Children fall off school van again in southern Vietnam province

By Phuoc Tuan   November 30, 2019 | 08:21 pm PT
Children fall off school van again in southern Vietnam province
Inside a van which two student boys fell off in Dong Nai Province on November 29, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan.
Two fourth-graders fell off a school van in Dong Nai Province Friday afternoon, just days after a similar accident involving three first-graders.

The van was taking students of Dien Hong Primary School back home at 4:30 p.m. As the van was going up a slope on Highway 1A, the van’s backdoor burst open, spilling two 4th-grade boys on to the highway. After going about 50 meters further, the driver stopped and took the two students to the hospital.

"I was driving behind the van when the two children were suddenly flung to the ground. Their heads must have hit the ground, as far as I could see. Luckily, all other vehicles were quite far away, so we could stop in time," said Su, an eyewitness.

The boys only suffered a few scratches, said Luu Thi Ngoc Que, chief education official of Trang Bom District, said.

The whole accident was recorded by a nearby garage's security camera.

Two boys fall off a school van in Dong Nai Province, November 29, 2019.

"The van was working based on a verbal contract between the families and drivers. The agreement did not involve either the school or the homeroom teachers," Que said.

Inspection by local traffic police Saturday showed that the backdoor lock of the van had been broken and temporarily replaced by a common household door latch, just as it had happened a few days ago in another incident in the same province in which three first graders fell off, but escaped unhurt. Inside this van too, all the original backrests are removed.

The van driver, Cao Tuan Viet, said: "Maybe the students were pushing each other in the back, which must have made the backdoor burst open."

Many violations by student-carrying vehicles have been recorded by Dong Nai's department of transport this year, including carrying an excessive number of passengers and running with unsecured doors. Penalties have been imposed in 319 cases.

In another tragic instance of unsafe school bus practices, a first-grade boy in Hanoi was found dead in August this year after being abandoned inside a school bus for nine hours. In September, a three-year-old boy in Bac Ninh Province in northern Vietnam luckily survived after being left inside the bus with a window open 10 cm wide for eight hours.

Both the bus driver and the bus monitor in the Hanoi incident have been arrrested facing charges of involuntary manslaughter. Meanwhile, in Bac Ninh Province, the kindergarten was suspended.

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