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34 killed in Indonesia train crash

Jakarta, October 2, 2010

At least 34 people were killed and several others seriously injured when two trains collided in a town of Pemalang district of Central Java province early Saturday.

Local television showed several carriages had overturned or were badly mangled. Rescue and transport ministry officials put the death toll at around 22 to 23 with many more injured, while local news agency Antara said 33 people had been killed in the crash.

Indonesia needs to spend billions of dollars on improving its ageing infrastructure, including roads, power plants, railways, and airports.

Underinvestment in the years since 1997-98 Asian financial crisis has resulted in several accidents in transport sector, and has hampered economic development, with the result that Indonesia's GDP growth is well below potential and lags that of China and India.

The accident happened about 0245 am local time (1945 GMT Friday) in Petarukan train station, Pemalang, on the north coast of entral Java.

Hengky Susilo Hadi, head of a local search and rescue unit, told Reuters that 22 people had died, and 19 others were badly injured.

'It is possible there are additional victims,' still trapped inside the wreckage, he said.

Sugeng Priyono, spokesman for the national railway PT Kereta Api Indonesia, said that the Argo Bromo Anggrek train was travelling from Jakarta to the East Java provincial capital city of Surabaya, when it ploughed into stationary Senja Utama train before dawn.

'The Petarukan station is where double tracks change to a single track. Initial report is that the Argo Bromo Anggrek train had not yet been given permission to go ahead when it hit the other train,' Priyono stated.

'However, this is still under investigation, so there could be other causes,' he added.-Reuters




Tags: Indonesia | train crash |

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