Three lorry drivers used the cranes on their vehicles to lift a tipper truck that had crashed on top of a taxi. Another good Samaritan dug through cement with his hands, and a fifth kept the passenger trapped in the cab calm.
The five members of the public were on Friday recognised with Public Spiritedness Awards from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), for helping at the scene of Wednesday's accident.
A five-vehicle collision on the Ayer Rajah Expressway left a cab driver and his passenger trapped, after the taxi they were in was crushed by the tipper truck carrying wet cement.
The lorry drivers - 56-year-old Mr Lim Thiam Ngor, and Chinese nationals Zhang Yonghui, 39, and Gong Ming Shan, 38 - stopped when they were flagged down by SCDF officers.
Mr Gong said he personally felt the urgency of the situation, because his mother had died in a car accident seven years ago. "I kept thinking of the two lives and two families that would be affected if anyone died," he said.
Former SCDF medic Tay Wei Jie, who had been on the way to work, assisted the paramedics and helped to calm the trapped passenger. "I told him he was in good hands," he said.
The 27-year-old, who works in the chemical industry, added that the experience made him thankful for all that he had learnt as a medic.
Logistics manager Alex Yeo, 35, helped the truck driver down from his overturned vehicle, cut the taxi driver free from his seat belt and used his hands to scoop the wet cement out of the cab.
Besides these five men, the SCDF is still looking for two other lorry drivers, who had also helped to lift the tipper truck, and others who helped to shovel the wet cement.
SCDF First Division commander Daniel Seet said the efforts of those who stopped to help "turned a tragedy into a miracle". "Without them, the two-hour rescue operation would have taken much longer."
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.