Saturday, 19th April 2014

Five dead as Indonesia train collides with fuel tanker


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A commuter train collided with a fuel tanker in the Indonesian capital Jakarta Monday, killing at least five people and injuring 80 others as a women-only carriage derailed and burst into flames.
 
Both the carriage and tanker flipped on their sides following the crash and caught fire, sending up thick plumes of smoke as passengers jumped off the train and fled.
 
"The first and last carriages on this train were for women only, so it was the first carriage that collided with the truck," Sukendar Mulya, a spokesman for state-owned train company Kereta Api Indonesia, told AFP.
 
The truck accelerated and drove onto the tracks just as the safety gate was coming down to halt traffic and allow the train to pass, Mulya said.
 
The train company estimated that around 600 passengers were on the train when it slammed into the truck on the southeastern fringe of the capital Jakarta.
 
Forty-year-old Ira, who goes by one name, was in the women's carriage when it hit the truck.
 
"I felt the strong crash and panicked, so I forced my way out a window and just ran," Ira told AFP as she broke down in tears.
 
"I was outside when I heard an explosion... and saw the truck and carriage on fire," she said.
 
Jakarta deputy police chief Sujarno confirmed that five people were killed but other passengers were safely evacuated.
 
"There were also young children hospitalised with injuries," he said.
 
Transport ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan earlier confirmed that the train driver was among the dead.
 
A list displayed near the crash site showed more than 80 people had been hospitalised, while an AFP correspondent at the scene saw several burn victims being taken away in ambulances.
 
Mulya said the tanker was owned by state-owned company Pertamina, and that the firm had been assisting with the evacuation.
 
Train accidents, especially at crossings, are common on Indonesia's ageing and poorly maintained railroad network. Bintaro (AFP)


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