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National Parks Board plans new measures to prevent mishaps

By Leong Wee Keat, TODAY
27 July 2007

SINGAPORE: New preventive measures are being taken by the National Parks Board (NParks) following the deaths of two people who were killed by a falling tree and a falling branch in May, a coroner's inquiry was told yesterday.

State Coroner Ronald Gwee, who recorded misadventure verdicts in the deaths of Madam Ho Siew Lan and Mr Nguyen Ngoc Quang, expressed confidence that the new measures would help prevent future accidents. Their deaths, the court held, were attributable to "forces of nature".

At Bukit Batok Nature Park, where Mdm Ho, 42, was killed by a falling tree on May 15, NParks will install weather alert signs so that park users can call the Meteorological Services for the latest weather reports.

Tree Top Walk, at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, where Mr Nguyen, 25, was hit by a falling branch, will be closed to visitors in the event of lightning and thunderstorms.

NParks will also build rain shelters with lightning protection along the trail. These shelters are expected to be ready by the end of this financial year.

The court heard that Mdm Ho had decided not to continue with her walk after the wind began blowing strongly, and a drizzle started, on the day of the incident. She died from multiple injuries after a 30-m-tall tree fell on her. Investigations revealed that the fallen tree's roots and trunks were healthy but that the ground was wet due to heavy rain earlier.

Two weeks later, Mr Nguyen, a Singapore permanent resident from Vietnam, died from head injuries after a falling tree branch hit him as he was trekking with friends. - TODAY/fa

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