JELEBU: Twenty-three students from Kampung Bemban near here had an experience of a lifetime when they were given an army boat ride to school because the bridge in their village had been swept away by a recent flood.
The students had no other option but to take the boat ride across Sungai Teriang as there was no other route to their schools.
Royal Malay Regiment 15th Battalion commanding officer Lt Kol Isma Zaini Ismail said his men were ready as early as 6am at the river to help schoolchildren across.
“We made sure every child had a safety jacket on and the number of passengers in the boat was limited.
“Parents need not worry as all aspects of safety have been looked into,” he said.
The schoolchildren from SK Durian Tipus, SK Sungai Buloh and SMK Teriang were a picture of calm as parents and army personnel helped them into the boat.
Army personnel took their time to ensure the children had on the life jackets securely and were safely seated before heading out.
Lt Kol Isma said the army had been providing the service to villagers to enable them to get across to Kampung Jerang since Dec 21 following the floods three days earlier.
“We will continue to serve till a temporary bridge is built by Jan 21,” he said.
The Jelebu Education Department has also provided three vans to ferry schoolchildren.
Nor Hinim Md Isa, 46, said she was initially worried about allowing her 12-year-old child to travel by boat.
“I was worried but my daughter was actually excited. I am happy that everything went well,” she said, adding that she too had experienced going to school by boat during her younger days after a bridge in her village was swept away by floods.
Nurul Amylia Mohd Rosbi, 33, said her two children aged 10 and 12 were also a bit worried about the boat ride initially.
“I told them not to worry about it as the army personnel would look after them well and they would have to put on safety jackets.
“And at the end, the boat ride was a happy experience for them as they waved at me after safely getting across,” she added.