He falls into 2m-deep pit
For Mr Syed Yasir Arafat Syed Muhammad, 29, it was just a routine trip to the vehicle inspection centre to ensure the road-worthiness of his Chery Tiggo.
But the appointment at 4pm on Feb 5, which was a number plate seal test, turned terribly wrong for Mr Arafat and his family when his father entered an unauthorised zone and fell into a 2m-deep pit.
Mr Syed Muhammad Syed Hussain, 68, a relief security officer, sustained several injuries and had to be hospitalised.
Mr Arafat had taken his parents to the Vicom Inspection Centre at Bukit Batok and they had been walking to retrieve his vehicle at the other end of the garage when the accident took place.
Mr Arafat told The New Paper that his father's view of the ground was obscured by other cars.
He said: "My father was very excited that the car was ready and he moved forward along the only pathway he could see.
"Unfortunately, with many cars around, he could not properly see where he was going and fell into the pit."
Mr Muhammad stayed silent where he lay.
An off-duty Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officer saw the incident and entered the pit to assist Mr Muhammad.
Said Mr Arafat: "We were in shock. I could not function and react properly. Luckily, the officer was present to help us out.
"He held my dad's hand and calmly gave instructions to help him out, while at the same time making sure he was always conscious."
A manager with Vicom said that an ambulance arrived in about 10 minutes and took Mr Muhammad to the National University Hospital.
Doctors told the family that although Mr Muhammad was in a stable condition, he had broken ribs and suffered severe injuries to the spine and back.
Mr Muhammad was discharged last Thursday and needs supporting braces and assistance to move around, his son said. It will take him a few months to fully recover from his injuries.
Another of Mr Muhammad's sons, Mr Syed Muneef, 41, told TNP: "I feel that the dangerous areas should have been cordoned off properly, with metal chains or cones placed around to designate them as staff-only areas."
Mr Arafat added: "There was a sign warning of the danger, but it was at foot level, which made it hard to see.
"I believe that assigning a duty officer at the area to direct people and watch out for their safety would be a good idea."
Ms Tammy Tan, group corporate communications officer for ComfortDelGro, which owns Vicom, said on Feb 8 that the inspection lanes at Vicom centres were strictly off limits to unauthorised personnel.
She said: "There are barriers and signs in place which clearly indicate so."
She added that Mr Muhammad had entered the inspection lane to get to the car.
Said Ms Tan: "This is not allowed and by the time our staff realised this, he had already fallen into the inspection pit.
Mr Muhammad's family members have extended their thanks and gratitude to the off-duty SCDF officer who helped them out.
Said Mr Arafat: "We're very grateful for his quick reaction and professionalism. We can't thank him enough."
Unfortunately, with so many other cars everywhere, he could not properly see where he was going and fell into the pit.
- Mr Syed Yasir Arafat Syed Muhammad on how his father fell into the pit