Sidoarjo gas pipe blast was an accident, says police spokesman

Sidoarjo gas pipe blast was an accident, says police spokesman

Police said here on Thursday they had so far found no indication of criminal intent in the gas pipe blast in Sidoarjo, East Java, that killed six people on Wednesday.

“Until now, we believe it was only an accident. However, we do not know whether this belief will stick. It is not impossible that it will become a criminal case,” National Police spokesman Inspector General Sisno Adiwinoto said.

He said the police would consider it a criminal case after they had obtained strong evidence and testimonies supporting the view.

“Accordng to the facts in the field, the pipe was buried under mud. It bent and finally burst because of downward pressure. The result was a blast,” he said.

He admitted it was difficult for the workers who were at the site to attend to the Lapindo mud flow to have foreseen the possibility of an explosion. “There is no device yet that enables people to check the condition of underground pipes, is there,” he said.

He said the workers were aware that there was a gas pipeline system underground and they were actually intending to move it but they did not know the real condition of the pipeline.

However, if later police had found evidence the explosion was caused by human negligence, there would be people who would be interrogated, he said.

Meanwhile, it was reported from Sidoarjo search and rescue workers are currently still trying to find a number of people who were reported missing after the incident.

The six who died in the explosion were Captain Afandi, the chief of the Balongbendo subdistrict military command, Sergeant Second Class Nafiz from the Combat Engineers Battalion of the 5th Brawijaya Military Command, Corporal Rofik, a member of the Sidoardjo district military command, police Chief Brigadier Slamet, a member of the toll road police patrol unit, Yusman, an employee of PT Jasa Marga and Tri Iswandi, also an employee of PT Jasa Marga.

Ten people who sustained injuries are currently still being treated in a local hospital.(*)

Copyright © 2006 ANTARA

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