Rescue of maid dangling from railing comes just 1½ months into national serviceman's posting

(From left) Sergeant Prem Rengasamy, Staff Sergeant Chan Wai Hong, Staff Sergeant Stanley Koh and Special Constable Corporal Rajdave Singh helped pull a maid dangling off a fifth-storey ledge to safety at Bukit Panjang Ring Road on Dec 6, 2017.
(From left) Sergeant Prem Rengasamy, Staff Sergeant Chan Wai Hong, Staff Sergeant Stanley Koh and Special Constable Corporal Rajdave Singh helped pull a maid dangling off a fifth-storey ledge to safety at Bukit Panjang Ring Road on Dec 6, 2017.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - Saving a woman who was dangling from a fifth-floor corridor railing was not something Special Constable Corporal Rajdave Singh expected to do just 1½ months into his national service posting.

The 19-year-old and three other police officers from Bukit Panjang Neighbourhood Police Centre were part of the dramatic rescue on Wednesday morning (Dec 6).

"It's not something I would have imagined seeing, but thankfully, we've had training to go through different scenarios and to deal with various cases," said Cpl Singh.

On Wednesday, a 24-year-old Myanmar maid locked herself by mistake in a room in a fifth-floor flat at Block 241, Bukit Panjang Ring Road, at about 8am.

The maid, who had been working at the HDB unit for a month, had tried to get out of the room by first crawling out of a window and then using the ledge to find a way back into the flat.

The incident was captured on video, which has gone viral. In the video, the maid can be seen walking barefoot along the ledge towards the corridor railing. She is seen reaching out to the railing and a woman, a tenant of the same unit, grabs her arms. Officers and a neighbour then rush over to pull her over the railing to safety.

Leading the team of four officers responding to the case was Staff Sergeant Stanley Koh, 28. In the video, he is the first officer seen dashing forward to grab the maid's arms.

"We weren't sure of the exact situation, so I observed from a distance as I did not want to agitate the subject and I approached with caution."

It was only when he got closer that he noticed the maid's hands outside the railing and rushed forward to grab them.

"I realised (the woman and I) couldn't pull her over, but within 15 seconds, the three other officers came," said Staff Sgt Koh.

With the help of a neighbour, Staff Sgt Koh, Cpl Singh, Staff Sgt Chan Wai Hong, 27, and Sgt Prem Rengasamy, 28, pulled the maid to safety.

Said Sgt Rengasamy: "There was an adrenaline rush, and the only thought I had was that she had to be saved, there was no second option."

After the rescue, Sgt Rengasamy spoke in Tamil to the maid, who understands the language. 

"She was shell-shocked and there were tears... it was only then that we found out that it was not a suicide attempt," he said.

 

Staff Sgt Koh said that the woman who helped in the rescue, a 35-year-old secretary who rented a room in the flat, was equally shocked but she was also relieved after the incident.

Staff Sgt Chan said that officers have responded to similar incidents in the past where people were seen on ledges of HDB flats, but in this case especially, time was of the essence.

"Because she was hanging there, (there was a chance that) in a few seconds, she wouldn't be able to hang on. Thankfully we reached (her) in time," said Staff Sgt Chan.