Mon, 26 May 2003

Woman loses legs in gas cylinder explosion

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A woman had to have her legs amputated and 10 others were wounded due to the explosion of a gas cylinder belonging to a balloon vendor at a flea market in the campus of the University of Indonesia, Depok, south of the capital, on Sunday.

Siti Halimah, 43, and three others were rushed to the Pasar Rebo hospital in East Jakarta, while six others were taken to Bhakti Yuda hospital, Depok.

The owner of the gas cylinder, used for inflating balloons, ran away.

Supervising nurse at Pasar Rebo hospital M. Soleh told Antara that Halimah's left leg was almost severed when she arrived at the hospital, while the other leg was seriously injured.

"She is in the operating theater and will have her legs amputated," he said.

Depok Police chief Adj.Comr. Suhadi said that the explosion was purely an accident, as confirmed by the bomb squad team that went to the scene.

The spot was cordoned off, but flea market activities continued after visitors learned that the blast had nothing to do with a terrorist attack.

Another victim, Nurcholis, 31, is still undergoing treatment at Pasar Rebo hospital, but the other two, Parji Mujiarto, 24, and Siti, Nurcholis' wife, have returned home.

The six victims taken to Bhakti Yudha hospital, Fani Aulia, 9, Andri, 26, Irin, 26, Bela, 2, Mariyem, 53, and Maemunah, 37, are still there.

Last year, a student from SMUN 47 state high school, Tanah Kusir, was killed in a similar incident. The school was preparing for its 20th anniversary celebrations, with 75 balloons inflated to provide decoration, before a gas cylinder exploded.