SINGAPORE – Two workers had a close call on Thursday (May 11) morning after the gondola they were in tipped sideways at the top of a 15-storey Housing Board block in Boon Lay Drive.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said that it received a call for assistance at Block 199 Boon Lay Drive at 8.10am.
In response to queries, the SCDF said that a worker was seen on the ledge at the 15th storey beside a lopsided gondola and that he was brought in safely through the windows of the closest unit by the officers.
The SCDF added that the other worker was brought to safety through unit windows on the 14th storey by a member of the public before SCDF arrived.
Both workers were taken by SCDF to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
When contacted, a spokesman for the West Coast Town Council (WCTC) said the support system for the gondola set up by the contractor at the roof had given way, causing the gondola to tilt.
He added that HDB had inspected the building and confirmed that it is structurally safe. The area has also been cordoned off.
The two workers have been discharged and have been given medical leave, the WCTC spokesman said.
He added: “The town council and the contractor are following up to ensure their well-being.”
The workers were contracted to carry out repairs and redecoration work on the affected block, as well as other blocks in the vicinity.
A resident living in the opposite block, who wanted to be known as only Madam Kong, 70, said that she noticed that construction work started very early on Thursday morning.
She told The Straits Times in Mandarin: “When I saw the gondola, I told my maid that what they were doing was very dangerous. The moment I said that, I saw the whole gondola fall.”
She added that there were two people on the gondola at the time. A few seconds later, she saw debris fall from the top of the building.
“The whole thing scared me, my heart jumped, and I screamed,” Madam Kong said.
She added that one of the workers almost fell but managed to hold on to the wall and stabilised himself.
She said that the residents on the 14th storey opened the windows to let one of the men in. Another managed to climb onto the parapet on the 15th floor.
The resident of the 14th storey unit who let in one of the workers through the window said that she was working when she heard a noise coming from her younger brother’s room.
“When I reached my brother’s room, he was already opening the grill for the worker to hold on to, and the worker was stepping on the ledge to balance himself,” said the 25-year-old, who wanted to be known only as Ms Kam.
She added that when she saw the worker, he had one foot on the window ledge and the other entangled with a cable still attached to the gondola.
Ms Kam, an administrative assistant, said that she and her brother were able to help the worker get in and they gave him water.
The resident on the 15th storey unit, Ms Yanni, 22, said she that was showering when the incident took place.
She told ST that a worker was brought to safety by the SCDF through her unit’s windows.
She added that the worker was cleaning the exterior of the block as there were intentions to repaint it, and that work had begun earlier this week.
National Development Minister Desmond Lee, who is MP for the Boon Lay ward, said that the WCTC team was on site.
The WCTC spokesman said that its representatives, HDB, and the contractor were on site to assess the situation, ensure public safety, and recover the gondola.
He added: “Our priority is the safety and well-being of residents and the workers.”
ST has contacted the Building and Construction Authority for more information.