Rescuers' only thought was to save toddler

Rescuers' only thought was to save toddler

WHEN construction workers Subramanian Shanmuganathan and Ponnan Muthukumar saw a toddler dangling out of a second floor flat on Thursday, their first thought was to save her.

The two-year-old girl was hanging outside the ledge of her flat's service yard, with her head stuck between a laundry pole and the ledge.

The workers climbed up. Mr Shanmuganathan, 35, stood on the parapet and held onto the girl's body, while Mr Muthukumar, 24, who was in the area next to the service yard, held her head.

They eventually freed two-year-old Naurah Fitria Auni, who had been left alone in the three-room flat in Jurong East Street 32 for about 20 minutes.

The rescue was captured on video by private tutor David Cheo, 36. The video was uploaded on popular blog and was viewed more than 500,000 times as of last night.

Yesterday, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) presented the duo from Tamil Nadu with the Public Spiritedness Award at the SCDF headquarters in Bukit Batok.

Mr Ang Wei Neng, an MP for Jurong GRC, also presented each of them with $100 worth of supermarket vouchers.

Mr Muthukumar said in Tamil: "I didn't think of my own safety. I just wanted to save the baby. I could tell she was in pain."

Mr Shanmuganathan added: "We didn't expect to receive an award. We really appreciate it."



The workers of Yew Hup Construction were repairing roads in Jurong East on Thursday when the incident happened.

Both said they did not find it hard to climb up to the flat, as they used to climb trees in India.

The toddler's mother, Madam Noreen Saniri, 27, said she had left the flat at about 12.45pm on Thursday to walk her four-year-old daughter, Naurah Amni, to pre-school.

As her younger daughter was asleep, she decided not to wake her when she left.

"But when I was coming home and crossing the road, I saw my neighbour waving to me," she said. "My heart dropped. I didn't know what had happened."

The housewife said she was still unsure about what happened, but SCDF officers had retrieved her iPad from the parapet outside the service yard.

"I think she might have dropped the iPad and she wanted to go down to take it," she said.

There were boxes stacked up in the service yard, which the toddler might have climbed onto. She said she heard about the rescue video, but did not dare to watch it.

"I cannot take it. I know in the video she was calling out for me, she kept saying ibu, ibu."

She said she had thought of installing window grilles in her home, but found this too expensive.

Her husband, Mr Muhammad Fazlee Abdul Aziz, 28, works as a technician and takes home about $2,000 each month. They have a nine-year-old son.

But Mr Ang said yesterday the Jurong Central Citizens Consultative Committee is looking to sponsor window grilles for her family.

Meanwhile, the police said they are investigating the incident as a case of negligence.

Madam Noreen's daughters were playing in the living room when The Straits Times visited yesterday. The younger girl had a bruise on her left cheek and chin.

"We took her to the hospital yesterday and the doctor said it's just a minor bruise," she said.

"I just want to thank the workers. They saved my daughter," she added.

This article was first published on April 25, 2015.
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