Maid's fatal fall from balcony ruled misadventure

Maid's fatal fall from balcony ruled misadventure
Ms Milagrosa Altoveros Okamoto was trying to enter her employer’s fifth-floor flat from the balcony of her neighbour’s home when she lost her balance and fell.

On April 16, Ms Milagrosa Altoveros Okamoto was preparing dinner when she stepped out of the apartment to take out the trash.

But the Filipino helper found herself locked out when the door closed and locked on its own.

Fearing that something was burning on the stove, she knocked on her neighbour's door, went inside the other unit and climbed onto a balcony railing to try to open the kitchen window of her employer's apartment on the fifth floor.

The 28-year-old maid lost her balance and fell to her death instead.

Yesterday, a coroner's inquiry called the incident at the Stadia condominium in Yio Chu Kang Road a "tragic misadventure" that showed the dangers of acting impulsively to regain access after being locked out.

State Coroner Marvin Bay said that Ms Okamoto had likely acted in "blind panic".

The court heard that at about 5.40pm that day, the Filipina, who started working here in December 2011, did not take the house keys with her when she stepped out while cooking to dump the trash.

Trapped outside her employer's flat after the main door closed, Ms Okamoto, who was alone, knocked on her neighbour's door to ask for help.

When asked what was wrong, she replied that something was "burning", and she was allowed to enter the flat.

Ms Okamoto went to the balcony and stood on the railing. She tried to support herself against the adjacent wall, but lost her balance.

A loud thud was heard, and her body was found on the ground floor carpark in a pool of blood. She was later pronounced dead on the spot.

White smoke was spotted billowing from the kitchen window.

Firefighters later discovered the smoke was coming from a frying pan, which was sitting on the lit stove and contained burnt food.

They were let in by Mr Choo Yeow Khiang, whose elder brother had employed Ms Okamoto mainly to look after their 77-year-old father.

This article was first published on Oct 11, 2014.
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