Thursday, 2 June 2011

Teen found dead after falling into drain

By Monica Kotwani

SINGAPORE: The body of a 15-year-old Indonesian teen, who had been swept away after falling into a drain swollen with rain water was found on Wednesday night.

Rescuers found his body in the canal next to Block 82, Whampoa Drive, close to the 1- to 1.5-kilometre stretch that the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) had been combing since late afternoon.

Paramedics pronounced him dead at about 11 pm.

The tragedy happened during a period of intense rain, which caused flooding at the junction of Novena Square and a tree to fall elsewhere.

The teen, identified only as William, was here on holiday. He was with two friends, Singaporean student Brian Lee and his Indonesian cousin, who was William's friend.

He was wading through shin-deep waters at 2.30pm along a flooded section in the Balestier area when he fell into the drain.

The drain is guarded by a railing but William is believed to have stepped through a break in the railing at the flooded junction of Martaban Road and Minbu Road. He fell into the submerged drain, which is about 1.2-metre deep.

"My cousin's friend (William) grabbed the railings but he was soon swept away," Brian said.

The two other teens were walking just behind William.

Brian said his cousin then ran towards the drain along Mandalay Road. "My cousin told me to take care of our belongings and he ran towards the drain to try and save William. He grabbed William's T-shirt and cried for help," Brian said.

But his cousin could not hold on for long. The Indonesian also tried to extend his feet to the stricken teen but the rushing water proved too strong and swept William away, Brian added.

On Wednesday night, Brian told MediaCorp that they had contacted William's father in Jakarta and that he was on his way to Singapore.

The SCDF said it received a call at about 4pm on Wednesday. Eighteen personnel and several vehicles, including an ambulance and a water-rescue vehicle, were despatched.

Watched by a crowd of curious onlookers, SCDF officers searched the drain and the canal at Whampoa West and Serangoon Road, into which the drain empties.

The case has been handed over to the police, who said that investigations are still ongoing. - TODAY

Our deepest condolences to the family.

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