Man, 89, dies after being hit by falling branch

The tree was last inspected by an arborist in December, said Jalan Besar Town Council, which oversees the area. The next inspection is scheduled for June. The town council said it has "an active horticulture maintenance programme" in place.
The tree was last inspected by an arborist in December, said Jalan Besar Town Council, which oversees the area. The next inspection is scheduled for June. The town council said it has "an active horticulture maintenance programme" in place.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

An 89-year-old man died after he was struck by a falling tree branch yesterday morning.

The police said they were alerted to the case of unnatural death at 7 North Bridge Road at 5.26am. The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it received a call for ambulance assistance at about 5.30am.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

The tree was last inspected by an arborist in December, as were other trees in the estate, said Jalan Besar Town Council, which oversees the area. The next inspection is scheduled for June.

The town council said it has "an active horticulture maintenance programme" in place. "Under this programme, trees in the town are inspected by an arborist every six months, and major pruning is carried out where necessary."

It added that general maintenance is carried out once every month, on top of the half-yearly programme. The monthly general maintenance includes pruning, which began on Friday for trees in the estate and continued yesterday.

The town council said it was in touch with the man's family to provide assistance and support.

Central Singapore District Mayor Denise Phua told The Sunday Times that she was saddened by the incident. "In my 12 years as MP in my constituency, this is the first incident of a resident's demise caused by a fallen tree branch," she said. "I want to see an even more aggressive plan to ensure such an incident will not happen (again)."

She said she rushed down to the scene with officers from the town council and the Housing Board yesterday morning and visited the man's home. "He lived alone, although he had more than 10 children. The family members have been located. I've contacted the daughter and consoled her and offered help," said Ms Phua.

In February last year, a 40m-tall Tembusu tree fell at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, killing a 38-year-old female Indian national.

Lydia Lam

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 22, 2018, with the headline 'Man, 89, dies after being hit by falling branch'. Print Edition | Subscribe