas rescue workers — were found dead at the crash site.
State-run Antara news agency reported that a disaster victim identification team, spearheaded by the Central Java Police and assisted by the Indonesian Military (TNI), Basarnas Temanggung and some residents, have evacuated the bodies of the victims to a hospital in Semarang.
The four crewmembers killed in the crash have been identified as Capt. Haryanto, Capt. Lu Solihin, Chief Sgt. Hari Marsono and First Lt. Budi Santoso. The four Basarnas members were Maulana Affandi, Nyoto Purwanto, Budi Resti and Catur.
Their deceased's families have already collected their bodies from the hospital for burial.
Antara quoted Central Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Condro Kirono as saying that the police still cannot confirm the cause of the crash.
He said the rescue helicopter crashed in Canggal Bulu at about 5.00 p.m. on Sunday.
Agus Haryono, head of Basarnas in Semarang, said the helicopter was dispatched from the Juanda International Airport in Sidoarjo, East Java.
In the morning before the helicopter crashed, it took several journalists from a toll gate in Brebes, Central Java, to monitor post-Lebaran traffic and was heading to Grising near Batang in Central Java, before Basarnas diverted it to the Dieng Plateau to monitor the eruption at Sileri Crater, which had injured dozens of people.
"We [Basarnas] received news about the Dieng eruption in the morning, so we decided to send the chopper there," Agus said.
The journalists who were on board the helicopter were dropped off at Achmad Yani International Airport in Semarang, saving them from the tragic incident.
The helicopter was on its way to Banjarnegara district in the southwestern part of Central Java near the Dieng Plateau, to assist with the evacuation of residents.
Agus said the SA 365/AS365 Dauphin 2 Eurocopter — a medium-weight twin-engine helicopter made by Airbus Helicopters — was in normal condition and had been used by the transportation minister to monitor post-Lebaran traffic without any problems.
"The helicopter is new; it was assembled in 2015," he said.