‘I noticed my household falling into the ocean’: Survivor of 1983 Sentosa cable automobile accident nonetheless struggles with trauma


SINGAPORE – Four a few years have handed nonetheless Mr Jagjit Singh nonetheless has flashbacks and sees the sensible lights of a helicopter shining straight at him.

He was eight years outdated on Jan 29, 1983, and in cable automobile 26 with six completely different members of his household when the derrick, or tower-like building, of the Panama-registered oil drilling vessel Eniwetok struck the cableway.

His household had travelled to Sentosa to spend “happy time” as a household, to lift the Primary 3 pupil’s spirits consequently of he had been struggling to fit in in class.

Mr Singh, now 48, recalled that he was sandwiched between his godparents, who had raised him since starting, on one aspect of the cabin, whereas his grandmother, aunt and her two kids sat all through from them.

After the preliminary jolt, his 60-year-old grandmother Pritam Kaur stood up, held onto a metallic pole inside the cabin and prayed.

The second jolt received right here minutes later. The cable automobile somersaulted and the door swung open.

He watched his godfather Mahinder Singh, 42, and Madam Kaur, who was holding his 22-month-old cousin Tasvinder Singh, fall out of the cabin.

“I saw my family falling into the sea. I don’t think anybody else has seen that happen, I don’t think anybody can relate to what I’ve gone through,” he talked about.

Port of Singapore Authority marine assistant Abdul Latip Jantan, then 26, was about to finish his shift and return home when he heard a loud noise. He regarded up and noticed people falling out of a cable automobile.

The deckhand, who was on a ferry, noticed a baby inside the waters off the Jardine Steps, The Singapore Monitor reported on Sept 15, 1983.

“I jumped in and swam towards him. He held on to my arm, so I knew he was still alive, and brought him to shore,” he talked about. The youngster was Tasvinder.


Meanwhile, Mr Singh and the others in automobile 26 had been able to be rescued. A pair of hours in, he noticed the helicopter’s shiny lights and winch man Lance Corporal Selvanathan Selvarajoo inching in path of them.

Due to the strong winds, Mr Singh recounted that LCP Selvanathan swung erratically and initially struggled to open the door to the cabin. When he lastly obtained in, he checked that everyone was okay and reassured them.

After rescuing Mr Singh’s cousin Balwinder, the youngest inside the cabin at solely 4 years outdated, LCP Selvanathan received right here once more for Mr Singh. But he resisted and knowledgeable the winch man to take his aunt up first.

“I had already lost my godfather. I didn’t want to lose my godmother, I didn’t want to leave her alone inside the dangling cable car,” Mr Singh talked about, together with that he felt helpless inside the cabin.

All 4 of them had been taken safely to Singapore General Hospital (SGH) inside the wee hours of Jan 30. They had no clue that Tasvinder had survived the 55m fall into the ocean.

The youngster was put beneath intensive care at SGH. His lungs had been bleeding and his skull was fractured when he was launched in, nonetheless he was taken off oxygen and commenced respiratory often on Feb 1 that exact same yr.


Mr Singh talked about he noticed three psychologists and psychiatrists after the incident and was clinically recognized with post-traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD).

He stopped going to treatment when he was 12 consequently of he didn’t assume that they had been succesful of help.

“Recently, I noticed that if I watch movies with sad endings, it triggers me more, especially if there are any accidents or people dying,” he talked about.

When Mr Singh is driving on the bridge to Sentosa, he’ll attempt his most interesting to stay away from wanting on the cable autos consequently of which can set off his PTSD.

“I still feel guilty about it to this day. It’s because of me that I lost my family,” he talked about. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to overcome or get closure for this.”

To cope collectively with his loss, he performs as a comic book and deejay.

“Performing on stage is an avenue for me to come out of this reality that I’m living in. It gives me joy to see other people happy.”

As a Sikh, Mr Singh talked about he relies on his faith and his household for assist.

“After that accident, I have not taken the cable car, and my wife and two children have assured me that they will never take the cable car too,” he talked about. “I don’t want to lose any of them.”

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This article was first revealed in The Straits Times. Permission required for duplicate.

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