Family of man who died in Novena excavator incident arrive at mortuary

The family of the machine operator who died after he was trapped under concrete and debris at a worksite on Thursday, arrived at the mortuary early Friday morning.

Mr Low Chim Lam was extricated by officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force after an operation that took at least five hours.

Preliminary findings showed that the 59-year-old victim was operating the excavator on a first-storey floor slab some time after 8am when it gave way.

The machine then toppled onto its side and fell to the basement level, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Thursday.

Mr Low was carrying out demolition works at Novena Ville in Thomson Road which is to be developed into a four-storey residential cum commercial development called Novena Regency.

SCDF First Division commander Daniel Seet said the driver's cabin was pressed against a reinforced concrete beam, making it "very dangerous and difficult for an immediate rescue effort".

Officers had to work with site contractors to use a 160-tonne crane that arrived on scene at about noon. Once the machine was stabilised, another excavator with a hydraulic cutter sliced away at concrete beams and flooring that were pressed against the cabin to reach Mr Low, who was pronounced dead at 2.03pm.

He is believed to have been married with children but his family declined to talk to the media at the mortuary.

Demolition works were being carried out by Hwa Aik Engineering, which declined to comment. The MOM has issued a stop-work order at the site.

Police said the accident has been classified as unnatural death.