'I was terrified I would lose my life': Man suffers fractured skull after metal rod falls from HDB rooftop

'I was terrified I would lose my life': Man suffers fractured skull  after metal rod falls from HDB rooftop
Woe Weng Chai suffered a fractured skull and a deep gash on his forehead after a metal rod fell off an HDB rooftop and hit him.
PHOTO: The Straits Times/Leow Yi Bin

SINGAPORE - Mr Woe Weng Chai was walking along a pathway in a Bukit Panjang Housing Board estate on the afternoon of March 30 when he felt a sharp pain on his right forehead and shoulder.

The hawker, 57, fell to the ground as liquid trickled down his face. It was his own blood. Just a few feet away from him lay a metal rod.

It had fallen from the roof of Block 434 Bukit Panjang Ring Road, where workers were moving materials, and hit him.

“I heard the sound of metal clanking on the ground, and I immediately felt faint,” Mr Woe told The Straits Times in Mandarin. “I was terrified I would lose my life.”

Disoriented, he propped himself against a pillar at the void deck while his wife called for the ambulance and police.?

When contacted, the police said they were alerted to a case of rash act at about 3.10pm on March 30. A 21-year-old man was arrested for a rash act causing hurt, and investigations are ongoing.

A 57-year-old man was conscious when taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, according to the police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force when queried about this.

Responding to queries, HDB said workers were preparing for the installation of safety barriers on the rooftop to support upcoming upgrading works under the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) when the incident occurred.

The metal brace, or rod, had rolled off the edge of the block and fallen through a hole in the roof gutter.

According to Mr Woe’s nephew – Mr Leow Yi Bin, who was not at the scene – his uncle suffered a fractured skull and required stitches for the deep gash on his forehead.

Mr Woe also underwent surgery where two metal plates were inserted into his right shoulder, which had broken at two places, in the wee hours of March 31.

His family members were informed by a spokesperson for the contractor that the company would cover the hospital bills under its insurance policy, said Mr Leow, 36.

“We apologise for the unfortunate incident and, together with the building contractor, we have visited the injured man’s family in hospital and spoken to them to offer our assistance,” said HDB, adding that both the board and contractor are assisting the authorities with investigations.

Mr Leow, who owns a transport business, said: “Such things should not happen in Singapore because of all the discussion on safety, but it even happened during an HIP project.?

“When there is any HIP, residents should be alert because such incidents can happen to anyone.”

ALSO READ:?'I would have been killed': Passer-by claims man threw bricks from 8th floor of HDB block

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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