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  Channel NewsAsia 31 May 07
Man dies after being hit by fallen branch near Tree Top Walk

SINGAPORE: Another death by a broken tree branch a Vietnamese man in his 20s was killed when he was struck by a fallen branch on Thursday afternoon.

The incident happened at the exit of the Tree Top Walk trail (Petaling Trail) near MacRitchie Reservoir at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to NParks, the man was with his brother and three other friends at the time of the accident but the rest were not injured. It was also raining heavily and the wind was strong at the time of the incident.

The branch is from a big forest tree, estimated to be 30m tall and is known as Litsea.

The police are investigating the case.

NParks says its standard practice is to close the gate to the Tree Top Walk during bad weather. And in this case, the gate was closed when it started to drizzle, but unfortunately the group involved in the incident had already passed through.

NParks says it is very saddened by this incident and conveys its condolences to the family of the deceased. NParks reminds the public to exercise caution when walking in forested areas during bad weather.

NParks will be conducting further checks on the safety of that area and the Tree Top Walk will be closed to the public until Saturday, 9 June.

It adds that it will continue to maintain vigilance in its checks on trees to ensure that they are safe.

Just over two weeks ago a woman was killed and two of her friends injured, when a raintree in the Bukit Batok Nature Reserve collapsed on them. On the same day, a Singaporean man died in Mount Ophir in Johor, when a tree fell on him. And five days later, another man died in the same way, also on Mount Ophir. - CNA/yy

Straits Times 1 Jun 07
Falling tree branch kills man on nature reserve hiking trail
By Teh Joo Lin & Tania Tan

A MAN died after being hit on the head by a falling tree branch yesterday. His death follows those of three others killed by falling trees in as many weeks.

Mr Nguyen Ngoc Quang, a Vietnamese in his mid-20s, was on one of the hiking trails of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve at about 1.45pm when the incident occurred. The Singapore Permanent Resident, who was with a brother and three friends, died at the scene. His companions were unhurt.

They had been on the Petaling Trail, after having been on the TreeTop Walk, a 250m-long suspension bridge linking the two highest points in the area.

Paramedics from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) fought to save Mr Nguyen. The SCDF said the branch was about a metre long, with a diameter of about 20cm.

The National Parks Board (NParks) said the branch came from a big forest tree known as the Litsea, estimated to be about 30m tall. An NParks statement said it was windy and raining heavily at the time.

The standard practice in the nature reserve is to shut the gate to the TreeTop Walk whenever it starts drizzling, but Mr Nguyen's party had already gone past it, added NParks.

Deaths from falling trees have been in the news of late. On May 15, a tree crushed a 43-year-old woman in Bukit Batok Nature Park, which also comes under NParks. The same day, a 27-year-old man was killed by a falling tree while camping at Mount Ophir in Johor. Five days after that, a 47-year-old man died in a similar manner there.

NParks reminds the public to be careful when walking in forested areas in bad weather. It pledged to keep up its checks on the trees in its parks in the interest of public safety.

Dr Hong Yan, the director of Plant Biotechnology at the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, said disease or insects were possible reasons behind branches breaking off.

Asked what could be done to avert accidents such as this, he said that NParks was 'doing the right thing' with visual inspections and constant monitoring of the health of its trees. But the 'sheer number' of trees in this Garden City makes it 'unfeasible to inspect every single one', he added.

Today Online 1 Jun 07
Another killed in tree-related incident

A MAN was killed yesterday at MacRitchie Reservoir, when he was struck by a falling branch along the TreeTop Walk trail. Police got a call at about 1.45pm. The victim was a Vietnamese man in his 20s who had been walking with his brother and three friends. According to the National Parks Board (NParks), there were heavy rains and strong winds at the time of the incident, and the gate to the TreeTop Walk had been closed.

Said Dr Leong Chee Chiew, NParks' chief operating officer and commissioner of Parks and Recreation: "The gate was closed when it started to drizzle, but unfortunately, the group ... had already passed through." Dr Leong said NParks was "very saddened" by the incident and offered condolences to the dead man's family.

Meanwhile, the police are investigating and NParks will conduct further checks in the area. The walk will be closed until June 9. NParks reminds the public to be cautious when walking in forested areas during bad weather.

Three other Singaporeans were killed by falling trees this month. On May 15, an uprooted tree fell on Madam Ho Siew Lan, 43, at the Bukit Batok Nature Park, the same day Mr Mohammad Rohaizam Tumadi, 27, was killed by one on Mount Ophir in Johor. Four days later, Mr Abdul Razak Abdul Hamid, 48, died similarly at Mount Ophir.

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