At least 17 schoolchildren were killed in Indonesia after their vehicle plunged into a ditch in Masnauli village in the western Sumatra Island. Police officials said that the truck was carrying 30 children to school at the time of the incident.
The truck reportedly overturned into an 8-foot deep muddy ditch near a palm oil plantation after one of its wheels came off. While the age of most of the children was not clear, they were likely from junior high school and high school, and aged between 12 and 18, local police official M. Syafii said, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
“There a possibility that the death toll will increase. The police are searching the ravine for more bodies,” Syafii told the Jakarta Post.
The driver of the vehicle survived the accident, AFP reported.
Deadly accidents in the Southeast Asian country are common due to poor maintenance of roads. In addition, rural parts have little public transport and it is common for residents to take lifts on trucks, AFP reported.
In March this year, a local university student was killed and seven others injured when a bus, carrying 25 people, crashed at a steep embankment in the Aceh province, the Star Online, a Malaysian newspaper reported. Another accident in June 2014 killed at least eight people and injured 17 after a minivan and a bus, carrying school students, collided.
In November 2013, at least six people were killed after their bus plunged into a ravine in the country’s Bali Island. Four of the people who died were Chinese tourists, according to BBC.
In August 2013, 18 people died and 43 were injured when the driver lost control of the bus due to a brake failure, causing the vehicle to fall into a ditch in Puncak, West Java, CNN reported.