10-year-old girl injured in HDB lift accident

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SINGAPORE — A 10-year-old girl needed five stitches on her foot after parts of the ceiling of a lift she was in at Sengkang East Way collapsed, in the latest of a series of lift accidents to hit Housing and Development Board (HDB) blocks.

The lift at Block 325A is now under repair until next Monday evening (June 12), said a notice pasted on its door.

Following the incident, the girl, Chung Yan Ting, was sent to the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. In an interview after her discharge Wednesday evening, Yan Ting said she is now afraid to take the lift. 

Her father, polytechnic lecturer Chung Koh Choon, 43, told TODAY that the family was on their way home after lunch, and had entered the lift on the fourth floor of the block, which is linked to the multi-storey carpark.

Mr Chung said his wife had entered the lift first and noticed a long metal rod on the floor. “I was thinking it doesn’t look like something from a household,” he said. But before he could peer up at the ceiling, half of the light cover, made of plastic and metal, fell and hit his daughter. 

“She ran out of the lift shouting ‘Ah, my head got blood’,” said Mr Chung.

Yan Ting had initially thought the blood on her foot had dripped from her head.

Yan Ting’s five-year-old brother, who was standing further away from the lift door, was unharmed. Her mother, Madam Saw Soh Peng, suffered a small cut on her right arm.

The sound of the light cover crashing down and Yan Ting’s shout sent their neighbour on the fourth floor, Mrs Mohini Panday, running out to see what had happened.

The Pandays supplied the Chungs with tissue paper to soak up the blood on Yan Ting’s foot, while Mr Chung called for an ambulance.

“I am disappointed and surprised that such a thing could happen. It’s the June holidays now. What if a kid was taking the lift alone when the ceiling fell? I don’t know what will happen,”  Mr Chung said.

Residents of Block 325A were worried by news of the incident. 

Mrs Panday, 28, and her husband Sanjay, 40, said they would not allow their four-year-old son to take the lift unsupervised after the incident.

Mr Panday, a workplace safety and health officer, said it would be good for officials to assure residents that the other lift in the block had been checked and found to be safe to use.

The Ang Mo Kio Town Council could not respond to TODAY’s queries by press time, but officials from the town council and the Building and Construction Authority were at the scene last night.

Lift incidents in recent years include one last year of a woman in Petir Road, who suffered a spine fracture after the lift she was in shot up and down erratically twice. In May last year, an elderly man died after he fell backwards and hit his head on the ground, when he reversed his mobility scooter out of a lift that had stopped about 15cm above the ground.

The authorities have since tightened lift maintenance standards. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY NEO CHAI CHIN

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