'Hero cabby' rushed to rescue man in burning car

Cabby Weng Dianlai (left) rushed to the aid of Mr Raymond Ang, whose car (above) had crashed into a tree in Marymount Road and burst into flames on Sept 24.
Cabby Weng Dianlai (above) rushed to the aid of Mr Raymond Ang, whose car had crashed into a tree in Marymount Road and burst into flames on Sept 24.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO
Cabby Weng Dianlai (left) rushed to the aid of Mr Raymond Ang, whose car (above) had crashed into a tree in Marymount Road and burst into flames on Sept 24.
Cabby Weng Dianlai rushed to the aid of Mr Raymond Ang, whose car (above) had crashed into a tree in Marymount Road and burst into flames on Sept 24.PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF RAYMOND ANG

He stopped taxi and tried to put out fire, then got passengers to help pull driver out of car

Cabby Weng Dianlai's wife was flipping through the Shin Min Daily News on Wednesday when her husband pointed to a picture of an accident and said he had been there.

"She just nodded and turned the page," said Mr Weng.

What the 58-year-old father of three did not mention was that he saved the driver, who had crashed into a tree, from a fiery death. He told The Straits Times: "I was helping a stranger in need. I don't expect any recognition."

The man he saved, however, was moved enough to post his thanks on Facebook because he did not know how else to reach Mr Weng.

On Monday, Mr Raymond Ang, 27, wrote: "To whomever you are, I wish to express my gratitude to you for willing to stop your vehicle and pull me out of my burning car, saving my (sic) this small little life."

JUST HELPING SOMEONE IN NEED

I was helping a stranger in need. I don't expect any recognition.

CABBY WENG DIANLAI 

In the wee hours of Sept 24, Mr Ang's black Kia Picanto burst into flames after he apparently fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a tree in Marymount Road. Behind his car was Mr Weng's taxi, headed to Bishan with two passengers.

"(Mr Ang's) car went up the kerb and hit a wall before it crashed into a tree," said Mr Weng, who stopped his Hyundai Sonata in order to help.

He ran about 30m to the badly damaged car and saw smoke coming from the engine compartment.

"The impact of the crash was so great, the hood was curved around the tree," said Mr Weng, who has been a cabby for more than 20 years.

He rushed back to his car to get an extinguisher, while his passengers called for an ambulance. He urged them to pull the unconscious man out of the vehicle. "They were initially reluctant because they didn't know if moving him might worsen his condition," he said. "They wanted to wait for the ambulance."

"A fire was imminent," said Mr Weng, who quickly realised his portable extinguisher was no match for the blaze. The gathering flames left them with no other option.

His two male passengers, whom he described as being in their 30s, pulled Mr Ang out of his burning car and about 25m away.

"We tried to wake him up by shaking his hand, but he didn't respond," said Mr Weng.

The men stayed until the ambulance and two fire engines arrived. The fire was put out by firefighters using a water jet, said a Singapore Civil Defence Force spokesman.

Mr Weng had earlier noticed Mr Ang's car when he said the latter honked and sped past him along Thomson Road in the direction of Marymount Road. At a traffic light, Mr Weng said he noticed Mr Ang was leaning back in his seat, with his hands on the wheel. He added that he could not tell if his eyes were open. When the lights turned green, Mr Weng said Mr Ang moved off but then veered to the left, crossing two lanes before hitting the kerb.

The police said investigations are ongoing.

When contacted, Mr Ang declined to comment, saying he "did not want to make it a big thing". But he said he would treasure "this life that you (Mr Weng) saved".

Mr Weng said: "I hope that he drives safely on the roads now that he has been given a second chance."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2015, with the headline ''Hero cabby' rushed to rescue man in burning car'. Print Edition | Subscribe