25 killed as bus plunges into ravine in Indonesia

Associated Press

Palembang, Indonesia – Twenty-five people were killed when a passenger bus plunged into a ravine on Indonesia’s Sumatra island after its brakes apparently malfunctioned, police said Tuesday.

At least 14 other people were hospitalized with injuries following the crash, including one in critical condition with bone fractures, said local police chief Dolly Gumara. The crash occurred just before midnight Monday on a winding slope in South Sumatra province’s Pagaralam district.

In this photo released by the National Search And Rescue Agency (BASARNAS), rescuers remove the body of a victim of a bus accident in Pagaralam, Indonesia, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019.

Gumara said the bus plunged into a 80-meter (262-foot) -deep ravine and crashed into a fast-flowing river after the driver lost control of the vehicle in an area with a number of sharp inclines.

The bus was headed for the provincial capital of Palembang from the neighboring city of Bengkulu.

Gumara said rescuers were still searching for other passengers who might have been dragged by river currents. The capacity of the bus is 52 passengers, but the number of passengers on board was unclear. The driver and two crew members were among those killed.

Television footage showed police and rescuers from the National Search and Rescue Agency evacuating injured victims and carrying out those who were killed in orange body bags.

Survivors told authorities that the bus’ brakes apparently malfunctioned, but police were investigating the cause of the accident, Gumara said.

Road accidents are common in Indonesia due to poor safety standards and infrastructure.

Early last year, 27 people were killed when a packed tourist bus plunged from a hill in West Java province. Two months later, two accidents in West Java’s hilly resort region of Puncak killed at least 15 people. In September last year, 21 were killed when a tourist bus plunged into a ravine in Bogor, another hilly area in West Java.