SINGAPORE: Two workers died after temporary scaffolding used for the construction of a roof slab at the new Downtown Line (DTL) Bugis Station subway link gave way.
Eight other workers, who were working on top of the structure, were injured and were sent to nearby Raffles Hospital before rescuers arrived.
They had minor injuries and five of them have since been discharged. Of the remaining three workers who were warded, one suffered from abdominal and chest injuries, while another suffered a back injury and the last had a finger injury.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has ordered all construction work to stop, while the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has revoked the construction permit for the site while investigations are underway.
MOM said that based on preliminary information gathered, workers were pouring concrete, also known as the casting process, into the formwork when the structure supporting the formwork collapsed.
The formwork, located between the new and old sections of Bugis MRT Station, was part of the structure being built to form the underground linkway. The project is a joint venture between Soletanche—Bachy and Koh Brothers.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the incident happened at about 6.50am.
The scaffolding structure was about four metres high, and the area affected —— measuring about five metres by 10 metres —— was localised. The entire DTL Bugis station is about 7,500 square metres.
LTA engineers and personnel are at the site to assist SCDF and the police to manage the situation.
LTA said the DTL Bugis station structure is substantially complete and structurally sound, and that the incident poses no risk to surrounding developments and the public.
LTA engineers are checking similar scaffolding structures at all its worksites to ensure they are safe.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said the subway link is about three to four metres deep.
It said the first body was found submerged in wet cement and was pressed down by wooden planks in the work area, which was 15 metres deep. It said the rescue operation was a "race against time" —— to retrieve the bodies before the wet cement hardens.
SCDF personnel are pumping in water to ensure that the cement stays wet, and are also cutting through planks and scaffolding to try to reach the body.
About two hours later, the SCDF said the second body was found. Its rescuers are also working to reach the body.
The SCDF stressed that the tunnel is still intact. The area which the accident occurred is a link—way connecting the new DTL station and Bugis station, and the existing Bugis station is not affected.
Forty SCDF personnel are involved in the search and rescue operation.
BCA said the collapse is localised and there are no structural safety concerns on the surrounding buildings and the road above.
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