A suspension bridge in the interior district of Ranau Sabah had gave way and seriously injured eight students who were on it. It is said that the students depend on the bridge as it helps them gain internet connection to join their online class.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Joachim Gunsalam mentioned that the students were from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Ulu Sugut. The bridge had collapsed around 9pm on Monday and it is located in Kampung Gusi.
“The bridge is old – about 10 years old, and there has been on and off repairs but is rickety” said Jaochim. It is believed that the weight of all 8 students had caused the bridge to give way followed by the students falling an estimated height of 18 meters.
Two students were seriously injured as a 16-year-old girl broke bones in her thigh and shin whereas a male student had suffered spinal injuries. The other six students only sustained light injuries. The students are aged between 15-18 years old and all receiving treatment at the Ranau district hospital.
“The internet connection in Kampung Gusi is terrible but is better at night on that particular spot on the bridge” said Tatimin Kukunut, chairman of SMK Ulu Sugut Parent-Teacher Association.
Joachim is also the Kundasang state assemblyman and Industrial Development minister. He had requested the federal and state government fund allocations to rebuild the bridge and will personally check the condition of the bridge next week.
“I hope the villagers can be patient and strong through this while we rebuild the bridge. I offer them my sympathies and hope the injured students will recover soon”, said Joachim.
The nearest town to Kampung Gusi is about 80KM away and the journey is a six-hour drive which requires a 4x4 vehicle. It has been documented in the past that Sabah faces poor infrastructure, facilities and internet connection especially in rural areas and complains had been rising especially with schools closed due to Covid-19.