TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Simon Boyke Sinaga, a diver from the Indonesian Underwater Sports Association (POSSI), recalled the story of his involvement in the underwater search for the Sriwijaya Air SJ182 plane which crashed on Saturday, January 9, and the Lion Air JT 610 crash in 2018.
Simon did not deny the fact that fear and overwhelming compassion came to mind as he searched for wreckage and the bodies of the victims in the waters of the Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu). He stressed the highly challenging environment he must work under.
“Just entering the water feels like entering another world. And the fact that we must retrieve something that is even more different; the victims,” said Simon to Tempo at the JICT 2 post on Wednesday, January 13.
Simon revealed that the mental capability of volunteer divers must be prepared throughout the evacuation process. During each diving shift, which lasts from 25-30 minutes, they will face unexpected situations and findings.
However, he said that the largest motivation that overcoming the fear of having to witness human remains among aircraft debris was the spirit of humanity in helping the victims' families. This is the reality underwater facing Simon and the entire search and rescue divers currently in the Thousand Island waters at the depth of 17-22 meters.
“The families of the victims need this information. That is the motivation that encourages us and our willingness to dive,” said Simon Sinaga who joined the Sriwijaya Air SJ182 search operation on Sunday, January 10.
In the search and evacuation of flight SJ182, POSSI mobilized 30 volunteer divers ranging from divemasters and instructors that work under the coordination of the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas).
FRANCISCA CHRISTY ROSANA