Over 70 hurt after walkway collapses in Jakarta

At least 70 people were injured when a mezzanine overlooking the main lobby of the Indonesian Stock Exchange collapsed, a country whose safety standards are often loosely enforced.
People searching for those trapped beneath debris after the walkway collapse in Jakarta yesterday. The incident took place a day after the second anniversary of the Jan 14, 2016, suicide attack in Jakarta, feeding into initial fears that it was a ter
People tending to the injured outside the Indonesian Stock Exchange building in Jakarta yesterday. Those hurt were mostly visiting students who were walking along the mezzanine walkway when it collapsed.PHOTO: REUTERS
People searching for those trapped beneath debris after the walkway collapse in Jakarta yesterday. The incident took place a day after the second anniversary of the Jan 14, 2016, suicide attack in Jakarta, feeding into initial fears that it was a ter
People searching for those trapped beneath debris after the walkway collapse in Jakarta yesterday. The incident took place a day after the second anniversary of the Jan 14, 2016, suicide attack in Jakarta, feeding into initial fears that it was a terror strike. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Police rule out terror attack after crash at stock exchange building sparks initial panic that it was bomb explosion

The police are investigating the collapse of a walkway inside the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) building in Jakarta yesterday, but have ruled out a terrorist attack.

More than 70 people, mostly visiting students from Bina Darma University in Palembang, were injured and sent to four hospitals across the capital after the incident which occurred just before noon.

Closed-circuit television footage showed the group of 95 students and their minders walking along the mezzanine walkway when it suddenly tilted and crashed one floor down.

The loud crash caused dust and debris to fill the lobby and spill out of the building in downtown Jakarta, leading many to think, at first, that it was a bomb explosion. The fact that the incident took place a day after the second anniversary of the brazen suicide attack in downtown Jakarta on Jan 14, 2016, which killed four bystanders, fed into initial fears of a terror strike.

"We assure everyone that the collapse of the mezzanine floor was not caused by an explosion," National Police spokesman Setyo Wasisto told reporters at the scene.

Videos and photos captured on smartphones, showing people screaming and running out of the building immediately after the collapse, quickly went viral online.

But, after the early panic, many were also seen going back into the lobby to help carry the injured or look for those trapped amid bent steel structures, broken glass and other pieces of debris.

IDX consultant Setiaji, who like some Indonesians go by just one name, told Tempo news that many of the people on the walkway did not have time to escape and were buried under the debris.

NOT AN EXPLOSION

We assure everyone that the collapse of the mezzanine floor was not caused by an explosion.

NATIONAL POLICE SPOKESMAN SETYO WASISTO

It was a near miss for many others such as CIMB Private Bank economist Song Seng Wun, who was attending an event at the IDX.

"Our event just ended and the floor collapsed," he told The Straits Times before returning to Singapore yesterday. "Luckily, all this happened just before the lunch crowd came down."

There were no fatalities as of last night, but a total of 77 people were treated at hospitals, including some who needed emergency surgery. Those hurt mostly sustained injuries to their legs and arms, including broken bones, a spokesman for one local hospital was quoted as saying.

The incident, which occurred just as the stock market closed for a scheduled lunch break, did not affect trading, which resumed after lunch as usual at 1.30pm.

"Trading continued as normal despite the grave incident, evidence that the disaster recovery plan set out by the bourse is working successfully," said IDX president director Tito Sulistio.

The benchmark stock index closed 0.2 per cent higher yesterday at 6,382.195.

Inspector-General Setyo said police investigators were looking at the building's blueprints and expect to question the building contractors over the incident.

Local media quoted Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan as saying yesterday that the temporary building-worthiness certificate issued for the high-rise two-tower building, constructed in the late 1990s, was due to expire on Jan 25, although he insisted this did not mean there was anything wrong with the structure.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2018, with the headline 'Over 70 hurt after walkway collapses in Jakarta'. Print Edition | Subscribe