Survivor of collapsed hotel asked to be left to die With AM-Hotel Collapse, Bjt
Mar. 19, 1986
SINGAPORE (AP) _ One survivor of the collapse of the New World Hotel said he was in so much pain when rescuers reached him he told them to leave him alone and let him die.
Another victim rescued from the bank on the ground floor of the six-story building said she had noticed a huge crack in the basement garage on Saturday, about two hours before the hotel crumbled into a heap of concrete rubble.
Other survivors thanked the Irish, British and New Zealand subway construction workers who played a major role in the rescue efforts. And the workers, in Singapore to help build the city's new subway system, praised the survivors for their courage.
But there was disgust for two Thais convicted of taking money from wallets they found in the rubble.
The Straits Times newspaper said two policemen saw construction workers Butdee Dathuwat, 48, and Kham Tharnkrathok, 46, who were helping at the site Sunday, pick up two wallets, pocket the money and then throw the wallets back.
It said Butdee pleaded guilty to taking the equivalent of $55 from one wallet and was fined $300, and Kham was fined $150 after he pleaded guilty to taking the equivalent of $1.45 from the other billfold.
Boey Mun Wai, 33, a clerk at the hotel branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank, had been trapped in the rubble for 48 hours with a broken left arm and injured legs when a rescue team reached him.
''At first I didn't want to be moved,'' he said from his hospital bed Tuesday. ''I told them, 'I'll just stay here and die.''
Doctors gave him morphine while workers used a jack to remove the steel bank vault door that had fallen across his legs.
He was then placed in flexible canvas stretcher and pulled through a narrow tunnel out into the afternoon sunlight.
Boey said Shaharuddin Zakaria, an elderly bank guard, was killed instantly when he was struck by chunks of concrete and ''his body lay on my arm.''
He said another bank clerk, who he knew only as Angela, was buried by debris a few feet away from him and survived for several hours.
''She talked to me for quite a long time, calling my name. And I called back,'Angie, Angie.' But then she stopped.''
Her body has not been recovered.
In a hand-written letter published in the Straits Times Wednesday, the family of one of the rescued victims, factory worker Helen Tan, 26, thanked Russel Black of New Zealand and ''the other foreign engineers for helping us in this state of disaster.''
Bank clerk Phua Chiou Fang, in an interview in the Straits Times, also thanked the foreign eam that rescued here.
She told the newspaper that the workers, as they tunneled toward her and Boh Ghee Cheng, another young woman trapped beside her, called out, ''Sweetie dearie are you there?''
''And we asked, 'Can you really save us?''' she said. ''Another rescuer replied, 'Have faith in us.' Both joked they would have a date with us when we got out. They asked if we wanted beer. We replied, 'No, we want champagne.'''
Ms. Phua also told the newspaper she had seen a crack in the ceiling of the hotel's basement garage.
''About an hour after I started work at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Boh and I went to look at a huge crack in the car park, which a customer had pointed out to us,'' the Straits Times quoted her as saying.
''There were people in the car park using wood to prop up the floors. I didn't think anything more of it until 11.20 a.m. - 10 minutes before closing time - when I started to balance the money for the day.
''Everything started to shake. There was a cracking sound. I looked out at Serangoon Road and a wall came crashing down.''
Engineer Dave Stewart from Scotland said, one of the rescuers, said, ''I am full of admiration for the survivors.''