Singaporean pupils and teachers trapped in Malaysian cave

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Singaporean pupils and teachers trapped in Malaysian cave

Postby KSP » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:54 pm

Singaporean pupils and teachers trapped in Malaysian cave

http://edvantage.com.sg/edvantage/news/ ... _cave.html

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A GROUP of Primary 5 students and their teachers were trapped in a flooded cave in Malaysia on Friday, and had to be rescued by firefighters.

The group from Rosyth School - 49 pupils and nine teachers - spent more than four hours in the cave.

Nobody was hurt.

They were on a caving expedition to Jerantut, Pahang, over the weekend.

The Malaysian media reported that they were headed to the Kota Gelanggi Cave Complex, a 150-million-year-old cave complex.

This cave complex is famous for its unique fauna, flora and rock formations.

At 10am that day, the pupils - boys and girls - and teachers set off caving at Pulau Tawar, a series of seven caves, with a local guide, said Mr Yahaya Hanafi, head of station for the fire and rescue department in Jerantut.

Rosyth School's vice-principal, Mr Ammiel Wan, said in an e-mail reply to The New Paper last night that it was drizzling when the group started their trek in the morning.

After trekking for about 300m, the drizzle got heavier, and the teachers decided to turn back.

The group took shelter at the entrance of a dry cave, 200m from their base camp.

They had lunch inside the cave, waiting for the rain to stop.

But the rain got heavier.

And the cave began to flood.

The Malaysian media reported that one of the teachers said: "The exit was blocked with water.

"The water was moving into the cave very quickly, and the students started to get scared."

Mr Yahaya told TNP: "It had been raining the past few days, so it's not surprising a flash flood occurred."

"A river nearby had burst its banks, adding to the water in the cave.

"The water was 2m deep in some parts inside."

In his e-mail, Mr Wan said: "The guides and the teachers decided to cancel the expedition in view of the incessant rain."

Around 3pm, egged on by worried teachers, the guide requested advice and assistance from Malaysian police and firefighters.

The group was advised to wait for an evacuation team.

Within half an hour, six firefighters and five policemen arrived at Gua Penyu (turtle cave in Malay), the cave they were in.

Said Mr Yahaya: "At first, we tried to bring a boat into the cave to rescue the kids.

"But the boat could not manoeuvre through the trees and their roots, so we decided to use a rope instead."

Using this rope, firefighters helped the pupils wade through a waterlogged area to reach their base camp.

By 7pm, the rescue was over.

Said Mr Yahaya: "I've not encountered a situation where people were trapped in a cave before.

"Thank God nobody was injured."

Mr Wan said the pupils wore life jackets to ensure their safety, and were closely held by their teachers and the rescue team.

He said: "The situation was under control at all times and safely managed. Safety was never compromised."

He added that when the group arrived at the base camp, the pupils were immediately given dry clothes and food.

Looked after "The participants' well-being was always looked into.

"Parents were informed beforehand that should there be a change of weather, the teachers would automatically fall back on (a) contingency plan.

"Throughout the trip, SMSes were sent to parents, informing them that the children were safe."

As the expedition was cancelled, the group spent the rest of the time at the Tekam Plantation Resort, where they stayed until Sunday before returning home.

Climbing instructor Michael Lim, 29, said the firefighters appeared to have used a fixed rope method to get the group out of the cave.

Mr Lim, who is also the retail manager at Climb Asia, a company of climbing professionals, explained that a fixed rope can provide support efficiently in certain emergency situations:

First, one or both ends of the rope must be attached to an anchor, such as a pillar or a large rock.

The trapped people can then use the rope as a "railing" to show them the way out.

Rescuers can use the rope as a safety lifeline as they guide the people out one by one.

Mr Lim said: "It could well be that the waters there were deep and treacherous. If the kids were wandering on their own, they might have slipped into cracks or holes.

"Without a support, they might also have been washed away by currents."

Benson Ang, Zaihan Mohamad Yusof | The New Paper | Thu Mar 17 2011

KSP
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Postby LOLMum » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:30 pm

Thank God they are safe.

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Postby autumnbronze » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:43 pm

Why did the team persist in trekking when it was already drizzling??

Did they check the weather forecast before embarking on their expedition??

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Postby AgnesMM » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:52 pm

that's scary. thanks to the Msian police & fire fighters.

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Postby sleepy » Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:02 pm

I'm going to show my dd this article. Enough to convince her not to go overseas excursion with school

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Postby radiantmum » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:41 pm

I've never been able to appreciate primary schools nowadays organizaing such "educational" tours training them to be "independent". It's like getting on the reputation wagon kind of thing and the more exotic the place is, the school can get kick of publishing in their newsletters etc. I also pitied those kids whom felt left out either 'cos their parents cannot afford it or not willing to let the kids go. Why add such unncessary stress level to primary school kids & parents?

Lucky that nothing bad happens for the rosyth group - or you will see columns and newspapers reviewing the necessity of such tours etc ... Then again, why wait until there's something to happen ?!

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Postby vlim » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:50 pm

that's real scary :nailbite: :nailbite: .....
my p3 dd will be going to zoo next mth for one night camping...wondering is it safe??? Can anyone advice me.. :sweat:

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Postby sleepy » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:23 pm

radiantmum wrote:Lucky that nothing bad happens for the rosyth group - or you will see columns and newspapers reviewing the necessity of such tours etc ... Then again, why wait until there's something to happen ?!


Exactly!

I don't trust teacher to bring them out, even more so for overseas trips. Really, 1 pair of eyes how to watch so many kids?
Even with accompanying teacher or another adult, at most few pairs of eyes to a class of 30 to 40 kids. There're bound to be some form of negligence

And yet they always ask parents to sign disclaimer not to hold school responsible if any mishap. What nonsense?!!
Of course WILL hold school responsible!

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Postby JR » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:05 pm

Every trip will have their risks. No one wants anything to happen to the kids. As long as the organisers have done their best to minimise the risks and have contingency plans, I don't think the parents have any grounds to complain.

Disallowing kids from going out from such overseas trips will deprive them of the experience of learning something new. We should use this incident to teach our kids about resilience which only can be taught when something goes wrong.

Of course, I don't mean that we should let things go wrong, just that we need to learn to overcome adversity when things does go wrong, which we all know will occur sooner or later.

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Postby Daddy D » Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:51 pm

radiantmum wrote:I've never been able to appreciate primary schools nowadays organizaing such "educational" tours training them to be "independent". It's like getting on the reputation wagon kind of thing and the more exotic the place is, the school can get kick of publishing in their newsletters etc. I also pitied those kids whom felt left out either 'cos their parents cannot afford it or not willing to let the kids go. Why add such unncessary stress level to primary school kids & parents?

Lucky that nothing bad happens for the rosyth group - or you will see columns and newspapers reviewing the necessity of such tours etc ... Then again, why wait until there's something to happen ?!


I second that... I would think these kind of overseas excursion would be more suitable for secondary level or above kids... but primary school kids??!!
hope the 49 students are not seriously traumatized... even some adults would sure be traumatized if stuck in a cave for 4 hours!

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