29 killed as school bus plunges off cliff in West Java

A field trip comprising middle school students and their teachers ended tragically after their tour bus plunged into a ravine along the Wado-Malangbong Road in Sumedang regency, West Java on Wednesday evening. Photo: Basarnas
A field trip comprising middle school students and their teachers ended tragically after their tour bus plunged into a ravine along the Wado-Malangbong Road in Sumedang regency, West Java on Wednesday evening. Photo: Basarnas

A field trip comprising middle school students and their teachers ended tragically after their tour bus plunged into a ravine along the Wado-Malangbong Road in Sumedang regency, West Java on Wednesday evening.

The group, from Al Muawanah Integrated Islamic Middle School from Subang regency, was on their way back home from Pangandaran and Tasikmalaya. The bus fell upside down into the ravine with a depth of about 15-20 meters, which is adjacent to a long downhill curving road.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation, though authorities suspected the cause to be a combination of the driver’s lack of knowledge of the road, the vehicle’s condition, and the road contour, which is known to have caused numerous accidents.

“Our initial indication was the driver’s understanding of the route. This is a tourist bus, which wouldn’t have passed regularly on this route,” Hery Antasari, who heads West Java’s Transportation Agency, said yesterday

The National Police’s Director of Traffic Law Enforcement Kushariyanto also said large vehicles such as buses shouldn’t make use of this route. 

“The driver allegedly used an online navigation app to determine which road should be taken to the Subang regency,” Kushariyanto said.

As of yesterday, authorities declared 29 people were killed in the accident, which includes the bus driver and his conductor, as well as the latest two victims who succumbed to their injuries in the hospital. There are 23 passengers still being treated at the hospital, while 11 others with minor injuries have been allowed to return home.

The bus was successfully lifted from the ravine last night using a set of heavy equipment, and will be examined further.

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