Driver jumps out seconds before van crushed by falling crane in Sengkang, crane operator arrested, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Driver jumps out seconds before van crushed by falling crane in Sengkang, crane operator arrested

The driver of a van jumped out of his vehicle in the nick of time before a crane fell on it and left it in a crumpled mess in Sengkang.

Eyewitnesses The Straits Times spoke to said they saw the accident unfold in the afternoon of April 9 at a construction site in Punggol Road, near the Compassvale Street junction.

Information technology engineer Anant Pradhan, 47, said he saw the crane getting loaded up onto a truck when it toppled.

Mr Pradhan, a Sengkang resident, said: “While they were loading the crane, the driver of the van must have seen the crane moving and toppling, so he jumped out of the van and went over to the other side of the road.

“He was very lucky that he didn’t get seriously hurt.”

In a photograph taken by a Straits Times reader, the fallen crane can be seen lying on its side, with its boom stretching across the width of the road and resting on a white van, which appeared crushed by the impact.

Emergency medical workers were seen at the accident site.

Responding to queries, a spokesman for the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it was alerted to the accident at about 4.55pm.

One person was taken to Sengkang General Hospital, he added.

The police, in response to queries, said the crane toppled when it was being manoeuvred up a trailer. The van driver, a 28-year-old man, was injured but conscious when he was taken to the hospital.

No one else was in the van.

The crane operator, a 49-year-old man, was later arrested for negligent conduct, the police added.

A driver who was behind the van when the accident happened and gave his name only as Mr Mamz said the van was used to ferry children to school, and the driver had just dropped a child off before the accident.

He said: “His van had stopped at a red light... He saw the crane toppling, and he was out within a split second. I was about two cars behind him when it happened. Everyone jumped out of their cars.”

Mr Mamz added that he knew the driver and they were both self-employed.

He said the driver told him that his shoulder and the back of his head hurt. “He said he was in terrible pain,” he added.

Housewife Madam Tan, 60, who lives across the road from the accident site, said she was at home when she heard a loud crash.

She said: “After that, I heard a lot of whistles being blown. So, I came out to see what had happened. Very lucky that only one vehicle got damaged.”

Another resident, Mr Lim, 60, a private-hire driver who did not give his full name, said he heard a loud bang, and went to his window to see what was going on.

He said: “We are used to construction sounds here because of the work that is going on, but this was exceptionally loud.

“I saw the driver crawling out to the opposite side of the road... It was fortunate he wasn’t hit.”

Eyewitnesses said there was no one in the cabin of the crane when the accident took place.

There were about five police cars at the accident site and roadblocks had been set up there by numerous police motorcycles at about 6pm.

A sign on the hoardings at the construction site indicated that it is a project by national water agency PUB, operated by construction firm Building Construction Co.

A spokesperson for national water agency PUB said a public sewer is under construction at the site of the accident. She added that the contractor Building Construction Co will be helping the police and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) with investigations.

A representative from Building Construction Co, Mr Jack Wong, said the crane is owned by construction equipment firm Ten-League.

A group of about six construction workers wearing fluorescent vests and helmets arrived at the accident site at about 7.20pm.

At 7.45pm, the crane still had not been moved.

MOM said it is investigating the incident and is working with the construction firm on the recovery of the crane.

The Straits Times has contacted Ten-League for more information.

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