Flowers and condolence notes left at accident site

A woman (left), who said she was a family member, at the scene of the accident around mid-morning yesterday. She placed a bouquet of blue flowers at the scene, and removed a photograph and clothing that had been placed there. A condolence note that w
A woman (above), who said she was a family member, at the scene of the accident around mid-morning yesterday. She placed a bouquet of blue flowers at the scene, and removed a photograph and clothing that had been placed there. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
A woman (left), who said she was a family member, at the scene of the accident around mid-morning yesterday. She placed a bouquet of blue flowers at the scene, and removed a photograph and clothing that had been placed there. A condolence note that w
A condolence note that was left at the scene of the accident. The area was cordoned off, but drew many visitors yesterday.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Flowers, clothing and a photograph were found placed at the scene of Saturday's horrific crash in Tanjong Pagar, as people paid their respects to the five men who were killed when the BMW they were in crashed into a shophouse and burst into flames.

Condolence notes were also among the items placed around the vacant shophouse.

The accident happened on the second day of Chinese New Year. The police said it was the highest number of people killed in a single traffic accident in the past decade.

The area was cordoned off yesterday morning, but drew many curious onlookers as well as friends and family.

A woman wearing a black dress, who said she was a family member, arrived around mid-morning and placed a bouquet of blue flowers at the entrance of the shop.

She declined to speak to the media, but removed the photograph and clothing placed at the scene.

Aside from another friend, who arrived at about noon, there were people who stopped in their cars or while on foot to take pictures of the charred shopfront.

One couple, who had been eating at a market nearby, said they came to say a prayer for the driver, Mr Jonathan Long, whom their son had met once years before.

A passer-by, a 73-year-old mechanical engineering consultant who gave his name only as Mr Tan, said he attends the church next door to the crash site.

He took photos of the accident site and told The Straits Times that speeding cars were a frequent occurrence in Tanjong Pagar and where he lives in Katong.

Many residents at Block 7 Tanjong Pagar Plaza had heard a car speeding around the neighbourhood before the crash.

A 51-year-old business executive living on the 10th floor, who wanted be known only as Ms Siew, said: "I woke up to the sound of a car speeding around the neighbourhood on Saturday morning. I then saw it racing down the road and heard a crash.

"Shortly after, there was the smell of smoke."

A business executive in her 20s, who lives on the 24th floor, said: "My father was woken up by the commotion of a car speeding along the stretch (of road next to our block) a few times between 4am and 5am on Saturday.

"He also saw people exiting and entering the car at the bus stop opposite our block."

All five men who died had worked at Aviva Financial Advisers.

Four were financial advisers at the firm at the time of their deaths. They were Mr Long and Mr Eugene Yap, both 29, Mr Elvin Tan Yong Hao, 28, as well as Mr Teo Qi Xiang, 26.

Mr Gary Wong Hong Chieh, 29, was a former representative of the firm.

The five men were in the BMW M4 Coupe when it slammed into the front of the shophouse and burst into flames at about 5.40am.

Mr Long's girlfriend, Ms Raybe Oh Siew Huey, 26, suffered severe burns when she tried to save the men trapped in the burning car.

As at yesterday afternoon, Ms Oh was still in critical condition in the intensive care unit, said a Singapore General Hospital (SGH) spokesman.

A staff member at the SGH mortuary said the five bodies would not be released yesterday.

Friends of the dead men told The Straits Times that there were no wakes planned yesterday as they had been told the forensic team was unable to identify the bodies without DNA testing. The DNA results would take a couple of days.

"There is no wake until the DNA tests are done. The police will take a few days to release the bodies," said a friend, a 28-year-old bank executive who declined to be named.

Ms Clarissa Tan, 23, a friend of Mr Yap, said: "Eugene was a very, very good friend (who) doted on us a lot. He cared for his friends' well-being a lot. And he always made sure we were home safe after a night out."

The disc jockey added that Mr Yap was a hardworking man who handled her family's insurance. His Instagram profile said he was a wealth manager at Aviva Financial Advisers.

He was also a co-founder of local bubble tea chain Bober Tea.

Said Ms Tan: "He often dropped by my house to visit with food and bubble tea. If I was sick or hospitalised, he would also be among the first few to visit me."

The 28-year-old bank executive said: "Both Jon (Jonathan Long) and Raybe are close friends of mine.

"Young, driven and kind-hearted. Like many young people, they do have their playful side but never (meant) to harm anybody.

"I was so looking forward to them tying the knot but what's left now is just heartache."


Flowers for the dead at crash site

Throughout the day yesterday, relatives and friends of the five young men killed in Saturday's horrific car accident visited the boarded-up crash site - a vacant Tanjong Pagar shophouse that the BMW M4 Coupe smashed into before bursting into flames. Some left flowers or notes, while others, including strangers, just stood there, silently saying a prayer for the dead. The Traffic Police are exploring enforcement and road-calming measures in the area.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2021, with the headline 'Flowers and condolence notes left at accident site'. Subscribe