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‘We can only pray’, says mother-in-law of sailor on missing Indonesian submarine

‘We can only pray’, says mother-in-law of sailor on missing Indonesian submarine

Yayak Dwi Ernawati showing the wedding photo of her daughter Mega Dian Pratiwi and her son-in-law Pandu Yudha Kusuma, the latter of whom is on board the missing Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala 402. (Photo: Kiki Siregar)

BANYUWANGI, Indonesia: The past few days have been trying times for Mdm Yayak Dwi Ernawati, 46. 

Her son-in-law, Mr Pandu Yudha Kusuma, 23 is among those serving on board the missing KRI Nanggala 402 submarine. 

In an interview with CNA on Friday (Apr 23), Mdm Ernawati said: “We can only pray. We leave it to the officers to find it (the submarine). We hope he comes back home safely.” 

“I feel that he is still safe, hopefully. Because they are all trained personnel … Bottom line, we still hope for the best.” 

She described her son-in-law as a kind and responsible man. He married her daughter, Mega Dian Pratiwi, 23 only on Feb 24 this year. 

Mr Kusuma, who joined the navy five years ago, is based in the naval base in Surabaya. His wife lives in Banyuwangi, East Java province where she works as a midwife. 

READ: In race to find missing Indonesian submarine, carbon dioxide may be the enemy

Mdm Ernawati last spoke to her son-in-law on Monday morning. The latter said that he would be sailing to the waters off the Bali Strait. 

“He asked for my blessing because he would be sailing … I said: ‘Be careful. You are the family’s backbone’,” she said, adding that Mr Kusuma has a younger sibling and a younger brother-in-law. 

She said that her son-in-law has long wanted to serve in the navy as he comes from a family with military background. Mr Kusuma’s father is with the army. 

The submarine went missing on Wednesday with 53 people on board when taking part in a torpedo drill in north Bali waters. Contact with the vessel was lost at 4.30am local time, after it asked for permission to dive at 3am. 

Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala 402. (Photo: Facebook/Pusat Penerangan TNI)

A total of 49 crew members, one ship commander and three weapons specialists were on board the submarine, the defence ministry had said.

The military assumed that the submarine was currently experiencing a power outage. In that condition, the submarine could run out of oxygen by 3am on Saturday.

At least 25 Indonesian ships have joined the search. More ships from other countries are on their way to the scene. 

Mdm Ernawati said she first heard about the missing vessel on Wednesday night via social media. Later that night, the wife of a commander notified them via a chat group. 

“Initially, I didn’t believe it … We were all shocked,” she recounted. The official word from the navy confirming that the submarine has gone missing only arrived on Friday morning. 

Mdm Ernawati said that her daughter is still in shock. The latter has largely kept to herself in the room. 

“We, the family, are giving her strength to still believe that her husband will definitely return,” she said.

Source: CNA/aw


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