Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Remember this? The 1983 Sentosa Cable Car Disaster


On 29 January 1983, the derrick of the Eniwetok, a giant floating oil rig, struck the cableway between Sentosa and Jardine Steps, causing 2 cable cars to fall into the sea. 7 passengers were killed. 13 other passengers were trapped in the cabins above the harbour. They were rescued via helicopters in a 3-hour operation led by then Colonel Lee Hsien Loong (now Singapore's Prime Minister) of the Singapore Armed Forces. The epic Straits Times photo above shows one of the rescuers walking bravely on a cable, trying to get to the passengers still trapped in the cable car!

After the accident, Singapore's cable car system was shut down for 7 months. A commission of enquiry concluded that the ship's captain and harbour pilot were largely to blame for the mishap and recommended steps to prevent the possibility of future accidents.

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