Sunday, February 08, 2009

MRT accidents in Singapore

Yesterday, I read the newspapers only to learn of yet another MRT-related tragedy on 'above-ground' MRT platforms.
This time round, it was a freak incident: an elderly man standing on the MRT platform waiting for the train suddenly lost his posture when the train approached the platform. He fell towards the train while it was coming into the station, knocked his head on the body of the moving train, fell back to the platform with injuries so fatal that he just passed on soon after. It was reported in the news that the man has not been feeling well and has been on medication. Perhaps, the old man could have fallen onto the train under the effect of medication.
The MRT (Mass Rapid Trains) first appeared on Singapore's cityscape in 1988 but it was only in recent years that train accidents and mishaps have become commonplace.
A bulk of these mishaps involved people who simply jumped into the track as a mean to an end (of their life). I still remembered the first such suicide incident when a man jumped into the path of an approaching train reportedly to score some sympathy scores for his debt-ridden family with his death. He did achieve his objective (posthumously) as donations flew fast and forth to his surviving wife and children.
Since then, there seem to emerge 'copycats' where victims, often mired in debts, seek to solve their monetary problems by dying in a sensational way, by making the headlines that thug at the heartstrings of Singaporeans and galvanized them towards giving to their surviving families. However, I noticed the more recent train suicide incidents are no longer reported in the newspapers, possibly to discourage more such suicide cases in Singapore?
There was also one incident in which a young man pushed his lover onto the path of a soon-oncoming train after a tiff. His girlfriend managed to climb out of the track just in time before she becomes smashed into pieces. Her boyfriend was later convicted in court. There were also a few other cases when people just fell to the track while waiting on the platform, some were pulled out before the train comes while others are not so lucky.
The Singapore Mass Rapid Transport (SMRT) corporation is planning to retrofit each 'above-ground' MRT plaform with glass door panels to prevent people from falling into the tracks again. Works are in the pipeline to retrofit some stations such as Pasir Ris and Boon Lay with these glass doors by the end of the year. It was reported all 'above-ground' MRT platform would be similarly retrofitted with these doors by year 2011 or 2012.
I find it regretful that SMRT would implement the glass panel doors only at this point in time where a number of lives have been lost. While those who really want to seek death could do so by other means apart from jumping to the MRT tracks, if we could have the glass doors on the 'above ground' stations at the time when each MRT station first became functional to residents, we could have saved the lives of those who have accidentally fallen into the tracks.


Anonymous said...

It is not really necessary to put up the glass panels. I feel that people should take more responsibilities with their own safety.

If a few people walking on the pavement were to fall onto the road and got killed, are we going to erect some barriers along parts of the roads.

Anonymous said...

I read that train machinists who encounters rail-suicides in NL often suffers from post-trauma's which rendered them unfit to operate the trains.

The best way to help suicidal people is to promote the SOS phoneline. Problems r afterall temporary, whereas death is permanent.

eastcoastlife said...

I agree with qa too.
Sometimes I see parents allowing their young kids run wild while waiting at MRT platforms. And school children playing catching or pushing one another while waiting for their trains to arrive. these actions are dangerous.

Singapore Short Stories said...

Hi qa and ECL,

I understand what you mean.

But don't you find dangerous for people to stand too just behind the yellow line while a train crusade at such great speeds, much greater than those on the roads?

Anonymous said...

I feel if you stand behind the yellow line it is ok, provided people don't push or someone feels giddy and falls.

I don't know how the glass door panels look like or how tall they ate. But I think even with them some careless person or children may also knock against it and hurt themselves. They I suppose there will be people clamouring for their removal.

rEaLiTy BiTeS said...

100% agree to glass panels. Infact I suggest that these panels should be put up immediately. It's better to be safe than sorry. There are just too many careless people around. In fact with the economic downturn, more suicides and murder attempts are more likely to happen. We wouldn't want them to have these options do we? We may never know that their actions we may also jeopardise other people around them.

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