Friday, June 25

2 missing, 8 injured in Singapore construction site

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Singaporean rescuers gather outside the Downtown Line (DTL) Bugis Station subway construction site in Singapore on July 18, 2012. Two workers are still missing after the temporary scaffolding used for the construction of the new subway link roof slab gave way. –AFP photo

SINGAPORE: At least two workers were missing and eight others injured in Singapore when the scaffolding at a subway construction sitecollapsed Wednesday, civil defence officials said.

It was the latest incident to hit Singapore’s metro train system, which has been under pressure to improve its services and system after two major breakdowns in December last year.

Civil defence crews, trucks, ambulances and sniffer dogs were on site to carry out search and rescue operations, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

A civil defence spokesman at the site said two workers were missing while eight others who suffered minor injuries were treated at a nearby hospital.

A panel commissioned to investigate last year’s breakdowns criticised train operator SMRT for prioritising resumption of revenue service over addressing underlying problems which caused the two breakdowns.

It also concluded that SMRT’s metro system had been plagued by outdated equipment and poor maintenance for years, and that the company did not have enough engineers capable of overseeing maintenance.

The Land Transport Authority this month also imposed the maximum fine of Sg$2 million ($1.59 million) on SMRT for the breakdowns, which stranded thousands of workers.

The site of Wednesday’s accident is a new station for the latest metro line, portions of which are still under construction in a bid to meet the transport needs of a growing population.

Singapore now has a population of over five million people, including citizens, permanent residents and foreign workers. –AFP