SINGAPORE: The minute Staff Sergeant Stanley Koh saw a pair of hands gripping onto the corridor railing on the fifth-floor of a Housing Board block, he knew he had to act fast.
He dashed forward to grab hold of the foreign domestic helper who was dangling from the ledge. He then shouted for reinforcements.
“When I saw the hands on the railing, in my mind I know I have to pull her (in),” he said.
“I told myself that I cannot let go of her. I must save her.”
Together with a neighbour and three other police officers, Staff Sgt Koh managed to pull the maid to safety.
The incident took place on Wednesday morning (Dec 6), after the 24-year-old maid from Myanmar locked herself by mistake in a room in a fifth-floor flat along Bukit Panjang Ring Road.
Channel NewsAsia understands that the maid had been trapped in the room for 30 minutes or so. In a bid to get back into the flat, she decided to crawl out of the window and walk the length of the ledge to get to the front door.
However, as she approached the end of the ledge, she seemingly missed a step and was left hanging off the corridor railing with her feet dangling in the air.
The one-minute rescue was captured on video by a resident in a nearby block.
The team of police officers – which included Staff Sgt Koh, Staff Sgt Chan Wai Hong, Sergeant Prem Rengasamy and SC Corporal Rajdave Singh – had just begun their shift on Wednesday when they received the call for help.
Assuming that it was a suicide case, the team of four approached the scene with caution, with Staff Sgt Koh heading first to the fifth floor.
Upon noticing that the maid was dangling from the railing, the three other police officers headed up to the scene immediately.
When the group finally pulled the 24-year-old to safety, she was visibly traumatised – as was the flat’s female tenant, who had been holding on to the maid for about 20 seconds before Staff Sgt Koh arrived at the scene.
“We are thankful that we managed to reach in time,” said Staff Sgt Chan.
“If we were late for a few seconds, she might not have the strength to hang on anymore. There will be a tragedy.
“But we know we have to work together to pull her up because we are never going to let her drop,” he added.
For SC Corporal Singh, who is a full-time national serviceman and who has been attached to the Bukit Panjang Neighbourhood Police Centre for just one-and-a-half months, the experience was a memorable one.
“This is definitely not something I imagined seeing,” he said.
Despite this, he recalled the various practice scenarios he had gone through and the training he received.
“You’d want to do whatever you can to make sure she doesn’t actually fall,” he said. “There were a lot of learning points for me like time management and team work, because no one can do this alone.
“This is definitely memorable and something I won’t forget.”