Two sisters among six Filipino victims in Lucky Plaza car crash: Philippine Embassy official

Two sisters among six Filipino victims in Lucky Plaza car crash: Philippine Embassy official

It was a typical Sunday out for six Filipino domestic helpers, but things went horribly wrong when a car crashed into them outside Lucky Plaza, leaving two people dead and four injured. Two of the six victims were sisters. One of them died, while the other remains in hospital.

SINGAPORE: The two people killed and four injured in a car crash at Lucky Plaza on Sunday are Filipinos working in Singapore, the Philippine Embassy confirmed in a statement on Monday (Dec 30). 

It added that the victims' families in the Philippines have been informed.

One of the victims who died and another, who is critically injured, are sisters, Philippine Embassy charge d'affaires Adrian Bernie Candolada told CNA.

“So far, one family of the deceased is seeking help to be able to travel to Singapore to see their loved one at the hospital. We have already conveyed their request to our home office in Manila,” he said.

READ: 2 dead, 4 injured after car accident at Lucky Plaza shopping centre; driver arrested

Lucky Plaza accident: I could have been killed, if I didn't go to buy chocolate

In an email responding to CNA's queries on Monday, the Ministry of Manpower identified the two deceased as Ms Abigail Danao Leste and Ms Arlyn Picar Nucos. 

Among the four injured is Ms Arceli Picar Nucos, who is Ms Arlyn's sister. Two others are cousins Egnal Layugan Limbauan and Demet Limbauan Limbauan. The fourth injured victim is Ms Laila Flores Laudencia. 

The Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) said in a Facebook post on Sunday that all six victims are domestic workers. 

CDE's chairman Yeo Guat Kwang said on Monday that the centre had established contact with some of the employers.

In Singapore, domestic workers are covered by mandatory personal accident insurance and medical insurance with coverage of at least S$60,000 and S$15,000 respectively.

However, if the employers, who are responsible for their helpers' expenses in Singapore, still need help with medical expenses, they can approach CDE, Mr Yeo said.

READ: CCTV footage emerges of moments before fatal Lucky Plaza accident

One of the deceased's daughters has indicted that she wants to come to Singapore but is unable to afford the trip, Mr Yeo said. CDE is working with the embassies to facilitate her trip. 

COUNSELLING FOR VICTIMS OFFERED

Mr Seah Seng Choon, president of the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST), a non-profit focused on domestic workers in Singapore, said that his organisation has extended counselling services to one of the victims discharged from hospital.

“Hopefully she takes up the offer,” Mr Seah said.

Counselling services will also be offered to the other victims and anyone traumatised by the accident, he added.

Emergency services were called to Lucky Plaza at about 5pm on Sunday after reports of an incident involving a car and six female pedestrians aged between 37 and 56.

Lucky Plaza car crash graphic

The embassy is coordinating with the employers of the victims on plans to have their bodies repatriated to the Philippines, the embassy official added.

"The Philippine Embassy in Singapore and the Filipino Community in Singapore are deeply saddened by the death of two Filipinos and injury to the four other Filipinos during the tragic accident at Lucky Plaza Mall yesterday (Dec 29)," the embassy's statement read.

"The Embassy, Singapore Police Force and hospital authorities have cooperated to identify the six Filipino victims, who are all working in Singapore.

"The Philippine Embassy in Singapore and the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila are fully committed to extend support and assistance to the victims' families," the statement added.

Lucky Plaza accident 4
A photo circulating on social media of paramedics attending to victims after an accident at Lucky Plaza on Dec 29, 2019.

Singapore's Foreign Affairs Ministry is working closely with the Philippine Embassy to help the families involved, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said in a Facebook post on Monday.

"SPS (Manpower) Low Yen Ling and I met those who are hospitalised at Tan Tock Seng Hospital to personally convey our sympathies," he said. 

READ: Two women injured in Lucky Plaza accident discharged from hospital 

Ms Low also extended her condolences in a separate Facebook post.

"As we continue to keep the victims in our prayers, we also remember the many foreign domestic workers who keep our families going with their dedication and invaluable service. 

"Many of our foreign domestic helpers have become like family to us. May we also take this time to express our thanks and appreciation to the foreign domestic helpers who serve us," she said. 

DRIVER ARRESTED

A 64-year-old male driver was arrested on Sunday for dangerous driving causing death, police said. He is a driver-partner with ride-hailing firm Grab and he has been suspended while investigations are underway.

“We are deeply saddened to hear about the accident and are assisting the authorities in the investigation," a Grab spokesperson said. 

Lucky Plaza accident cordon on Dec 30
A cordon erected near the entrance of the Lucky Plaza apartment block after a car ran onto a walkway and knocked down pedestrians on Dec 29, 2019.
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Members of the public have also come forward with offers of donations, a spokesperson from the Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME) told CNA.

"We will be giving these donations to the family of the deceased through our volunteer."

The organisation said it has opened a channel through its Facebook page for members to donate tothe victims' families. CDE said it is also planning to set up a donation channel.

Lucky Plaza is known to be a popular gathering place for Filipino foreign domestic workers on their days off on Sundays.  

Videos circulating online also show that many were in the immediate vicinity of the accident.​​​​​​

Source: CNA/mi(mn)

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