Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Children killed in bridge collapse

A schoolgirl drowned and two others were feared dead today after a new footbridge across a river collapsed as they crossed it during a camping trip in Malaysia.

Police, firefighters and emergency services scoured the Kampar River in northern Malaysia where the children went missing.

Perak state chief minister Zambry Abdul Kadir said: "They are looking for the bodies."

Search teams found the body of one girl and were searching for the two other youngsters, said Aziz Salleh, police chief of Kampar district.

About 300 students were on the camping trip and around 20 managed to cling to the 160ft-long suspension bridge when it collapsed, said Chen Fook Chye, a state MP who was at the scene.

"There is a lot of confusion right now, a lot of worried parents," Mr Chen said.

K Mathivanan, 12, said the bridge had been swaying and abruptly collapsed after some pupils jumped on it. The scene turned chaotic as they screamed for help and started crying, Mathivanan told the national news agency Bernama.

The two-week-old bridge was built to replace an old one that had fallen apart with age, the report said.

"Suddenly we were thrown into the river, but I managed to hold on to a rope," Mathivanan said.

The pupils were taking part in a government-run project to foster multi-racial understanding among children of different ethnic groups by making them camp together, cook traditional dishes and play cultural games.

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