Lift in Sengkang stops, then drops sharply

Mr Tan Joo Jin standing in front of the lift where the incident took place.
Mr Tan Joo Jin standing in front of the lift where the incident took place.PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Not the first time lift has malfunctioned, says resident; report lodged with town council

A Sengkang resident has told The Straits Times how a malfunctioning lift in his block stopped randomly between floors and dropped suddenly yesterday - three days after a similar incident left a woman in Bukit Panjang with a spinal injury.

Mr Tan Joo Jin, 45, entered the lift on the 15th level of Block 299A, Compassvale Street. All appeared fine until five other people entered on the eighth floor.

"We experienced a sudden strong jerk and the lift stopped between levels 3 and 4 for a few seconds," said the assistant safety manager.

"Then the lift suddenly shot downwards and stopped between levels 2 and 3 before landing hard on the ground floor."

He e-mailed Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council and received a reply that the issue was being looked into.

HIGHER AWARENESS

There have always been incidents, but now people are more conscious and report these issues. The important thing is to learn from the incidents.

MR LEONG SHEE KOK, a lift engineer.

Mr Zainal Sapari, an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, who is also town council chairman, said the lift was tested yesterday and no fault was found. "In the meantime, we are asking our lift contractor Sigma to check other lifts in the area."

Mr Tan's encounter comes after five lift incidents in the past eight months. The Building and Construction Authority said there have been 12 lift incidents that led to injuries since 2013.

While it was Mr Tan's first time contacting the town council about the lift, it was not the first time it malfunctioned, he said. The lift was recently closed for servicing after it moved up and down randomly.

He said he has lived in the block for 10 years and the issues there have become more common in the past year. "As a safety officer, I want to prevent any future accidents and ensure the residents here are safe."

Fellow resident Samantha Wong, 57, a housewife, said: "It seldom stops at where you want and will skip your floor. There is a problem about once every three weeks."

She added that, once, the lift stopped between levels 8 and 9 before moving up to the ninth floor, where the door opened.

Mr Tan's incident is the latest in a spate of accidents in Housing Board blocks.

 

On Tuesday, part-time cleaner Yeo Choon Tee was descending from the ninth floor of Block 150, Petir Road, to the ground floor when the Sigma-manufactured lift lurched up to the 11th floor, dropped to the third, then shot up to the 12th.

Madam Yeo was warded for overnight observation and discharged the next day. She had held on to the handrail the entire time, her daughter was quoted as saying in Chinese evening paper Shin Min Daily News. The daughter also said Madam Yeo described the experience as similar to an earthquake.

A Sigma spokesman said: "We are aware of this incident and we are working to gather more information as quickly as possible. The safety of the public is always a top priority."

Lift engineer Leong Shee Kok, who has over 40 years of experience, said the recent spate of incidents may not mean that there are more incidents, but that more are coming to light.

"There have always been incidents, but now people are more conscious and report these issues. The important thing is to learn from the incidents," he said.

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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2016, with the headline 'Lift in Sengkang stops, then drops sharply'. Print Edition | Subscribe