3 students found dead in flooded Indonesian cave

3 students found dead in flooded Indonesian cave

indo cave rescue
Members of a search and rescue team take part in an operation to rescue people trapped in the Lele cave in Karawang, West Java on Dec 23, 2019, after heavy rain hit the area. (Photo: STR / AFP)

BANDUNG, Indonesia: Three university students were found dead in a cave in Indonesia after they were trapped inside by flood waters, officials said Monday (Dec 23). 

A search and rescue operation launched on Sunday retrieved five people alive from Lele cave in West Java after heavy rain hit the area and flooded it, authorities said.

The victims "were trapped inside the cave for quite a while before the team managed to evacuate them", said local search and rescue agency spokeswoman Seni Wulandari.

She added it took an hour for the rescue team to make it into the cave, which is 30m below ground level.

basarnas rescue
The rescue team during the operation to retrieve people from a cave in Indonesia after they were trapped inside by flood waters. (Photo: BASARNAS Jabar/Instagram)

indo team rescue
Three university students were found dead in a cave in Indonesia after they were trapped inside by flood waters. (Photo: BASARNAS Jabar/Instagram)

The students - part of a university nature club - went there to train in basic caving.

A senior member of the club who helped with the evacuation, Ari Alfian, said the weather was normal when the students entered the cave, but an unexpected heavy downpour hit the area.

indo cave
This handout from Basarnas Jawa Barat taken and released on Dec 23, 2019 shows a search and rescue operation underway to rescue people trapped from the Lele cave in Karawang, West Java after heavy rain hit the area. (Photo: Handout / BASARNAS JAWA BARAT / AFP)

"Water entered the cave like a waterfall. Initially only five students were inside the cave, including the victims," Alfian told AFP on Monday.

"Another three came in to rescue them as the bad weather arrived. They were all trapped but only five managed to survive."

The rainy season started in late November and several regions in Indonesia including West Java have been hit by bad weather and storms in the past two weeks.

Source: AFP/aa

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