11 children drown, 10 rescued during river cleanup in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Eleven students drowned during a school outing for a river cleanup in Indonesia on Friday, authorities said Saturday.

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Ten other students were rescued from the waters of the Cileueur River, which is located in the country’s West Java Province, the Newcastle Herald reported.

“The weather was good and there was no flash flood,” Deden Ridwansyah, chief of the Bandung Search and Rescue Office, told The Associated Press. “Those children who drowned were holding each other’s hands. One of them slipped and the others followed.”

Approximately 150 students from a junior high school were participating in the cleanup, according to China Daily. The children were walking along the river bank when a group of them fell into the river, the newspaper reported. They apparently were not wearing flotation devices, according to the AP.

Two students were in critical condition, AFP reported.

The students were believed to be between the ages of 12 and 15, and were apparently pulled by strong currents as they attempted to ford the river, Sydney News Today reported.

Nearby residents and a rescue team were able to save 10 of the students, who were taken to an area hospital, the AP reported. All of the students were accounted for when the search ended late Friday, according to the news organization.

River trekking is banned for children and teenagers during Indonesia’s rainy season, which begins in late November, The Straits Times reported.

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