Fri, 26 Aug 1994

Inter-city train hits `bemo' killing eight people

JAKARTA (JP): Police said yesterday that human error caused Wednesday's collision between a three-wheeled bemo and an inter- city train.

Eight people were killed and three others seriously injured in the accident which took place at 4:30 p.m. at the Kebun Singkong railway crossing in East Jakarta.

"The preliminary investigation revealed that the accident resulted from the recklessness of the bemo driver," said Lt. Col. Latief Rabar, a spokesman for City Police.

The driver, identified as Victor Manurung, 40, was among the eight victims pronounced dead.

Latief said that Manurung drove straight through the electronic no-crossing signal that was blaring, and that the bamboo barrier had been lowered by the railway gate attendant.

Pulogadung police have questioned two persons, Sukadi, 50, the railway crossing attendant, and Mustakim, 39, train trip chief at the nearby Klender substation, over the accident.

Police said the bemo, which plies the Pasar Klender- Kalimalang route, was traveling from Jatinegara in the direction of Jl. I Gusti Ngurah Rai while the "Cirebon Express" had just left the Klender substation for Kota.

"It's very gory. There were two children among the deceased, one still clad in an elementary school uniform," recalled Mrs. Ani, the owner of a nearby coffee shop who witnessed the accident.

She said the collision caused such a loud noise that within a few minutes hundreds of shocked area residents had flocked to the scene to help officials with the rescue operation.

Tens of police and military members arrived soon afterwards to join the rescue effort.

Aris, an itinerant cigarette vendor who operates around the area, said he saw the train running swiftly from the Klender station and strike the bemo which he believed had developed an engine problem in the middle of the railway crossing.


"There was a loud bang. I then came to the scene and saw that the vehicle had been dragged several meters by the train," Aris said.

Police believe that Manurung might have thought that the train was still far enough away to allow him to make the crossing safely.

Blocks of houses line both sides of the road leading to the railway crossing, making it impossible to judge the distance accurately.

The dead were taken to Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital for autopsies, while the injured were sent to the nearby Persahabatan Hospital.

The deceased were Victor Manurung, a resident of Klender district, East Jakarta, Suningsih, 25, and his son Usin, 2, from Cirebon, Andri, 5, who was believed to be Mrs. Konaah's son, a resident of Pondok Bambu district, East Jakarta; Tan Liang Pong, 30, Siti Fatona, 19 and Lily Liyanti, 30, residents of Kramat Jati district, East Jakarta.

Two of the injured, who have not yet been identified, had failed to regain consciousness as of yesterday. (jsk)