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Friday, September 9, 2011

'His hands were very sweaty'

Sulaiman Kamal | 5:35 PM | | | Best Blogger Tips

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There was panic in his eyes.
Pale and sweaty, the man hung on to the parapet.
Seconds later, he slipped from an elderly couple's grasp and plummeted seven storeys to his death.
There was nothing the couple could do to prevent the tragedy, which unfolded just outside their Choa Chu Kang flat.
The woman, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Han, recalled in Mandarin: "My husband and I tried to hold onto him.

"But his hands were very sweaty and within seconds, he had slipped from us and plunged down."
The 63-year-old market stall assistant was so traumatised by the incident on Monday that she stayed awake the entire night.
"We were tossing and turning. My husband and I couldn't sleep a wink. I kept thinking back on what had happened," she told The New Paper yesterday.
The couple have been living there for almost 20 years but Monday was the first time they had seen the fair-complexioned man.
Mrs Han was in the kitchen cooking lunch that fateful morning. Her husband, Mr Han, also 63, was flipping through some photo albums in the living room when he heard the sound of furniture being moved.
He recalled: "The door was open.
"I looked out and saw a man shifting my white shoe cabinet onto the other side of the corridor. Then he climbed onto it.
"I yelled at him several times, 'What are you doing?' But he didn't reply. He just turned around, ignored me and climbed over the parapet."
Their younger daughter, a 35-year-old bank officer who was on leave, called the police when she heard her father shouting.
Meanwhile, the couple sprinted out of their flat.
Mrs Han was the first to reach the man, who looked to be in his late 20s or 30s.
Dressed in a T-shirt and dark bermudas, he was already standing on the narrow ledge.
She grabbed his left hand.
"He was quite slim. My hand could encircle his wrist," she said.
Her husband tried to grab the man's right arm but the stranger's sweaty hands made it difficult for them to haul him to safety.
"He didn't try to shake us off or tell us not to hold on. It was very strange, he just kept silent the whole time," Mrs Han recalled.
Within seconds, he slipped from their grasp. A loud thud sounded when his body hit the ground.
Looking visibly upset as she recounted the sequence of events, Mrs Han said she did not dare to look down after that: "Everything happened so fast, I didn't really know how to react.
"I just stared at my husband after the man fell."
Meanwhile, 13-year-old student Faye Lim was watching the tragedy unfold from the opposite block.
She was chatting with a friend on her mobile phone, when she glanced out of the 14th-storey living room window.
Stunned to see a man dangling from the parapet, she shouted to her parents and younger sister.
The family rushed over and saw the elderly couple running out of the flat and holding on to the man.
Faye started snapping pictures on her mobile phone, while her horrified mother, housewife Chua Get Chu, 46, yelled: "Ah boy, don't jump!"
"His body was already over the railings. His slippers fell off, then he plunged down," said Faye.
A police spokesman said they received a call at about 11.40am on Monday asking for assistance at Block 271 Choa Chu Kang Avenue 2.
Paramedics at the scene pronounced the man dead at about noon. Police are investigating the unnatural death.
Since the incident, Mrs Han has thrown away the family's shoe cabinet.
She said: "It's not good to keep such things."

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