At least 27 people killed, including students, after Indonesia bus plunges into ravine

The bus carrying 66 passengers was travelling on a winding, poorly lit road when it plunged down the 20m ravine.
The bus carrying 66 passengers was travelling on a winding, poorly lit road when it plunged down the 20m ravine.PHOTO: AFP
Rescue personnel work at the crash site after a bus fell into a ravine in Sumedang, West Java Province, on March 10, 2021.
Rescue personnel work at the crash site after a bus fell into a ravine in Sumedang, West Java Province, on March 10, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (AFP, REUTERS) - A bus carrying dozens of pilgrims plunged down a steep ravine on Indonesia's Java island, killing at least 27 people, including junior high school students, the authorities said Thursday (March 11).

The search and rescue agency said in a statement that the driver of the bus lost control shortly before the crash in an area near the city of Sumedang in West Java province.

Rescuers worked through the night using cranes to pluck injured survivors from the wreckage after the fatal crash late Wednesday.

The bus carrying 66 passengers was travelling on a winding, poorly lit road when it plunged down the 20m ravine, the authorities said.

The driver and teenage passengers were among the dead, while 39 survived the accident.

"The fatalities are a mix of children and adults," Bandung rescue agency official Mamang Fatmono told AFP.

The authorities said they were probing the cause of the accident, though the transport ministry said there were initial indications that the vehicle’s road worthiness tests were not up to date.

The bus was returning to the town of Subang from a religious pilgrimage site in West Java.


Rescuers evacuating victims on March 10, 2021. PHOTO: AFP/BASARNAS


Rescue personnel carry a body bag containing a victim of a bus that fell into a ravine in Sumedang, West Java Province, on March 11, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

Traffic accidents are common in the South-east Asian archipelago, where vehicles are often old and poorly maintained and road rules regularly flouted.

In late 2019, at least 35 people were killed when a bus plunged into a ravine on the island of Sumatra.