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18 die in Indonesian Easter truck crash tragedy

Mainly Catholic victims were headed to West Papuan capital for religious festival when vehicle struck hillside, overturned
18 die in Indonesian Easter truck crash tragedy

Members of a search and rescue team carry a victim's body after a truck heading down a mountain in Indonesia's West Papua province crashed into a hillside on April 13. (Photo: AFP/Manokwari Search and Rescue Team)

Published: April 14, 2022 08:02 AM GMT
Updated: April 14, 2022 08:09 AM GMT

At least 18 people, many of them Catholics, were killed when a truck carrying more than two dozen people crashed on a mountain road near an illegal gold mine in Indonesia’s West Papua province.

The overcrowded truck, which was taking miners and their families to the provincial capital Manokwari for Easter celebrations, hit a hillside and overturned in Arfak Mountain district on April 13, police said.

Among the victims, who came from predominantly Catholic East Nusa Tenggara province, was a baby. Ten other people were seriously injured in the accident.

West Papua Police spokesman Adam Erwindi said a suspected brake failure caused the truck driver to lose control and hit the hillside as it descended a steep mountain slope near Minyambouw village.

He said 13 people died at the scene and five others died while being rushed to hospital.

Clinton Tallo, head of the East Nusa Tenggara community in West Papua, said some of the victims had worked at the gold mine for several years while others had only worked there a couple of weeks.

All the victims were later flown to their hometowns in Belu, Sikka and Kupang districts for their funerals.

Theodora Ewalde Taek, a Catholic from Bula district, said many people have been left shocked by the tragedy as they knew some of the victims.

“I come from the same village as a Catholic family who were victims of the accident. A father and his three-year-old child died, while his wife lost a leg in the accident,” she told UCA News.

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