SINGAPORE: A group of students from Singapore Management University (SMU) who were involved in a bus accident in Vietnam last Saturday have returned to Singapore, the university said on Tuesday (May 14).
The accident injured 20 students who were on the bus, while 10 other students who were in another bus were unharmed.
The group of students had completed an overseas community service project in the city of Hue, and were on a trip to Bach Ma National Park when the accident happened.
Four of the injured students returned to Singapore by air ambulance - two on Monday evening and two on Tuesday morning, said SMU in its latest statement. They are now receiving treatment at the hospital for injuries ranging from a neck injury to leg or hip fracture.
One Vietnamese student, who was also injured, returned home directly from Hue with his parents, while the remaining 22 students - 15 who were injured and seven who were unhurt - returned on a commercial flight on Tuesday afternoon, the statement added.
Previously, SMU said that three students who were not injured had returned to Singapore on Sunday evening, while the others had extended their stay in Vietnam to support their peers who were injured.
SMU Provost Timothy Clark, who met the students and parents at the airport, said the university's current priority is to support the recovery of the students as quickly as possible.
"Also we're conscious that some students will be quite traumatised by the experience ... so we've offered support from our counselling service," he added.
While the university is awaiting the official investigation report by the local authorities, SMU said it has reminded all outgoing groups of the importance of adhering to safety protocols while abroad.
"At an appropriate juncture, we will also review our safety procedures to see if there are areas that can be further refined," it added.
Prof Clark said the university undertakes a risk analysis before its students go on overseas projects.
"I think it's incumbent upon us as a responsible organisation to learn from this incident and I think our students certainly followed the policies that we have, so we need to look at the risk analysis the kinds of organisations that perhaps are providing transport to our students," he added.
Prof Clark also acknowledged the help of the Singapore embassy staff members and the hospital staff members in Vietnam, as well as the students who stayed behind to help their injured peers.
"We're very grateful to the students and student leaders for the fantastic support they show their fellow students."
Additional reporting by Cheryl Lin.