poor people


JUST a day earlier, this rubble-strewn area on Indonesia's Java island was the scene of a wedding.

But what should have been a joyous celebration turned to grief on Sunday when a driver-less truck loaded with cement rolled backward into the party, killing 17 guests and injuring 12 others, police said yesterday.

The driver was repairing the truck when it overran wooden chocks placed behind its wheels and slid 20m down a slight hill into the reception, which was being held in a house close to the road in the central Javanese town of Ambarawa, some 400km east of Jakarta.

One of the 17 victims was a five-year-old girl, police said.

Trucks are poorly maintained in Indonesia and traffic accidents are common on its crowded highways.