Indonesian train crash kills 36, injures dozens

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Indonesian train crash kills at least 36

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A train crash in central Indonesia on Saturday killed at least 36 people and injured dozens, several with severe burns and broken bones, officials and witnesses said.

As most passengers slept on the train, which was sitting idle at the station in Petarukan, a northern coastal city in Central Java province, a train from the capital slammed into it around 3 a.m., according to Transportation Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan

He added that investigators were trying to determine if human error was to blame.

“It may also have been mechanical,” he said. “We’re checking to see if the signals of the parked train were working properly.”

The force of the crash knocked part of a train car off the track, and twisted debris from the train littered the rail yard.

By early afternoon Saturday, only one body was still trapped inside the mangled wreckage, said Marsono, a rescuer at the scene. He, like many Indonesians, goes by only one name.

Thirty-five others were brought to three nearby hospitals, said Tri Yuniasari, a spokeswoman from the Hasyim Ashari hospital, who was helping keep tallies.

Cendana Banandi, a government life insurance official, who earlier put the death toll at 43 later revised his figure downward.

Meanwhile, another passenger train crashed in the town of Solo at around 4 a.m., said Ervan, adding data was still being collected about casualties.

Officials at the nearby Kasih Ibu hospital said at least one person died in that crash.

Indonesia — with a reputation for poor safety standards and maintenance — has been hit by a series of plane, train and ferry accidents in recent years that have left hundreds dead.

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