Alexandra Canal accident: Mother, daughter were shopping moments before accident

Madam Yep Lay Choo's husband, Mr Robin Poon (centre), was at the morgue on Monday morning with relatives to collect the victims' bodies.
Madam Yep Lay Choo's husband, Mr Robin Poon (centre), was at the morgue on Monday morning with relatives to collect the victims' bodies.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
A man cycles past the car which crashed into Alexandra Canal on Jan 25, 2016.
A man cycles past the car which crashed into Alexandra Canal on Jan 25, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Three tow trucks hoist the crashed car out of Alexandra Canal on Jan 25, 2016.
Three tow trucks hoist the crashed car out of Alexandra Canal on Jan 25, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
People watch as a car which crashed into Alexandra Canal is hoisted by three tow trucks.
People watch as a car which crashed into Alexandra Canal is hoisted by three tow trucks.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Unidentified people crying at the scene of the crashed car.
Unidentified people crying at the scene of the crashed car.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
SCDF officers have installed a ladder near where the car is suspected to have plunged into the canal, to help with rescue operations.
SCDF officers have installed a ladder near where the car is suspected to have plunged into the canal, to help with rescue operations.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Divers conducting search and rescue operations in Alexandra Canal after a car plunged into it, near Valley Point Shopping Centre on Jan 24, 2016.
Divers conducting search and rescue operations in Alexandra Canal after a car plunged into it, near Valley Point Shopping Centre on Jan 24, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
SCDF officers carrying one of the victims from the scene of the accident, on Jan 24, 2016.
SCDF officers carrying one of the victims from the scene of the accident, on Jan 24, 2016.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
SCDF officers carrying one of the victims of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.
SCDF officers carrying one of the victims of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
SCDF officers performing CPR on one of the victims of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.
SCDF officers performing CPR on one of the victims of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
SCDF officers attending to one of the victims of the accident, near Valley Point Shopping Centre, on Jan 24, 2016.
SCDF officers attending to one of the victims of the accident, near Valley Point Shopping Centre, on Jan 24, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Police officers standing near the site of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.
Police officers standing near the site of the accident on Jan 24, 2016. ST PHOTO: DAVID FOGARTY
Police officers standing near the site of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.
Police officers standing near the site of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
A rescue diver leaving the scene of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.
A rescue diver leaving the scene of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
An aerial view of the site of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.
An aerial view of the site of the accident on Jan 24, 2016. ST PHOTO: DAVID FOGARTY
People looking on at the scene of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.
People looking on at the scene of the accident on Jan 24, 2016. ST PHOTO: DAVID FOGARTY
Police and SCDF personnel at the site of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.
Police and SCDF personnel at the site of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.ST PHOTO: DAVID FOGARTY
Paramedics at the scene of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.
Paramedics at the scene of the accident on Jan 24, 2016. ST PHOTO: DAVID FOGARTY
SPF and SCDF vehicles at the scene of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.
SPF and SCDF vehicles at the scene of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.ST PHOTO: DAVID FOGARTY
SPF and SCDF vehicles at the site of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.
SPF and SCDF vehicles at the site of the accident on Jan 24, 2016. ST PHOTO: DAVID FOGARTY
SPF and SCDF vehicles at the site of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.
SPF and SCDF vehicles at the site of the accident on Jan 24, 2016. ST PHOTO: DAVID FOGARTY
SPF and SCDF vehicles at the site of the accident on Jan 24, 2016.
SPF and SCDF vehicles at the site of the accident on Jan 24, 2016. ST PHOTO: DAVID FOGARTY

SINGAPORE - The two women who died when their car plunged into Alexandra Canal on Sunday night have been identified as Madam Yep Lay Choo, 51, and her daughter, Ms Kimberly Poon, 22.

Madam Yep’s husband, Mr Robin Poon, 50, who runs a car repair business, said he was at a loss about what to do after losing his wife and daughter.

“They are my princesses,” he said.

Mr Poon said his wife was a very quiet woman. “But she was a workaholic,” he said.

He described his daughter Kimberly, who was in a logistics course at the Singapore Institute of Management, as a very easygoing and bubbly person.

He was at the morgue on Monday morning with relatives to collect the victims' bodies.

Mr Poon said the family had gone for lunch in the afternoon at an Italian restaurant at Hotel Vagabond in Syed Alwi Road, followed by foot massages.

They then went their separate ways for dinner as Mr Poon had an appointment.

 

"That was the last I saw them," he said.

Madam Yep, a human resource manager, and Ms Poon, their only child, went for dinner at Valley Point Shopping Centre. The duo took the family car, a silver Mercedes E250.

Madam Yep's brother, Mr Yep Tai Sai, 54, said CCTV footage from the mall showed the two walking happily in the carpark carrying grocery bags.

"They were smiling and walking, nothing was wrong," said Mr Yep.

Eyewitnesses told The Straits Times that the car emerged from the carpark of Valley Point Shopping Centre in River Valley Road at around 9pm. It drove straight into the bushes next to Alexandra Canal before hitting the water.

Mr Poon told Shin Min Daily News that the CCTV also captured the car leaving the carpark. He saw his wife and daughter for a last time in the footage, he said.

It is understood that Mdm Yep was driving while her daughter was sitting in the front passenger seat. From the footage, Mdm Yep looked like she was stepping on the brake, Mr Poon said. 

He added that she had been driving for about 20 years and was an experienced driver.

He said that his wife and their daughter were close and they were planning to go on a holiday to Hong Kong.

Witnesses told Lianhe Wanbao that the car sank into the water quickly, and turned upside down.

The police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force arrived shortly after, as about 200 people gathered near the canal and the mall to see what was happening.

A floodlight was installed and a ladder placed at the spot where the vehicle was believed to have entered the water.

The women were in the water for about 30 minutes before divers retrieved their bodies, Shin Min reported.

The police said they received a call at 9.02pm requesting assistance at the canal near 491 River Valley Road.

Upon arrival, it was established that an accident involving a car had occurred at the location.

The two women were pronounced dead on scene by paramedics. The police are investigating the unnatural deaths.