The Jakarta Post
At least eight people were killed and dozens others injured in a road accident involving 21 vehicles on the Purbaleunyi section of the Bandung-Jakarta toll road in Purwakarta regency, West Java, on Monday. The accident took place at around 1 p.m. local time.
West Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko said the victims had been taken to three nearby hospitals, namely MH Thamrin Hospital, Siloam Hospital and Bayu Asih Hospital.
He said that apart from the eight fatalities, three people were in critical condition while 29 others were injured in the accident.
“Seven people died at MH Thamrin Hospital; four from serious burns,” he said.
State-owned toll operator PT Jasa Marga has applied a contraflow traffic system to ease congestion on the toll road after the accident.
“Jasa Marga’s Purbaleunyi section office is working with police officers and nearby hospitals to conduct a rescue operation. Ambulances, fire trucks and rescue vehicles have been deployed to transport victims and remove the vehicles,” Jasa Marga corporate communication and community development head Dwimawan Heru said in a written statement on Monday.
According to the National Police traffic corps’ director of law enforcement, Brig. Gen. Pujiono Dulrahman, the accident started when a dump truck tipped on its side at Km-91 of the toll road.
“Four vehicles were waiting for the dump truck to be moved from the toll road when the driver of a sand-loaded truck lost control of his vehicle because of brake failure and crashed into the four awaiting vehicles,” he said as reported by kompas.com.
He added that 15 other vehicles behind the truck then crashed into each other, causing the first four to catch fire.
“I saw three vehicles burning, three dragged along the road and one fall off a cliff,” a construction worker who witnessed the accident, Asep Ayub, said as quoted by kompas.com.
Asep said he and several workers had tried to help the victims who had been trapped in one of the cars.
Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) transportation expert R. Sony Sulaksono Wibowo said human error and road conditions were the main factors behind fatal accidents occurring on the Cipularang toll road.
"Starting from Km-91, the toll road [heading to Jakarta] is largely downhill and many drivers tend to exceed the speed limit of 80 kilometers per hour," he told tribunnews.
He said that Monday’s fatal accident was also largely caused by the vehicles’ high speed before the crash.
“When I look at the condition of the vehicles after the crash, many had flipped over and caught fire. The drivers involved must have exceeded the speed limit and struggled to stop their cars in time to avoid the crash,” Sony said.
The Cipularang toll road is notorious for being the scene of fatal car accidents. In 2011, dangdut singer Saiful Jamil got into a crash at Km-96 that killed his pregnant wife. Less than a week later, another accident occurred at Km-93, killing six people.
In 2012, seven people died instantly and dozens of others were injured in an accident at Km-101 of the toll road, between Purwakarta and Bandung in West Java. Two years ago, another accident involved 10 vehicles, killing four and leaving 28 others injured. (nal)