Two help persuade man off 9th storey ledge
Kim Keat Avenue man sat on 9th storey ledge for an hour
Two men managed to distract another as he sat on a ninth storey ledge at Kim Keat Avenue yesterday.
They stalled him until rescuers arrived and plucked him to safety at about 2.30pm, after he had a spent about an hour on the ledge.
One of the men, who wanted to be known as Mr Lek, said he was exercising at his block's playground yesterday afternoon when someone alerted him to the man, who was then standing on the ledge.
Alarmed, Mr Lek said he tried to signal to the man to climb over the railings to safety.
But the man, who had sat on the ledge by then, just waved and continued sitting there.
"He looked very emotional and unstable from where I was standing below," said the 75-year-old retiree.
Mr Lek, a fourth-storey resident, took the lift to the ninth storey and realised he recognised the man.
"I knew him as Michael and he lives on the seventh storey. We would say 'hi' whenever we bumped into each other," Mr Lek told The New Paper in Mandarin.
"I shouted 'Michael! Come back in!' to which he replied he couldn't because he owed money to people, including his relatives.
"I told him that anything can be solved and he can ask if anyone would be able to help him with his debt after he gets back over the railings."
Mr Lek also told TNP that another passer-by tried to coax the man down from the ledge by talking about life in prison.
"He told Michael to come back over the railings and said life in jail is tough as he was imprisoned before," said Mr Lek, apparently referring to the jail sentence of up to a year for attempted suicide.
He added: "Then the police came and I returned home as I knew the situation was under control."
Officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF) Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Dart) deployed a safety net before pulling the man over the railings.
TNP was alerted to the incident by Mr Leonard Frugtniet, 65, a retiree.
Mr Frugtniet, who lives in the opposite block, said: "I was scared because it's not something you see every day. I was so relieved after he was rescued."
Another witness, architectural supervisor Nagaraju Alla, 25, said: "I was wondering how he managed to climb over the railing as it is quite high.
"But I am happy his life was saved."
SCDF said they received a call at 1.40pm about a man sitting on a ledge on the ninth storey of the block.
A safety life pack was inflated as a precautionary measure and a safety net was deployed before Dart personnel pulled the man to safety at about 2.30pm.
He was taken conscious to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
Police said a 56-year-old man was arrested for attempted suicide and investigations are ongoing.
Seventh-storey resident Loy Teck Chung, 50, a taxi driver said in Mandarin: "I clapped for the SCDF team when the man was pulled to safety.
"They are true heroes."
What experts say
Speaking to a suicidal person is a way of stalling for time until help arrives from the authorities, and may even help to suppress thoughts of jumping, said experts.
Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist at Dr BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness, said: "(Thoughts) of attempting suicide are usually transient and impulsive.
"If someone is there to talk to the suicidal person, suicidal tendencies may decrease rapidly and it could even bring him or her back from the brink."
For a passer-by who comes across an attempted suicide, Dr Lim said it is important to ensure personal safety first.
"You should call and ask for help from the police. That aside, there is nothing much you can do other than engage the person in conversation, talk and listen to him or her," said Dr Lim.
He added: "If possible, call the person's family members as it would be easier for them to coax him or her out of jumping."
Ms Annie Siow, a social worker at Concern and Care Society, said: "At that moment, it is good to have a person there talking to someone who is attempting suicide.
"If there's someone listening or speaking, at least there would be hope for him or her and it could also prolong the time (for rescuers to react)."
Samaritans of Singapore (SOS):
National Family Service Centre:
Singapore Association for Mental Health:
Care Corner Mandarin Counselling Centre:
Touchline (Touch Youth Service):
Children can call 1800-274-4788 on weekdays