SINGAPORE: Two men who were washing the facade of Block 451 in Yishun Ring Road were rescued by firefighters on Monday (Apr 15), after the gondola they were on suffered a technical glitch.
Due to the glitch, the men were unable to bring the gondola down from the third floor, and were trapped for about 20 minutes, according to witnesses.
When CNA arrived at the scene at about 12.50pm, the gondola remained stuck in a lopsided position after the men were rescued. A man was seen in an ambulance, about to be taken to hospital.
Both men are in their 30s and are from India. They were washing the facade of the block to prepare it for painting when the incident happened.
A rescue vehicle and fire engine from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) were also seen at the scene.
“I think there were two men on the gondola, they were washing the building, and there was a motor problem – so the gondola couldn’t come down. The fire service then helped them to come down,” said a 35-year-old construction worker, who wanted to only be known as Mani.
“The SCDF used a ladder to bring the guys down,” added Mani, who was carrying out works at an adjacent block at the time.
The project manager of the site, who wanted only to be known as Mr Kwa said that the incident happened around noon.
“The men were brought down within 10 to 15 minutes. (SCDF) also set up a bag in case. But, our men also had their harness and life lines, so everything was secure,” he said.
“The gondola jerked and one of the guys got injured when he hit his head, it’s a small cut but he’s okay.”
A resident of Block 451, Mrs Lee, 50, a sales director, said that the SCDF had to forcibly gain entry into her flat to conduct rescue operations, as she was not home at the time.
“The gondola was stuck right in front of my unit, and they had to break down my door, the gate and room window. I was at work and arrived at my house around 1.30pm,” said Mrs Lee.
“I was at Tampines for work and the police called my son, who is in the army. When my son called me and said that something is happening at our house, I immediately rushed back. When I reached at 1.30pm, I saw that my gates were already locked and then saw what actually happened,” Mrs Lee added.
When CNA visited Mrs Lee’s unit at about 2.30pm, a broken bedframe resulting from rescue efforts was seen in the room.
“The contractors responsible said that they will get both the doors and gates repaired and get the same quality for both, although the design may be different,” said Mrs Lee.
“But they mentioned that they have to go back to a HDB appointed contractor for the door and gate. I told them I wanted both changed because it cannot be repaired anymore – it’s quite bad and even part of my flooring is affected.”
Another resident, Mr Ho, 53, said that he saw the men in the gondola outside his flat.
“I was coming back from work around 12 plus and my curtains were closed, so I didn’t realise anything. Then, I noticed that there were many onlookers from the adjacent school, and I realised that something was wrong.
“When I opened the curtains, I saw the worker and opened the windows. The worker wanted to climb into my window but it was too dangerous.”
Mr Ho said he felt relieved after SCDF rescued the men. When CNA visited Mr Ho’s flat at about 2pm, the gondola could still be seen from his living room.
CNA has contacted Sembawang Town Council and the SCDF for more information.