AUCKLAND: The body of actor and fallen soldier Aloysius Pang is on its way back to Singapore after it left Auckland Airport on Friday (Jan 25).
Pang’s body left the mortuary at Waikato Hospital on Thursday evening after authorities agreed not to proceed with a post-mortem at the family’s request, a mortuary staff member who declined to be named said.
Corporal First Class (National Service) Pang, 28, died in the early hours of Thursday (New Zealand time) after sustaining serious injuries during a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) training exercise in New Zealand.
Separately, New Zealand police told Channel NewsAsia a preliminary investigation into the incident was undertaken after it was notified of Pang's death.
“The death is not being treated as suspicious and police offer their sympathies to the friends and family of Aloysius Pang Wei Chong,” Detective Inspector Brent Matuku said.
At a press conference on Thursday, SAF senior commanders said Pang was crushed between the gun barrel of a howitzer and its cabin after he was "unable to get out of the way" as the barrel was lowered.
On Thursday evening, Pang’s body was transported to local funeral parlour Sincere Funeral Services, eight minutes away from the hospital.
READ: Aloysius Pang death: Our responsibility to ensure safety of our children, says Chief of Defence Force
A staff member at the parlour told Channel NewsAsia that Pang’s body left for Auckland Airport at 7.30am on Friday (2.30am, Singapore time).
At Auckland Airport’s corporate terminal, a group of men – one of them wearing a Singapore Army uniform – asked if this reporter was there for the “funeral”.
At about 11.15am, a group of men and women wearing New Zealand military uniform exited the corporate terminal airside and boarded a van.
Shortly after, a Sincere Funeral Services hearse left the terminal, followed by an empty passenger van.
Finally at about noon, a Republic of Singapore Air Force KC-135 taxied to the runway and took off heading east.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen had said in a Facebook post that a KC-135 had been sent to New Zealand to repatriate Pang’s body.
Pang’s management agency said on Friday that those who wish to pay their last respects to the late actor can do so from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday.
A private wake for the family will be held on Saturday morning.
"We respectfully appreciate the privacy given during this period," NoonTalk Media said on its Facebook page.