In the early hours of Tuesday morning (20 April), a 33-year-old Bangladeshi worker died in the hospital after the lorry he was travelling in collided with a stationary tipper truck on the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE).
The fatal accident also saw 16 other migrant workers injured and were sent to the hospital for treatment. All the migrant workers were travelling to worksite on the back of a lorry with no seatbelts on.
Based on a Facebook post on Tuesday evening, the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) said that nine of the injured workers were discharged from the hospital but the remaining seven are still admitted in the hospital, with two in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
“As of this evening, 9 of the injured workers have been discharged from hospital after being treated for minor injuries while the remaining 7 are still warded in hospital. Out of the 7, 2 are in the Intensive Care Unit and we ask for all well-wishers to offer up their thoughts and prayers for these workers,” MWC wrote.
The lorry driver, a 36-year-old man, was arrested for careless driving causing death.
Police revealed that they were alerted at 6.06am of the accident on the PIE towards Changi Airport before the Jalan Bahar exit.
According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), two individuals were found trapped in the rear compartment of the lorry, and were rescued using hydraulic equipment.
The lorry passengers, aged between 23 and 46, were sent to National University Hospital and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
The police also noted that two of the workers were unconscious after the accident.
In a video posted on Facebook by local community initiative ItsRainingRaincoats, one can see a green truck stationed on the road shoulder, with a lorry that seemed to be bent out of shape.
Two ambulances, a fire engine, and more than a dozen SCDF officers, as well as at least four health professional with personal protective equipment (PPE) were also spotted at the scene, along with several people wearing yellow vests.
The individuals, who seemed to be injured from the accident, were seen lying unmoving on stretchers on lane four of the road, with one being attended by a number of people.
According to the Land Transport Authority, the accident caused heavy traffic up until Pioneer Road North.
The Straits Times (ST) reported that all of the passengers of the lorry are migrants workers working for Bright Asia Construction.
It is not illegal for workers to be ferried at the back of lorries.
Over on social media, online users questioned how is it acceptable for migrant workers to be ferried to work on lorries without having proper safety measures in place.
Penning their thoughts in the Facebook page of Mothership, they said that such an act is dangerous, and asked where is the law enforcement in this to prevent such an accident from happening.
One user noted that this is an “accident waiting to happened” and the authorities are not proactive as they will only take action after such an event occurs.
One user pointed out there’s simply “lack of enforcement on our roads” as errant road users are aware that the chances of them getting caught is “almost zero”. As such, they disobey rules by speeding, using hand phones, reckless driving and more.
Others blamed the lorry driver for speeding, stating that it is common to see lorries speeding on the road with no regards to their safety as well as those around them. Some said that lorry drivers drive recklessly and cut lanes dangerously.
One user even claimed that Traffic Police who drive pass them will just close an eye and take no actions in regards to their offences.
A number of online users called for the Government to review the mode of transportation used to carry migrant workers to work. They said that these workers are not goods or livestock to be ferried around at the back of lorries, adding that it should be made mandatory for them to be ferried on vehicles like bus or van where there will be seatbelts for them to fasten.