Lucky Plaza fatal accident (2019)

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The accident scene on Lucky Plaza's car park service road. Photo From The Straits Times.

On 29 December 2019, a fatal car accident happened outside Lucky Plaza. A black car had crashed through a pavement railing, killing two women and injuring four others.

Details of the incident[edit | edit source]

Car crash[edit | edit source]

(Pictured) The part of the railing that the car had run into. Photo From The Straits Times.

Several eyewitnesses shared that they saw a group of seven Filipinas having a picnic on the pavement outside Lucky Plaza on 29 December 2019, when a black Honda Vezel suddenly mounted a kerb and drove straight at them.[1] Several passers-by screamed at them to get away but the car crashed into them and then through a metal railing surrounding the mall.[2] The car then plunged into a lower-level car park service road, dragging four women along with it and eventually pinning one underneath the vehicle.[3]


The police were alerted to the accident at 4.58 pm.[4] The SCDF also received a call at about 5 pm requesting assistance at 304 Orchard Road. Five ambulances were dispatched to take the six casualties to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.[5] The driver of the vehicle, a 64-year-old male, was arrested at the scene for dangerous driving causing death. He is a private-hire driver for Grab but was not on any job at the time.[6] He has since been suspended from the platform.[7]

Victims[edit | edit source]

A photo of the victims at their picnic spot, taken on the day of the accident. Photo from The Straits Times.

Two women, identified as Ms Abigail Danao Leste (41) and Ms Arlyn Picar Nucos (50) were unconscious when they were taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. They later died from their injuries. Ms Arlyn Picar Nucos’ body was repatriated on 1 January 2020 while Ms Abigail Danao Leste’s body was repatriated on 2 January 2020.[8]


On 30 December 2019, two of the four surviving victims, Ms Laila F Laudencia (44) and Ms Demet L Limbauan (37) were discharged from the hospital. Meanwhile, Ms Arceli P Nucos (56) and Ms Egnal L Limbauan (43) remained warded in the Intensive Care Unit.[9] One of the victims was moved out of ICU on 31 December 2019, however, her particulars were not disclosed.[10]


The group is said to hang out around Lucky Plaza on their day off and that the spot “[was] always their spot”.[11]

Eyewitness accounts[edit | edit source]

Mr Sari (46), who lives at Jalan Kayu Manis, shared that the car had made a turn into Jalan Kayu Manis from the drop-off point of Lucky Plaza Apartment in Nutmeg Road. The driver had intended to make a U-turn. However, the driver lost control of the car as he exited Jalan Kayu Manis and crashed into the group of Filipinas.[12]


Mr Swarmy, one of the pedestrians who helped to lift the car to rescue the trapped women, said that another bystander performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on one of the ladies after she lost consciousness.

Responses[edit | edit source]

A memorial at the accident site following the tragedy. Photo from Channel News Asia.

The Philippines Embassy[edit | edit source]

The Philippines Embassy in Singapore had informed the families of the victims in the Philippines and confirmed that one of the deceased and one of the critically injured victims were sisters.[13] The embassy coordinated with the employers of the victims to have their bodies repatriated to the Philippines. They also added that they were deeply saddened by the incident.[14]

Filipino community in Singapore[edit | edit source]

Mourners gathered at the accident site. Photo from The Straits Times.

The Filipino community in Singapore have shown their support for the victims by stopping by the area since they heard the tragedy. They have also been “praying for the comfort of the family, relatives and friends and protection for the Filipino community in Singapore, who are “miles away” from family”.[15] Many members of the community paid their final respects to the deceased at a memorial hall owned by Direct Funeral Services at 89 Geylang Bahru and along the roadside where the accident happened.[16][17]


Despite the accident, many Filipino maids still spend their Sunday at Orchard Road having picnics. They shared that they have nowhere else to go.[18][19] Lucky Plaza remains the only place where these workers can stock up on their personal items and remit money to their families.[20]

Ministry of Foreign Affairs[edit | edit source]

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Senior Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling paid a visit to the victims of the Lucky Plaza Car Crash on 30 December 2019.[21] Minister Vivian Balakrishnan expressed his condolences to the families of the two Filipinos who had died in the car crash.[22]

Centre for Domestic Employees[edit | edit source]

The CDE initiated a fundraiser for the victims and their families and worked closely with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to provide “full support to ensure the survivors receive the best care possible”.[23] They raised about S$156,000 from around 1,420 donors as of 3 pm on 31 December 2019 on Giving.sg.[24] The fundraiser collected S$362,521 by the time it closed on 6 January 2020 at noon.[25] This was double the amount it had aimed for.[26]

Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics[edit | edit source]

The Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics has also organised a fundraiser for the victims’ families and have raised around S$1,000 as of 31 December 2019.[27]

Issues arising from the incident[edit | edit source]

Lack of public spaces for migrant workers[edit | edit source]

The crowd within the vicinity of Lucky Plaza on a Sunday. Photo from The Straits Times.

The Straits Times released an article highlighting the lack of public spaces in Singapore for migrant workers over time, especially for Filipinos who congregate at Orchard Road on Sundays.[28]


Lucky Plaza has had to chase maids out of the building in the past, for fear of overcrowding which could lead to blocked fire escape exits.[29] As they could not gather inside, Filipino maids made do with the walkways outside the building. As the number of migrant workers grew in Singapore, many of them have spread out to pedestrian walkways in Orchard Road or at the Botanic Gardens.[30]


Several non-profit organisations, such as the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) in Bukit Merah, have provided a clubhouse for migrant workers to congregate. Meanwhile, churches like Blessed Grace Social Services (BGSS) in MacPherson have expanded the organisation’s premises to hold activities for migrant workers over the weekends.[31]

Mount Elizabeth Hospital incident[edit | edit source]

Many members of the public have questioned why the victims were not taken to Mount Elizabeth Hospital, which was 200 metres away from the accident site.[32] Instead, they were sent to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. This issue was in response to the news of Ms Abigail Danao Leste and Ms Arlyn Picar Nucos’ deaths.[33]


On 30 December 2019, Dr Noel Yeo, the Chief Executive Officer of Mount Elizabeth Hospital, clarified that the hospital’s A&E team would have responded immediately to the scene of the accident had it been informed of the incident. However, the hospital learned that the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) had already been activated to attend to the casualties.[34] Mount Elizabeth Hospital and its ambulance services are not part of SCDF’s list of medical providers. Hence, they would not be activated by the SCDF even if they were within close proximity of an accident site.[35]


Dr Neo also shared that Tan Tock Seng Hospital was better equipped to handle such emergency patients with severe traumatic conditions like multiple trauma injuries.[36]

Ministry of Health (MOH) & Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) joint statement[edit | edit source]

The MOH and SCDF released a joint statement on the above issue. They stated that Tan Tock Seng Hospital was the nearest hospital capable of handling severe and multiple trauma emergencies.[37][38] It was further asserted that all SCDF ambulances are equipped with the necessary resources, equipment and specialist medical support to deal with complex health issues.[39]

References / Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. Ang, Jolene. “Why were the victims of the Lucky Plaza accident not taken to Mount Elizabeth Hospital?The Straits Times. December 30, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  2. Kok, Yufeng. “Two Filipino maids killed in horror crash at Lucky Plaza”. The New Paper. December 30, 2019. Accessed 6 January 2020.
  3. Chong, Clara and Lim Min Zhang. “Two dead, four injured in serious car accident outside Lucky Plaza; driver arrested”. The Straits Times. December 29, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  4. Chong, Clara and Lim Min Zhang. “Two dead, four injured in serious car accident outside Lucky Plaza; driver arrested.” The Straits Times. December 29, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  5. Ang, Jolene. “Why were the victims of the Lucky Plaza accident not taken to Mount Elizabeth Hospital?The Straits Times. December 30, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  6. Kok, Yufeng. “Two Filipino maids killed in horror crash at Lucky Plaza”. The New Paper. December 30, 2019. Accessed January 06, 2020.
  7. Kok, Yufeng. “Two Filipino maids killed in horror crash at Lucky Plaza”. The New Paper. December 30, 2019. Accessed January 06, 2020.
  8. Lucky Plaza accident: Second Filipino killed in car crash to be repatriated”. Channel NewsAsia. January 02, 2020. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  9. Ang, Jolene. “Why were the victims of the Lucky Plaza accident not taken to Mount Elizabeth Hospital?”. The Straits Times. December 30, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  10. Oh, Tessa. “Lucky Plaza car crash: One of two hospitalised victims discharged from ICU”. Today. December 31, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  11. Lim Min Zhang and Clement Yong. “Lucky Plaza accident: Good friends who often gathered at the same spot”. The Straits Times. December 31, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  12. Kok, Yufeng. “Two Filipino maids killed in horror crash at Lucky Plaza”. The New Paper. December 30, 2019. Accessed 6 January 2020.
  13. Two sisters among six Filipino victims in Lucky Plaza car crash: Philippine Embassy official”. Channel News Asia. December 30, 2019. Accessed 6 January 2020.
  14. Two sisters among six Filipino victims in Lucky Plaza car crash: Philippine Embassy official”. Channel News Asia. December 30, 2019. Accessed 6 January 2020.
  15. Phua, Rachel. “Filipino community remembers victims of Lucky Plaza accident”. Channel News Asia. December 31, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  16. Goh, Timothy. “'She taught me everything': Domestic helpers pay respects to Lucky Plaza accident victims who were veteran maids”. The Straits Times. January 1, 2020. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  17. Co, Cindy. “‘I pray their souls will go to heaven’: One week after fatal Lucky Plaza accident, many come to pay respects”. Channel NewsAsia. January 5, 2020. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  18. Ng, Charmaine. “Makeshift memorial of flowers, food at Lucky Plaza accident crash site”. The Straits Times. January 6, 2020. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  19. Wong, Pei Ting. “‘Where else can we go?’: Maids continue picnics at Lucky Plaza a week after fatal accidentToday. January 5, 2020. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  20. Wong, Pei Ting. “‘Where else can we go?’: Maids continue picnics at Lucky Plaza a week after fatal accidentToday. January 5, 2020. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  21. “Lucky Plaza accident: Vivian Balakrishnan visits victims in hospital, sends condolences to families of deceased.” Channel NewsAsia. December 30, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020. Retrieved from Factiva.
  22. “Lucky Plaza accident: Vivian Balakrishnan visits victims in hospital, sends condolences to families of deceased.” Channel NewsAsia. December 30, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020. Retrieved from Factiva.
  23. Lucky Plaza car crash: Two victims discharged, another two still warded”. Today. December 30, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  24. Ang, Prisca. “Lucky Plaza accident: More than $150,000 raised for Filipino victims in less than a day”. The Straits Times. December 31, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  25. Iau, Jean. “Lucky Plaza accident: Over $360k collected for Filipino victims as online fund-raiser closes”. The Straits Times. January 6, 2020. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  26. Ang, Prisca. “Lucky Plaza accident: More than $150,000 raised for Filipino victims in less than a day”. The Straits Times. December 31, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  27. Phua, Rachel. “Filipino community remembers victims of Lucky Plaza accident”. Channel News Asia. December 31, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  28. Lim, Joyce. “Fatal Lucky Plaza accident highlights lack of public places for migrant workers”. The Straits Times. January 5, 2020. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  29. Lim, Joyce. “Fatal Lucky Plaza accident highlights lack of public places for migrant workers”. The Straits Times. January 5, 2020. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  30. Lim, Joyce. “Fatal Lucky Plaza accident highlights lack of public places for migrant workers”. The Straits Times. January 5, 2020. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  31. Lim, Joyce. “Fatal Lucky Plaza accident highlights lack of public places for migrant workers”. The Straits Times. January 5, 2020. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  32. Afifah Darke. “Lucky Plaza accident: Mount Elizabeth Hospital not equipped to handle severe trauma patients”. Channel News Asia. December 31, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  33. Ang, Jolene. “Why were the victims of the Lucky Plaza accident not taken to Mount Elizabeth Hospital?”. The Straits Times. December 30, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  34. Ang, Jolene. “Why were the victims of the Lucky Plaza accident not taken to Mount Elizabeth Hospital?”. The Straits Times. December 30, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  35. Ang, Jolene. “Why were the victims of the Lucky Plaza accident not taken to Mount Elizabeth Hospital?”. The Straits Times. December 30, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  36. Ang, Jolene. “Why were the victims of the Lucky Plaza accident not taken to Mount Elizabeth Hospital?”. The Straits Times. December 30, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  37. Khalik, Salma. “Lucky Plaza accident: Mt Elizabeth not equipped to deal with a case like this one: MOH”. The Straits Times. January 1, 2020. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  38. Afifah Darke. “Lucky Plaza accident: Mount Elizabeth Hospital not equipped to handle severe trauma patients”. Channel News Asia. December 31, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.
  39. Afifah Darke. “Lucky Plaza accident: Mount Elizabeth Hospital not equipped to handle severe trauma patients”. Channel News Asia. December 31, 2019. Accessed 7 January 2020.