A 17-year-old boy who died after falling from the fourth storey of a link bridge at Orchard Road was known to be a “daring person” who had performed risky stunts.
This was revealed during a Coroner’s Inquiry into the death of Jonathan Chow Hua Guang on Thursday (27 July).
According to the accounts of several of Chow’s friends, including Miss R who was with him when he made the fatal jump at the link bridge on 24 February, Chow had done stunts including jumping from a parapet to skating down several flights of stairs.
On the day of the incident, Chow and Miss R were in a bus and on their way to meet their friends when Chow wanted to use a toilet. The two alighted at Midpoint Orchard and walked to Orchard Central.
While they were at the link bridge that connects Orchard Central and Orchard Gateway, they spoke about jumping over a railing onto a lower-level ledge. Miss R had initially thought about doing so but changed her mind as she was scared.
Chow suggested that he would perform the feat alone and asked Miss R to take a video of him doing so.
After Miss R prepared to take the video, Chow jumped over the railing and fell 18 metres down through the ledge before hitting the ground level.
Paramedics who were at the scene performed CPR on Chow and continued their resuscitation efforts while Chow was conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He died at 5.39pm in hospital.
Chow, who was 1.74 metre tall and weighed 79 kg, sustained severe head injuries, multiple rib fractures, a ruptured diaphragm, and had liver, kidney and lung lacerations.
Investigations revealed that Miss R had initially misrepresented to an investigation officer that Chow had dropped his phone onto the ledge and said that he had fallen from height while trying to retrieve the device. She also gave the same account to Chow’s mother, who was then in Sydney, in a tele-conversation.
A building consultant who testified in the inquiry said that the ledge surface had been fabricated from calcium silicate board and was “not intended for any load bearing purpose”. The encasement of the ledge with the material was for fire protection and aesthetic purpose.
State Coroner (SC) Marvin Bay noted that Chow’s parents have highlighted that there were no warning signs near the railing to alert people not to go over the railing. SC Bay said that a piece of hoarding had been placed at the railing to deter people from crossing over it, which he said was “a step in the right direction”.
Ruling Chow’s death as a “most tragic misadventure”, SC Bay said, “Mr Chow’s sad demise should also serve as a sad cautionary tale for individuals who are disposed to go ‘off-route’ in public spaces, of the dire consequences of failing to ensure that the ledges or surfaces they intend to use are structurally sound, and able to withstand the rigours of any parkour-type activities or acrobatic stunts, that they are minded to attempt.”