Malaysian student hurt in Nice attack returns to Penang

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SINGAPORE: Malaysian Esmond Chuah, who was injured in the Bastille Day attack in the southern French city of Nice, is now recuperating in his hometown of Penang.

Chuah, 22, was flown back by his parents on Sunday after having been discharged from the Singapore General Hospital a day earlier, according to a report in The Straits Times.

The back of the third-year student from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) was fractured when he was hit by the side of a 19-tonne truck that ploughed through a crowd on July 14.

Chuah flew back to Singapore on July 28 with his parents, who had travelled to France to see him. He was admitted to hospital upon arrival, said The Straits Times report.

In a statement to the media, an SUTD spokesman said Chuah had made good progress towards recovery and would be recuperating for some time in Penang.

The ST report said that in a Facebook post on July 27, he had written: “Everything is fine now. Just need time for my back to heal.”

Chuah added that he had fractured parts of his spine but his spinal cord had not been injured.

He had written that the tragic incident “has left this beautiful city with a scar”, but said the city had shown him the “strength, warmth and support of the locals in times of need”.

He had written: “I urge everyone to not associate Nice with the action of a delusional man, but to remember the city as a paradise with scrumptious cuisine, charming architecture, sophisticated language and a breathtaking coastline.”

Chuah was one of 12 SUTD students in Nice for a three-week summer programme which ended on July 22, said the ST report. He had been with a group of young people, including some from other universities, when the attack occurred.

Several SUTD students had told The Straits Times they were at the Promenade des Anglais to watch the fireworks, and fled when the attack, in which scores were killed, began at around 10.45pm.

During a roll call at their hostel later that night, they discovered that Chuah was missing. It was not until the next day that the anxious group heard from him, when he contacted them using a nurse’s cellphone.

The driver, Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, was shot dead by police after killing 84 people and injuring more than 200 others.