Suspension Bridge Collapses in Indonesia during Religious Ceremony, 12 Children Killed

Twelve Indonesian children died when a suspension bridge collapsed as they were taking part in a traditional ceremony to dispel bad luck, an official said Monday.

The accident took place Sunday in a remote village in Aceh province, Sumatra island, district chief Ibnu Hasyim said.

"There were about 37 kids gathered together on a wire-cable suspension bridge when it collapsed and they fell into a river," he told AFP.

Twenty-five children were rescued with minor injuries but 12 others, all below the age of 12, were swept away in the strong currents.

Dozens of people were on the bridge in Aceh province watching a traditional ceremony intended to ward off disasters when it collapsed in six-feet (two-meter) high floodwaters triggered by heavy rains, said National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Priyadi Kardono.

Seasonal downpours cause annual flash flooding in Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains, The Associated Press reports.