Several people died after a train crashed into a Pertamina gasoline tanker at a railroad crossing on Monday morning, causing at least one carriage to overturn and burst into flames.
“Seven people have died and 20 are injured, the train driver was still trapped in the front carriage,” Rikwanto said.
Police officers, soldiers, fire fighters and officials from Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) were still evacuating the victims, he added.
Commuter Line (KCJ), a subsidiary of state-owned train company Kereta Api Indonesia, said the rescue operation was still underway.
“Regarding the accident in Pondok Bentung, I can confirm that train KA 1131 from Serpong to Tanah Abang was hit by a tanker. The truck is on fire and the front carriage derailed,” said KCJ spokeswoman Eva Chairunnisa.
A train security guard told the Jakarta Globe that the train made a stop at Pondok Aren station before continuing to Kebayoran station.
Panji Agestri said the train applied the brakes twice before the intersection.
“After that, the train collapsed to the right side and I heard the explosion,” said Panji, who was in the second carriage of the train.
“The access to the first car was blocked and I couldn’t go in there,” he said. “The passengers were panicking and they broke the windows to get out of the car. When I checked, it turned out that we had hit a gasoline truck.”
One of the passenger on the train described a scene of panic and confusion as the overturned carriage caused passengers to fall onto each other.
“I heard a loud noise then a major fire burst through from the train driver’s compartment,” Endang told the Globe. “All were screaming hysterically, crying and panicking. Everyone wanted to get out, and people were trampling on each other. Luckily, someone from outside [the train] broke the glass and I was helped to get out”
Sukendar Mulya, spokesman of Kereta Api Inodnesia, said that train services on the line had been halted.
“The electricity along the track connecting Kanji and Kebayoran has been switched off for safety reasons during the evacuation,” he said.
A statement from NTMC Polri said firefighters were still trying to extinguish the blaze at 12:30 p.m.
Transportation Minister E.E. Mangindaan said the accident was under investigation.
“I’ve have heard about it, it’s being investigated,” he said. “It happened this morning at 10 a.m. I cannot comment further.”
Eva reported, however, that the accident happened at 11:20 a.m.
A Pertamina spokesman confirmed that the tanker belonged to the state-owned oil-and-gas company.
“Regarding the cause of the accident, we are still waiting the official investigation from the Police,” said Ali Mundakir, Pertamina vice president of corporate communications. “The tanker that was hit by the train was carrying 24 kiloliters of gasoline to be distributed to Bintaro and the surrounding areas.”
Train crashes are frequent in Indonesia, and Bintaro was the site of the country’s worst-ever rail catastrophe.
On Oct. 1987, a train leaving Rangkasbitung for Tanah Abang was allowed to roll on to Sudirmara by the station master. Two crowded trains crashed in the station, killing 156 people.