Two workers taken to hospital after gondola tips to one side at Boon Lay Drive HDB block
There was visible damage to the parapet on the roof, with a section of it missing.
SINGAPORE: Two workers were taken to a hospital after a gondola tipped to one side at a Housing Board block in Boon Lay on Thursday (May 11) morning.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it received a call for assistance at 8.10am.
Upon its arrival at Block 199 Boon Lay Drive, a worker was seen on the ledge of the 15th storey next to a "lopsided gondola".
The worker was brought in safely through the unit windows on the 15th floor by SCDF officers.
"We understand that another worker was also brought to safety through the unit windows on the 14th floor by a member of public prior to SCDF's arrival," it said.
Both workers were taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
When CNA visited the scene on Thursday afternoon, the gondola was still dangling from the side of the building. There was also visible damage to the parapet on the roof, with a section of the parapet missing.
There was a cordon at the block to prevent vehicles and people from crossing over to the site of the incident.
A resident who lives in the opposite block told CNA that he was hanging clothes outside of his flat when he heard a loud sound and saw the workers shouting for help.
The man, who wanted to be known as Mr Chua, said he noticed two workers.
"The first worker was rescued before SCDF arrived by climbing into the 14th floor. The second worker sat at the parapet of the 15th floor whilst waiting for SCDF's arrival because he was injured."
He added that the man was rescued when SCDF officers arrived.
A resident on the 15th floor of the affected block told CNA that she was alerted to the incident when she heard someone banging on the gondola.
Another resident on the 14th floor said that his wife saw one of the workers being taken into a unit.
Minister for National Development Desmond Lee, who is the Member of Parliament for West Coast GRC (Boon Lay), visited the block in the afternoon.
In a statement on Thursday evening, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said the gondola's supports failed, causing it to tilt.
"The workers were harnessed onto a lifeline as part of standard safety requirements," the ministry said. "Both workers were treated at the hospital and have since been discharged."
MOM also identified the employer as Ban Contract Services, and said it is investigating the accident.
In a statement, West Coast Town Council said that representatives from the town council, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and the contractor were on site to assess the situation, ensure public safety and recover the gondola.
"HDB has inspected the building and confirmed that it is structurally safe," the town council said.
"Our priority is the safety and well-being of residents and the workers. The town council will work with the relevant agencies to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the incident.
"We apologise for the disruption and inconvenience caused."
The town council added that it is checking on the well-being of the two workers involved in the incident.
In response to CNA's queries, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said on Friday that it immediately dispatched engineers to the scene to assess the safety of the building after it was alerted to the incident.
"BCA's engineers found there was localised damage on a stretch of concrete roof parapet (fascia). The affected parapet was partly supporting a gondola that was being used for painting the building facade," a BCA spokesperson said.
No other parts of the building were damaged in the incident and it remains structurally safe, the spokesperson added.
The construction authority has directed West Coast Town Council to stop gondola operations at another block with similar temporary gondola supports.
"The building owner will be required to engage a professional engineer to carry out a detailed investigation of both blocks and recommend any necessary rectification works," said the spokesperson.