SINGAPORE: A KC-135 aircraft from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has been sent to New Zealand to repatriate the body of Aloysius Pang, the Singapore actor who died in a military training accident.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is fully assisting the family.
"We extend our deepest condolences to CFC (NS) Aloysius Pang’s family for their tragic loss, and pray that they will find strength in this most difficult period," said Dr Ng in a Facebook post on Thursday (Jan 24).
"Our grief counsellors are on the ground to comfort the family. But I know that no words or deeds can relieve their sorrow or replace their loss. I hope and pray that the passage of time will bring them some comfort."
Dr Ng's comments came after a media conference on Thursday during which Chief of Army Major-General (MG) Goh Si Hou revealed how Pang, 28, became injured in a Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer.
He was crushed between the gun barrel of the howitzer and its cabin after he was "unable to get out of the way" as the barrel was lowered.
Pang, an armament technician with the 268th Battalion Singapore Artillery, was on reservist at the Waiouru Training Area in New Zealand as part of an annual SAF exercise called Exercise Thunder Warrior.
In the wake of the incident, an army-wide safety timeout has been put in place, and the SAF said it will be reducing the "training tempo".
READ: Aloysius Pang death: Our responsibility to ensure safety of our children, says Chief of Defence Force
Pang's death is the fourth military training-related death in 18 months.
"Training and exercise tempo will be reduced to give adequate time for every unit to review their safety processes. We can only train when it is safe," Dr Ng wrote.
"If any SAF soldier detects an unsafe practice, he should inform his commander or stop training to protect himself or his buddies. No one needs to fear any disciplinary action for doing right to protect lives during training."
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat also extended his condolences to the Pang family on Thursday.
In a Facebook post, Mr Heng wrote: "My deepest condolences to Aloysius's family and loved ones. It is with a heavy heart that I think of the sorrow you are going through. My family and I, together with many fellow Singaporeans, wish you all strength in this difficult time."
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu wrote on Facebook as well to say she was "saddened" by the death of Aloysius Pang, who "has died in the service for the country".
"We will remember this home-grown actor for his dedication to and love for his craft," said Ms Fu. "My deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans in this difficult time."