EAST BELITUNG, KOMPAS.com - The body of Juperi Ahmad, a sluice gate officer at a sand processing plant in East Belitung on Sumatra's Bangka Belitung Islands, was discovered partially two days after he was reported missing on Friday, June 18.
The 53-year-old was dragged by a crocodile into the river near the plant towards the end of his shift.
A joint search and rescue (SAR) team has evacuated the body by using a pair of body bags. The head of the local SAR team in Belitung Rahmatullah Hasyim said the victim’s body was found floating in the northern part of a swamp near Dukong village at 10.27 am on Sunday, June 20.
The swamp was known as the nest of saltwater and freshwater crocodiles.
“Parts of the body are injured, while some are missing,” Rahmatullah told Kompas.com on Sunday, June 20.
He said that the victim has wounds to his shoulders and ribs.
“During the evacuation process, two crocodiles were sighted near the victim, so we had to take him [out of the water] quickly,” said Rahmatullah.
We then handed over the body to the family, he said.
Previously, it was reported that the search was hindered by tree branches at the location inhabited by crocodiles.
Head of the Pangkalpinang SAR Office Fazzli confirmed that Juperi Ahmad had experienced a dangerous incident.
"The search will continue tomorrow [Sunday] at 7:00 am. Today we're facing some obstacles including many twigs in the estuary and the location is inhabited by a lot of crocodiles," said Fazzli on Saturday, June 19.
He said that Juperi was reported missing on Friday night. The SAR members were then immediately deployed to the scene at around 2 am.
"Three groups comprising the SAR members and the company representatives conduct the search and rescue activity by using excavator," said Fazzli.
The victim's colleague, Mustadi, reported that crocodiles often appeared in the area. The victim was also known that he often fed crocodiles when floating at the surface. He also often reminded his colleagues not to expel the crocodiles when surfacing.
"If the crocodiles were fed, they wouldn't attack," said Mustadi, recalling his colleague.
He used to feed the crocodiles chicken and dog meat. On the day he was reported missing, the victim was known to be the last person to leave the plant.
(Writer: Heru Dahnur | Editors: Khairina, Dheri Agriesta)