Tragedy struck a group SMRT officemates celebrating their Christmas party in Sembawang Park on Thursday, December 20. A tree fell on the pavilion where 17 people had taken refuge from heavy rains, 14 of whom were injured by the fallen tree.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) received an alert at 5:55 pm saying that the occurrence happened at Beaulieu Road, at Sembawang Park.
The SCDF reported no casualties nor serious injuries from the incident, and that the 14 injured individuals were taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital for medical treatment via ambulance.
The SMRT colleagues reportedly chose to celebrate at Sembawang Park due to its nearness to their office. The weather was still good when they started their party at 4 pm, but sudden rains fell an hour later.
The group was surprised when a tree fell directly over their heads, pinning some people under planks of wood. Some of the injured had cuts on their heads, and one person needed to be carried to another pavilion, where the group brought their hurt workmates.
National Parks Board (NParks) personnel arrived on the scene around an hour after the incident occurred to talk to the SMRT employees. Chuah Hock Seong, NParks group director of parks, said that two trees were uprooted in yesterday’s incident.
He reported that the one that fell on the shelter was a 21 meter-tall ordeal tree with a circumference of 3.1 meters. An eighteen-meter tall trumpet tree was also uprooted in Sembawang Park due to heavy rains yesterday.
Chuah said, “At the time of the incident, there were intense thunderstorms with gusty winds in the northern part of the island. “We are investigating the cause of the incident. We understand that all the injured persons are in stable condition and we are in the midst of getting in touch with them and their families.”