Fun turns to frustration

Fun turns to frustration

It was a memorable trip to Sentosa for at least one family on Thursday night.

But the most interesting part did not happen at any of the attractions they visited, but on the train ride home.

They were trapped in the Sentosa Express, Sentosa's monorail system, along with more than 50 passengers from about 10pm to 2am.

Stuck in the dark cabin, one of the passengers resorted to sending a series of tweets about her predicament.

National University of Singapore research engineer Shruthi Suresh, who is in her 20s, and her family were among those trapped in the monorail cabin heading back to VivoCity at 10pm.

Within 10 minutes, an electrical fault caused the train to stall between Beach and Imbiah Stations.

According to her tweets, she spent the first hour in darkness, wondering why the train had suddenly stopped.

In her tweets, Ms Shruthi queried why there was no explanation about why the train had stalled.

But according to a Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) spokesman, passengers were regularly updated on the progress of the rescue operations and provided with bottled water.

Initially, when the train came to a halt, Ms Shruthi thought it was amusing and chalked it down to a new experience.

But she became increasingly frustrated after an hour and tweeted: "Ok. Now this is getting ridiculous. @Sentosa_Island sentosa express has been broken down for over an hour!!".

Ms Shruthi and her family were among the 50 guests and 11 off-duty Sentosa staff members stuck on board. Three train captains were also on board the monorail.

One was on duty at the time and two others were sent to assist with the rescue operations in the rescue train.

Everyone was rescued by 2am yesterday with the help of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

An SDC spokesman said that as part of the standard rescue operating procedure, a rescue train was sent to connect with the stranded vehicle.

Ms Shruthi and the other passengers were transferred to the rescue train.


But their hopes of leaving Sentosa were soon dashed when, due to another technical glitch, the rescue train failed to detach itself to move towards Imbiah Station.

At 11.30pm, the Sentosa management called SCDF for help.

SCDF officers arrived with a fire engine, a Red Rhino, an ambulance and two support vehicles.

By then, Ms Shruthi's frustration became apparent.

"And now SCDF is here! @Sentosa_Island express, please explain what is going on," she tweeted.

SCDF officers placed a ladder at each of the two carriage doors so passengers could climb down .

Each passenger was given a helmet to wear and secured to a safety line before going down the ladder.

The New Paper understands that the children and elderly took the shorter ladder, while the able-bodied passengers were told to go down the longer one.

A 48-year-old woman was sent to Singapore General Hospital after complaining of discomfort.

Taxi transportation was arranged by SDC to take the rest of the passengers home.

Ms Shruthi did not respond to The New Paper's requests for an interview.

The SDC spokesman explained that the breakdown was due to a technical fault, which led to a power outage, according to initial investigations.

He said this was the first time a breakdown of this nature had occurred and that it was being investigated.

Adding that trains undergo strict daily checks before they are allowed to operate, the SDC spokesman added that an independent audit on the monorail system had also found the system to be in good working order.

This article was first published on Dec 6, 2014.
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