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Ng Jun Sen
Friday, Sep 5, 2014

Singapore

Gate falls at Bartley Road East, crushing foreign worker to death

The New Paper | Ng Jun Sen | Friday, Sep 5, 2014

SHOCK: A Bangladeshi man (on the ground) was killed by a falling metal gate.

If he had reacted quickly and moved a few metres, he would still be alive.

This was what witnesses said after they tried in vain to free a Bangladeshi worker who was trapped under a fallen metal gate at a construction site at Bartley Road East yesterday.

Known to his friends as Mr Khorim, 41, the man was standing in front of a massive metal gate, measuring about 4m high and 6m wide, when it fell and hit him on the head.

The gate, which slides open to allow traffic to enter and leave the construction site, was being tested by Mr Khorim and a few other workers when it tipped over at around 9am.

The New Paper understands that they had pushed the gate beyond its supports, causing it to topple.

The loud noise caught the attention of more than 10 passers-by and construction workers, who rushed to Mr Khorim's aid.

One passer-by, Mr Zhang Zeng Dong, 44, told TNP that the man was trapped in the middle of the gate.

Mr Zhang, who lives in a nearby foreign workers' dormitory, said: "Even with so many of us desperately trying to lift the gate, it wouldn't budge. He couldn't respond to us and I saw blood everywhere. It was a really gruesome sight.

"If he had moved a few metres from where he died, he would have been safe. What a shame."

Mr Khorim was freed after Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers lifted up the gate using a hydraulic spreader and a 10-tonne lifting jack. An SCDF spokesman said Mr Khorim was pronounced dead on the spot by paramedics.

WORKED FOR 6 MONTHS

A close family friend said Mr Khorim had started work at the company, Stirling Engineering, about half a year ago.

He got married four years ago and had a three-year-old daughter, said Mr Badal, 37, who grew up with Mr Khorim in the same village in Bangladesh.

The construction worker said: "I cried and cried when I heard the news in the morning. When I called his family to inform them, they broke down on the phone." He took pictures of the tragedy but he will not be sending them to Mr Khorim's family as "it will cause them more grief".

He remembered Mr Khorim as a busy man who kept in close contact with his peers from the same village.

"He would always call us and talk to us about his life here. Now he's gone so suddenly."

When TNP arrived around 10.30am, Mr Khorim's body was lying on the ground as investigators from the police and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) took photographs and notes of the scene. Around 15 workers from the construction site sat some distance away. Some had been involved in trying to rescue Mr Khorim and were visibly upset.

A MOM spokesman said officers from the Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate responded to the accident.

"Preliminary findings show that the worker was testing the sliding motion of the gate when it collapsed and pinned him to the ground," said the spokesman. A spokesman for Stirling Engineering said "there are many parties involved in this case" and declined to comment on the accident.

The construction site is run by Singapore Piling & Civil Engineering. It could not be reached for comment.

A police spokesman said the case has been classified as an unnatural death. Investigations are ongoing.

BY THE NUMBERS

17

Number of construction fatalities in the first half of this year, said a spokesman from the Manpower Ministry.

Similar incidents

August 2014 A four-year-old boy suffered neck pains and a cut on his head after a 3m-tall glass door came off its hinges and fell on him at Westgate mall in Jurong East. The boy had been playing with the door on the fifth storey.

November 2013

An engineering firm boss, who was propping up eight glass door panels in a crate, was killed when they fell on him. He was pinned under the glass doors, which weighed about 400kg in total, and died in hospital an hour later from severe head injuries and heart complications.

March 2011

A metal gate weighing 900kg fell on a security officer on his first day of work at the MRT's North-East Line depot in Sengkang. The man, who had been trying to close the gate, died in hospital four hours later

ngjunsen@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on September 03, 2014.
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