A 26-year-old domestic worker plunged to her death after clinging on for five minutes eight floors above the ground. She was believed to have been cleaning the windows when she lost her footing.

One of two people who tried to hold on to her and pull her in was a fellow Indonesian maid from a seventh-floor apartment at the Ivory Heights condominium in Jurong East.

Declining to be named, she told The Straits Times yesterday that the desperate woman’s eyes, wide with fear, have been seared into her memory.

She said she was ironing clothes when she heard screams for help. Running to the balcony for a look, she said she saw an elderly woman from the unit above holding onto the hand of a woman who was hanging out of the window.

The maid, also aged 26, immediately went to the unit above, where she saw a man from a neighbouring apartment helping the elderly woman.

The maid took over from the older woman and, with the man, tried to pull the other maid who was hanging outside back in.

Even with their combined strength, it was too difficult.

‘She was hanging too low already. She didn’t say anything. She just looked panicked and scared,’ she said.

She added that it was not long before her palms started perspiring, and she felt the woman’s hand slip from hers.

The maid said that after the woman plunged down, she left the apartment, went back to her employer’s unit and broke down in tears.

‘I felt very upset. I tried my best,’ said the maid, who has been working for the same family for five years.

Three days later, she was still unable to sleep, she said.

— Straits Times, 28 Feb 2012, Maid clung onto hands of duo before death plunge, by Jalelah Abu Baker

The worker who fell was from Indonesia, and was only a week into her job. She was working for a family with young children and grandparents. It is not known if she had a husband and children of her own.

The Straits Times also reported that between 2006 and 2010, 27 maids died as a result of falls from heights, a figure that includes accidental falls and suicides.