Uber driver feared death as he was bashed with metal bat
AN UBER driver believes he would have been killed if he had not fought back when a man attacked him with a metal baseball bat during a routine work night.
Woree father-of-two Manjinder Singh had just dropped off a passenger at Waterview St at Kewarra Beach and started driving away when the brutal and unprovoked assault took place just before 11pm on Friday.
He said he had driven about 20m when a gold SUV raced in front of him and stopped, blocking his exit.
"I didn't have any idea who he was," he said.
"He hit me on my face with the baseball bat and said 'give me your wallet'."
Mr Singh was bashed several times around the head and face, as well as the arms.
He underwent tests for a suspected broken wrist at Cairns Hospital but was relieved to learn it was just severe bruising.
The man, Mr Singh said appeared to be of Aboriginal descent, stole his wallet and phone before fleeing in the same vehicle he arrived in.
"I am lucky I am still with my family," Mr Singh said.
"I don't know what was wrong with that guy.
"He just blocked my way and straight away he hit my face."
Mr Singh said he had been driving for Uber for five months but had never had an issue with a passenger.
Yesterday, alternating between trips to the police station and the doctors with wife Sara by his side, he was wary about going back to work as a driver again in the city.
"The driving business is not good in Cairns," he said.
The Cairns Criminal Investigation Branch is investigating the attack.
A spokeswoman for Uber encouraged anyone with information about the attack to call PoliceLink on 131 444.
"This is an awful incident and we strongly condemn any criminal or violent activity against driver-partners," she said.
"We will assist police with their investigation in any way we can.
"In Australia, driver and delivery partners are covered by insurance coverage especially designed for them.
"Should something go wrong while they're using the app this coverage provides different types of payments if they are injured and unable to work.
"We also partner with counselling provider Converge to help drivers and delivery partners, as well as Uber riders, if something goes wrong while they are using the app."