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Selina Lum
Thursday, Jun 26, 2014

Singapore

Boy's death at cemetery: 'Mix of events' caused accident

The Straits Times | Selina Lum | Thursday, Jun 26, 2014

SINGAPORE - A coroner examining the death of a three-year-old boy who was run over by a private bus at a cemetery has suggested that the use of mirrors addressing driver blind spots be studied.

State Coroner Marvin Bay concluded yesterday that the death of the boy, Kryshan Nirmal Kumar, in December last year was "a tragic confluence of several events all occurring at the same time".

The boy was attending a funeral with his mother and older brother at a Christian cemetery off Old Choa Chu Kang Road when he met with the fatal accident.

Bus driver Ng Yam Bak, 48, who had ferried them and other relatives there, was driving off when he ran over Kryshan, who was standing near the front of the bus.

After alighting from the bus, Kryshan's mother, Madam Jaiyesthri Ramasamy, 30, walked in front of the bus and noticed that the shoelaces of her older child had come loose, so she squatted down to tie them.

Mr Ng did not see anyone in front of his bus and started to drive off. At the same time, his attention was drawn to another boy who was shouting at him and running down the aisle inside his bus. The eight-year-old boy, who had fallen asleep on the bus, had panicked after waking up.

The coroner's inquiry heard that Mr Ng had thought that everyone had alighted and was surprised to see someone still on the bus.

When Madam Jaiyesthri realised the bus was moving, she tried to pull both her children away, but Kryshan was run over. He suffered multiple injuries, including a fractured skull.

An expert reconstructionist who carried out a simulation to determine the driver's view concluded that the immediate area around the front of the bus was a blind spot for the driver.

Delivering his findings, the coroner said the accident was a result of several events: Madam Jaiyesthri being unaware that the bus was about to move off; Kryshan and his family being within the blind spot; and Mr Ng being "misdirected" by the cries and movement of the boy inside the bus.

"Ultimately, this is a truly sad misadventure arising from a road accident," he said.

The coroner commented that it may be necessary to review the visibility of objects and people close to the front of large passenger vehicles.

He said this was particularly relevant where the drivers sit in an elevated position and their frontal vision may be compromised by a long and broad dashboard between them and the windscreen.

The coroner suggested that the design and placement of blind-spot mirrors deserved careful study.

Madam Jaiyesthri, meanwhile, has engaged law firm Clifford Law to send a letter of claim to the bus driver, bus company and its insurers.

Lawyer Vanessa Sandhu said her client, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression as a result of the accident, believes that the driver was reckless.

selinal@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 24, 2014.
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