Maid who fell to death while trying to climb back into flat: Coroner rules misadventure

Filipina helper Milagrosa Altoveros Okamoto fell to her death on April 16, 2014, from the fifth storey of the Stadia condominium at Yio Chu Kang Road. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE 
Filipina helper Milagrosa Altoveros Okamoto fell to her death on April 16, 2014, from the fifth storey of the Stadia condominium at Yio Chu Kang Road. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE 

SINGAPORE - On April 16 this year, Ms Milagrosa Altoveros Okamoto was preparing dinner when she stepped out of the apartment to take out the trash.

But the Filipina helper found herself locked out when the door closed and locked on its own. Fearing that something was burning on the stove, she knocked on her neighbour's door, went inside the other unit and climbed onto a balcony railing to try to open the kitchen window of her apartment on the fifth floor.

The 28-year-old lost her balance and fell to her death instead.

On Friday, a coroner's inquiry called the incident at the Stadia condominium at Yio Chu Kang Road a "tragic accidental misadventure" that showed the dangers of acting impulsively.

State Coroner Marvin Bay said that Ms Milagrosa had acted in "blind panic".

The court heard that around 6pm that day, the Filipina, who started working here in December 2011, did not take the keys with her when she stepped out halfway to remove the trash.

Trapped outside her employer's flat after the main door closed and locked on its own, Ms Milagrosa, who was alone, knocked on the neighbour's door to ask for help.

When asked what was wrong, she replied that something was "burning" and was allowed into the flat. Ms Milagrosa went straight to the balcony and stood on the railing. She tried to support herself against the adjacent wall, but lost her balance.

pohian@sph.com.sg