These pictures with children crossing a make-shift bridge over a swollen river are not from some remote village in wild Nepal. These pictures with young students risking their lives walking on a hanging wire footbridge over the rushing waters of Evinos river are from Western Greece in January 2023.
The unprecedented pictures posted on social media triggered an outrage and the intervention by a local prosecutor.
The students and some accompanying parents choose this route to return homes in the villages of Famila and Stranoma by Nafpaktia after a big landslide on the provincial road linking the villages to the school in Thermos.
The bus could not cross the road due to the landslide caused by the bad weather and instead of hitting an alternative route, the adults and the students chose to cross a point in the river where there was the 70-meters-long wire bridge and a cab.
The canopy ropes are tied to two trees on both sides of the river, some media reported. They added that the bridge is some 100 years old.
According to state broadcaster ERT, early Friday morning, the prosecutor of Agrinio intervened and requested testimonies of all involved in the incident in order to find out whether the offense of exposing minors to danger has been committed.
Mayor of Thermos, Spyros Konstandaras, reportedly said that neither he nor the District was ever informed in order for the students to return home by bypassing a road that was open. He announced that he would request a criminal prosecution of all those responsible since “these situations are unacceptable.”
He added that the Municipality would have accommodated the students in a hotel or advise the bus driver to take an alternative route.
“Some parents decided to take the children over the swollen river that had a water level of 10 meters. The District had no information. Some parents were waiting across the river for their children. Detour was 1 hour. These things cannot happen above the swollen river. It is not possible for a fourth grader to enter the canopy to cross the river. I found out about it when I saw the photos on social media and I protested; I called the Police and asked that anyone who approaches there be arrested” said mayor Kostantaras told Open TV.