Indonesian fisherman left stranded by tsunami rescued

Fisherman Ari Agus Arman Harianto, whose boat was crushed in the Sunda Strait tsunami, was rescued from an island near Anak Krakatau by Indonesian navy officers on Sunday.
Fisherman Ari Agus Arman Harianto, whose boat was crushed in the Sunda Strait tsunami, was rescued from an island near Anak Krakatau by Indonesian navy officers on Sunday.PHOTO: TNI LANAL BANTEN

24-year-old was out at sea when Anak Krakatau erupted, triggering deadly tsunami

The tsunami came while Indonesian fisherman Ari Agus Arman Harianto was out at sea, crushing the boat he was in.

For an entire day, the 24-year-old clung to the rubble of his fishing boat to stay afloat.

He later managed to paddle his way to nearby Pulau Panjang - a small island close to the rumbling Anak Krakatau, which triggered the deadly Sunda Strait tsunami that struck on the evening of Dec 22.

Officers from the Indonesian navy rescued the fisherman on Sunday night when one of its ships came across him while surveying the condition of Anak Krakatau.

He was in a stable but weak condition after a week spent foraging for food while lost on the island - eating even the seeds of the ketapang tree.

"There, I ate whatever could be eaten," Mr Agus, who is from Lampung, told local media at a port in Banten yesterday, still pale from his ordeal.

A section of Anak Krakatau's slope collapsed after it erupted on Dec 22, sliding into the ocean and displacing massive amounts of water that sent waves up to 5m high sweeping up coastlines.

On Sunday, the Indonesian authorities said the eruption of Anak Krakatau had stopped.

More than 430 people have been killed, and over 7,000 injured.

On Sunday, the Indonesian authorities said the eruption of Anak Krakatau had stopped.

Seismographic data from Sertung Islands, a cluster of islands near Anak Krakatau, showed that there were no more unusual tremors at the volcano, with the average amplitude of volcanic activity standing at 10mm, said the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Centre in a statement. Anak Krakatau's average amplitude during an eruption was 25mm to 30mm.

The volcano - whose name means "Child of Krakatau" - lies in the Sunda Strait that separates Java and Sumatra islands.

However, officials from the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Centre made it clear in their statement that the finding did not rule out the possibility of the volcano erupting anew in the near future.

The tsunami that hit both parts of Java and Sumatra was the third major natural disaster to strike Indonesia last year following earthquakes in Lombok, and quakes and a tsunami in Sulawesi.

The authorities last Thursday raised the danger alert for Anak Krakatau to three, the second-highest on the four-level scale. A no-go zone around it was expanded from 2km to 5km.

 
 
 
 

The authorities also said residents and tourists should still refrain from going to areas within a radius of 5km from Krakatau's crater.

Anak Krakatau, which emerged in 1927 from the caldera that was formed during the eruption of Krakatau in 1883 that killed more than 36,000, has seen increased activity in recent months.

Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Centre said yesterday morning that the volcano experienced tremors four times from midnight up to 6am Jakarta time.

The waters around Anak Krakatau, however, were calm.

Meanwhile, the authorities around the globe are working on how they can prepare for the kind of freak tsunami that battered Indonesian coastlines.

Most tsunamis on record have been triggered by earthquakes. But this time, it was an eruption of Anak Krakatau volcano that caused its crater to partially collapse into the sea at high tide, sending waves smashing into the densely populated coastal areas.

During the eruption, an estimated 180 million cubic metres, or around two-thirds of the volcanic island, collapsed into the sea.

Experts said the disaster should be a wake-up call for countries to step up research on tsunami triggers and preparedness, according to Reuters.

"Indonesia has demonstrated to the rest of the world the huge variety of sources that have the potential to cause tsunamis," seismologist Stephen Hicks at the University of Southampton told Reuters.

"More research is needed to understand those less-expected events."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2019, with the headline 'Indonesian fisherman left stranded by tsunami rescued'. Print Edition | Subscribe