Man missing since tsunami in 2004 'found in psychiatric hospital'

Yahoo News Staff
·2-min read

A man who went missing following the 2004 tsunami may have been located at a mental hospital.

Police are awaiting DNA results to determine whether a man found in a Banda Aceh mental institution is Zainal Abidin, also known as Asep, a police officer who went missing following the Boxing Day tsunami.

Twenty minutes after a 9.1-magnitude earthquake tore open the seabed off Indonesia’s Sumatran coast, the first tsunami wave hit the city of Banda Aceh.

Waves as high as 20 metres hit the Indonesian coast and about 230,000 people died across several countries.

An aerial shot shows flattened houses near the sea coast of Banda Aceh, 05 January 2005. Source: AFP via Getty Images
An aerial shot shows flattened houses near the sea coast of Banda Aceh, 05 January 2005. Source: AFP via Getty Images

Abidin was one of the thousands of people who were assumed missing, following the tsunami, Coconuts Jakarta reported.

The man believed to be Abidin was taken to the mental institution in Banda Aceh in 2009, after a village chief found him wandering around the area, police reportedly said.

Local police started to suspect the patient at the mental hospital may be Abidin, after a photo of the patient and a photo of a uniformed Abidin were circulated together on social media.

The condition of the man in the mental institute has not been made public, and if he is Abidin, it is not known where he was following the tsunami and 2009.

Jakarta-based site, VOI, reported DNA testing is underway to confirm the identity of the patient.

During the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, Zainal Abidin (left) went missing, now, a man staying at a mental institution (right) is him. Source: VOI
During the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, Zainal Abidin (left) went missing, now, a man staying at a mental institution (right) is him. Source: VOI

Aceh Provincial Police spokesman Winardy said the authorities will also verify with Abidin's family, Coconuts Jakarta reported.

The local publication reported Abiden was from West Java, though he was stationed in Banda Aceh when the tsunami hit.

Indonesia had the most tsunami-related casualties, with 167,540, though 14 other countries reported deaths, including Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Somalia, Maldives, Malaysia, Myanmar, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Seychelles, South Africa, Yemen and Kenya.

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