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Cirebon train crash kills 41, injures 62 CIREBON - At least 41 people were killed and another 62 were injured after an incoming passenger train rammed into a locomotive in the railway station here early on Sunday. "The accident occurred because the train entered the station without waiting for our signal," head of Cirebon station Bijak Filsadjati told The Jakarta Post in his office.
The incoming Empu Jaya train from Jakarta -- bound for Yogyakarta with some 400 passengers on board in its nine cars -- collided with the locomotive Cirebon Express at 3:45 a.m. Witnesses said the locomotive was switching tracks when the accident occurred. The impact was so strong it overturned and was hurled a few meters before lying idle across the railway line, blocking two tracks.
"It looks like the result of human error ... the Empu Jaya ignored signals and entered the station without reducing speed," Gatot Wibowo, a spokesman for state railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) was quoted as saying by AFP. The Kejaksan station in this coastal city about 200 kilometers east of Jakarta came to a standstill on Sunday as hundreds of onlookers crowded the crash site. About 80 trains pass through the station each day.
"All trains passing through the station were diverted through the southern route," Bijak said, "but for Cirebon Express passengers who could not leave because of the accident, we gave them their money back, including reservation fees." He added that all medical expenses would be covered by insurance for all victims of the accident. Most of the victims were still unidentified, however.
"We are still working with the hospital to help identify the victims, however, relatives of the victims can come to our 24-hour emergency post here," said Cirebon station spokesman Hartono. He said the Empu Jaya train came in later than scheduled and speculated that exhaustion of the train engineer might have been a factor. Hundreds of rescue workers continued working into the night, for fear that possible survivors may be trapped in the badly mangled train, using hand saws and ropes to retrieve bodies from the wreckage.
Officials at PT KAI closed all the northern railway lines and detoured northern bound trains onto the southern lines. Empu Jaya train engineer Suwanto and his assistant Sudarto, 40, were among the fatalities while Cirebon Express engineer was rushed to Gunung Jati hospital after his body was dragged out of the badly crushed locomotive.
Antara news agency, quoted Dr. Hiesma who conducted an autopsy on Suwanto's body, as saying that there were no traces of drugs found in his body nor was there an indication of a heart attack. Transportation Minister Agum Gumelar who had traveled to Cirebon a few hours after the crash said his ministry was conducting a thorough investigation into the incident. Agum ruled out the possibility of sabotage and said the incident was most likely caused by human error.
He estimated PT KAI losses would reach up to Rp 30 billion excluding those incurred due to the delayed departure of other trains. Heavy lifting equipment was not seen at the scene up to 3 p.m. to move the two locomotives and the two train coaches damaged in the accident, Antara reported. Beside Gunung Jati hospital, the victims were admitted to Ciremai and Pelabuhan hospitals.
Thirty one of the fatalities were identified as Supriatin, 28, of Kebumen; Parwono, 40, Kebumen; Amat Sopan, 45, Yogyakarta; Musran, 35, Jakarta; Rudiyem, 50, Yogyakarta; Nugroho Sulistio, 21, Jakarta; Pitono Agung, 21, Bekasi; Suwardi, 40, address not known; Suwanto, 54, train engineer of Empu Jaya; Sudarto, 40, engineer assistant; Ipuk or Budi Larasati, 40, Bekasi; Fitri Asiari, 18, Jakarta; Sartinah, 49, Jakarta; Ilham, 5, Jakarta; Firman Saleh, 14, Jakarta; Tarmum B. Tugimin, 22, Jakarta; Ade Mifthanul C., 22, Jakarta; Marsimah, 55, Kebumen; Suwardi, 45, Kebumen; Anton, 22, Kroya; Warsima, 55, Kebumen; Marni (age and address not available), Umi Khoerul K., 28, Kebumen; Nuryanto, 29, Central Java; Cik Raden, 34, Bekasi; M. Imron, 36, Depok; Sutaryo (age not available), Bekasi; Ganjar Yudi, 21, Jakarta; Suparno, 67, Jakarta; Yudi Martin, 22, Jakarta; Anton, 22, Bekasi.
The news of the accident was a shock to Sapuroh, a Cirebon native who lived in Jakarta. Nuryanto, the man she planned to marry this month died in the crash. "Where is Mas Nur ... where is Mas Nur," Sapuroh, 25, cried at Gunung Jati hospital. A moment later, she fainted. "Nuryanto left Jakarta for Cirebon to do some paper work so the couple could get married in Jakarta," said Sito, a friend of Nuryanto.
Sapuroh rushed to Cirebon after a call from the hospital telling her the bad news. "I can't believe it ... ," she said repeatedly. "I can't believe it myself," said Sito. At Pelabuhan hospital, 29 injured victims were treated but 14 of them were allowed to go home after receiving treatment. "Five of the remaining 15 patients will undergo surgery tonight," said Siti Barokah, a nurse at the hospital's emergency room.
In Ciremai hospital, one of the 11 victims admitted there had died, eight were still hospitalized and two had been discharged. Dr. Vinka Kumalasari of Gunung Jati hospital said only four of the 41 fatalities, including one in Ciremai hospital, died while being treated. The rest had already died when they were admitted to the hospital. Gunung Jati hospital was treating 13 victims injured in the crash, seven of them were allowed to go home and two others were transferred to other hospitals by their relatives. Fatal train accidents are not uncommon in Indonesia with officials blaming signal failure most of the time. Last September, a passenger train slammed into a cargo train in Batang, near Semarang in West Java, killing 13 people. In 1987, 160 people were killed in a head-on collision between two passenger trains in Bintaro, on the outskirts of Jakarta.

Tags: accidents, cirebon, train, indonesia, accident, jakarta, up

Posted in Accidents @ 03 September 2001 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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