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27 pilgrims killed as bus plunges into ravine in Indonesia

Agencies/Jakarta
Filed on March 11, 2021
Rescue personnel work at the crash site after a bus fell into a ravine in Sumedang, West Java Province in Indonesia. — Reuters

The driver and students among the dead, 39 people injured

A bus carrying dozens of pilgrims plunged down a steep ravine on Indonesia’s Java island, killing at least 27 people including junior high school students, authorities said on Thursday.

Rescuers worked through the night using cranes to pluck injured survivors from the wreckage after the fatal crash late on Wednesday in West Java’s Sumedang district.

The bus carrying 66 passengers was travelling on a winding, poorly lit road when it plunged down the 20-metre ravine, authorities said.

The driver and teenage passengers were among the dead, while 39 survived the accident.

“The fatalities are a mix of children and adults,” Bandung rescue agency official Mamang Fatmono said.

Authorities said they were probing the accident’s cause.

The bus was returning to the town of Subang from a religious pilgrimage site in West Java.

Police were still investigating the cause of the accident, but survivors told authorities that the vehicle’s brakes apparently malfunctioned, Robbyanto said.

Bandung search and rescue agency chief Deden Ridwansah said the 27 bodies and 39 injured people were taken to a hospital and a nearby health clinic, including a body of a young boy who was pinned under the overturned bus and pulled from the wreckage on Thursday morning.

Thirteen of the injured were treated for serious injuries, Ridwansah said. The driver was among those killed.

Television video showed police and rescuers from the National Search and Rescue Agency evacuating injured victims and carrying the dead to ambulances. Grieving relatives waited for information about their loved ones at Sumedang’s general hospital, others tried to identify the bodies laid at a morgue.

Traffic accidents are common in the Southeast Asian archipelago, where vehicles are often old and poorly maintained and road rules regularly flouted.

In late 2019, at least 35 people were killed when a bus plunged into a ravine on the island of Sumatra.





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