The incident occurred in Bungin Tambun III village located in the Kaur regency. The suspension bridge failed after intense floods struck the region on Sunday, January 20, 2020.
At the time of the failure, about 30 people, including many children, were on top of the structure and, most of them, fell into a river below. Unfortunately, intense precipitation had resulted in rapid currents that swept away the unfortunate victims killing at least 9 of them. “Some managed to save themselves but 10 others (9 dead and 1 still missing) could not fight against the current and drowned, they were swept away” Ujang Syafiri, head of the disaster mitigation agency, stated.
Rescuers, including local people, used a boat to track and save the victims that fell into the river. According to reports, villagers were carrying a body using clothes and bamboo.
About 17 people survived the disastrous incident. One of them that was severely injured after falling into the river, received medical care at a nearby hospital.
Rescue operations are continuing to track a 14-year-old boy that is still missing. "We launch a search and rescue mission today and tomorrow to look for the missing person. We’ll look for him at the mouth of the river,” Abdul Malik, head of the Bengkulu Search and Rescue Agency, said.
Some people (mostly students) prefer to spend their free time on bridges. This is the reason why the structure has so crowed during the incident. "According to information we obtained, they were spending their free time on the bridge at the time of the incident. Some of them are junior and high school students,” Ujang Syafiri, said.
The bridge possibly collapsed due to overload caused by the people standing on top of it. "It was apparently beyond its capacity. Some teens even had rocked the bridge while joking," Ujang Syafiri, added.
Heavy rainfalls have recently struck Southeastern Asia causing severe problems. In Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, around 67 people were reported dead due to floods and landslides in the past weeks.
A large proportion of Indonesia's total population (264 million people) live in mountainous areas or plains near rivers and lakes. Those regions are strongly affected by floods and landslides and locals are under severe threat.