Woman hurt after Boon Lay lift drops, shakes and rises

The lift at Block 207, Boon Lay Place, was back in operation following repairs. In August, the same lift also dropped unexpectedly from the third to first storey, said Madam Ng. Her daughter and two grandchildren were with her at the time, but no one
The lift at Block 207, Boon Lay Place, was back in operation following repairs. In August, the same lift also dropped unexpectedly from the third to first storey, said Madam Ng. Her daughter and two grandchildren were with her at the time, but no one was injured.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

66-year-old retiree ends up with leg injury; BCA probe shows that lift's limit switches were faulty

Madam Ng Poh Kim was leaving her home for an excursion for seniors last Tuesday morning when the lift she was in suddenly plunged three storeys to the ground floor.

The incident left the 66-year-old retiree, who lives on the third storey of Block 207, Boon Lay Place, with a leg injury.

"I had just pressed the button to close the door, then the whole lift just dropped. It all happened so quickly, it was really scary," Madam Ng said in Mandarin. She stayed on her feet but the violent jerk resulted in severe pain to her right leg, she recounted. When she tried to press the button to get out, the lift shook, rose and finally opened its doors on the second storey.

This is the second time that she has experienced such a mishap at her block, she said. In August, the same lift - Lift C - also dropped unexpectedly from the third to first storey. Her daughter and two grandchildren were with her at the time, but no one was injured and the incident went unreported.

This is the latest in a spate of lift incidents in the past year that has left one dead and several others with injuries.

  • Other recent lift incidents

  • OCT 9, 2015

    An 85-year-old woman lost her left hand after it was severed in a lift incident at Block 322, Tah Ching Road, in Jurong. Madam Khoo Bee Hua's dog was outside the lift when the doors shut and its leash was too thin for sensors to detect. Her hand was crushed and severed as the lift rose.

    MARCH 7, 2016

    A lift at Block 317, Ang Mo Kio Street 31, abruptly shot up 17 storeys to the top floor, causing an Indonesian domestic worker to fall and hurt her back. It subsequently stalled, trapping Ms Evi Lisnawati, 36, inside for 11/2 hours. A probe revealed that the lift brakes were not functioning well.

    MAY 15, 2016

    Mr Lim Hang Chiang, 77, died after hitting his head when his mobility scooter tipped as he was backing out of the lift. The lift at Block 247, Pasir Ris Street 21, was not level with the lobby floor.

    Investigations are ongoing.

    JUNE 9, 2016

    Madam Lai Hsiu-Lan, 68, ended up with fractured wrists and a bruised eye after tripping while exiting a lift at Block 285, Bukit Batok East Avenue 3. The lift car was not level with the first floor, she said. However, preliminary investigations did not show any anomalies with the lift.

    NOV 10, 2016

    Part of the ceiling of a lift at Block 480, Pasir Ris Drive 4, fell and hit Mr Mohammad Yazid Razali, 36, his 63-year-old father and two- year-old son. The older man was scratched by the metal panel; the boy suffered a bump on his head.

    Yeo Sam Jo

According to investigations by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), the Boon Lay lift's limit switches between the first and second storey were faulty. These switches ensure the lift does not travel beyond the top or lowest floor.

A BCA spokesman said: "The lift system detected this fault and caused the lift to initiate a safety stop between the second and first storey until the lift re-levelled at the second storey.

"As lift components such as limit switches are subject to wear and tear, such incidents can be minimised through replacement during regular maintenance of lift parts."

The BCA had earlier instructed West Coast Town Council, which is responsible for the lift's maintenance, to work with the lift contractor and perform the necessary checks and rectifications.

The lift was initially closed for repairs, but it resumed operation around 3.30pm yesterday.

Residents said the lift, one of three in the block, was installed in 2000. It is the only one that serves all floors - the other two stop only on odd-numbered floors in the 10-storey block.

"Sometimes the lift will stall before moving, but I've never experienced the lift dropping like that," said housewife Joy Gan, 50, who has lived on the third storey for 20 years.

A 10th-storey resident, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Phoon, said she has had no problems with Lift C, except that it tends to break down once every few months.

"More people use this lift because it goes to every floor," said the 40-year-old part-time hawker stall assistant. "But I'm not worried. We live so high up we have no choice but to use the lifts," she added.

Mr Patrick Tay, who is Member of Parliament for the area, said he visited Madam Ng at her home last Thursday after learning of the incident.

"In addition to current supervision, audits and checks of lifts in the constituency, I have requested the West Coast Town Council to conduct an additional round of checks of similar lifts across the constituency as a precautionary measure," he said.

•Additional reporting by Janice Heng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2016, with the headline 'Woman hurt after Boon Lay lift drops, shakes and rises'. Print Edition | Subscribe