The rush hour crowd in Singapore is relentless. This morning, a woman was on her way out of the train when her leg got caught in the platform gap. She could not get her leg out without help and the situation got more dire by the minute.
The incident took place at Buona Vista station, which is an interchange with a neverending flow of people. Many commuters were either busy taking pictures or being annoyed that the poor woman was blocking their way or wasting their precious traveling time.
Luckily for her, a fellow passenger took the initiative to help her and instructed other passengers to raise the emergency alarm. If the train moves, the woman will be as good as gone.
"I had to shout 'Press the emergency button!' 3 times before another passenger activated the emergency stop button. Those precious seconds could have determined life or death. Don’t make “tsk” noises to voice your displeasure at the situation. You’re going to be 10 mins late to work? Big deal. Think about it, a woman could have lost her life."
The helpful passenger was not first-aid trained but comforted the woman and waited till she was safe. SMRT staff at the station were activated and tried their best to help her. They were, however, allegedly not very savvy with first-aid.
"The lady’s leg got caught at 8:45am, the first SMRT staff on the scene arrived 45 seconds later, the second one more than a minute later. I understand that the morning crowd at Buona Vista can get pretty unmanageable, but there has to be more urgency. Furthermore, any talk of an ambulance wasn’t even initiated until more than 10 mins later. In my view, that’s far too slow."
Fortunately, a medically-trained student arrived at the scene and it was not long before they managed to get the woman to safety. Although she got away mostly unharmed, there is much to learn from the lesson.
"To all commuters, don’t prioritise your personal gratification but instead, do your part to assist anyone in need of emergency help. To SMRT, there needs to be more first aid training immediately. I am not trying to vilify your organisation, I just wish there would be no more incidents like these. Your staff were wonderfully helpful but were obviously not trained for such situations. To the poor lady who was caught, I hope you feel much better and have not sustained any serious injuries."
She was unlucky and lucky at the same time. The next time something similar happens, hopefully Singaporeans will react quickly and with a little more heart.