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Man killed by fall after lift stops off the ground

SINGAPORE — In the fourth reported lift accident here in seven months and also the most serious one to date, a 77-year-old man died on Monday morning (May 16) after he fell backwards and hit his head on the ground after he had reversed his motorised scooter out of a lift that had stopped about 15cm above the ground.

This photograph provided by the son of the 77-year-old man who died on the morning of May 16, 2016, in a lift accident shows the motorised scooter he was on. Photo: Lim Keng Swee

This photograph provided by the son of the 77-year-old man who died on the morning of May 16, 2016, in a lift accident shows the motorised scooter he was on. Photo: Lim Keng Swee

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SINGAPORE — In the fourth reported lift accident here in seven months and also the most serious one to date, a 77-year-old man died on Monday morning (May 16) after he fell backwards and hit his head on the ground after he had reversed his motorised scooter out of a lift that had stopped about 15cm above the ground.

Mr Lim Hang Chiang was still conscious after the incident at Block 247, Pasir Ris Street 21 at around 10.40am on Sunday, but went into a coma shortly after he was sent to Changi General Hospital. Doctors said he had bleeding in his skull and could not be operated on without leaving him in a permanent coma, his son Keng Swee told TODAY at his father’s wake on Monday. Mr Lim died at 2.20am on Monday.

The lift in question has been suspended from use and the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council has been instructed to appoint an authorised examiner to carry out a thorough inspection, said the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), in response to queries.

The town council said the Housing and Development Board and the police have also been informed of the incident and that it would cooperate fully with investigations. It also extended its condolences to the family in a statement.

The MP for the area, Mr Zainal Sapari, who is also chairman of the town council said that the lift started operations in 1992 and had not been upgraded although regular maintenance and checks are carried out.

The block’s residents said they noticed about two to three months back that the lift doors would open even though the lift car was not level with the ground.

The younger Mr Lim, 45, who is a safety executive, said his father had a stroke about 17 years ago and underwent hip replacement about seven years ago. He bought him the mechanised scooter after that.

“The lift people are working hard ... I know it’s very hard to keep up to certain standards, but this is a life at stake,” he said.

Mr Lim said he had not thought about whether to seek compensation yet, but urged the authorities to apply similarly stringent standards they do for workplace safety.

After a string of high-profile lift accidents, the BCA announced in March that it was stepping up audit checks on lifts across the island, especially those in HDB blocks, ahead of legislative changes to be introduced later this year to beef up lift regulations and standards.

On Oct 9 last year, an elderly woman’s hand was severed by lift doors in a freak accident at Tah Ching Road. The 85-year-old also fell and broke her leg. Three months later, a lift at Block 114, Edgefield Plains continued to move even though one of its car door panels was still open.

In Ang Mo Kio Street 31 in March this year, a domestic helper was trapped for 90 minutes after the lift she was in suddenly shot up 17 floors, causing her to fall and hit her back.

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