There was a bit of a commotion at Buona Vista SMRT station this morning (8 April) at about 8:45am when a young woman’s leg was caught in the gap between the train and at the platform.
Detailing the incident in a Facebook post, Brandon Wong said the train was full of passengers who were rushing to get out of the train. The lady was caught in the flow of bodies, pushed, and fell. Her right leg was caught in the gap and stuck right up to her knee.
Throughout the ordeal, Mr Wong made a few observations that he wanted to share with the public via his post. Firstly, he noted how other passengers were milling around the area taking photographs and videos of the poor woman. He said, “I had to shout “Press the emergency button!” 3 times before another passenger activated the emergency stop button.”
Mr Wong, who was attempting to calm the woman down and help her unstuck her leg, also noticed people who were displeased with the situation, apparently inconvenienced by the delay the incident was causing. He said, “Don’t make “tsk” noises to voice your displeasure at the situation. You’re going to be 10 mins late to work? Big deal. Think about it, a woman could have lost her life.”
As for the other bystanders, Mr Wong suggested that people should make way for first responders and SMRT service staff who were rushing towards the woman to offer their assistance. He also urged that space be made for the injured party to take a breath once she has been rescued.
Mr Wong didn’t let himself off the hook though, admitting that he ‘should have done more’ and that he was ashamed to admit that he should have been more prepared for situations like these.
He continued, “Had all of us at the scene been more considerate and prepared, the lady would have been put more at ease and felt more secure.”
Mr Wong’s second observation was for the apparent lack of first aid knowledge by the SMRT staff. He noted that the first SMRT staff on scene arrived 45 seconds after the incident while the second arrived more than a minute later. He also said that there was no mention of even calling for an ambulance until more than 10 minutes later, which he felt was ‘far too slow’.
Giving an example of how SMRT staff could benefit from a refresher course in how to administer first aid and deal with such incidents, Mr Wong highlighted how one of the staff present was visibly anxious and raised his voice at the woman who was stuck. He yelled at her to move her leg and only stopped when she loudly responded – while in tears – that it was too painful.
Mr Wong said, “There has to be more situational awareness.”
He described how the extraction process became much easier after he managed to talk to her can calmed her down, taking her through the ordeal and keeping informed about everything they were doing to help – from hitting the emergency stop and applying vaseline to her leg for lubrication to how they planned on getting her free.
“It might be ironic of me to call for more first aid training when I am not certified myself, but situations like these just reinforce my point,” he said.
However, Mr Wong did praise a medical student who had arrived on the scene about 11 minutes later who was ‘professional’ and immediately helped allay the woman’s fears.
In the end, Mr Wong urged commuters to not just be bystanders in such situations and pay more attention to the incident at hand to see how they might be of assistance. He also suggested that SMRT conduct more first aid training for their staff. He said, “I am not trying to vilify your organisation, I just wish there would be no more incidents like these. Your staff were wonderfully helpful but were obviously not trained for such situations.”