Balikpapan, E Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - East Kalimantan police have named three people suspects over the collapse of the Kartanegara bridge last November 20 which caused the death of 24 local residents, injuries to 39 and the disappearance of 14 others.

East Kalimantan Police Chief Insp Gen Bambang Widaryatmo in a statement to the press here Saturday identified the three suspects by their initials as YS, ST, dan MSF.

He refused to spell out their names but said the police would soon take them into custody while they were now already under tight surveillance.

YS was an official at the Kutai Kartanegara public works office, ST in charge of the bridge`s technical maintenance and MSF an official of PT Bukaka Teknik Utama who was the manager of the bridge`s maintenance project.

The three would be charged under articles 359 and 360 of the Criminal Code on negligence on the part of someone or a group of people that caused the death of or injury to another person or group of persons.

"We are also investigating the possibility of corruption having been committed in the case. This investigation is being conducted by a special East Kalimantan police team," Bambang said.

In their investigation, the police had met many difficulties as almost all the parties involved in the bridge`s construction and maintenance tried to absolve themselves of responsibility or to blame each other.

PT Bukaka, for instance, had insisted that when the bridge collapsed on Saturday Nov 26 it had not yet started the maintenance project and was only engaged in preparatory work. Police, however, found witnesses, including some victims of the bridge collapse, as well as photos showing maintenance work was begun on November 24, Bambang said.

In their further investigation into the case, the police would work with at least five expert witnesses to gain an understanding of the entire process of the bridge`s construction, from the planning to its implementation stages, its budgeting, the construction materials used, maintenance , work assignment system and technical aspects of maintenance work.

The 720-meter-long Kartanegara bridge was built in 1995 and commissioned in 2001, Known also as Mahakam Bridge II, it connects Tenggarong city with Tenggarong Seberang in Kutai Kartanegara district.

The bridge collapsed within only 30 seconds while maintenance work was being done. Rescue teams later found 24 dead bodies in the river, while 39 people sustained injuries and 12 others have remained missing.(*)

Editor: Aditia Maruli Radja
Copyright © ANTARA 2012