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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Deadly train accidents unacceptable

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Jakarta (ANTARA News – Djakarta News) - Two consecutive train accidents in the early morning of Saturday in Central Java were unacceptable and could have been prevented.

A collision between Bima executive and Gaya Baru Malam economic trains at 2.39 am in Solo, Central Java, and then followed 21 minutes later by a similar one involving Argo Bromo Angrek and Senja Utama trains in Pemalang were unbelievable.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono immediately reacted to the deadly accident by instructing a sanction against those responsible for the train collisions.

"The President has instructed a sanction against whoever was responsible for the accident," Julian Aldrin Pasha, a presidential spokesman, said at the Presidential Palace here Saturday.

In his written statement read out by Pasha, the head of state ordered the ministers of transportation, health and state enterprises to handle the accident properly including in rescuing the collided trains` passengers.

"He ordered the transportation minister to go the scene and make an investigation," Pasha said.

At 2.39 am on Saturday morning, a Surabaya-Jakarta bound Bima executive trains collided with Jakarta-Surabaya bound Gaya Baru Malam economic train at Purwosari railway station in Solo, killing at least one person and injuring four other passengers of Gaya Baru train.

The fatality, identified as Surya Catur Utomo (23), died at Kasih Ibu Hospital in Solo. He was a resident of Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta.

While the four injured passengers of the same train were identified as Mamiek Djaelani (29) of Serang in Banten province, Yudiono (33) of Semper Barat in Cilincing, North Jakarta, Supangat (80) Kebon Sari in Surabaya, East Java, and Supanggih (59) Tambakboyo in Tuban district, East Java.

Some 21 minutes later, or at about 3 am, another serious train collision also happened at Petarukan railway station in Pemalang, Central Java.

At least 33 people were reported to have been killed in the second accident involving Argo Anggrek executive train from Jakarta to Surabaya, and Senja Utama business train from Jakarta to Semarang.

The stationary Senja Utama train was rammed from behind by the speeding Argo Anggrek from Jakarta and instantly killed 9 passengers of the ill-fated train but the toll the continued to increase by 33 people later in the day.

The nine-carriage Senja Utama train, with hundreds of passengers, hurtled off the rails, leaving several coaches on their sides and one overturned.

Police, ambulances, and firefighting crews rushed to the scene in the darkness along the single-lane track and evacuated the victims to the nearest hospitals.

Pemalang Police Chief Senior Commissioner Sofyan Nugroho said two engine drivers of Argo Angrrek had been taken to the local police station for questioning.

Meanwhile, Central Java Police Chief Insp Gen Edward Aritonang when inspecting the scene said nine people including Petarukan railway station master, the ill-fated trains engine drivers, station operators, and the officials on duty when the accident happened had been questioned.

"We question them about the cause of the accident," Aritonang said, adding that he had yet to make a conclusion as to why the accident had happened.

Aritonang said police were cooperating with the National Commission for Transportation Safety (KNKT) to investigate the accident and to check the train operation system to find out whether it had been running well or not.

"If the system had run well, then we have to see the operator. If the system and the operator run well, then we have to investigate the engine drivers," Aritonang said.
Meanwhile, state railway company PT KAI has sent its internal team to investigate Saturday`s train accident in Pemalang.

"We have sent our internal team to check the cause of the accident, involving an Argo Bromo executive and Senja Utama business trains," PT KAI spokesman Sugeng Priyono said in Bandung, West Java, Saturday.

Sugeng said the team was made up of technical and administrative elements to
investigate into the accident in cooperation with the National Commission for Transportation Safety (KNKT).

The two separate accidents early Saturday morning prompted Director General of Railway Affairs Tunjung Inderawan to offer his sincere apologies.

"I apologize to the families of all the victims of the train accidents," Tunjung said before departing Jakarta for the scene of one of the accidents in the Petarukan area, Pemalang district, Central Java.

Meanwhile, the medical expenses of all victims of the train accident in Pemalang, will be borne by insurance company PT Jasa Raharja.

"All medical expenses and insurance for all victims of the train accident will be paid by
PT Jasa Raharja, while the government will only provide the medical personnel," Health Minister Endang Sedyaningsih said when inspecting the scene of the fatal accident on Saturday.

She said medical personnel including surgeons from the Dr Karyadi General Hospital in Semarang had been sent to Ashari hospital, Santa Maria hospital, and Taman Islamic hospital in Petarukan, Pemalang, where the victims were being treated.

"The medical teams including surgeons will help treat the victims, most of whom have bone fractures and head injuries," the minister said.

After the inspection, the minister and her entourage proceeded to Ashari, Santa Maria, and Taman Islamic hospitals to visit the victims.


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