Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed deep condolences to the families of the victims of a collapsed bridge in Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan on Saturday afternoon and ordered several ministers to attend to the situation caused by the collapsed bridge.

"The president has summoned several ministers and asked them to go to East Kalimantan to observe the situation related to the collapsed bridge and address the problems arising from the incident, including supervising the evacuation of victims," Minister/State Secretary Sudi Silalahi said here on Saturday evening.

He said the head of state had ordered People`s Welfare Coordinating Minister Agung Laksono and Public Works Minister Joko Kirmanto to fly to the location at 7.50 pm.

"The president specifically instructed the immediate evacuation and medical treatment of casualties," he said.

Meanwhile, Agung Laksono told Antara, "Tonight, the public works minister, the health Affairs minister and I will visit East Kalimantan to see the ruined bridge."

The Kutai Kartanegera bridge which spanned about 500 meters above the Mahakam river in East Kalimantan province collapsed on Saturday afternoon, causing an as yet unknown number of four-wheel and two-wheel motor vehicles to fall into the river.

At the time this report was filed, four people were known to have been killed. Their bodies were taken to the AM Parikesit General Hospital in Tenggarong.

Spokesman of AM Parikesit Hospital Dr Werry said the four bodies had arrived at the hospital but their identities had yet to be established.

Traffic on the bridge in Kalimantan was said to be fairly heavy when it broke.

Agung said the central government wished to know exactly why the longest bridge in East Kalimantan province had collapsed.

He also said the central government through the public works ministry would conduct an audit on all bridges in the country that were more than 10 years old.

Meanwhile, head of the public works ministry`s public communication center, Pandu Waskito, said the ministry would immediately send an expert team to East Kalimantan look into the cause of the bridge`s collapse.

In the meantime, Police Chief General Timur Pradopo said police were handling the incident including arranging the traffic so that evacuation activities would not be hampered.

"Police will conduct an investigation but will give priority to security measures at the location so that normal activities can be restored following the collapse of the bridge," he said.

President Yudhoyono received report about the incident from the East Kalimantan governor Awang Farouk half an hour after it happened, Minister/ State Secretary Sudi Silalahi said.

In a press conference at the Jakarta Convention Hall, Sudi said President Yudhoyono expressed deep condolences to the victims` families over the incident and had ordered an immediate investigation into it.

He said President Yudhoyono immediately held a meeting after hearing the news.

"He received reports from ministers concerned including me and the National Police chief half an hour after the incident occurred and immediately held a meeting during which he gave directives regarding what we should do," he said.

The meeting was held at the Holding room at the Jakarta Convention Center where the President was to hold a reception for the wedding of his son Eddy Bhaskara with the daughter of Hatta Rajasa, the coordinating minister for economic affairs.

Asked if President Yudhoyono would visit the location of the incident Sudi said he could not as yet confirm awaiting further reports.

In addition, search and rescue (SAR) team had provided at least 12 diving equipments to conduct a search of victims.

"We use 10 inflatable boats and 12 diving equipments to find victims. Until tonight, no more victims were found," head of the provincial disaster management affairs," Herlambang added. (*)

Editor: Aditia Maruli Radja
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