Six Australians Injured in Pagoda Railing Collapse

Six Australian tourists were injured Monday when a railing they were sitting on at a temple in Kompong Cham province’s Kompong Siem district suddenly collapsed, sending them tumbling down an embankment.

Two of the injured visitors, Christine Menzel, 63, and Ian McIntosh, 66, were rushed to Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh for treatment after the railing surrounding Han Chey pagoda gave out at about 9:30 a.m, causing the pair, as well as four others, to fall about four meters.

Ms. Menzel suffered serious back injuries and possibly a broken rib, while Mr. McIntosh underwent surgery for a dislocated elbow.

Sandra McIntosh, 63; Heather Todd, 73; Steven Burgess, 65; and Patricia Jachimowicz, 68, were treated at the Kompong Cham Provincial Hospital for minor injuries.

The unfortunate sextet, which was part of a larger tour group, had been sightseeing on their final day of a seven-day Mekong River cruise organized by Pandaw River Expeditions.

“[The railing] all of a sudden gave away and all these people just fell into the jungle,” said Ms. McIntosh, from New South Wales, adding that she and her “tough-as-nails” husband would travel on to Siem Reap for a six-day stay there as soon as he was released from hospital.

Ms. McIntosh, who received four stitches for a wound on her head, said the accident had not marred an otherwise enjoyable trip to Cambodia.

“Everyone has been wonderful helping us—the staff at the original hospital, at this hospital [Calmette], and all the travel-company people who carried everyone out,” she said.

Ms. Menzel’s husband Phil, who was not injured in the accident, said he and his wife would return home to Adelaide, South Australia, as soon as possible so she could receive further treatment.

“We’ll never go to another temple again,” he said.

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