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An accident waiting to happen

An accident waiting to happen

The first time I noticed the bamboo suspension bridge in Bukit Lawang was when I asked the lady in the restaurant (warung) where the toilet was. She pointed across the bridge to a place on the other side of the river. It was my second bottle of Bintang and I wasn’t too keen on trying to cross the suspension bridge that looked like it had come straight out of an Indiana Jones movie. It wouldn’t be long and it would be dark, so I thought I could just skip behind a tree to avoid having to navigate the bridge.

suspension bridge

The next day we changed hotels that was across from the suspension bridge, so there was no way of avoiding it. It was Sunday in Bukit Lawang and people had started arriving from Medan to spend the day swimming in the river and having parties. Our hotel had a good view of the bridge and I watched as more and more people started crossing the suspension bridge ignoring the “Maximum 6 people” sign that was posted on either end of the bridge.

suspension bridge

At one point the whole bridge had people on it, when suddenly it dropped a couple of feet. People screamed as the bridge bounced up and down. It all seemed to happen in slow motion. Fortunately, the bridge did not collapse and everybody was able to clear it. I thought it would then be closed off in case there had been some damage done, but no, people kept crossing it like nothing happened. They did however pay attention to the “maximum six people” warning.

Not long after a few guys started pushing a massive amplifier across the bridge. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Amazingly they made it across without incident.

suspension bridge

I know it’s not that high, but the river moves pretty quickly and I am sure not everyone can swim. There were also lots of people and kids playing in the river and crossing underneath it. The bridge is also held together with rusty nails and bits of wire, so maybe no one would have gotten killed but the whole scenario just seemed like a disaster waiting to happen.

suspension bridge

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