Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer, has sent her deepest condolences to family and friends of a Cape Town pupil who died on a school trip to Vietnam on Friday, December 8. The Grade 11 student from Westerford High School died during a bicycle tour in the Sapa Valley. Shannen Rustin was part of a history tour of South East Asia by 32 Grade 11 pupils from the school, they were accompanied by two teachers and a parent. The pupils were touring Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand from December 3 and were expected to return on December 19.
Tour leader Gordon Brookbanks said, on Friday morning the group left on a cycle ride from near they hotel in Hoi An. Pupils who had difficulty riding a bicycle travelled on the back of scooters. Rustin cycled, but after half-an-hour said she was tired, so she jumped on the back of a scooter with a tour operator. When the group stopped to rest and take pictures at a bridge, Rusten collapsed. She was rushed to the nearest hospital six minutes away, on the way the tour operator tried to give her mouth to mouth resuscitation.
Emergency staff tried for an over an hour to resuscitate her but it was too late. Her family were immediately notified of her death.
Schafer said: “I can’t imagine what the parents are feeling, I’m really sorry and they must make use of all resources available to them like counselling.”
Rustin’s body is expected to be flown back home some time this week. The school tour will continue in her memory.