CENTRAL JAVA, INDONESIA: In recent years, Indonesia has witnessed a surge in the popularity of glass bridges, with numerous tourist attractions incorporating these transparent walkways as their unique selling points.
For the adventurous tourists among us, these glass bridges offer the promise of breathtaking natural vistas and unforgettable sensory experiences.
Yet, when it comes to such bridges, the paramount concern revolves around ensuring the safety of visitors who venture across them.
Tragically, a recent incident has highlighted the gravity of this concern.
On Wednesday (25 Oct), a heart-wrenching mishap unfolded involving a glass bridge at The Geong tourist site within the Limpakuwus Pine Forest, situated in the Banyumas Regency of Central Java.
This incident resulted in the shattering of the glass bridge, leading to the loss of one tourist’s life and causing injuries to another.
The fateful occurrence transpired while tourists were on the bridge, seemingly for the sole purpose of capturing stunning photographs.
Unfortunately, as the glass gave way, emitting a sound akin to an explosive burst, the consequences were dire.
At the time of the incident, approximately eleven individuals from the group were on the bridge, with the catastrophic fracture leading to a tragic outcome.
Eye-witness Sunarto recounted the harrowing event, emphasizing the deafening sound and the subsequent collapse of the glass onto the metal structure below. This catastrophe unfolded at approximately 10:00 AM.
Among the group of eleven tourists, four were focused on taking photographs. Two of them plummeted as the glass fractured, while the remaining two were left stranded on top.
All four of these tourists were women. Subsequently, the group of eleven split into two factions, with seven positioned to the west, safely separated from the danger.
Upon hearing the explosive-like noise, Sunarto reacted swiftly by seeking assistance from nearby workers.
Two individuals were found unconscious, but Sunarto refrained from descending immediately to the lower level, understanding the gravity of the situation.
Banyumas City Police Chief, Senior Commissioner Edy Suranta Sitepu, was quick to respond to the scene and confirmed the presence of casualties due to the incident.
One of the victims, identified by the initials FA (49), was declared deceased by a doctor, while another tourist named AI (41), sustained minor injuries.
Angga, an employee at The Geong, assured that the glass bridge was meticulously examined and cleaned daily, before the tourist attraction’s opening at 10:00 AM.
During the inspection, no irregularities were discovered, and there were no visible cracks in the glass.
Angga disclosed that the bridge was constructed using tempered glass, with an approximate thickness of 1 cm, similar to glass bridges at other tourist sites.
Netizens voice safety concerns over the glass bridge
Netizens have raised concerns regarding the potential hazards associated with inadequately constructed glass bridges.
Videos related to the tragic accident that claimed one person’s life are currently circulating on social media.
The Jateng_Twit X account posted footage depicting the events that unfolded at the shattered glass bridge on Wednesday (25 Oct).
In the circulating video, several men are seen attempting to assist a female victim trapped within the iron framework. Tragically, another victim lies motionless beneath.
This upload has garnered significant attention, with over 1.3 million views and numerous netizens expressing their heartfelt condolences for this devastating incident.
Several netizens have taken the opportunity to emphasize the critical safety aspects of glass bridges.
One user drew a parallel between the glass used in the bridge and the thick, double-tempered, and laminated glass typically employed in large aquariums. Additionally, they highlighted the impact of temperature on the condition of glass.
According to Mornglass, the necessary thickness of glass for a glass floor is contingent on the support provided by the structure and the dimensions the glass must span.
For larger areas, glass floors are usually supplied as multiple panels, which not only keeps the cost down but also enhances their strength in comparison to wooden floors. This increased strength is attributed to both the inherent durability of the glass and the supplementary support structures securing it in place.
Glass thickness can vary from 8mm to 12mm, or even thicker, to ensure safety, though this is accompanied by a higher cost.
Additional netizens have voiced concerns about the suitability of glass bridge tours in Indonesia. They’ve advocated for thorough feasibility assessments at the outset, with the caveat that ongoing maintenance may be neglected due to its associated costs.
One netizen spotlighted the absence of proper safety equipment among the group of individuals attempting to aid the victims, raising serious questions about the overall safety measures in place.
A female netizen shared a personal account, expressing her skepticism about the structural integrity of the glass frame at the tourist location, which dissuaded her from crossing the bridge.
Law enforcement authorities will conduct an inquiry into the safety and appropriateness of the glass bridge
The Banyumas City Police Criminal and Investigation Unit, in conjunction with the Central Java Regional Police Forensics Lab, is launching an investigation into the suitability of the glass bridge situated in the Limpakuwus pine forest tourist area.
This investigative effort encompasses a comprehensive examination of the bridge’s condition, including an assessment of its safety and structural integrity.
Furthermore, the police have initiated an inquiry into the tourism manager’s involvement in the incident. This investigation stems from the tragic death of a tourist who fell from the glass bridge tourist attraction on Wednesday (25 Oct) at 10:00 AM local time.
Senior Commissioner Edy Suranta Sitepu, the Banyumas City Police Chief, has underscored the pivotal role of a team of experts in this process.
Their task will be to evaluate the bridge’s condition, gauging its feasibility and safety. Commissioner Sitepu explained that the study will determine whether the bridge meets the required safety standards and is indeed suitable for public use.
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