20 SMU students injured after bus accident in Vietnam
They were part of group of 30 on overseas community service project
Twenty students from Singapore Management University (SMU) were injured when the bus they were travelling in hit a kerb during a school trip in the Vietnamese city of Hue on Saturday afternoon.
The impact threw all of them off their seats, resulting in some serious injuries, including fractures to the wrist and leg and a neck injury.
Two Vietnamese - the bus driver and a tour guide - were also injured, reported VnExpress, a Vietnamese online newspaper.
The students were part of a group of 30 who had been in Vietnam for the past two weeks for an overseas community service project.
The remaining 10 students, who were in another bus during the outing, were unharmed.
The students had all completed their project and were on their way to Bach Ma National Park in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, reported VnExpress.
According to the report, the bus carrying the 20 students crashed a kilometre away from the park's entrance as it headed downhill at around 3pm.
In a statement to the media yesterday, SMU said the injuries sustained by the students "ranged from bruises and abrasions, to more seriously, a wrist fracture, a leg fracture and a neck injury".
Arrangements were being made to fly two students - who suffered a neck and a leg injury - back to Singapore by air ambulance once the local doctors certify them fit for travel, it added.
Both students are in stable condition and fully conscious.
VnExpress reported that the injured students had received treatment at a local hospital before receiving further assessment and treatment at International Hospital Hue Central.
SMU said that following the accident, it activated International SOS - a medical and travel security services company - which began rendering support on the ground on Saturday evening.
Two SMU staff from its Centre for Social Responsibility and the university's Safety and Emergency Preparedness team also flew to Vietnam on Sunday morning to provide direct assistance to the students.
Two officers from the Embassy of Singapore in Vietnam went to Hue to liaise with the local authorities and render consular assistance to the injured students, SMU said.
Apart from three uninjured students who returned to Singapore on Sunday evening on their originally scheduled flight, other students who were not affected or had been certified fit for travel decided to extend their stay in Vietnam to assist and support their peers.
Professional counsellors from SMU's Mrs Wong Kwok Leong Student Wellness Centre met those who returned and are on standby to offer counselling support to the rest of the group.
A friend of one of the injured students, who declined to be named, told The New Paper yesterday: "Many of the students involved are still in shock. Family and friends of the injured were worried because we did not receive any information for quite a while."
Yesterday, SMU sent an e-mail, seen by TNP, to its students, informing them of the accident and the actions taken by the university to ensure the care and safety of the affected students.
The students involved in the accident were in Vietnam for the fourth edition of Project Phoniksa. They are from various schools and years of study.
The beneficiary for the project was Quang Cong Kindergarten in the Thua Thien Hue province.
A spokesman for SMU said: "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."