Workers stranded on tilting gondola rescued by SCDF

The two workers were washing the facade of Block 451 Yishun Ring Road when the gondola tilted to one side. They were stranded between the fifth and sixth storeys for about 15 minutes before being rescued.
The two workers were washing the facade of Block 451 Yishun Ring Road when the gondola tilted to one side. They were stranded between the fifth and sixth storeys for about 15 minutes before being rescued.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Two workers cleaning the side of a Housing Board block had to be rescued by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) yesterday when their gondola tilted to one side - leaving them dangling six storeys above the ground.

The two men had been working on the facade of Block 451 Yishun Ring Road when the accident happened, leaving them stranded for about 15 minutes.

It is believed that they managed to stay within the gondola.

An SCDF spokesman said that one of the workers was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital with minor injuries, which The Straits Times understands include cuts to the head, while the other was unhurt.

A colleague of the two men, who are from India, said he heard that a faulty motor had caused the gondola to tilt at around midday.

The duo were trapped between the fifth and sixth storeys of the block, and one worker was rescued using aerial equipment.

The other was rescued through the window of a sixth-floor unit, which the SCDF had to enter by force as no one was home.

Full-time national serviceman Rene Lee, 20, a resident of the unit, said the gate and door of his home were damaged, along with his bed frame and furniture.

LUCKY ESCAPE

Luckily, nobody was badly injured. I just hope the door and gate can be repaired soon.

MRS LEE , 50, who lives in the unit that had to be broken into to aid the rescue effort. No one was home at the time.

"The police called me around 12.30pm to say they had already entered the unit.

"As I was still in camp, my mother rushed home," he said.

His mother, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Lee, 50, a sales director, said the experience was unsettling and had scared their dog.

"Luckily, nobody was badly injured. I just hope the door and gate can be repaired soon," she said, adding that Sembawang Town Council representatives had visited the unit to assess the damage.

 

Residents saw several police and SCDF vehicles at the block during the drama, adding that cleaning and painting works had been going on there for several weeks.

A spokesman for Sembawang Town Council said the workers were hired by a contractor, Choice Decor Co-operative Society, to carry out repair and redecoration works. They had been washing the facade of the building to prepare it for repainting.

She said the contractor would ensure that the injured worker makes a full recovery before returning to work.

She added: "While the cause of this incident is under investigation by the Ministry of Manpower, we have instructed all works involving gondola to be stopped immediately until further notice."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2019, with the headline 'Workers stranded on tilting gondola rescued by SCDF'. Print Edition | Subscribe