A SMRT bendy bus was stuck in the mud for over 10 hours after its driver took a wrong turn and attempted to make a U-turn on an open field.
The curious incident unfolded past midnight on Thursday, 29th September 2016, at an open field near Blocks 254 and 256 at Kim Keat Avenue. The bus involved was TIB1115D, a SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405G allocated to Service 67 and bore an advertising wrap for the President’s Challenge 2016 at the time of incident.
Pictures published by local media outlets showed the bus stuck in the field, with its wheels sunk into the soft ground.
Workers from the People’s Vehicle Recovery Service, who were dispatched to the scene, initially tried to level the bus by lifting it to ground level with a mechanical arm, but attempts to do so were unsuccessful as the body of the bus was already touching the ground and the mechanical arm would damage the bus.
The bus was eventually freed at around 10.10am, using a chain attached to the rear end of the chassis and pulled out by a tow truck. The move had to be approved by SMRT engineers as the recovery method risked damaging the bus’ rear compartment.
With the bus freed, a SMRT technician reversed the bus back onto the road.
The bus reversed out of Kim Keat Avenue and stopped along Toa Payoh East (outside Block 258), where it was hooked up to a tow truck and driven back to Kranji Bus Depot.
In response to press queries, SMRT’s Vice-President for Corporate Information and Communications Patrick Nathan said: “The Bus Captain was returning the vehicle to the bus depot early this morning when he took a wrong turn and attempted to make a U-turn on the field.”. He added that SMRT was investigating the matter and apologised to residents for the noise from attempts to extricate the bus.
The bus was Off Service at the time of incident, and was returning to Kranji Depot. It is likely that the Bus Captain travelling along the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) had intended to enter the northbound Central Expressway (CTE), but exited at Kim Keat Link by mistake, and got lost while navigating within the Toa Payoh estate looking for an opportunity to U-turn. With no kerb separating Kim Keat Avenue from the open field, he would have easily drove onto field and then got stuck in soft ground.