In the Island of Java, Indonesia, two trains collided, resulting in the loss of at least four lives and injuries to dozens of passengers. The collision occurred in the Rancaekek district, east of Bandung, leaving the front carriages of both trains damaged and the trailing cars derailed and overturned along a section of tracks that traversed rice fields in West Java province.
The collision involved an intra-city train carrying 287 passengers and a local line with 191 people on board.
The Turangga express train, en route from Surabaya to Bandung, collided with the Bandung Raya commuter train, causing destruction. The accident occurred about 500 meters from Cicalengka train station.
Visuals from the scene depicted twisted train carriages, some veering off the tracks and into a nearby rice field.
Four train crew members lost their lives in the collision, including the driver and assistant on the commuter train, as well as a steward and a security guard on the express train.
The injured passengers, totaling two dozen, were evacuated to local hospitals. No fatalities were reported among the 500 passengers traveling in the trains.
Heri Aliyudin, a survivor in the Turangga express train, described how the lights went out in his cabin, and suitcases and bags fell onto several passengers.
The confusion and shock gripped the passengers as some were thrown from their seats. Aliyudin, still in shock, recounted how he managed to evacuate.
Emergency services and rescue teams responded to the scene, evacuating all passengers from the collision.
Videos and images from the incident site showed the urgency of the rescue efforts, with ambulances evacuating the injured and survivors walking through fields carrying their belongings.
Transportation ministry spokesperson Adita Irawati issued an apology for the accident, acknowledging the disruption of railway services in West Java. The ministry launched an investigation into the incident to determine its cause.
The Indonesian government expressed its condolences to the families of the victims and assured a thorough investigation.
Transportation safety officials from the National Transportation Safety Commission are working together to analyze the circumstances leading to the collision.
PT Kereta Api Indonesia’s president director, Didiek Hartantyo, addressed the need for an investigation before speculating on the cause.
The government’s commitment to infrastructure improvement, including railways, was underlined, as Indonesia to enhance safety in its transportation networks.
Indonesia has seen a decline in train accidents in recent years, according to a 2021 study by transportation safety expert Hardianto Iridiastadi.
Between 2010 and 2016, 35 nationwide train accidents were reported, resulting in 55 deaths and injuries to over 240 passengers. While train collisions constituted over 25% of these incidents, others involved derailments causes.
The government’s investment in projects like the high-speed railway, an initiative under China’s Belt and Road infrastructure program, is to improve the efficiency of the country’s rail network.
The collision near Bandung shows the need for continuous improvements, technological upgrades, and safety measures to ensure the well-being of passengers and crew.
In 2013, a passenger train collided with a minibus at an unguarded crossing, resulting in 13 fatalities. Another incident in 2010 involved a train plowing into the rear of a stationary train at a station, causing 36 deaths.
Indonesia’s collaboration with international partners, particularly China’s Belt and Road initiative, has brought about infrastructure developments, including the $7.3 billion high-speed railway.
The operation of Southeast Asia’s first high-speed railway since October 2023 has reduced travel time between Jakarta and Bandung from three hours to about 40 minutes.