Tuesday, 19 November 2013

7 dead after minibus plunges into ravine

A minibus transporting 13 tourists, believed to be Chinese, plunged into a 15-meter-deep ravine Monday after experiencing engine trouble on the narrow, treacherous road at Jl. Pantai Suluban, Pecatu in South Kuta.

As of 9 p.m., the local authorities had confirmed that seven people had been killed in the accident, including the driver, the tourist guide and five tourists. The number of fatalities is feared to rise since several passengers were still receiving intensive treatment in local hospitals.

Severely injured passengers were rushed to Kasih Ibu Hospital in Kedonganan; Bali International Medical Centre (BIMC) in Nusa Dua; Surya Husada Hospital in Siligita; and Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar.

The police and hospitals have yet to release the identities of the victims. There was also contradictory information about the nationalities of the victims, with the police identifying them as Chinese, while the local chapter of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) stated they were Taiwanese. The driver is believed to be an Indonesian national, identified as Agus Bachtiar Usman.

The accident took place on Monday afternoon at around 2:45 p.m. local time. The minibus fell into a ravine near Blue Point Hotel on Jl. Pantai Suluban.

Bali Traffic Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Beno Lauhenapessy said that the minibus was moving along the main road that connects Padang Padang Beach with the famous Uluwatu Temple. It was reported that the group planned to visit the temple, which is perched on a cliff and was believed to be the enlightenment site of an influential 16th century Hindu sage.

At an uphill and angled section of the road, the minibus’ engine stuttered before suddenly dying out.

“The bus driver put the brakes on for several minutes. When the driver tried to turn on engine and move forward, it suddenly switched off again and the bus moved backward before plunging into a 15-meter-deep ravine,” Beno explained.

The locals and, later on, emergency crew from the Denpasar National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) scrambled to the accident site and had to navigate difficult terrain to evacuate the victims. It took them three hours to complete the task.

Police were still investigating the exact cause of the fatal accident. Beno said that the police had yet to make any conclusions about the cause of the accident. “We are still investigating the case, and we will surely investigate it in a thorough manner,” he said.

Beno added that the Bali Traffic Police would evaluate the safety signs and equipment installed on the accident-prone road.

“Since there has been an accident, we will improve the infrastructure on roads that are prone to accidents. It will include providing traffic signs to show all motorists that the road is dangerous,” Beno said.

Dudut Rustyadi, head of the forensic facility of Sanglah General Hospital, confirmed that the facility had received the bodies of all the fatalities.

“We will carry out a postmortem examination on all the victims once we receive an official notice from the police,” he said.

Tuesday 19 November 2013



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