Details are beginning to emerge about the accident that happened in the Bugis area on Wednesday, 18 July 2012. The two workers from mainland China who perished were reported to be have been under a mould into which wet concrete was being poured. They were there to check for leaks as the tons of concrete were being poured in. The structures holding up the mould gave way, probably pinning the men down and drowning them in concrete.
The part being built was the roof of an underground walkway that would connect the existing Bugis station of the East-West MRT line with the new Bugis station of the Downtown line.
Eight other workers were injured, of whom three had to be hospitalised, as were nine Civil Defence officers who had to wade and dig through the concrete to assist the injured and retrieve the bodies of the two workers. The Civil Defence officers suffered chemical burns from additives in the wet concrete, but all have been discharged.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the Chinese nationals were checking the partially built structure for leaks when the scaffolding gave way. But it is not known whether they were meant to be under the roof at that stage of construction, when cement was being poured into the mould.
Tiong Seng Contractors director Andrew Khng said it was ‘quite common’ for workers to stand by to check for leaks during the casting process. However, other construction sources said the two victims should not have been under the roof at the time.
— Straits Times, 20 July 2012, LTA: Dead men were checking for leaks, by Royston Sim, Lee Xin En and Lim Yan Liang
Both men worked for Sin Herh Construction, the sub-contractor handling work on the underpass. The main contractors were Soletanche Bachy and Koh Brothers.
Citing information from the Chinese embassy, the newspaper gave the names of the deceased as Dou Chunjie from Anhui province and Meng Huaiyou from Jiangsu province.
Mr Dou arrived in Singapore in March after borrowing money to come here, Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao reported.
His uncle, a 59-year-old farmer, told the paper he had not broken the news of the tragedy to Mr Dou’s 28-year-old wife, as he was afraid she could not take the truth. Instead, he told her that her husband was ‘seriously injured’.
Mr Dou was the family’s breadwinner, and leaves a child aged five and ailing parents.
The Straits Times concluded its report by noting that the families of the dead men could be entitled to between $57,000 and $170,000 under the Work Injury Compensation Act. It also mentioned the donation drive initiated by Mr Miyagi and his fellow bloggers in associattion with TWC2.
At press time last night, $2,500 had been received from 48 donors. Readers who want to donate can send a cheque, or give online through PayPal or the SG Gives portal. Instructions are available at the www.miyagi.sg website.