News

Man tells of how he saved dangling neighbour

Man holds on to suicidal neighbour until SCDF takes over

He was supposed to go to work that day, but if he had, his upstairs neighbour might be dead now.

His elderly neighbour was about to jump off a ledge when the man, who wanted to be known only as Mr Liew, went to his rescue.

He held on for what seemed like an eternity until his hands hurt before others joined him to keep the suicidal man safe until he could be rescued.

Mr Liew told The New Paper yesterday that he had just come back from a trip to China last Tuesday. He was due to return to work on Wednesday, but he decided to take an extra day off to relax at home.

That morning, the 35-year-old merchandiser, who lives on the 17th storey, heard shouts from the opposite block and stepped out of his flat to find out why.

That was when Mr Liew saw an elderly man standing on a narrow ledge between the 16th and 17th storeys.

The incident happened at Block 420, Clementi Avenue 1, at about 8.20am on Wednesday.

Mr Liew said: "I asked him what he was doing and he told me that he wanted to jump off.

"I then asked him what the matter was and he told me that his family and his work were not going too smoothly."

When the man threatened to jump, Mr Liew quickly grabbed his hands. He said he used all his strength to pull the old man's arms to prevent him from falling.

Mr Liew said: "I don't know how long I held on to him as I felt disorientated. All I wanted to do was to hold on to the old man.

"My hands got weak and numb. I felt very exhausted, but I could not let him die."

When the police arrived, the elderly man became flustered and struggled even more and kept imploring Mr Liew to let him go, making the younger man's efforts even more difficult.

Two police officers and another resident, known only as Mr Chen, joined Mr Liew to hold on to the man before Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers turned up.

Mr Liew said he was finally able to let go of the man's arm when the SCDF officers told him they would take over.

An 18th-storey resident, who wanted to be known only as Ms Ng, said: "I was shocked to see my neighbour standing on the ledge.

"There were already people helping to hold him, but I quickly called another neighbour for extra help.

"He rushed to the scene and took over from a policeman so that he could call for back up."

GRAB

That neighbour was Mr Chen, who told Lianhe Wanbao: "I went up to grab the old man, but he kept shouting for me to let him go so that he could jump."

SCDF said it sent a fire engine, a Red Rhino and an ambulance to the incident.

The man's one-hour ordeal eventually ended when the SCDF officers physically pulled him back up from the ledge.

SCDF said that a 70-year-old man was taken to the National University Hospital. The police said he was arrested for attempted suicide.

When TNP went yesterday to the old man's 18th-storey flat, which he shares with his wife, no one answered the doorbell.

Mr Liew, who is still shaken from the incident, said: "If he had fallen that day, I might not be able to sleep for the months to come."

HELPLINES

SAMARITANS OF SINGAPORE

1800-221-4444

SINGAPORE ASSOCIATION FOR MENTAL HEALTH

1800-283-7019

INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH HELPLINE

6389-2222

CARE CORNER COUNSELLING HOTLINE (MANDARIN)

1800-353-5800