An 82-year-old man who stuck his left arm down a shower drain to retrieve an object ended up with his arm trapped down the pipe for more than 12 hours.
The man, who is thought to live alone in his flat, called out at around 2am on Sunday, said his neighbours.
But they did not go to his aid as they could not figure out what he was saying.
It was only at noon that someone alerted the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
"His entire arm - up to the shoulder - was stuck in the piping and his whole body weight was resting on the floor," Major Tan Teck Ming, commander of Tampines Fire Station, told reporters after the rescue operation.
SCDF officers initially used a lubricant to try to ease the man's arm out, but were unsuccessful.
They then tried to access the pipe from the unit below the man's flat on the eighth floor of Block 138, Bedok North Street 2.
"There were a lot of police officers walking here and there, and I was scared because I didn't know what had happened," said Madam Pan Choy Chen, 73, who lives on the seventh floor.
SCDF officers broke apart the piping and concrete near the ceiling of her toilet to extricate her neighbour's bleeding arm.
At about 3pm, three hours after the SCDF officers arrived, the man was rescued and put on a stretcher to be taken to Changi General Hospital.
Part of his arm was still encased in piping.
"It was a very difficult and delicate operation," Major Tan said. "He was conscious throughout, and we made it a point to communicate and engage with him."
His family members, who waited at the foot of the block while he was being extricated, declined to speak to the media.
Said Madam Pan: "I know him. He's a very hardworking man and he's lived here for many years."
This article was first published on June 9, 2014.
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