Part of lift ceiling in Pasir Ris block falls, injuring two

Part of the lift's ceiling at Block 480, Pasir Ris Drive 4, fell and hit Mr Yazid, his 63-year-old father and his two-year-old son.
Part of the lift's ceiling at Block 480, Pasir Ris Drive 4, fell and hit Mr Yazid, his 63-year-old father and his two-year-old son. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD YAZID RAZALI

Investigations ongoing; town council says it'll look into compensation for family after probe

Technical producer Mohammad Yazid Razali was leaving his parents' flat after dinner last Thursday when an ordinary lift ride nearly became a disaster.

Part of the ceiling of the lift at Block 480, Pasir Ris Drive 4, fell and hit Mr Yazid, his 63-year-old father and his two-year-old son on their heads. "It just dropped on us suddenly. Everybody was shocked," said Mr Yazid, 36, whose parents live in the block.

While Mr Yazid escaped without injuries, his son suffered a bump on his head. His father was scratched by the metal panel, left dangling on a cable.

His wife and two older daughters, who were also in the lift at the time, were unhurt.

Mr Yazid dialled the emergency number in the lift and also informed Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council, before going to a nearby 24-hour clinic. The doctor said the injuries were not serious.

But Mr Yazid, who lives in a Housing Board flat in Woodlands, said: "I am angry. What kind of lift is this? My son cried loudly and had nightmares. Now he's traumatised and afraid to enter lifts."

He hopes something can be done to prevent such incidents from recurring. "It's lucky that I am tall and absorbed a lot of the impact (from the dislodged ceiling panel)," said Mr Yazid, who stands at 1.84m.

"But my grandfather and parents use the two lifts in the block every day. There are also quite a number of elderly people and kids who live there. I am worried that something might happen to them."

He is planning to seek compensation for the $128 that his family spent at the clinic.

In the past year or so, several incidents have occurred in which ceiling boards, cladding or other structures have dislodged from HDB blocks. There have also been incidents involving lifts in which people were hurt.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said it was alerted to last week's incident on Friday, and investigations are ongoing to determine the reason for the ceiling panel's dislodgement. "When BCA engineers were on site to inspect the lift, they found that the dislodged ceiling panel had already been put back into place," a spokesman said.

She added that the lift contractor has conducted checks on lifts within the vicinity and that the BCA has not received any report of similar incidents.

Mr Zainal Sapari, an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, said the town council is retrieving the closed-circuit television camera footage to find out what happened last week.

"The urgent thing is to look at the cause of it and decide on any necessary action," said Mr Zainal, who is also chairman of Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council.

"We have told the family that we will look into compensation when the investigation is over," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2016, with the headline 'Part of lift ceiling in Pasir Ris block falls, injuring two'. Print Edition | Subscribe