Strong guard railings will be built at all ferry crossing points in Sarawak to prevent a recurrence of yesterday’s tragedy where a four-wheel-drive plunged into Sg Batang Lupar in Sri Aman, said Deputy Chief Minister II James Masing.
Masing, who is also Sarawak infrastructure development and ports minister, said today that the state Public Works Department (JKR) had been instructed to start erecting guard rails immediately.
“With the strong guard rails, nothing can fall off (from the ferry boarding and alighting point). This will be with immediate effect. It must be understood that the car fell from the ferry landing point…not from the ferry (as some people had thought),” he told reporters after visiting the Triso Ferry Point.
Masing said the tragedy served as a grim reminder of the need to strictly follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for using such facilities.
According to the SOPs, all car occupants, except the driver, must disembark from their vehicle before it is driven through the landing ramp into the ferry, and only board the vehicle after it has exited the ferry at the other point of the landing, he said.
“We have to enforce these SOPs that have been in place for quite some time now,” he said, adding that all users should follow the ferry guards’ instructions at all times.
He said investigations so far showed that the tragedy was due to an accident.
On behalf of the state government, he extended his condolences to the families of the victims.
He also thanked members of the public who jumped into the river to try to save the victims.