Mr Liaw Chan Wah, a vehicle mechanic at Beng Heng Tyres and Batteries Service, was washing his hands and getting ready to go for lunch at around 12:50p.m. on 1 March 2011 when he heard his boss’ wife calling for him from outside the workshop.
She saw a minibus collide with a woman in her 50s and a motorcycle near their workshop at Sin Ming Drive.
She asked him to help the victim, who was trapped under the front right wheel of the minibus.
Mr Liaw, 35, arrived at the accident scene to see more than 10 people trying to lift the bus.
The bus refused to budge.
The woman whose right arm and chest were pinned down by the bus was struggling to breathe.
Her face was turning bluish-black.
Mr Liaw knew he had to do something.
“The scene was quite chaotic. We thought of nothing else but to save the woman as quickly as possible,” said Mr Liaw.
“Seeing her suffer, we had to think of a way to quickly lift the bus and get her out from under it,” added.
So Mr Liaw, with 13 years of experience as a mechanic, grabbed a vehicle jack from his workplace and used it to try and lift the bus.
The single jack could not lift the bus high enough to free the trapped victim, so Mr Liew called his colleague Mr Ho See How, 26, to help.
Mr Ho got a bigger jack from the workshop. With the second jack, both of them managed to lift the bus high enough to free the woman.
The woman, who suffered rib fractures and abrasions on her limbs, was rushed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital by the Singapore Civil Defence Force’s (SCDF) ambulance.
For their heroic efforts, Mr Liaw and Mr Ho were presented with the SCDF Public-Spiritedness Award by the 1st
Civil Defence (CD) Division’s Head of Operations Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Ling Young Ern at the 1st
CD Headquarters on 2 March 2011.
Mr Ho said: “We were quite surprised to receive this award since this is the first time that we had done something like this.”
LTC Ling said: “Mr Ho and Mr Liaw had been very proactive in using their skills, what they know as mechanics, to help this person who was trapped under the vehicle. And in doing so, they have enabled the victim to have a higher chance of survival.”
He hopes there will always be public-spirited people like Mr Liaw and Mr Ho who will come forward to help others in need.
Mr Liaw said: “I believe that anybody who has encountered this situation would have done the same thing. Perhaps some might be too shocked to do anything. But like us when we saw so many people helping the victim we just rushed to help too.”