SINGAPORE: On October 5th, a troubling incident unfolded at Clementi MRT station, where three elderly commuters were injured in an alleged escalator malfunction.
The incident, reported by Lianhe Zaobao, occurred around 10:00 AM last Thursday morning.
Twang Kern Zern, a 49-year-old lawyer, shared the harrowing details of the incident after his in-laws were injured and hospitalized.
At the time, his father-in-law and mother-in-law were on the escalator ascending to the MRT station’s gates.
Mr Twang learned from his in-laws that the escalator allegedly malfunctioned when a man in front of his father-in-law lost his balance and fell backwards.
At that moment, the escalator came to a sudden stop, and just as his father-in-law attempted to assist the fallen individual, the escalator unexpectedly reversed direction, resulting in injuries to the man, his father-in-law, and his mother-in-law, who was positioned behind them.
Mr Twang’s 77-year-old mother-in-law suffered a dislocated elbow, a wrist fracture, and numb fingers.
“The next day, the doctor advised my mother-in-law to go to the National University Hospital for observation to determine whether there is permanent nerve damage and whether surgery is needed.”
His 79-year-old father-in-law endured multiple scrapes and bruises on his body, along with a head wound.
Mr Twang emotionally remarked, “There was quite a bit of blood, and both elderly people are still in a state of shock.”
In the aftermath of the incident, Mr Twang’s wife requested access to the incident footage from SMRT but has not yet received a response.
He stated, “For now, we can only wait for SMRT’s response before deciding on the next steps.”
SMRT denies technical issues in Clementi MRT escalator incident
Lam Sheau Kai, President of SMRT Trains, responded to Lianhe Zaobao’s inquiry, assuring that the escalator maintenance contractor conducted a thorough investigation, which concluded that the escalator had no faults.
According to the findings, one individual lost his balance, resulting in a fall onto the two others behind them.
Prompt action was taken by staff who arrived swiftly to provide assistance and first aid while also notifying the Civil Defense Force.
“For the safety of our commuters, the escalator was immediately cordoned off for checks. This escalator is installed with a non-reversible device (NRD) and would have tripped if any reverse direction is detected.”
“The escalator was put back in service after it was determined that there were no technical issues.”
Building and Construction Authority: No Escalator Reversal Detected
The Building and Construction Authority, which oversees safety regulations in public transportation areas, mandates that all escalators must be equipped with non-reversible devices.
These devices are designed to immediately halt escalator movement upon detecting any motion in the opposite direction.
In response to media inquiries, the Building and Construction Authority confirmed that their engineers inspected the escalator involved in the incident, including the steps and handrails, and found no abnormalities.
Further, a review of the footage did not reveal any instances of the escalator moving backwards or any equipment malfunctions.
Additional observations indicated that other passengers using the same escalator had safely ascended.
SMRT has also stated their commitment to assist those affected by the incident and is actively engaging with the parties involved.
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