Man who smashed window 'a hero', says commuter

SINGAPORE - The man who smashed open the window of the stalled MRT train in Thursday's line breakdown has been hailed a 'hero' by at least one commuter.

According to Chinese evening paper Shin Min Daily News, he is believed to have done so as his wife was ill and had difficulty breathing.

The evening daily identified the man as a 31-year-old insurance agent, but he declined to give his name.

SMRT has said it would not penalise the man for the act, considering the cirumstances.

But in a Straits Times report, it advised commuters never to break windows or force the doors open in such a situation.

Senior vice-president for communications and services, Mr Goh Chee Kong, said that in the event of a power failure, there is a back-up system that will activate emergency lights within the carriages and provide ventilation.

However, in the incident on Thursday, one commuter interviewed by The Straits Times said the back-up system did not kick in.

Despite reassurances by the train driver 20 minutes into the breakdown, commuters were left in the dark without ventilation as the power was cut, said Ms Michelle Chan, 35, a secretary.

Ms Chan also commended the "hero" who smashed the window, saying "he did a good job" and should not be penalised for it.

According to Ms Chan, people were panting from the heat and a little boy beside her cried in fear. She felt herself panicking and growing breathless.

Ms Chan then overheard a man opposite her telling a woman next to him: "There is a fire extinguisher there. Let's smash the window."

Despite someone shouting at him to "cool down", the man, who was wearing a business shirt, calmly moved over to pick up the fire extinguisher.

He used it to hit the window five or six times before it shattered.

People started breathing more easily as air rushed in, said Ms Chan. The man then told passengers to stay away from the shattered glass as it was dangerous, she added.

The doors were eventually forced open by another passenger and people in the cabin were helped out.

Ms Chan took a photo of the broken MRT train window and sent it to a friend in hopes he could get help. The photo went viral soon after.