NEWS: Andrie Wibowo Eka Wardhana sentenced to 2.5 years behind bars
An Indonesian wedding planner was sentenced to two and a half years in prison after sparks from a picture prop caused a devastating wildfire at a newlyweds couple’s photo shoot last year.
Andrie Wibowo Eka Wardhana, 41, had urged the couple to pose for a photo with handheld flares in a protected nature area, according to The Jakarta Post.
But the stunt reportedly started a blaze that burned for days in September and destroyed 989 hectares of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in Mount Bromo, East Java.
The inferno quickly engulfed neighboring communities, causing local residents to be ordered to stay indoors and wear facemasks, and the total damage exceeded 8.3 Rupiah, or more than a half million US dollars.
In addition to Wardhana’s prison sentence, handed down last Wednesday, a judge also reportedly ordered him to pay more than $220,000 in restitution.
The leader of the affected Ngadisari village said his community had “forgiven” Wardhana, which “might have been a consideration” for the judge’s sentence.
“Our client had no intention of setting fire to Teletubbies Hill, but we still respect the verdict,” his defense lawyer told the court.
Photos of the disaster showed the happy couple on the hillside with flares in their hands as the blaze ballooned, seemingly oblivious to the wildfires they were sparking behind them.