At least seven people were killed and more than 70 injured yesterday when a commuter train collided with a truck hauling petrol in Indonesia's capital, sending a fireball of orange flames and black smoke shooting skyward.
The collision in southern Jakarta killed the train engineer, a technician and at least five others, said Jakarta police spokesman colonel Rikwanto, who uses one name as do many Indonesians.
"The engineer attempted to brake, but then a fuel truck ran onto the railroad tracks and the brakes could not stop it from hitting the truck. It exploded and bounced off," said Imron, a passenger who escaped from a vehicle nearby. "It happened so fast."
The burned-out passenger car was seen lying on its side while plumes of black smoke billowed from parts of the engulfed train. It was headed to central Jakarta when it hit the truck carrying 24,000 litres of petrol just before noon. About 500 passengers were aboard the train's eight cars, and all train signals were working at the time of the crash, said train company spokesman Sukendar Mulya.
The driver survived and was being treated at a hospital.
Two train cars derailed, including a women-only car, as hundreds of panicked passengers ran away, many screaming and crying. Rescuers pulled out three bodies pinned under the wreckage, said Sukarno, a firefighter. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
"My position was near the door, but I could not move because I was ... trampled by other passengers," said Veronica, a commuter from the derailed women-only car.
"We managed to escape after people from outside broke the windows. I saw many victims with burns on their legs, hands and stomachs," she said.
She said that the carriage quickly filled with thick smoke, making it difficult to breathe.
The accident occurred near the site of a 1987 crash that killed 156 people and injured hundreds more when two trains collided.
Commuter trains are often packed with passengers due to the lack of other forms of public transportation in Jakarta, which has some of the worst traffic jams in Asia.