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Funerals held for Seventeen band members killed in Indonesian tsunami

Funerals held for Seventeen band members killed in Indonesian tsunami

Seventeen Band was performing on stage when the tsunami hit Indonesia on Dec 22. (Photo: Facebook/Seventeen Band)

JAKARTA: Funerals were held Monday (Dec 24) for several members of an Indonesian pop band killed when a tsunami slammed into a stage where they were performing an open-air concert.

Relatives of Muhammad Awal Purbani - bassist for the group Seventeen - sobbed and hugged each other at a service in Indonesia's cultural capital Yogyakarta, including a three-year-old daughter and his wife who was several months pregnant.

The group's road manager Oki Wijaya, guitarist Herman Sikumbang and crew member Rukmana Rustam were also buried Monday in separate services in their hometowns.

READ: Wave crashes into local pop band Seventeen's performance

READ: 'Run, a wave is coming!': Panic and devastation after Indonesia tsunami

Local media have reported that Wisnu Andi Darmawan, the band's missing drummer, had been found dead Monday.

Seventeen's frontman Riefian Fajarsyah - whose wife is still missing two days after the disaster - posted a picture of the band online and suggested that Darmawan had been killed.

That would leave Fajarsyah as the only surviving member of the group, which has released a half dozen albums and commands a large fan base in their native country.

"So long my beloved drummer Andi Seventeen, Allah loves you," he wrote.

"Be at peace my friend. Endless prayers for you, Bani (bassist) and Eman (guitarist).

"It's been an honour and a pride to share a stage with you. We were not just work partners, we were family in life and death."

On Dec 8, Bani said on social media: "Qanaah (being content with God's blessings) is better, because we are in this world only temporarily."

A visibly distressed Fajarsyah told local broadcaster NET TV that he was praying his wife would be found alive.

"Please pray so Allah can give us a miracle."

On Sunday, the band's lead singer posted a picture online of he and his wife kissing in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

"Today is your birthday - I want wish you a happy birthday in person. Come home soon, honey," he wrote in the caption of the photo.

The funerals were among dozens of services held across the country for some of at least 373 people killed by Saturday night's disaster.

With no warning, the powerful tsunami swept over popular beaches on southern Sumatra and the western tip of Java and inundated tourist hotels and coastal settlements.

The band was playing Saturday night to a crowd at a company-sponsored event at the Tanjung Lesung Beach Resort on the western tip of Java when the wall of water hit.

Dramatic video posted online showed the tsunami smashing into the concert, hurling band members from the stage and slamming into the audience.

On the video, fans can be seen clapping and cheering before a wave rips under the stage, sending the band members and their equipment crashing into the men and women dancing at the front.

The shocking video then suddenly stops.

"Underwater I could only pray 'Jesus Christ help!'," Zack, a crew member of the rock band Seventeen, said in an Instagram post describing how he struggled in the water.

"In the final seconds I almost ran out of breath," he said, adding he survived by clinging to part of the collapsed stage.

READ: Indonesia tsunami: 5-year-old boy rescued alive from car wreck

READ: Indonesia 'volcano' tsunami: What might have caused it?

Hundreds of buildings were destroyed by the wave, which hit beaches without warning in South Sumatra and the western tip of Java about 9.30pm local time on Saturday, national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho earlier said in a statement.

Authorities say the tsunami may have been triggered by an underwater landslide following the eruption of Anak Krakatau, which forms a small island in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra.

Source: AFP/nh


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