Also representing the victims’ families, the Yayasan made this commemoration visit to Sri Lanka after a long flight from Blitar, Eastern Java Province. A wave of grief arose as they met with muslim community in Maskeliya, who have been attending the graveyard and managing the Hanafi Mosque-Indonesian Memorial.
Commemorating the hajj-pilgrimage charter plane crash on 4 December 39 years ago, the Indonesian Embassy in Colombo and Yayasan RS Syuhada Haji-Blitar visited Maskeliya, Central Province. Before visiting the graveyard, the team paid a goodwill visit to the local muslim community in the Hanafi Mosque-Indonesian Memorial. The community has taken the guardianship role to the graveyard and the Masjid endowed by the Indonesian Government.
During the meeting, the Embassy introduced all representatives of the victims’ families and handed over some contribution to the Masjid management. The Yayasan representatives were carried by grief, as most of the locals attending the meeting were also witnesses to the accident. Among them was Mr. Abdul Quddus, who helped the victim evacuation. Representing the victims’ families, Mr. Zen Amiruddin thanked the muslim community in Maskeliya and the Indonesian Embassy-Colombo for their efforts made to the graveyard and the Masjid.
On behalf of the muslim community and the Masjid management, H. Moulavi Arooz also appreciated the good relation with the Embassy and the donations made by the Embassy, Yayasan RS Syuhada Haji-Blitar and Indonesian expatriates in Colombo. The donations would be used to repair some leaks in the roof of the Masjid, which construction was completed in 1980. These days, the Masjid management was trying to raise funds for renovation works to the roof structure and painting works to the Masjid, as well as renovation to the graveyard steps.
The Masjid management and the Indonesian Team left together for the graveyard, about 40-minute drive from the Masjid. After praying, some witnesses told the Team followed information about the massiveness of the accident and how the evacuation was completed with a lot of efforts of the policemen and the locals for days.
The accident in Maskeliya was the one happened to the chartered Martinair 138 descending to the Katunayake Airport, on its way from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Casualties were all of its 191 passengers, including 9 crews. Remains of the found victims were buried in Maskeliya; while other 8 remains were transported and buried in the graveyard near the Masjid Sunan Ampel in Surabaya. The second accident to Indonesian hajj-pilgrimage chartered plane in Sri Lanka happened to Icelandic Loftleider LL001 on 15 November 1978. The plane fell about 2 km from the Katunayake airport, en route its way to Surabaya. There were 183 casualties out of 262 passengers, including plane crews. All victims were buried in Indonesia.