Indian worker killed in building structure collapse in Singapore

Singapore: A 20-year-old Indian worker was killed when a concrete wall collapsed on him during the demolition of a building structure in Singapore’s Central Business District, officials said on Friday.

The Indian national employed by Aik Sun Demolition and Engineering was found dead under the rubble after part of the Fuji Xerox Towers building in Tanjong Pagar collapsed during demolition works on Thursday.

Rescuers found the body of the worker, who has not been identified, late on Thursday night after more than six hours of search and rescue operations. His body was pinned under 2m of debris, The Straits Times newspaper reported.

In a separate report, the newspaper identified the victim as Vinoth from Tamil Nadu.

“I can only keep crying. It is very sad. He is my family, my baby. He grew up in my home and I took care of him. How long can I continue to cry,” it quoted his grand-uncle Raja Manickam, who was also Vinoth’s local guardian in Singapore.

Vinoth had a diploma in mechanical engineering from a college in Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu and arrived in Singapore in September 2022.

Following the incident, rescue workers had to cut, break and dig through the rubble, but the weight of the concrete slab, estimated to be at least 50 tonnes, complicated efforts.

“Following an intensive search operation, a worker who was earlier reported missing was sighted to be pinned under a collapsed reinforced concrete structure at about 6 pm. The worker had no pulse and was not breathing,” The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a statement.

The body was recovered at about 9.45 pm on Thursday and was pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic.

The worker was found pinned under a collapsed reinforced concrete structure around 6 pm.     He had no pulse, was not breathing and his body was recovered after a nearly four-hour effort to free him from the rubble.

The developer, City Developments Limited (CDL), said in a statement on Thursday that it is deeply saddened by the incident.

“We share our deepest condolences with the family for their loss and are working with Aik Sun to offer our assistance. Our immediate priority is the well-being of the affected workers, and we are working closely with our contractors to provide the necessary support,” a spokesperson for the developer said.

On Friday, the Migrant Worker’s Centre (MWC), a local NGO working towards the welfare of migrant workers, said that it would issue a payout to the family of the deceased Indian national.

“We will extend an ex-gratia payout through the Migrant Workers’ Assistance Fund (MWAF) to provide interim financial assistance to help his next-of-kin to tide over while they await compensation from the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA),” said MWC, a bipartite initiative of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), in a Facebook post.

The payout amount was not indicated.

Melvin Yong, the Assistant Secretary General of Singapore’s National Trades Union Congress, said on Friday that an urgent and comprehensive investigation must be conducted to determine the root causes and contributing factors that led to the wall collapsing.

“Demolition projects inherently involve significant risks and potential hazards, both to workers and those in the surrounding vicinity.

“The investigation should encompass all aspects of the project, including planning, risk assessment, worker training, supervision and compliance with safety regulations,” he said in a Facebook post.