Ironically, the iron-cable bridge, suspended about 3 meters over the river, was built recently to replace an old one that had fallen apart with age.
KAMPAR: One girl is dead, two pupils are still missing and nineteen have been found safe after the 22 students fell into Sungai Kampar.
The pupils, on a camping trip, tumbled into the river when the suspension bridge they were crossing broke near Kuala Dipang, Kampar, at about 10pm on Monday.
The dead girl was identified as Dina Deve Nathan, 11, from SK Tamil Mambang Diawan. Rescuers found her at Kampung Pasir, about 2km downstream from the broken bridge, at about 8.40am Tuesday. Her body was sent to the Kampar Hospital.
Police said twenty other pupils, who were not on the bridge, escaped unscathed.
Some pupils jumped and shook the bridge
According to one of the survivors, Mohd Azid Teng, 12, from SKJC Bemban near Kampar, the pupils had had supper at SK Kuala Dipang and were crossing the bridge to get to the camping site when a few of the pupils started jumping and shaking the bridge.
The bridge then gave way and he found himself falling into the river along with the other screaming pupils.
Fortunately, he fell into shallow waters and waded out.
Bridge newly built
Ironically, the iron-cable bridge, about 10 feet (3 meters) over the river was built recently to replace an old one that had fallen apart with age.
The pupils were among 298 from 60 primary schools from Kampar, Tronoh and Batu Gajah who were attending a co-curriculum activity organised by the Kinta Selatan district education office.
Search and rescue operations are ongoing.
Perak MB oders probe into bridge collapse
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir visited the scene soon after news of the bridge collapse reached him and ordered an immediate investigation into the cause of the accident, Bernama reported.
“The suspension bridge was newly built. We want to know if it was built to specifications as it collapsed after a metal pillar got ripped off the ground,” he said.
A metal pillar and its concrete block foundation got ripped off the ground in the incident and part of the bridge walkway was afloat on the river.
The Kampar River is known for extreme water sports. The part of the river where the bridge collapsed is about 30 metres wide and 1.5 metres deep.
Villagers have joined in the search and rescue operation mounted by 222 personnel from the police, Royal Malaysian Navy, Fire & Rescue Department, People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela), Civil Defence Department and other agencies.
Meanwhile, at 11.15am Tuesday, Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran filed an emergency motion with the Dewan Rakyat Speaker to discuss the collapse of the bridge, Lee Yuk Peng of The Star reported.
Education Ministry sets up probe team; RM10,000 aid to dead Dina’s family
Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who was at the scene Tuesday, said that a team, headed by Education Ministry Director-General Tan Sri Ali Muddin Md Dom, has been set up to investigate the bridge collapse, The Star‘s Sylvia Looi reported.
The ministry would give RM10,000 in aid to Dina’s family, said Muhyiddin who is also the Deputy Prime Minister.