THE family whose teenage daughter's hand was crushed by a sugarcane juicer at their drinks stall on Sunday night had swopped their juicer for a safer one just three weeks ago.
The new juicer has a box-shaped fixture to keep an operator's hands further from the grinder, said the girl's grandmother, Madam Lim Ah Ger, 69.
She suspects that 14-year-old Tan Li Xuan had been trying to dislodge a jammed piece of sugarcane when the accident happened.
Her father, Mr Tan Guan An, 50, who runs the stall at the Toa Payoh Lorong 8 hawker centre, had forbidden his three teenage children from operating the previous juicer, considering it too dangerous, said the girl's mother, Madam Mabel Ang, 44, a casino dealer at Marina Bay Sands.
But Li Xuan, a student of Guangyang Secondary School, had been helping out with the new juicer since it arrived, eager to ease her father's workload, Madam Ang told The Straits Times yesterday at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), where Li Xuan is warded.
"They were about to close the stall to come home for dinner, and she was helping him so they could finish sooner," Madam Ang said.
The couple's 17-year-old son and older daughter, 16, have also been helping at the stall, which the family said will remain closed while they recover from their shock.
The accident, which happened at about 8.40pm on Sunday, left Li Xuan's right index and middle fingers severed, her thumb half-severed, and skin badly lacerated up to her wrist, Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday.