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Schoolgirls among 54 killed in Java

Jakarta, Oct. 9 (Reuters): At least 54 people, most of them schoolgirls returning from a holiday in Bali, were killed when their bus burst into flames after colliding with a truck and a minivan in Indonesia’s East Java, officials said today.

The bus was taking the children from Bali to their school in Yogyakarta when the accident occurred on a coastal highway in Situbondo regency, 830 km east of the capital Jakarta, late yesterday night. Distraught parents gathered at the Yogyakarta school to check the bus’ passenger list. Sobbing relatives clutched each other and several woman collapsed. Family members were later put on buses to be taken to the hospital to begin identifying the dead.

Situbondo police chief Tugas Dwi Apriyanto said the bus burst into flames after colliding with the other vehicles and most of the victims were thought to have burned to death. “They were part of a three-bus group. The other two have safely arrived at their school this morning,” he said.

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