Challenge to remove crane that crashed into bank

A mobile crane piled into a Woodlands Housing Board block yesterday morning after its driver lost control at a junction. Nobody was injured in the 7am accident, which left a 2m-wide hole in the brick wall of a POSB branch at the ground floor of Block
A mobile crane piled into a Woodlands Housing Board block yesterday morning after its driver lost control at a junction. Nobody was injured in the 7am accident, which left a 2m-wide hole in the brick wall of a POSB branch at the ground floor of Block 2A, Woodlands Centre Road. The 36-year-old Malaysian driver was freed with the help of two bystanders and later arrested. Police are investigating. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
The mobile crane crash (above and left) yesterday morning left a roughly 2m-wide hole in the wall of the POSB bank branch on the ground floor of Block 2A in Woodlands Town Centre. Eyewitnesses said that the driver of the crane escaped unhurt with the
The mobile crane crash (above) yesterday morning left a roughly 2m-wide hole in the wall of the POSB bank branch on the ground floor of Block 2A in Woodlands Town Centre. Eyewitnesses said that the driver of the crane escaped unhurt with the help of two passers-by.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
The mobile crane crash (above and left) yesterday morning left a roughly 2m-wide hole in the wall of the POSB bank branch on the ground floor of Block 2A in Woodlands Town Centre. Eyewitnesses said that the driver of the crane escaped unhurt with the
The mobile crane crash (above) yesterday morning left a roughly 2m-wide hole in the wall of the POSB bank branch on the ground floor of Block 2A in Woodlands Town Centre. Eyewitnesses said that the driver of the crane escaped unhurt with the help of two passers-by.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

No one hurt in incident at HDB block in Woodlands; structural integrity of building not affected

The mobile crane that had crashed into a Housing Board block in Woodlands Town Centre was still stuck in a wall of the block late last night, more than 16 hours after the incident happened early yesterday.

The crane had skidded off the road and fell onto its side around 7am while making a turn at the junction of Admiralty Road and Woodlands Centre Road.

No one was injured in the incident, which left a hole around 2m wide in the side of a POSB bank branch on the ground floor of Block 2A, Woodlands Centre Road.

According to eyewitnesses, the driver escaped unhurt with the help of two passers-by.

The crane remained lodged in the wall, and a large area at the foot of the four-storey block was still cordoned off at 11pm yesterday.

The Straits Times (ST) was told that the operator of the crane was working on getting the machine out safely. At press time late last night, it was not known when that might happen.

Residents of the affected block have also been notified of the incident. ST understands that HDB officers had personally delivered circulars on the incident to the residents. The circulars were also pasted at the staircase landings.

Yesterday morning, up to 70 people were at the scene as engineers from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) worked to assess the damage. Part of an adjoining linkway structure was also damaged.

According to a BCA spokesman, the structural integrity of the building was not affected by the crash. He said that an inspection was also carried out by the building's appointed professional engineer, who will conduct detailed investigations to "recommend permanent rectification works".

Chemical plant worker Yap Khoi Fat said earlier yesterday that his motorcycle was dragged under the crane after he left it parked next to the bank while he went to a nearby food centre. "It is completely flattened now, and I probably can't get it back," said the 58-year-old Malaysian who lives in Johor and has been working in Singapore for 30 years.

"I don't think it can be repaired. I am still in shock. I don't know how I will be able to get home today."

Mr Samat Salleh, a security officer, was sleeping at home on the second storey of the block when he was woken up by a loud crash.

"I felt the building shake and thought it was an earthquake," said the 50-year-old, who rushed to the scene to check if anyone was hurt, before calling the police.

Others reported seeing some smoke at the side of the block.

The area is a popular and convenient stopover spot among Malaysian workers heading to the factories in Senoko Road, said Mr Chong Shin Min, a shop assistant at Kah Soon Textiles, which faces the bank. "The workers would sit around the area to chat and have their drinks. The bank is also usually busy but, thankfully, it wasn't open at that time."

A spokesman for the bank said the branch will remain closed temporarily.

Police are investigating. They have arrested the crane's 36-year-old Malaysian driver, who is a Singapore permanent resident, but gave no further details.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2016, with the headline 'Challenge to remove crane that crashed into bank'. Print Edition | Subscribe