Driver saves passengers from out-of-control cab: 5 instances S'poreans helped others in danger

To stop the out-of-control taxi, Mr Chalmers Chin drove his car in front of it so that it struck the rear of his vehicle. The cab passenger in the front seat steered the taxi to the road shoulder as it came to a halt.
To stop the out-of-control taxi, Mr Chalmers Chin drove his car in front of it so that it struck the rear of his vehicle. The cab passenger in the front seat steered the taxi to the road shoulder as it came to a halt.PHOTO: CHALMERS CHIN

SINGAPORE - A taxi moves erratically in front of your car on a highway with its hazard lights on. Other cars try to avoid the taxi. One of the cab's passengers waves her hand for help from the vehicle's partially open door. What do you do?

This was a real situation that played out on Tuesday morning (Oct 1) and comes even as doubts are being cast on how civic-minded Singaporeans are.

Coincidentally, later in the day, veteran diplomat Tommy Koh lamented that Singapore is a First World country with Third World people, noting that many Singaporeans are selfish and unkind.

Still, a number of Singaporeans have selflessly gone out of their way to help others in danger, including education consultant Chalmers Chin.

During the incident with the out-of-control taxi on Tuesday, Mr Chin, 31, deliberately caused a road accident to save the cab's four passengers - two women and two children.

He did so by driving his car in front of the taxi so that it struck the rear of his vehicle. The passenger in the cab's front seat steered the vehicle to the road shoulder as it came to a halt.

The 60-year-old cabby had lost consciousness at the wheel. He was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he later died.


There are other everyday Singaporeans who have stepped up to help others in harm's way. Here is a look at five more instances.


An SBS Transit employee saved a boy from a 5m fall at Sixth Avenue MRT station in a six-second rescue drama on Sept 24.

The boy, who looked to be about five years old, had entered the station with his mother, who was pushing a stroller with another child.

As the mother moved down the platform, the child, lagging behind, began to play with the handrail.

Mr Mohamed Ferdaus Mohamed Yusoff, 39, said: "I heard a loud commotion, turned and saw the boy hanging off the escalator with one arm and one leg dangling."

The senior assistant station manager bolted up the moving escalator. Taking two to three steps at a time, he reached the boy near the top in six seconds. Typically, it takes about 20 seconds for a person standing still to reach the top.

Grabbing hold of the boy, Mr Ferdaus hauled him over the handrail to safety.

In the process, he lost his balance and fell on the steps of escalator, hurting his knee. However, he still held the boy tight as he hit the emergency stop button.

"I was just thinking to myself, 'Please let me reach him in time'," Mr Ferdaus said.


Secondary school student Diniy Qurratuaini performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a woman who had been hit by a bus. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI


Secondary school student Diniy Qurratuaini was on her way home from school on July 19 on service 25, when the bus hit a pedestrian at a traffic light crossing in New Upper Changi Road.

Diniy, who was sitting on the lower deck of the double-decker bus, told the passenger in front of her to call 995. After she explained the situation to a paramedic over the phone, she ran out of the bus to attend to the victim, performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

"I didn't want to leave her just lying there and have people looking at her. I ran to her quickly to check and realised she was unconscious and didn't have a pulse," said the 15-year-old.

With the first-aid skills she had acquired during her training in the National Civil Defence Cadet Corps, her co-curricular activity in school, Diniy was able to resuscitate the woman.

She also waited with the woman until paramedics arrived.


Mr Clement Tan in a photo taken in November 2018 in Norway. On Nov 10, 2018, Mr Tan jumped into freezing waters at Dublin's River Liffey to save a drowning man. PHOTO: COURTESY OF CLEMENT TAN

He was just a student in a foreign country, making his way to his friend's residence on a cold winter's night.

But when Republic of Singapore Navy officer Clement Tan saw a man fall into the freezing waters in Dublin on Nov 10 last year, he knew he had to act quickly.

The former water polo player, who was 21 at the time, recounted: "I realised that if immediate action wasn't taken, the possibility of him sinking and drowning was very real... I couldn't bear the thought of passively watching someone die."

So in what he called "a split second decision", he took off his jacket and jumped into the river in his school T-shirt and pants.

He grabbed hold of the man and a life buoy, but struggled to stay afloat as the man was too big for it.

To make things worse, Mr Tan's legs began to go numb in the cold water and he could not find a way to get out of the river.

Eventually, aided by the shouts of passers-by, he was able to find a ledge and pull the man ashore.

Despite saving a life, he did not consider himself a hero.

"I don't think what I did was anything extraordinary. I think it's a natural reaction to want to help someone in distress," he said.


Freelance media consultant Willson Tang was out for a walk around Punggol Jetty last December when someone told him an elderly man was "diving and swimming" in the sea.


The problem? Mr Tang, 51, had spoken to the man earlier, who was on crutches at the time.

Realising something was off, he quickly dived into the water to pull the man out.

"He was so heavy that I almost couldn't pull him out; it was only then I realised that I might get a massive heart attack... All I could do was pray," said Mr Tang, who was due for heart bypass surgery in October last year.

With the help of three other passers-by, he was eventually able to bring the older man back to shore.

He said: "In such situations, I think everyone will jump down too; you just go and try to help."



He was just 12 years old at the time, but when two cars collided at the junction of Yishun Ring Road and Yishun Avenue 2 in May 2016, Ashvin Gunasegaran was the only one who went forward to help.

While a group of about 10 adults gawked and snapped away with their phones, the boy's first instinct was to dash out to the busy junction, despite his friends' warnings that smoke was coming out of the cars.

"They thought there might be an explosion and told me to come back, but I said that (the victims) need my help, and you can't watch people suffer without doing anything," he said.

Having learnt from a safety talk at his school that he should try to help people in an accident, he attempted to yank open one of the car's doors, and comforted a pregnant woman who was trapped inside.

She gave him a cap inscribed with his name as a token of appreciation when they met again the next month.

Ashvin's father, assistant engineer A. Gunasegaran, said: "This is something normal that other children could also have done, it just so happened that he was seen doing it. We believe in karma, that you should help others when you can."