Worker in stuck cable car waits 2 1/2 hours to be brought to safety

Worker in stuck cable car waits 2 1/2 hours to be brought to safety

The alert came at 4.25pm yesterday.

Moments earlier, an empty cable car cabin plunged from a height of about eight storeys - or 20 metres - into a construction site below. Nobody was hurt by the falling cabin.

In another cabin, a lone man sat quietly peering at the picturesque shoreline of Siloso Beach at Sentosa. The cabin appeared to have been stuck on the line connecting two large metal relay towers.

For the next two-and-a-half hours, the technical supervisor who had found himself trapped in the cabin, seemed helpless.

When The New Paper arrived at the scene at about 6pm, the silhouette of the man was barely visible from Siloso Beach below except for his head.

Sometimes he sat up. At other times, he slouched into the seat. Neither the Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) nor the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) would disclose his identify or nationality.

So how did he get into the tricky situation?

According to SDC, the man was working on a new cable car line that runs across Sentosa, spanning three stations from Imbiah to Fort Siloso.

The intra-line cable car network is not linked to the main cable car line from Faber Peak, said an SDC spokesman.

As resources were rushed to the incident site, the SCDF arrived within six minutes.

Cordoned off

Initially, access to the area close to the incident site was still passable to visitors and tourists. But a cordon was later set up by security guards at Sentosa, said one American tourist, who gave his name as Mr Stein.

He described it as a "complete lockdown".

Imbiah Walk, which runs almost parallel to a pathway at Siloso Beach was not passable to vehicles and visitors.

Journalists were also told to turn back down the road from Imbiah Walk.

As the TNP team tried to get a closer look at the fallen cabin, we realised that the technical inspector was not alone up there.

Working quietly on the nearest towering structure was an individual wearing a red safety hat.

We were unable to tell what he was doing or whether he was in direct communication with the trapped supervisor.

Close to his high work space, we noticed a stray cable that appeared to have trailed to the slope below.

While all the work was being done by the man in the red hat, the beachgoers seemed oblivious to the drama.

At about 6.55pm, the stalled cabin began to slowly reverse to a station at Imbiah.

An SCDF spokesman said: "After a thorough assessment by the SCDF and onsite engineers, the unaffected cabin was moved safely to Imbiah station. An SCDF paramedic assessed the technical supervisor and he did not require any medical assistance."

Bliss below

It was just like any other Sunday on the beach.

Amid the din of pounding music, the lean bodies of the surfers were being sprayed by the man-made waves at The Wave House on Siloso Beach.

Scores of spectators were cheering the surfers on as they wrestled the waves.

Elsewhere along Siloso Beach, the late afternoon sunlight cast long shadows on beachgoers flying kites and children having a go at the trapeze.

It was a typical sunny Sunday and a party-like atmosphere was expected.

But not yesterday. High on the hills behind Siloso Beach, a high-wire drama was unfolding.


Unknown to almost everyone The New Paper spoke to, a man was sitting nervously in a cable car cabin stuck more than 20m - about eight storeys high - above ground.

One other cable car cabin, which was undergoing installation works, had already plunged into a construction site.

Beachgoer Premkumar, 28, said he had not noticed anything unusual while he took pictures of his Filipino girlfriend.

When we pointed him to the lone cable car cabin behind the beach, he replied: "No wonder.

"We walked to Siloso Beach and at the entrance of Imbiah Walk, we saw many men in uniform. They only told us that the road was closed."

This article was first published on August 11, 2014.
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