A 57-year-old man, who was reportedly trying to wash his hands in the Kallang River, drowned after he fell in.
Police told The Straits Times they received a call for assistance at around 2.39pm on Saturday.
After a two-hour search, the body of the man was retrieved from the canal near Block 14, Upper Boon Keng Road by Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) personnel. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
According to eyewitnesses, the victim, Mr Suhaimi Abu Bakar, had been seen in the area at about 2.30pm.
One man who was fishing nearby, known only as Mr Liu, told Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao he had seen Mr Suhaimi take newspapers from a rubbish bin.
At the time of the incident, I had left him alone for a while to buy drinks. By the time I returned, there were lots of police officers, and I found out he had fallen into the river.
MR KAMRUDIN, a close friend of the victim. They had met for a chat before the incident, having grown up in the area.
"I was not sure if he wanted the newspaper so he could spread it on the floor to sit down, or to read," said the 33-year-old Mr Liu, who works in a glass factory.
Mr Liu said the newspapers, however, were smeared with droppings. Mr Suhaimi then climbed over the railings and was seen trying to wash his hands in the river.
"Ten minutes later, I heard a 'plop' sound and, when I turned around, he was nowhere to be seen. I ran over, but the water was murky and I could not see much," Mr Liu said.
SCDF conducted search operations and deployed two pairs of divers, who recovered Mr Suhaimi's body from the river at around 4.30pm.
Mr Suhaimi's close friend, 61- year-old Mr Kamrudin, told Wanbao that they had arranged to meet in the area for one of their regular chats. They grew up there, he said, so it held fond memories for them.
"At the time of the incident, I had left him alone for a while to buy drinks. By the time I returned, there were lots of police officers, and I found out he had fallen into the river," said Mr Kamrudin.
SCDF also dispatched a fire engine, two fire bikes, a Red Rhino, an ambulance and a support vehicle to the scene. A police spokesman said investigations into the unnatural death are ongoing.