Two workers die after one tries to save the other who fell into tank

Two workers die after one tries to save the other who fell into tank
Wang Junxing, Mr Zhai's widow

SINGAPORE - Two workers who were found in a 3m-deep tank filled with leather chemical dye died last Saturday after spending 10 days in a coma.

The bodies of Mr Yang Zhonghua, 37, and Mr Zhai Hailei, 26, were collected yesterday by their families. The pair worked for Nam Heng Leather Dyeing in Tai Seng Avenue.

It is believed that Mr Yang tumbled into the tank as he tried to retrieve a basket on Dec 26, Chinese evening daily Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday.

When he did not return with the basket, his employer asked Mr Zhai, a fellow Chinese national, to look for him. Mr Zhai saw Mr Yang struggling in the tank filled with chemical dye, and jumped in to save him, said the report.

But both men ended up struggling for their lives, and were rescued by other workers only 30 minutes later, according to Lianhe Wanbao, another Chinese evening daily.

They were sent to Changi General Hospital. It is unclear what caused their injuries and deaths.

The Ministry of Manpower said it has instructed the company to stop all work on its premises.

A spokesman said officers from its Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate responded immediately to the accident and have been investigating at the site.

Mr Zhai's widow, housewife Wang Junxing, 27, told Lianhe Wanbao that she had been praying for a miracle since she flew in from China to be at her husband's bedside on New Year's Day.

She did not know how her husband fell into the tank or what the basket contained, but said that his work was tough. She last spoke to him on Christmas Day.

Ms Wang said he came to Singapore in 2010 to help pay for the education of his oldest child. He leaves two daughters aged one and five. Stricken with grief, she had to be supported by family members at the mortuary.

More than 10 of Mr Yang's family and friends also flew in here after the accident. They declined to speak to the media.


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