Little India COI: 'No danger' of officer being crushed

SINGAPORE - It was a close shave for the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officer who reached under a bus to pull out the body of an accident victim in Little India.

The vehicle, which was jacked up on one side for the extrication of the body, suddenly dropped after it was rocked by a mob of foreign workers riled up after one of their own was run over and killed by the bus on Dec 8.

The SCDF rescuer, however, would not have been pinned under the 41-seater bus, said his commander, Lieutenant Tiffany Neo. This is because the officer had only reached into the undercarriage of the bus with his arms, rather than crawl under it, as testified by a police officer earlier.

Lt Neo clarified this yesterday when she appeared before the Committee of Inquiry into the riot.

Senior Station Inspector Akhbar Ali, one of the first police officers on the scene, had told the inquiry on Thursday that the SCDF officer crawled under the vehicle moments before the hydraulic jack holding it up collapsed.

Video footage from a camera on an SCDF vehicle played in court also showed the bus, which was elevated on one side at first, suddenly dropping to its wheels.

State Counsel Tan Soo Tet had said: "It was a very dangerous situation, he could have had quite serious injuries."

But Lt Neo replied: "At most, he would have been hit a little. He wouldn't have been crushed."

When asked by the committee if she knew what actually caused the bus to fall, Lt Neo said she found out only a few days after the riot.

"Apparently some guy was trying to climb into the bus. It shook the bus and it went off its position," she said.

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