Update: Crowds on NEL cleared; student whose leg was stuck taken to hospital

SINGAPORE - Crowds on the Northeast Line cleared on Wednesday morning, about two hours after a delay caused by an incident at Hougang station. A student's leg was trapped between an MRT train and the platform.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was alerted to the incident at about 7.50am. A spokesman said that the members of the public had helped to pull the student's leg out of the gap before the SCDF arrived at the scene. Her leg appeared to have bruises. She was conscious and was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Evening Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao on Wednesday reported that a NEL staff member suggested using to soap to ease the Nanyang Junior College (NYJC) student’s leg out of the gap. He remembered a past incident, and knew it was a “critical situation”, the report said. He asked a colleague to take soap from the MRT station’s toilet, and the student’s leg was pulled out four to five minutes after the soap was poured on her leg.

The staff member, who was not named, also said that many passengers rushed to the 19-year-old student’s aid, and even tried to use moisuriser to help get her leg out, but that it did not work.

An NYJC spokesman on Wednesday said that the student suffered a dislocated knee. The spokesman added that she was resting at home.

In a statement on Wednesday, Ms Tammy Tan, senior vice-president of Corporate Communications at NEL operator SBS Transit said: “Just before 8am this morning, a female commuter slipped and caught her left leg in the 10cm gap between the platform and train at the North East Line Hougang Station.”

She added that staff and fellow commuters quickly attended to her and managed to get her out several minutes later. She also said that public announcements were made to inform commuters about the delay.

The Straits Times understands that the 10cm gap is part of the design of the system. It provides a small physical clearance to accommodate the movement of the train body when it approaches the station. Without it, the train body may come into contact with the station's platform edge. Announcements at the train station remind commuters to “please mind the gap”.

By about 9.30am, the crowds on the Northeast Line was cleared.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg