‘I felt like Spider-Man’: Migrant worker who rescued boy from ledge of Hougang flat
"I saw the boy, I took my spider over and went up quickly (to save him)," says Das Dipto, the man who used a spider lift to rescue a boy stuck on a HDB block ledge in Hougang.
SINGAPORE: “I must save him. I must save him,” was the constant refrain in Das Dipto’s mind when he saw a young, frightened boy perched precariously on the third-floor ledge outside a housing block on Sunday morning (Jan 3) at Hougang Street 22.
The 27-year-old landscape maintenance worker had been cleaning the boom lift - known as a spider lift - that he operated daily to prune trees, when a passer-by asked him and his colleague Biswas Jibom for help.
Speaking to CNA, Mr Dipto said that when the passer-by pointed to the boy on the ledge, he was instantly reminded of his young nephew back home in Bangladesh.
This spurred him to decide quickly that his spider lift would be the best option to save him.
With Mr Biswas’ guidance, Mr Dipto carefully manoeuvred the large machine down a narrow path, flanked by an open drain on one side and jutting windows of the block on the other.
As he piloted his crane towards the child, he said he heard the boy crying.
“The only thing on my mind was how to get the boy down safely,” said Mr Dipto, the youngest of five brothers.
In a widely circulated video, the child, who had been hanging on to a laundry rack, could be seen momentarily loosening his grip as Mr Dipto made his way to him.
Onlookers who had gathered below were heard yelling in alarm at the child to hang on.
Seconds later, Mr Dipto managed to get his crane close enough to the boy, reaching out to him with both arms and swiftly lifting him onto the platform, drawing cheers from the crowd.
With one arm around the child and one hand controlling the crane, Mr Dipto lowered the boy to safety before he was whisked away by a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) paramedic.
Later that morning, the boy’s mother, along with the boy, thanked Mr Dipto profusely.
“She said: 'Sir, you saved my son. Thank you, sir'," Mr Dipto said.
Mr Dipto didn’t know that his efforts had gone viral until later that day, when a friend asked him if he knew that his photos and videos were "all over the news".
Mr Dipto's deed was also going viral back in his hometown of Narail, Dhaka, thanks to his fourth brother, who also works for landscaping firm Yong Aik Construction, and had sent the video to their mother as well as friends and family.
During their daily phone call, Mr Dipto said his mother told him she was very happy he saved the child, and that many people had come up to her to ask if she knew her son working in Singapore had saved a boy.
“She was very happy and proud of me,” he said.
Mr Dipto posted photos of the rescue on his Facebook page on Monday night with the caption: "At a work time I saving one children life in Singapore... at last my life is a good job... l pray for the God I doing the work properly..."
As of Tuesday evening, his post had been shared 4,800 times, and drew countless comments commending him.
Mr Dipto said he was just glad that he had managed to save the young boy, who was only six years old and “had his whole life in front of him”.
“I felt like Spider-Man because I drove my spider (lift) and moved very fast. I saw the boy, I took my spider over and went up quickly (to save the boy),” he said smiling.
Yong Aik Construction business development manager, Marcus Ang, who is Mr Dipto's supervisor, said the company will reward Mr Dipto and Mr Biswas for their calm and efficient actions to rescue the boy.
He added that SCDF will recognise both workers’ efforts at an award ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.