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Malaysia bridge collapses, 22 children feared dead

TWENTY-TWO Malaysian schoolchildren were feared drowned after plunging into a river when a suspension bridge they were crossing collapsed last night, according to police.

The 22 were part of a group of nearly 300 pupils from several dozen primary schools in northern Perak state who were on a camping trip in a village 200 km (120 miles) north of the capital Kuala Lumpur.

"We have so far managed to find one body, and hope to find all 22 of those missing as there are now more than 300 rescue personnel on site with the number increasing," district police chief Superintendent Aziz Salleh told Reuters.

He said the bridge had collapsed in the compound of a school where the students were gathered. State news agency Bernama reported that the 50-metre bridge was completed two weeks ago to replace an earlier suspension bridge that also collapsed.

The chief Minister of Perak state Zambry Abdul Kadir was quoted by the news agency saying that the bridge's support beams had fallen and authorities were trying to determine whether the bridge was built according to proper specifications.


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