Man Killed When Mother's Coffin Falls On Him During Traditional Toraja Funeral

Nicole Rojas

An Indonesian man died after the coffin carrying his dead mother fell on the pallbearers carrying it during a funeral Friday. The man suffered severe head trauma when his mother’s coffin fell from a funeral tower and crushed him, authorities said Sunday.

Local police said a group of pallbearers in South Sulawesi lost their footing as they were carrying the coffin up a bamboo ladder onto a lakkian, a traditionally ornately carved tower where the dead is placed before a funeral service.


Villagers and family carry the body of Ne' Ponno, an elderly woman who died more than a year ago, during a funeral ceremony, known as 'Rambu Solo', to the deceased's final resting place in a tomb cut out of a large rock in Batu Busa, North Toraja, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

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Video posted on social media shows a large group of men carrying the coffin when suddenly the bamboo ladder gives way and they come tumbling down. The coffin struck several men, including 40-year-old Samen Kondorura, NDTV reported.

“As the mother’s coffin was being raised to the lakkian, suddenly the ladder shifted and collapsed, the coffin fell and hit the victim,” Julianto Sirait, the chief commissioner of the Tana Toraja resort police, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Onlookers can be seen rushing to the men’s aid in the now viral video. Kondorura later died in the hospital. Sirait told the AFP that the ladder was not properly reinforced, but noted that the family has decided not to press charges.

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The Toraja ethnic group is indigenous to South Sulawesi and are known for their elaborate funeral rituals.

According to National Geographic, Torajans honor the dead by taking care of them for weeks or even years after death. The dead receive formalin—formaldehyde and water—treatments, which stops the body from putrefying. The funerals can last for several days and typically involve music, dance and a water buffalo sacrifice.

This article was first written by Newsweek

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