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Devastated Yogyakarta tries to cope with bus inferno JAKARTA - Thursday was officially declared a day of mourning in Yogykarta for the victims of the grisly bus crash in which at least 54 people from Sleman regency in Yogyakarta were burned to death. Hundreds of sobbing parents, relatives and local residents gathered at the Yapemda I senior high school in Sleman to check the bus's passenger list after hearing of the tragic accident.
The 54 victims, mostly schoolgirls, were killed in a three-vehicle collision in the country's worst road traffic accident this year. Forty-nine girls died inside their burning bus, which was crushed between a trailer truck and a minivan on Wednesday evening in Situbondo regency, East Java. Family members of the victims were taken on three buses to Situbondo on Thursday to help identify the dead.
Sleman Regent Ibnu Subiyanto said his administration would cover all repatriation and burial costs. All of the dead were students of Yapemda school. A mass funeral was being prepared for the victims, but parents would be allowed to bury their own children if they wanted to, he added. Subiyanto said his office would also build a monument over the mass grave.
Yogyakarta Governor Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, who was sworn in for a second term on Thursday, said he would directly give donations to the victims. The crash separated twin sisters Riyani and Riyanti forever as one of them was among the dead, while her sister was aboard a separate bus. Both of them had decided to go on the Yapemda study tour to Bali. "Riyani and Riyanti decided to go on the trip. But before they departed, I suggested that they not take the same bus," the twins' mother, Sariyem, told Antara in Sleman.
Muhroji, a Yapemda teacher who was aboard a separate bus at the time of the accident, said he received a phone call at 8 p.m. from the bus operator, AO Transport, on Wednesday night informing him that the bus traveling behind his bus had been involved in an accident with a truck. "I later tried to contact the bus crew and teachers but there was no response from their cell phones," he recalled. He then got off his bus, which was trapped in a traffic jam, and took a motorcycle taxi to find the AO Transport bus.
"When I arrived at the scene at around 8:30 p.m., the bus was already incinerated and I saw dozens of dead students piled up at the back. All the windows of the bus were shattered," Muhroji added. State-owned insurance firm PT Jasa Raharja said it had allocated Rp 545 million (US$64,117) to compensate the injured victims and the families of the dead.
"The bereaved families will receive Rp 10 million each, while each of the injured will get Rp 5 million," said M. Anhari, the head of the company's Surabaya, East Java, office. He said the payments would be made by the Jasa Raharja office in Yogyakarta.



Posted in Accidents @ 10 October 2003 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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