At least seven people died today when a commuter train collided with a truck carrying fuel in Indonesia’s capital, sending a fireball of orange flames and black smoke shooting skywards.
The accident in southern Jakarta killed the train engineer and at least six other people, said Jakarta police spokesman Colonel Rikwanto, who uses one name like many Indonesians. About 20 others were injured.
A burned-out passenger car was seen lying on its side while plumes of black smoke billowed from parts of the engulfed train run by PT KAI Commuter train company.
The train was heading for central Jakarta when the accident occurred just before noon, said company spokeswoman Eva Chairunisa. She said the truck was carrying LPG, but police said it was gasoline.
Two carriages derailed during the accident, and hundreds of panicked passengers ran from the train, many screaming and crying.
Rescuers worked to pull out three bodies pinned under the wreckage, said Sukarno, a firefighter on the scene. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
A passenger of a derailed carriage who managed to escape told MetroTV that the train appeared to slam on its brakes just before impact. She said she heard explosions and then the car filled with thick smoke, making it difficult to breathe.
“My position was near the door, but I could not move because I was... trampled by other passengers,” said Veronica, who uses only one name and was travelling in a carriage reserved for women. “We managed to escape after people from outside broke the windows. I saw many victims with burns on their legs, hands and stomachs.”
The accident happened near the site of a 1987 crash that killed 156 people when two trains collided.
Commuter trains are often packed with passengers due to the lack of other forms of public transport in Jakarta, which has some of the worst traffic jams in Asia.