3. 29 January 1983 – Sentosa Cable Car Accident
Tragedy struck when the towering structure of a Panamanian-registered oil rig struck the cable of the Sentosa Cable Car and caused two cable cars to plunge 55m into the sea. The disaster, happened shortly after 6 pm, caused thirteen people trapped in four other cable cars between Mount Faber and Sentosa.
This accident was the first involving death or injury since the cable car system opened in 1974. A total of seven people died in the cable car tragedy.
This operation involved all the three Services of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). The Diving Unit of the Singapore Navy was assigned to conduct the underwater search for the passengers in the two cable cars which had plunged into the sea, while the 120 Squadron of the RSAF were tasked to rescue the people who were still trapped in the four cable cars as the cars could not be moved along the remaining cables.
Helicopters fitted with floodlights approached the cable cars in strong winds, with the airman winched down to enter the cable-car and pull out the rescued one by one, until all thirteen passengers were brought to safety. The rescue took three and a half hours of risky hovering in darkness and high wind conditions.