Indonesian scouts trek flood death toll rises to eight

The death toll from a flash flood which hit a large group of students trekking along a river in Indonesia rose to eight Saturday, officials said as rescuers searched for two still missing.

Two dozen students from the group of 249 scouts were injured and taken to hospital after being hit by the flood while trekking along the Sempor river near Indonesia’s cultural capital Yogyakarta on Friday. Rescuers found six bodies on Friday afternoon.

“Today’s search will take place until 17:30, but it all depends on the weather conditions,” Yogyakarta search and rescue agency spokesman Pipit Eriyanto told AFP on Saturday.

The students were from local school scout clubs. The dead were all female students aged between 12 and 15.

River trekking is banned for children and teenagers during the rainy season, National Disaster Agency spokesman Agus Wibowo said.

The police have launched an investigation for possible negligence in the deadly incident. At least six teachers were questioned on Saturday.

Indonesia is regularly hit by floods during the rainy season, which started in late November.

Three university students were found dead in a cave in West Java in December after they were trapped inside by flood waters.

Torrential rain in January triggered flooding and landslides that killed nearly 70 people in and around the capital Jakarta while thousands more were forced to evacuate to shelters.