'Human error' behind cable car crash at Sentosa work site

'Human error' behind cable car crash at Sentosa work site
A cable car, part of the Intra-Island Cableway on Sentosa, was suspended about 20m high (left) with one person stuck inside. The other cable car crashed into a construction site.

A contractor working on Sentosa's new intra-island cableway system failed to check if the cableway line was clear before launching the cabins, resulting in one of them dislodging and crashing onto the construction site.

Investigations into the Aug 10 incident show the main haul rope had become entangled with a temporary rope being used to install a communication cable, and that caused the empty cable car to break loose.

No one was injured, although a technical supervisor in the cabin behind the one dislodged was stuck, and moved to safety after about three hours.

The worker responsible for the incident, from contractor Doppelmayr, has since been "removed" from the project, the Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) said yesterday.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) issued a directive to cease installation work on the $18.6 million line after the incident.

It was lifted on Sept 22, after the BCA was "satisfied that all necessary mitigation measures have been implemented".

Noting that the incident was a result of "human error", SDC said it had been working closely with Doppelmayr, an Austrian ropeway company, to tighten safety procedures.

While Doppelmayr staff previously needed approval from an on-site supervisor to activate the system or carry out cableway modifications, this approval must now be sought from the site manager as well.

The key to operate the cableway is also now held by the site manager, instead of a supervisor.

The new 860m-long link, which is independent of the existing Singapore Cable Car line, will ferry Sentosa visitors between Merlion Plaza and Siloso Point.

SDC said the cable ropes have been fully installed, and construction of the stations is under way. This is expected to be completed early next year.

"Doppelmayr will finalise its testing and commissioning of the cableway system before handing over for operations by the second quarter of 2015," SCD added.

This article was first published on Oct 10, 2014.
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