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20 SMU students on a community service project injured in bus accident in Vietnam

The twenty students, along with the driver and their tour guide, were hurt in the mishap, with several sustaining serious injuries such as a fractured leg and wrist, as well as a neck injury

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Singapore— Students from Singapore Management University (SMU) who were part of an overseas community service project in the city of Hue, Vietnam, were involved in an accident on Saturday, May 11, when the bus they were riding happened to hit a curb.

The impact of the bus hitting the curb resulted in them being thrown from their seats.

The twenty students, along with the driver and their tour guide, got hurt in the mishap, with several sustaining serious injuries such as a fractured leg and wrist, as well as a neck injury.

Ten other SMU students who were riding on another bus on Saturday afternoon suffered no injuries.

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The students, who had been in Vietnam for the last two weeks, had actually already finished their community service programme and were en route to an excursion at the Bach Ma National Park in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, according to an online Vietnamese news site, VnExpress.

As the bus with 20 students was going downhill sometime past 3 pm, it hit a curb only one kilometer from the entrance of Bach Ma National Park.

SMU said in a statement on Monday, May 13, that the students sustained such injuries that “ranged from bruises and abrasions, to a wrist fracture, a leg fracture, and a neck injury”.

The statement also said that the students who sustained the leg and neck injury were being cleared to travel by local doctors so that they could be airlifted to Singapore for further medical treatment. Fortunately, both students were fully conscious and were in a stable condition.

The students who had gotten hurt in the collision were tended to immediately afterward at a hospital in the area and then brought to the International Hospital Hue Central for further treatment and evaluation.

SMU also stated that it alerted medical and travel security services company International SOS after the university learned of the accident, which provided support in Hue on the evening of May 11.

The following morning, two staff from SMU’s Centre for Social Responsibility and the university’s Safety and Emergency Preparedness team went to Vietnam in order to help the students, The New Paper reports.

SMU added that two officers from the Embassy of Singapore in Vietnam travelled to Hue in order provide consular assistance to the students, especially the ones who were injured, as well as serve as liaisons to Vietnamese officials.

Three students who were not hurt in the mishap decided to return to Singapore on their scheduled return flight on Sunday night, but the other members of the group chose to stay in Vietnam to support those who were not yet declared fit to travel by medical personnel.

Counselling services have also been made available by SMU for the students who went on the trip. The university has also emailed its students telling them about the mishap, as well as what has been done to care for the students involved.

According to a spokesman from the SMU, “We will continue to stay in regular contact with our students to monitor their situation.

Their safety remains the university’s top priority, and we will provide the best possible assistance to them accordingly.”

The students from SMU had visited Vietnam as part of Project Phoniksa, which was launched in 2016 by the Rotaract Club of SMU. The Club’s Facebook page describes its Overseas Community Service Project (OCSP) as involving students who are “passionate, caring and sincere team members to embark on this exciting journey of self-discovery and learning with us in Vietnam.”

According to the Rotaract Club of SMU, “Working with our local partner, Hearts for Hue, we have two goals – to advocate business skills to the local villagers in a bid to help them gain self-sustainability and independence, and to provide primary education for youths aged 9-12, providing a foundation of inquisitiveness and learning.”

This year’s beneficiary for Project Phoniksa is Quang Cong Kindergarten in the Thua Thien Hue province./ TISG

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