SINGAPORE — Nearly eight hours post a Tanjong Pagar building collapsed on Thursday afternoon, June 15, 2023, the Singapore Civil Defence Force recovered the body of a missing worker, who was found trapped under the wreckage with no signs of life.
The incident occurred at a construction site in Tanjong Pagar, when part of a building structure collapsed, leaving one worker unaccounted for.
The structure, part of the Fuji Xerox Towers, adjacent to the M Hotel, was in the process of being demolished to make way for a new mixed-use development called Newport Plaza when the collapse occurred at approximately 2 pm local time.
SCDF was promptly alerted about the incident. SCDF officers from the 1st SCDF Division and Marina Bay Fire Station, along with rescuers from the elite Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART), rushed to the scene.
After over six hours of search and rescue operations, rescue workers discovered the worker’s body beneath the debris, approximately 2m below the surface.
According to the latest information shared on the SCDF’s official Facebook page, the victim of the tragedy has been identified as an Indian worker.
Search and rescue teams discovered the worker pinned beneath the wreckage of the collapsed reinforced concrete structure at approximately 6 p.m.
The SCDF immediately conducted cutting and breaking operations to free the casualty.
“The operation also required the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) personnel to dig their way through the rubble to create space and assess where parts of the body may have been trapped. ”
Additionally, the presence of twisted scaffolding added further complexity to the operation.
After nearly four arduous hours, the casualty was eventually freed at 9:45 p.m. Regrettably, the worker was pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic, leaving a solemn atmosphere permeating the site.
Earlier in the search operation, CCTV footages from the surrounding buildings were obtained by the Police to assist in the assessment of the situation.
The collaborative efforts of heavy machinery from the construction site, coupled with specialized rescue equipment, were instrumental in cutting and lifting the reinforced concrete slab.
“11 SCDF emergency vehicles and about 70 personnel, including rescuers from the DART were deployed at the scene for this operation.”
In a joint statement released on Thursday night, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) shed light on the cause of the tragic incident.
According to the statement, a reinforced concrete wall measuring approximately 10m in length and 3.8m in height collapsed onto the street during the ongoing demolition process.
“BCA has instructed the project parties to stop all construction activities, and will revoke the permit for all works while investigations are ongoing. MOM has also instructed the employer of the worker to stop all works at the site.”
The statement added that the rest of the building has been assessed to be stable and there are no concerns over its structural integrity.
It stated that Woh Hup, the occupier of the worksite, and Aik Sun Demolition and Engineering, the employer of the worker, were directly associated with the operations at the site.
Commenting on the incident, a spokesperson of City Developments Limited, the developer of Newport Plaza, said, “We share our deepest condolences with the family for their loss and are working with Aik Sun to offer our assistance.
“We are grateful for the swift response from the Police, SCDF, including DART rescuers, the search canines and medical personnel who were deployed to the site for emergency response.”
The spokesperson added, “Our immediate priority is the well-being of the affected workers, and we are working closely with our contractors to provide the necessary support. Workplace safety is of paramount importance and we are cooperating fully with the authorities for a thorough investigation.”