Saturday, May 31, 2008
Five persons including two boys ran for their lives just in the nick of time before a cargo ship crashed into one of two pavilions on the river, toppling it and reducing the structure to rubbles yesterday afternoon. The 12.45pm incident also partially damaged the bridge that links the river bank with the two pavilions. The ship was coming to berth at a wharf of Rajang Port Authority when the accident happened. Before the accident, two teenagers were fishing at the double-roofed pavilion further out into the river. With them were two men who were resting while a caretaker of the temple was napping on a bench. When the ship moved towards them the two boys froze as they were too shocked. Only when the two men with them shouted to tell everyone to run did they dash away. When they reached the bank, there was a loud crashing sound behind them and the pavilion came crashing down. The incident punched a large hole in the bow of the ship, but it still managed to berth at the RPA Wharf.The riverside beautification project where the pavilions are situation was carried out by Sibu Chiang Chuan Association as they incorporated the scenic garden into the Tua Pek Kong Temple, the structure which has undergone massive renovation. The temple and the Chiang Chuan Garden is now a landmark of the town. Costing RM1.5 million, the garden was opened in September 24, 2005 by Second Finance Minister and Minister of Tourism and Urban Development Dato Sri Woon Soon Koh. Chairman of Sibu Chiang Chuan Association Chai Then Sien was at the garden yesterday evening with his committee members and officers from Sibu Municipal Council led by Secretary Wong Fu Toh to access the damage. Also present was Assistant Minister of Public Health Datuk Dr Soon Choon Teck. Chai said he would ask the insurance company to assess the damage before seeking compensation from the ship owners.