Survivor of Lucky Plaza accident finally returns home
Survivor of Lucky Plaza crash that killed her sister is now wheelchair-bound
It has been exactly a year since the tragic Lucky Plaza car accident that killed two maids, and survivor Arceli Nucos has not fully recovered.
Following the accident on Dec 29 last year, Ms Arceli, 57, is still wheelchair-bound and was discharged from hospital only last month.
A car had ploughed into six domestic workers, including Ms Arceli, at Lucky Plaza at around 5pm that day.
The driver, Malaysian Chong Kim Hoe, had allegedly accelerated while making a U-turn, driving through a guard rail and onto a Lucky Plaza service road.
He is facing three charges for dangerous driving.
The accident killed two people, including Ms Arceli's sister, Ms Arlyn Nucos, 50, and injured four others.
Speaking to The New Paper last week from her home town of La Union in the Philippines, Ms Arceli, the oldest of four siblings, said: "Lying next to her, I heard her voice calling me 'Sister' until her last breath.
"I cried. I (couldn't) help her. I wanted to run to be by my sister's side but I was trapped, lying in agony and pain."
Ms Arceli's left leg was so badly injured it almost had to be amputated, but the doctors found a way to keep her leg.
She said: "They said there's a 5 per cent chance I can walk again. It is only a miracle that I can walk again, but nothing is impossible if I just have faith in God."
Ms Arceli underwent about 10 operations, and is still undergoing rehabilitation.
She has had to pick up basic skills again, such as learning how to shower, and even how to put on diapers.
What helped her fight for her life and get through the tough moments was the love and encouragement from people around her.
She said: "I felt my sister's spirit saying 'Sister, you must live. I'm dead but the two of us must not die at one time. You must live and keep on fighting'."
Her employer, friends and family, the hospital staff and staff from the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) had frequently visited her in the hospital.
The accident has taught her to think positively, to never lose hope and has made her faith stronger.
Ms Arceli finally returned to the Philippines earlier this month, and will have to attend regular check-ups.
She said: "I'm still undergoing rehabilitation. It will take time, and in the process, I (will) reach my retirement age.
"I can't serve well or perform my duties like I used to. I would still love to serve my employer and would have stayed on longer if things didn't happen."
Mr Shamsul Kamar, executive director at CDE, said they have supported the victims since the accident.
CDE had helped with funeral arrangements for the deceased and provided emotional support to the injured.
He said: "As of now, all the victims and their next of kin have been receiving relief payments from the charity funds garnered under the Domestic Employees Welfare Fund.
"Our staff will continue to remain in contact with the victims and their next of kin to offer our assistance should they require any."