SINGAPORE: The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) has recovered the bodies of two workers from China who died after the temporary scaffolding used for the construction of the roof slab at the new Downtown Line (DTL) Bugis Station subway link gave way on Wednesday morning.
Eight other workers, who were working on top of the structure, were injured and were sent to nearby Raffles Hospital before rescuers arrived.
Seven of them are from Bangladesh, while the eighth is from China. 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 Land Transport Authority (LTA) said at about 6pm that all other workers have been accounted for.
It said it was deeply saddened by the loss of lives, as well as the injuries suffered by the other eight workers.
It added that it will cooperate with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in its investigation into the cause of the accident and will exercise extra vigilance to prevent a similar occurrence.
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.
BCA said the collapse was localised and there were no structural safety concerns on the surrounding buildings and the road above.
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.
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 were at the site to assist SCDF and the police to manage the situation.
LTA said the DTL Bugis station structure was substantially complete and structurally sound, and that the incident posed no risk to surrounding developments and the public.
LTA engineers checked similar scaffolding structures at all its DTL worksites and said they are safe.
SCDF said the subway link is about three to four metres deep.
It added that the first body was found at about 10.40am. It was submerged in wet cement and pressed down by wooden planks in the work area, which was 15 metres deep.
SCDF said the recovery operation was a "race against time" as it had to retrieve the body before the wet cement hardened.
Its personnel pumped in water to ensure that the cement stayed wet, and cut through planks and scaffolding to reach the body. They took about an hour to retrieve the body.
The second body was found at 12.53pm and recovered at about 4pm.
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. The existing Bugis station is not affected.
Forty SCDF personnel were involved in the search and rescue operation.
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