Mass burial site for victims may be decided this week

Crash of Flight MI 185

OFFICIALS from Indonesia and Singapore are expected to take a decision this week on the site for the mass burial of victims of the SilkAir tragedy.

A Singapore team which visited Palembang on Monday to look at possible sites said two factors would help to decide the location: proximity to the crash site and accessibility, as relatives might want to return annually to pay their respects.

“We will think it through before taking a decision,” said Mr Yap Kim Wah, executive director of the Singapore Airlines group and leader of the five-member team.

The team visited three burial sites on Monday, including one at Taman Bunga in Palembang.

The area, measuring 20m by 24m, is located in a five-hectare plot on the outskirts of the city, 2km from Palembang airport.

It is flanked by two Muslim cemeteries, is near rubber plantations and padi fields, and the surrounding area has been targeted for residential development.

The team, accompanied by Indonesian authorities, also visited two sites near the crash site in Sungsang village, about 125km from Palembang.

A local government official who accompanied the Singapore team to the proposed sites told The Straits Times that the authorities planned to build a memorial at the chosen spot.

Mr Humaidy said it would have the names of all the dead inscribed on it.

An alternative idea was to bury the remains in Palembang and build the memorial near the crash site, as some of the families might want to hold rituals near the spot where their loved ones perished.

Communications Minister Mah Bow Tan is scheduled to visit Palembang tomorrow and meet Indonesian authorities.

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