Highway collapse in Singapore leaves one dead, 10 injured

About 60 Singapore Civil Defence Force officers, including members from the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team, as well as SCDF K9 dogs, conducted a three-hour search and rescue operation. — Picture via Facebook/SCDFAbout 60 Singapore Civil Defence Force officers, including members from the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team, as well as SCDF K9 dogs, conducted a three-hour search and rescue operation. — Picture via Facebook/SCDF

SINGAPORE, July 14 — Part of a highway structure under construction at Upper Changi Road East collapsed early this morning, killing a 31-year-old worker from China and injuring 10 others.

Preliminary investigations showed that “corbels supporting the pre-cast beams had given way,” the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in a statement. It ordered a “safety timeout” for all road and rail construction sites to review their safety measures and processes while further investigations with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) got underway.

Corbels are structural elements jutting from a wall to help support heavy items. According to the LTA, the contractor, Or Kim Peow Contractors, was “carrying out works to cast the decking” for the new viaduct when a section between two piers collapsed.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said they were alerted to the incident shortly after it happened at 3.30am.

About 60 SCDF officers, including members from the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART), as well as SCDF K9 dogs, conducted a three-hour search and rescue operation at the worksite, where a new road viaduct from the Tampines Expressway to the Pan Island Expressway (Westbound) is being constructed.

Eleven workers, from China, India, and Bangladesh, were working on top of the structure during the accident. The worker who was killed is a Chinese national. The others were taken to Changi General Hospital with injuries.

A hospital spokesperson said eight of the injured workers had to be admitted for treatment, while two others had been discharged.

The injured workers are employees of subcontractor Tongda Construction & Engineering.

The main contractor for the project, Or Kim Peow (OKP) Contractors, had earlier in the week been convicted and fined for separate workplace safety lapses and the death of a worker in 2015.

On Tuesday, the company and its safety coordinator and site supervisor Victor Tan Kok Peng were fined S$250,000 and S$12,000 respectively for a workplace accident on Sept 22, 2015.

Four workers fell 6.4m to the ground when the section of the working platform they were standing on under Yio Chu Kang Flyover dislodged. One worker died and the remaining three suffered fractures and contusions.

Following Friday’s accident, the LTA said it was looking into whether there were any lapses or gaps that required urgent attention, adding: “LTA has directed the professional engineers who were responsible for the project to carry out detailed investigations into the design and construction quality of the affected structure.

“LTA engineers, contractors and personnel are on site working with SCDF and Police to manage the situation.”

Eyewitnesses near the scene said they heard a loud bang, followed by what sounded like metal being dragged across the ground. They also saw white smoke and smelled burnt rubber, but did not know why.

Tan Gek Guang and his family were keeping watch at their grandmother’s wake at Block 346 Tampines Street 33 when their peaceful vigil was interrupted by the noise from the accident.

The 36-year-old teacher told TODAY: “We heard a loud crash at around 3-plus in the morning. Initially, we thought it was a lorry accident, it was only after we (saw) the news that we realised what had happened.”

A sign listing the official details of the construction project listed CPG Consultants as the professional engineer for the project, and Or Kim Peow Contractors as the builder.

the project was expected to be completed on November 22, 2019. — TODAY

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