Authorities said that the death toll had risen to 35 from 24 in an accident where a bus fell down 150 metres into a ravine in Indonesia. The bus had departed from the Bengkulu province for Pagar Alam with 27 passengers on December 23. A few people who survived the accident told the authorities that there were 50 passengers when the bus plunged into the ravine just before midnight on December 23. According to reports, the bus was owned by Sriwijaya company and was travelling in Dempo Tengah District in Sumatra's Pagar Alam City.
The rescue operations continued on the third day in order to find more victims after seven new victims were found in a river late on December 25. A representative of a local rescue team, Sumatra Taufan, said that the accident had claimed 35 lives out of which 16 were males and 19 were females. Taufan said that the rescue team was still searching for victims 6 kilometres towards the north. According to reports, 13 people have been rescued till now and search operation is still going on with concerns that the bodies of a few victims might have carried away in the river. The local police chief, Dolly Gumara, said that out of the passengers killed, eight victims were children.
Road accidents are very common in Indonesia due to its poor safety standards and infrastructure in most of the rural areas. According to international media reports, back in the month of September, at least 21 people lost their lives when a bus plunged into a ravine in West Java's Sukabumi region. In another reported incident, several months earlier, a dozen of people were killed and several others were left injured when a passenger tried to take control of a bus steering wheel following an argument with the driver on the same toll road in West Java. The bus reportedly rammed into two cars and caused a truck to roll.