Singapore

Trailer driver trapped in crushed cabin for 50 minutes

AYE accident involving three vehicles

A driver was trapped in his seat for 50 harrowing minutes yesterday after his trailer collided with a lorry.

The driver, known only as Ah Chui, works for a logistics company and was transporting a container from the PSA terminal in Pasir Panjang to a factory in the Jurong industrial area.

On the Ayer Rajah Expressway, Ah Chui was involved in an accident with two other vehicles - a prime mover and a tipper truck - near the Jurong Town Hall exit at 2.35pm.

The accident crushed the front cabin of the trailer, trapping him.

It caused a traffic jam stretching back 2.7 km.

Rescuers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force spent close to 50 minutes trying to free Ah Chui using hydraulic machinery. He was seen grimacing throughout the rescue.

When he was finally freed at close to 3.30pm, he was conscious but seemed dazed, and was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

His employer, Mr Tan Soo Beng, told The New Paper last night that Ah Chui, who was kept overnight for observation, had no serious injuries.

Mr Tan, who was also at the scene, said Ah Chui is a Chinese national who has been been in the job for just over a month.

"I don't blame him for what happened because accidents happen," said Mr Tan in Mandarin. "I just told him to take this as a lesson and to drive more carefully in future."

The prime mover driver, 59, whose truck was sandwiched between the two vehicles, said he could see the trailer coming towards him through his rear view mirror but could not move away because there was a traffic jam.

"I was lucky to not have flown out. I had my seat belt on. I was trapped but forced my way out and went to help the driver behind," said the driver who wanted to be known only as Mr Lim.

The crash left a big mess, as the container on the trailer was damaged, and the cargo of base oil streamed out.

Base oil, which comes from crude oil, is used in making lubricating grease and motor oil. It is flammable when heated to above 280 deg C.

TYRE TRACKS

When The New Paper arrived at about 3.30pm, the oil had formed a puddle on the road shoulder, stretching about 10m, and was also flowing into a drain.

Tyre tracks could be seen on the road beneath the trailer.

Around 5pm, two heavy vehicles from KS Recycling that had motor pumps attached arrived, and workers started cleaning up the oil spill.

It took them more than two hours to complete the operation, which included cleaning up the oil and washing down the 50m stretch with soap and water.

The ground by the road shoulder will also be dug up, with the soil replaced, Mr Tan said.

He did not know how much the clean up would cost him but estimated it would be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

A police spokesman said they are investigating the accident.

I don't blame him for what happened because accidents happen. I just told him to take this as a lesson and to drive more carefully in future.

- The trapped driver's employer, Mr Tan Soo Beng

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