UPDATE: Thirty-Three Dead in Java Train Crash

PEMALANG

At least 33 people were killed on Saturday when a passenger train slammed into the back of another train in Java, leaving dozens trapped in the mangled wreckage, an official said.

Police said human error was to blame for the accident, which occurred early in the morning at a station in Petarukan Pemalang, Central Java province.

“Thirty three people were killed and more than 30 were injured. All the victims have been extracted from the train and taken to hospital,” Transport Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said.

Officers at the scene said a train headed to Surabaya smashed into the rear carriages of a Semarang-bound locomotive that was waiting at the platform.

Ten hours after the accident the death toll was still being updated, amid media reports that rescue workers were late to arrive and lacked proper equipment to free passengers trapped in the wreckage.

Many of the dead and injured were trapped in three carriages, which had derailed and flipped over, officials said.

A man living beside the station said the noise of the collision woke him from his sleep. Then he heard people wailing.

“Suddenly I heard a loud crashing and the sound of many people crying. I saw many passengers had been thrown outside the carriages,” he said.

A passenger on the stationary train said he was asleep when he felt a powerful thump and fled the carriage.

“It was really scary. I went outside and realised that the rear carriages had been smashed,” he said.

A survivor from the other train said he was “very traumatised.”

“I don’t want to ride in trains anymore,” he was quoted as saying.

A team of investigators had been dispatched from Jakarta but national police spokesman Iskandar Hasan said the accident was believed to be a result of human error.

“The suspected cause of the accident was a mistake in the traffic management system,” he said.

In June eight people were killed when several carriages of a packed passenger train derailed as it travelled across Java, one of the most densely populated islands in the world.

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