Lift floor not level with lift lobby 6 times in months before elderly man's fatal fall, court told

The use of the affected lift at Block 247 Pasir Ris Street 21 has been suspended after the incident on May 15 2016 which caused a resident, Mr Lim Hang Chiang, 77, to fall. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SINGAPORE - In the months leading to a man's fatal fall, there were six instances where the lift floor was not level with the lift lobby floor when the doors opened at Block 247, Pasir Ris Street 21, the coroner's court heard on Tuesday (Aug 1).

On May 15 last year, Mr Lim Hang Chiang, 77, fell backwards and hit his head after reversing his mobility scooter out of the lift without noticing that its floor was 13cm higher than the lobby. He died the next day in hospital.

On the second day of an inquiry into Mr Lim's death, Building and Construction Authority (BCA) investigation officer Winson Lee, who took the stand, said that the six earlier "mislevelling" incidents took place between December 2015 and March last year.

He told State Coroner Marvin Bay that the BCA launched an investigation after the fatal incident and found out about these instances following complaints residents had made to Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council about the lift.

Mr Lee said the town council had received such complaints once a month between January and March last year.

The BCA then conducted an in-depth investigation and viewed closed-circuit television footage (CCTV) of the area.

Mr Lee said the levelling problem could take place "intermittently" and no one was injured in these earlier cases.

The problem was either auto-corrected with built-in recovery mechanisms or rectified after technical repairs, the court heard.

A CCTV footage of the fall was played in court on Tuesday. It showed the white-haired Mr Lim riding his mobility scooter into the lift from the 10th storey.

Two more men entered the lift before it went down to the ground floor.

Mr Lim was the first to leave the lift, and, due to the uneven ground, the mobility scooter toppled over and he fell.

The two other men rushed forward to help him and he was seen waving his hand around as he lay face-up on the floor just outside the lift.

Mr Lim re-entered it minutes later on his mobility scooter and got out at the 10th storey.

There was no "mislevelling" problem when he rode out.

His family members later took him to Changi General Hospital where he threw up thrice before falling into a coma.

According to earlier news reports, CT scans and an X-ray showed that he had a cerebral haemorrhage, and the internal bleeding affected half his brain.

He died in the early hours of May 16 last year.

The inquiry has been adjourned to Aug 22.

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