SINGAPORE: The goodwill donation that SMRT Corporation offered the Thai teenager who lost both legs was the first time it had done so for someone who suffered an injury after falling on the train tracks.
This was revealed on the seventh day of the hearing of a lawsuit filed by Ms Pen—Eakchanasak Nitcharee against rail operator SMRT and the Land Transport Authority.
She fell onto the tracks at Ang Mo Kio station in April last year, and thereafter a train ran over her legs.
Mr Henry Lim, the Senior Manager of Customer Relations at SMRT Corporation took the stand on Tuesday.
He told the court that a goodwill donation of S$10,000 was delivered to Ms Nitcharee through the Thai Embassy a few days after the incident.
About a month later, SMRT also offered to make a final donation of S$5,000 to assist Ms Nitcharee and her family.
Mr Lim said both donations were meant to assist Ms Nitcharee and her family, and were not admissions of liability. This was communicated to the family through the Thai ambassador.
The S$5,000 donation was then rejected by Ms Nitcharee’s father.
Calling the donations "unprecedented", Mr Lim said that SMRT has never done so for anyone who has died or been injured after a fall onto the train tracks as it did not want to encourage a repeat of such cases.
"We wanted to avoid people deliberately intruding on the tracks to seek some form of donations... some members of public might see it as a way of soliciting funds from SMRT," he said.
Mr Lim added that the company had made an exception for Ms Nitcharee as they viewed her case with ’sympathy and compassion’.
Ms Nitcharee received more than S$400,000 in donations from the Singapore Red Cross and the Thai Embassy in Singapore.
Also on the stand on Tuesday was train driver Mohamed Faizal Mohd Yunos.
Mr Mohamed Faizal, who had been operating the train that ran over Ms Nitcharee’s legs, recalled that as the train approached Ang Mo Kio platform, he saw her fall onto the tracks.
"It was like a leaf dropping," he told the court, adding that he immediately hit the emergency brakes.
Mr Mohamed Faizal also said that although the train had entered the station at the specified reduced speed, he knew the train had not managed to stop in time as he heard a sound beneath it.
He then immediately informed the Operations Control Centre of the accident.
He told the court that this was the first time he had encountered such an incident in his 16 years of driving a train.
The trial continues.
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