Workers stuck up pylon for 4 hours

Singapore Civil Defence Force officers preparing the two Bangladeshi workers - Mr Akabbar Ali Liakat Ali and Mr Mohammed Mohzammel Haque Mohammed Mahshin Ali - for their climb down.

SINGAPORE - Two workers spent almost four hours stuck up a floodlight pylon on Wednesday when their lift mechanism failed - and a crane sent to rescue them also jammed.

Mr Akabbar Ali Liakat Ali and Mr Mohammed Mohzammel Haque Mohammed Mahshin Ali, both in their early 30s, were about 10 storeys high up the pylon at Delta Sports Complex when their gondola got stuck at around 11.30am.

Their supervisor, who was operating the cradle via an electronic motor from the ground, informed staff of the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), which owns and manages the Tiong Bahru complex.

A member of the public alerted the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) at 1.30pm and a rescue team was despatched. When The Straits Times arrived at the scene at about 3pm, the rescue operation was still under way and the lopsided gondola was suspended three quarters of the way up the pylon.

There were two safety air mattresses below and the men, secured with safety harnesses and lines, were climbing down the ladder of the SCDF's aerial appliance with the help of its officers.

The plan had been to lower the pair down via a platform on the appliance's crane, but it failed. After reaching the ground at about 3.30pm, the two Bangladeshis were taken to Alexandra Hospital for a check-up. Neither was injured.

SCDF later confirmed that a "technical difficulty" had not allowed the aerial appliance to be lowered as planned, but said it was equipped with a ladder as "an alternative means of rescue". It is investigating the matter.

The SSC did not know what caused Wednesday's incident. Victor Engineering, which employs the two men, is appointing an external vendor to inspect the gondola.

The Manpower Ministry said it was looking into the incident.

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