Fri, 15 Sep 2000

Procon Indah declares force majeure at JSX building

JAKARTA (JP): PT Procon Indah, the property company which manages the Jakarta Stock Exchange (JSX) building, disclaimed on Thursday any responsibility for the deaths, injuries and damage caused by the blast in the building's underground parking lot on Wednesday.

Procon Indah employee Carrey Alam expressed regret at the incident, but stressed that the explosion was beyond the company's control.

"It was a force majeure. We could not have anticipated that somebody would bring a bomb into the building.

"We installed all the security equipment needed to secure the entire building, but we cannot detect what people bring into the parking lot inside their cars," Carrey said.

There was confusion as to the number of deaths from the blast, with police insisting 15 people had been killed, although the police and hospitals only were able to supply the names of 10 victims.

Most of the fatalities were drivers of companies with offices in the building or private drivers whose employers were visiting the building.

Many of those killed and injured were inside the drivers' waiting room on the second level of the underground parking lot when the bomb exploded.

Two of the companies whose drivers died in the blast, PT Miwon Indonesia and PT Maxus Oil Company, promised to bear the costs of the funerals for their employees and all hospital costs for their employees who were injured.

American-based Maxus said one of its drivers, 40-year-old Widodo Chandra, was killed and 11 others injured in the blast.

Many of Widodo's colleagues spent the night at Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital's morgue to console his grieving family before helping them take his remains home.

An employee at Miwon said its driver, 45-year-old Munawir, was killed in the explosion.

Four other drivers among the victims were identified as Rubiman (55), Nawawi (49), Satim (43) and Gunarso (41).

The other victims were identified as Kokong Jaya, a 22-year- old student at Trisakti University, Marsidi, 35, the owner of a computer store at Mangga Dua Trade Center, Irmansyah, 40, a government employee, and Nana Husni, 52, a security officer at the JSX building.

Most died of smoke inhalation. By Thursday afternoon, their bodies had been claimed from the morgue by their relatives.

The previous night, there were heart-wrenching scenes in the hospital morgue as anxious people rushed to look for their loved ones. Many broke into tears when they identified family members among the dead.

"I don't know what to say. Please, this is terrible," said Widodo Chandra's brother, who said he could barely look at the remains of his brother.

Koyong Jaya, the brother of Kokong, said his brother got married eight months ago.

Koyong held the white sheet covering his brother, saying he did not want anyone to look at the body. "I won't let anyone see his body and I won't let the doctors examine him."

Rubiman's wife sat silently in the corner of the room, pondering the loss of her husband and how she would care for their four young children alone. (dja)