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At least seven people have died while undergoing treatment at the RS Margono Soekardjo Hospital in Central Java town of Purwokerto, Banyumas, while over 100 others have suffered from injuries due to traffic accidents during the annual Idul Fitri exodus.
Head of the hospital’s emergency installation, Abdillah Nur, said the data was collected by RS Margono Soekardjo seven days prior to the holiday and four days after it. “The majority of victims were travelers heading to their home villages,” Abdillah said on Saturday.
He said most of the victims were motorcyclists and the figure could be higher as there were many hospitals located along the exodus route in the regency.
Banyumas is located along the main route connecting Jakarta–Yogyakarta and Bandung–Yogyakarta. Other busy routes in the regency include the Ajibarang–Wangon–Rawalo–Buntu–Sumpiuh–Gombong route.
Kartono, 22, one of the patients being treated at the hospital after a traffic accident, said he fell from his motorcycle because he fell asleep while riding it with a friend.
“I realized I was very sleepy, but I wanted to get home quickly because I had spent a very long time on the road due to traffic congestion,” he said.
Another traveler, Sarmanto, 32, of Yogyakarta, had an accident after he continued riding his motorcycle even though he was very tired. “I thought I just needed to ride for three to four more hours, but a car hit us and we fell down unconscious,” said Sarmanto, who took a friend with him on his motorbike.
A fatigued driver also caused a car to overturn on the Pantura northern coastal exodus route in Sukamandi, Subang regency, West Java, on Saturday.
No fatalities were reported but passengers of the Daihatsu Taruna van suffered minor injuries. The accident also caused traffic congestion, according to Antara news agency.
In Cirebon, West Java, the flow of travelers also increased, forcing local police to redirect some cars to alternative roads to prevent unnecessary traffic congestion.
Motorcyclists from Tiga Berlian Pengambiran, for example, were redirected to pass through the Samadikun coastal route, then on to Krucuk, Celancang and Karang Ampel, Indramayu.
The head of the Cirebon Police traffic unit, Adj. Comr. Parlan, told reporters on Saturday the traffic in Cirebon had so far been easy to handle because the regency had many alternative routes.
Yuyun, on her way back to Jakarta from her hometown in Central Java, said the traffic along the Pantura route was relatively crowded. Yet, she said, there were many alternative routes she could take.
In Merak Port, hundreds of travelers were seen spending the night in the port’s mosque and other rooms after alighting from ferries that had carried them from Bakauheni Port, Lampung. There they waited for dawn, when they would continue their travels.
“We will spend the night at the mosque because we are too fatigued to continue our trip. We’ve spent some six hours on the road already,” said Edi Suherman, who was heading to Bogor, West Java.
Entong, who was heading for Bandung, West Java, on a motorbike, said that forcing himself to continue the trip while fatigued could lead to an accident. He also said he chose to travel at night because it cost him less money.