Strong earthquake shakes southern Philippines
BANDUNG: At least 21 people died and several others were injured when a bus carrying domestic tourists crashed and plunged into a ravine on the Indonesian island of Java, police said yesterday.
The crash happened when the bus with 37 people on board was heading to a holiday spot in Sukabumi region, West Java. The vehicle was seen speeding downhill and lost control before plunging into a 10-metre-deep ravine.
“There were 37 people on the bus, 21 of them died while the rest were injured,” Galih Bayu Raditya, head of the traffic unit at the local police precinct, told AFP. Victims who were injured had been taken to several local hospitals.
“We believe the accident happened because the brake failed to function,” Raditya said, adding that the vehicle’s road-worthy certificate had expired in 2016. The bus was part of a four-bus tour from Jakarta heading to a rafting spot in Pelabuhan Ratu, Sukabumi.
Passengers from other buses who arrived safely at the destination told the police they had seen smoke coming from the engine of the bus before it embarked on the journey. Authorities have issued repeated warnings that the route where the accident occurred was not suitable for buses due to the narrowness of the road and multiple tight corners.
On Friday, another bus carrying 21 people also crashed in the same region, killing one and injuring the rest. Transport accidents are common in Indonesia, where buses and trains are often old and badly maintained.
In February at least 27 people died when a bus with 40 domestic tourists on board hit a motorbike and crashed in Subang region, also in West Java.
Meanwhile, a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake shook the southern Philippines yesterday, sending frightened residents fleeing from buildings, officials and eyewitnesses said. The quake struck off the coast of the southern town of Manay at about 3:16 pm (0716 GMT) at a depth of 14 kilometres (8.6 miles), the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said in a statement.
The institute said it expects the earthquake to have caused some damage but it and the local civil defence office said there were no immediate reports of serious destruction. “A lot of people ran from their homes because a lot of items were falling inside,” Phivolcs science researcher John Deximo told AFP.
The Philippines lies on the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. At least two people were killed and scores injured when a 6.5-magnitude quake struck the central Philippines in July, 2017.
The most recent major quake to hit the Philippines was in 2013 when a 7.1-magnitude quake left more than 220 people dead and destroyed historic churches in the central islands. – AFP