Train collision at station in Java kills at least 42

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The Independent Online

A train packed with holiday travellers slammed into another passenger train at a station in Indonesia early yesterday, killing at least 42 people and trapping others.

A train packed with holiday travellers slammed into another passenger train at a station in Indonesia early yesterday, killing at least 42 people and trapping others.

The moving train ran through a red signal and hit a stationary train at the railway station in Brebes in central Java about 270 kilometres (160 miles) east of Jakarta.

Two carriages derailed and plunged into rice fields. Some survivors smashed windows to escape. Officials estimated there were more than 1,200 passengers on each train.

Rescue teams were flown in by helicopter. Setiyo Raharjo, the director of the national search and rescue service, said: "We are bringing steel cutting equipment as many people are trapped inside the carriages."

Nur Aena, a nurse at a hospital in Brebes, said the injured people were being taken to three hospitals. "We are having trouble handling this accident."

The moving train was heading from Jakarta to Yogyakarta at 4.30am local time when it hit the stationary train, which was bound for the capital.

General Agum Gumelar, the Transport Minister, said the driver of the moving train was thought to have fallen asleep before going through the signal at which he should have halted. He died later in hospital.

Indonesia is in the middle of its busiest travel time, with people going to their home towns for Christmas and Islamic holidays in the mostly Muslim country.

The sprawling nation of islands has suffered a number of fatal train crashes recently. Officials have blamed signal failures for most of the accidents. The country's economic crisis is forcing the government to slash the transport budget. Trains are often poorly maintained and overcrowded, with people riding on the roofs and hanging out of doors.

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