The talk about universities has been about the safety of students on campus with regards to their privacy and modesty.
Yesterday, another local university is on the news again but it’s not about voyeurism.
It’s due to an unfortunate incident instead.
A parent’s greatest nightmare: to hear that your child has met with an accident overseas.
On 11 May 2019, the lives of 30 SMU students changed forever.
The students were there as part of an Overseas Community Service Programme (OCSP) to Vietnam called Project Phoniksa.
It was organised by the SMU Rotaract club and is in its fourth year in the running.
The goals of this project are to “to advocate business skills to the local villagers in a bid to help them gain self-sustainability & independence.
“That and to provide primary education for youths aged 9-12, providing a foundation of inquisitiveness and learning.”
The accident happened on Saturday after the group had completed what they had set out to do through Project Phoniksa on Thursday. The group was enjoying a short R&R before heading back to Singapore.
All was going well until one of the two buses ferrying the students around hit a curb on the way out from Bach Ma National Park and injured 20 students.
In the photos, it seems like the bus dived in headfirst into the bushes. While there are no photos, it has been reported that the head of the bus was severely damaged.
As soon as SMU heard about the incident, two SMU employees and a medical team from International SOS were activated to assist the students and ensure their wellbeing.
The Embassy of Singapore in Vietnam also sent two officers to Hue to help out with the process of ensuring the student’s safety and health.
Isn’t it so assuring to know that no matter where you are in the world, the embassy will come to your rescue in a time of need?
Thankfully, there was no fatality. Phew!
It has been reported that the impact was so great that the students were jerked out of their seats. Many students received cuts and abrasions. All the students were brought to International Hospital Hue Central where they are currently being treated. Three have since returned back to Singapore healthy.
Sadly, another three students were inflicted with severe injuries. One had a spinal cord injury, one had a dislocated groin, one had a leg and wrist fracture.
They are in a stable condition and have been flown back to Singapore via air ambulance so that they can receive further treatment by our local doctors.
The Vietnamese driver and tour guide were also injured.
At present, it is unclear why the driver hit the curb. This case is still undergoing further investigations to bring to light what exactly went wrong that fateful afternoon.
It is touching to know that some of the students have chosen to stay back in Vietnam to accompany those who are still recovering. It shows the compassion and beauty of friendship in the face of adversity.
SMU has arranged for professional counsellors to meet with the students involved in the accident to ensure that they are dealing with what happened ok.
This accident shows how unpredictable life can be and how important it is to have travel insurance (not sponsored).
As the June holidays are approaching, make sure that you have some form of travel insurance to cover you and your travel buddies! #bettersafethansorry
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