Soap saves stuck student

The girl in school uniform looked helpless as she sat there, her left leg stuck knee-deep in the gap between the train and the platform.

Around her, station staff and fellow commuters gathered, trying to calm her. Someone even applied moisturiser on her leg to try to free it, to no avail.

Suddenly, a station staff member, who did not want to be named, recalled something he had done in the past in a similar situation.

He immediately instructed his colleagues to get some liquid soap from the station's toilets.

They then poured it into the gap, which provided better lubrication.

"We managed to save the girl after four to five minutes of hard work," he told Lianhe Wanbao.


The incident happened at Hougang MRT station yesterday during the morning peak-hour rush at about 7.50am.

It caused a disruption on the North-East Line (NEL) that lasted about two hours, reported The Straits Times Online.

The girl, a junior college student, had slipped while stepping off a train. Her left leg went right into the 10cm gap between the train and the platform, and got stuck.

Station staff and fellow commuters rushed over to try to help her. Photos uploaded on social media show them trying to free the student's left leg.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it was alerted at 7.50am to the incident but the girl was freed before they arrived.

She was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

A spokesman for Nanyang Junior College said: "The student suffered a dislocated knee from the accident this morning but this has since been attended to. She is now resting at home."

Ms Tammy Tan, senior vice-president of corporate communications at SBS Transit, said the company is in touch with the student, who received outpatient treatment.

She said the gap between the platform and the train is "designed to provide a small physical clearance to accommodate the movement of the train body when it approaches the station".

"Without it, the train body may come into contact with the station's platform edge and this would be dangerous."

Ms Tan also said the incident led to the train being held back at the station, causing service to be delayed on the line.

Commuters were still complaining of large crowds along the North-East Line at 9am, more than an hour after the incident.

Some took to Twitter to vent their frustration.

One commuter said: "What is wrong with NEL? It's only 9am and your trains are coming in (at) five minute intervals despite this queue."

The crowds on the North-East Line eventually cleared by 9.30am.

This article was first published on March 12, 2015.
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