Cabby rescued after taxi plunges into canal at Whampoa
She was fast asleep at 11pm on Saturday.
Then the housewife, who gave her name as Mrs Beh, was rudely woken up by a loud screeching sound, followed by a "bang".
The 56-year-old stumbled out of bed and walked to her kitchen window, which faces the Pan-Island Expressway.
She saw a car in a canal about 50m from her home, she told The New Paper yesterday.
She said: "It was dark and all I could see was a man struggling to get on top of his car. It was a strange sight."
The vehicle was a taxi which had mounted a kerb and crashed into a metal railing, before plunging 5m into a storm canal.
Mrs Beh, who lives at Block 106 Jalan Rajah in Whampoa, said she saw many cars stopping along the slip road.
Motorists were seen using their mobile phones to call for help.
She added in Mandarin: "It's lucky the car had not turned turtle. It would have been difficult for the driver to get out of the situation because the water level had already covered the roof (of the car)."
Fortunately for the driver, a heavy downpour had stopped several hours earlier, said another resident from the same block.
The 54-year-old, who gave her name as Mrs Lim, said the water levels in the canal are known to rise quickly when it rains heavily.
Mrs Lim said one of her daughters heard the crash while walking the family dog. The girl then called the police.
"Fortunately, there were no passengers in the taxi at that time," said Mrs Lim.
While waiting for help to arrive, the driver, in his 30s, sat on the taxi's roof. He was calm and did not appear to be in pain, said Mrs Beh.
Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers arrived at the scene and threw a life vest and a rope to the man.
Later, a ladder was lowered and the man climbed to safety by himself.
An SCDF spokesman said the driver suffered minor cuts on his left hand and the back of his head. He was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
Mrs Lim, who has been living in the estate for 18 years, said that Saturday night's accident was the first she knew of involving a vehicle plunging into the 30m-wide canal.
"It's a straight road, so I don't really understand how such an accident could have happened," she said.
"Nevertheless, it was an event that woke up the whole neighbourhood."
When this reporter visited the accident scene yesterday, a 4m-long metal railing damaged in the crash hovered over the canal.
Pieces of the car's front end were strewn on the kerb.
Mrs Lim said a crane had lifted the taxi out around 5am yesterday.
It was dark and all I could see was a man struggling to get on top of his car. It was a strange sight.
- Whampoa resident Mrs Beh