Following a series of six deaths in the waters of Bedok Reservoir in the past five months, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) has decided to step up patrols of the area.
The national water agency has also engaged Certis Cisco’s officers to help with the patrols, its spokesperson told The Straits Times on Tuesday.
She declined to comment on the number of officers that would patrol the area and other details.
The PUB also urged the public to report any suspicious or dangerous behaviour in any of the reservoirs to the authorities.
Following advice from suicide counselors and psychiatrists, the spokesperson added that the agency plans to erect signs listing helpline information at Bedok Reservoir. Appropriate messages will also be displayed.
Grassroots groups have also been exploring possible solutions to the existing problems, including watching out for and reaching out to the deeply troubled.
“We can have a lot of programmes to help, but what we want is for people to be willing to step forward and know that they can call us to get a helping hand,” said North East District Mayor Teo Ser Luck, in whose jurisdiction Bedok Reservoir falls under, was quoted as saying by the same paper.
Bedok Reservoir-Punggol Citizens' Consultative Committee chairman Koh Chin Mong also suggested that PUB's signs listing helplines include striking anti-suicide messages that will “remind them to love their life”.
Psychiatrist Nelson Lee told the same paper that Bedok Reservoir appears to have become a de facto choice for those who want to take their lives because news reports have shown previous attempts to be successful.
“The idea of suicide does not come suddenly,” he said. “These people contemplate it for a while, and if they think a particular method will be successful, they will go for that.”
At least three of the six deaths at the reservoir are believed to be suicides.
Just last Saturday, the body of a 48-year-old Chinese man, believed to be a resident of Bedok, was found in the waters. Police have classified the sixth death as unnatural and are investigating.
The most recent suicide incident happened three weeks ago when a woman in her 50s was found floating in the reservoir waters.
The month before, the bodies of Tan Sze Sze, 32, and her three-year-old son, Jerald Chin Le Hui, were found floating in the same reservoir. Both bodies were found dressed in red, and locked in embrace.
Other drownings include that of Chinese national Lin Xiao, 23, whose body was found on 20 June, and another of a 33-year-old Indian construction worker, who was found dead in the reservoir on 10 October.
None of the recent deaths is related to water activities allowed in the reservoir, which has been opened up for water sports since 2004, ascertained PUB.
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