Team Singapore athletes shocked by man falling from Swissotel

Team Singapore athletes shocked by man falling from Swissotel
FATAL: A 33-year-old man is believed to have plunged from one of the upper floors of Swissotel The Stamford yesterday afternoon.

Team Singapore athletes got a shock yesterday when the body of a man came crashing down in front of the Swissotel The Stamford.

Some of the athletes, who are housed there for this month's South-east Asia (SEA) Games, were in the vicinity when the body fell at around 1pm.

The track and field athletes were in their hotel rooms while three swimmers were at a cafe in Raffles City.

Sprinter Calvin Kang did not see the body falling but he was not spared the gruesome sight after.

"We looked outside to see the aftermath of it. It wasn't pretty," he told The New Paper.

Swimmer Dylan Koo, 16, was at the nearby Starbucks outlet with two female teammates when the body landed at the area just outside Introbar, one the restaurants on the ground floor.

"When we heard about it, we got curious," he said.

"We went to look but by then, the police had already covered up most of it."

Despite the horrific incident, Dylan said that it should not affect the athletes' focus. "We can't let this get into our heads," he said.

"We've worked so hard for so long, and now we have to put this aside and translate all that effort into results."

The athletes are being given psychological support.

SHAKEN

A 16-year-old witness, who declined to be named, was on her way for a lunch to celebrate her birthday when the body landed just 15m from her.

She said she was deeply shaken after the body hit the ground, splattering the clothes of passers-by.

The incident was so traumatising that some passers-by immediately fled the scene and many turned away in horror, she added.

"It is kind of hard to stomach anything after that. It's something I hope no one else ever has to experience," she said.

Police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force said they received a call for assistance at 1.10pm.

A 33-year-old man was found dead, said a police spokesman. He is believed to have plunged from one of the upper floors.

Police are investigating the unnatural death. No foul play is suspected.

This is the second such incident at the hotel in five days.

Last Saturday, a woman in her 50s, believed to be a hotel guest from Australia, was also found dead in front of the hotel.

Yesterday, a Swissotel spokesman said the hotel would be reviewing its safety protocols and policies.

She declined further comment as investigations are ongoing.

- Additional reporting by SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ and RONALD LOH

Athletes to receive psychological support

The athletes who were affected by the shocking scenes at the Swissotel The Stamford have been offered psychological support, revealed a Team Singapore coach and the SEA Games chefs de mission.

Singapore swimming head coach Sergio Lopez, who spoke to The New Paper before leaving for training at the Singapore Sports Hub yesterday afternoon, said that counsellors and psychologists were available to talk to the athletes.

Mr Lopez said: "We're talking to our athletes, SNOC (Singapore National Olympic Council) has counsellors talking to them, and the Singapore Sports Institute has psychologists with them.

"We're also talking through the chatgroup helping them compartmentalise this, understand how we can move forward."

PRIORITY

In response to TNP queries, Singapore's chefs de mission Tan Eng Liang and Nicholas Fang said in a statement: "Some Team Singapore athletes witnessed the incident and are now receiving attention from medical professionals.

"The team's well-being is our priority and we are working very closely with our stakeholders to ensure that utmost care is provided to athletes and officials."

The athletes who were at the scene said they would not let the incident affect them and their performance.

Sprinter Calvin Kang said: "Our team is tight and we have a chat group where we speak about anything and everything. Some of the girls were alone when it happened and we sent someone to comfort them."

Mr Lopez shared the sentiment.

"I don't think this will affect us too much," said the Barcelona native.

HELPLINES

Samaritans Of Singapore (SOS) 1800-221-4444

Singapore Association For Mental Health 1800-283-7019

Touch Counselling & Social Support 6709-8400

Care Corner Mandarin Counselling Centre 1800-353-5800

Mental Health Helpline 6389-2222


This article was first published on June 4, 2015.
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