Tree falls in Saigon school, kills boy

By Van Diep, Manh Tung, Ha An   May 25, 2020 | 07:23 pm PT
Tree falls in Saigon school, kills boy
Adults call for help as students are stuck under an uprooted tree at Bach Dang Secondary School in District 3, HCMC, May 26, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Tran Hong Vu.
One student died at a Saigon public school and 17 others were injured after a tree suddenly fell on them Tuesday morning.

At around 6:15 a.m., a 10-meter flamboyant tree of 24 years old in the yard of Bach Dang Secondary School in District 3 toppled and fell on a group of 18 students sitting under it, Nguyen Van Phuc, the school principal, said.

Tran Hong Vu, a father, witnessed what he described as "chaotic" when he brought his child to school this morning. "I just arrived at the gate when I heard the thundering sound of the falling tree. Then many students were screaming. The schoolyard was in chaos."

Teachers and parents quickly pulled the students out, and ambulances took them to the Children’s Hospital No.2.

At around 8 a.m. one of the victims, Nguyen Trung Kien, 12, succumbed to his injuries and died. 

More than 20 police officers cordoned off the scene of the tragedy.

Anxious parents flocked to the school to find out if their children were alright, but could not reach the management.

Lam Gia Minh, a boy who suffered scratches from the incident, said he was sitting with friends near the tree when he heard cracks. Then suddenly the tree fell towards them. "I was scared, I just remembered that other students screamed a lot and the adults ran over," Minh said.

Phuc, the school principal, said at a press conference in the afternoon that the flamboyant tree has been taken care of properly and he was "very surprised" that it fell.

"The tree fell in my school, so I will take main responsibility," he said.

Many parts of the city, especially Districts 1, 3, 5, and 10, had received heavy rainfall on Monday afternoon.

After a prolonged break since the Lunar New Year festival in late January due to the Covid-19 pandemic, over 22 million students only returned to school this month. Sixth graders came back to school two weeks ago.

A tree is uprooted at Bach Dang Secondary School in HCMC, May 26, 2020. Video by Van Diep.

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