Bukit Panjang resident hurt as lift shoots up and down

The lift that Madam Yeo was taking from the ninth floor to the ground floor suddenly lurched up to the 11th floor, down to the third, then up to the 12th.
The lift that Madam Yeo was taking from the ninth floor to the ground floor suddenly lurched up to the 11th floor, down to the third, then up to the 12th. ST PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN
The lift that Madam Yeo was taking from the ninth floor to the ground floor suddenly lurched up to the 11th floor, down to the third, then up to the 12th. She hurt her spine and was warded for overnight observation.
The lift that Madam Yeo was taking from the ninth floor to the ground floor suddenly lurched up to the 11th floor, down to the third, then up to the 12th. She hurt her spine and was warded for overnight observation.ST PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN

Lift suspended from use for investigations; BCA also checking other lifts within vicinity

The authorities are investigating after a woman was injured when the lift she was in suddenly shot up and down - the latest in a spate of lift accidents in Housing Board blocks.

The 59-year-old part-time cleaner, who wanted to be known only as Madam Yeo, was descending from the ninth floor of Block 150, Petir Road, in Bukit Panjang to the ground floor on Tuesday when the lift suddenly lurched up to the 11th floor, dropped to the third, then shot up to the 12th.

Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council, which maintains lifts in the estate, was notified of the incident at about 12.15pm on Tuesday.

The lift at the 28-year-old block, which has 12 floors, was suspended from use the same afternoon for investigations.

Madam Yeo, who hurt her spine, was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and warded for overnight observation. She was discharged the next day.

 
 

Mr Tan Heng Tan, 55, an electrician who lives on the 11th floor of the block, said the lift had been converted to serve all floors when he moved in about nine years ago.

Previously, it had served just the first, sixth and 11th floors.

He has not witnessed any problem with the lift except for a glitch that occurred two weeks ago. When the doors opened at the first floor, the floor of the lift was about 30cm higher than the ground.

"I used it anyway and the rest of the ride was uneventful," he said.

When The Straits Times visited the block last night, the lift cabin was immobilised halfway between the 11th and 12th floors.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has asked the town council to appoint an independent authorised examiner to inspect the lift, recommend rectification works and submit the findings to BCA.

"The investigation and required rectification works must be carried out to the satisfaction of BCA, before the incident lift is allowed to resume operations," said a BCA spokesman. "As a precautionary measure, BCA is conducting checks on other lifts within the vicinity of the incident."

BCA will also conduct its own independent investigations.

A Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council spokesman said it will extend its "fullest cooperation" to BCA and the authorised examiner during their investigations.

It will also continue to offer assistance to Madam Yeo.

This incident is the latest in a spate of HDB lift accidents.

Last month, Mr Lim Hang Chiang, 77, died after he fell and hit his head when backing out of a lift on his mobility scooter. The accident at Block 247, Pasir Ris Street 21, is being investigated.

In March, a lift at Block 317, Ang Mo Kio Street 31, suddenly shot up 17 storeys to the top floor, causing an Indonesian domestic worker, Ms Evi Lisnawati, 36, to fall and hurt her back. The lift later stalled, trapping her inside for 1½ hours before she was rescued. The probe revealed that the brakes of the lift were likely not functioning well.

Last October, 85-year-old Jurong resident Khoo Bee Hua lost a hand and suffered a broken leg after lift doors closed on her dog's leash before it could enter. Investigations found nothing wrong with the lift at Block 322, Tah Ching Road.

In March, BCA announced it would step up its audits of lifts, especially those in HDB blocks. It added that there will be changes to the law when it completes its ongoing review of lift regulations this year.

•Additional reporting by Calvin Yang and Yuen Sin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2016, with the headline 'Woman hurt as lift shoots up and down'. Print Edition | Subscribe