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Playground incident injures four; leads officials to suspend use of rope bridges

Date Posted: 2005-08-27

A weekend accident injured four youngsters and an adult on a Tamagusuku Village playground.

The Young People’s Center, which includes overnight accommodations, is home to a large playground with swings, slides, snad boxes, horizontal bars, wooden horses and a 20 meters long suspension bridge.

A rope on the suspension bridge gave way, sending 14 kids tumbling 1.5 meters (about 5’) to the ground beneath. Three of the children were injured, along with an adult chaperone on the rope bridge. A five-year-old had a 3cm cut on his forehead, and the other two boys suffered possible concussions.

The bridge, officials say, is made from a strong net type rope, tied along the sides with additional ropes. Investigators have been called in to assist in finding out whether it was an accident, or whether somebody cut the rope.

For now, authorities across the island have blocked use of rope bridges on playgrounds until each can be safety inspected. With the last days of summer vacation in full swing, boy scouts, girl scouts and independent groups of children have been flocking to the playgrounds.

Authorities say approval by either police or prefecture officials must come before youngsters are allowed back on the bridges.

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