Aloysius Pang dies in SAF training accident: What we know so far

Aloysius Pang dies in SAF training accident: What we know so far

Aloysius Pang instagram
(Photo: Instagram/Aloypang)

SINGAPORE: Actor Aloysius Pang died on Wednesday (Jan 23), four days after he was seriously injured in an accident during an SAF military training exercise in New Zealand, where he was on reservist duty.

The accident happened on Saturday at 2.05pm Singapore time.

READ: Actor Aloysius Pang dies after sustaining serious injuries in SAF training accident

Here’s what we know so far in the wake of the incident.

HOW WAS HE INJURED?

Pang, an armament technician, was carrying out repair work inside a Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer (SSPH), which is an artillery gun mounted on an armoured chassis. 

Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer - infographic

As part of the rectification work, the gun barrel had to be lowered, and preliminary findings showed that Pang was unable to get out of the way in time. 

As a result, he was crushed between the end of the gun barrel and the cabin interior.

SAF training death: How Aloysius Pang got crushed by howitzer gun barrel - infographic

Two other SAF personnel - another technician and the gun detachment commander - were in the cabin with Pang, but they were not injured.

READ: Aloysius Pang was crushed between howitzer gun barrel and cabin: Chief of Army

HOW SERIOUS WERE HIS INJURIES?

Pang, 28, who held the rank of Corporal First Class (National Service), was injured in the chest and abdominal areas, said MINDEF. He was conscious while he was evacuated from Waiouru Camp Medical Centre to Waikato Hospital.

He underwent abdominal surgery on Saturday evening, and it was completed at 11.40pm Singapore time.

A “follow-up relook surgery” was successfully done on Monday.

Pang had been in stable condition and was able to breathe on his own and speak following that surgery.

READ: Aloysius Pang sustained chest, abdominal injuries during SAF training exercise: MINDEF

On Wednesday however, Pang's condition took a turn for the worse. He underwent a third surgery and was transferred to the intensive care unit.

That day, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen revealed in a Facebook post that Pang's condition was "very serious", and that he needed artificial life support for his lungs, kidneys and heart. 

Despite surgeons' attempts to repair his damaged organs, Pang succumbed to his injuries later that day.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

An independent Committee of Inquiry will be convened to investigate the circumstances leading to the incident. 

On Thursday, Chief of Army MG Goh Si Hou said he had imposed an "army-wide safety timeout" on all field training. 

"We have called for an army-wide safety timeout in order to allow our units time to review the safety processes and also to review the training tempo," he said. 

READ: Aloysius Pang death: Our responsibility to ensure safety of our children, says Chief of Defence Force

Chief of Defence Force LG Melvyn Ong said he expects a review of existing training tempo from the different SAF services in about a month or two. 

READ: SAF leaders on Aloysius Pang's death - Key quotes

LG Ong added: "(We may) take some things out to do training better at a more sustainable pace. This reduction of training tempo following the safety timeout will be enforced for as long as it takes to get this right. As the Chief of Army has said, it cannot be business as usual."

New Zealand authorities have to conduct a post-mortem on Pang's body before he can be repatriated to Singapore. 

READ: New Zealand authorities to conduct post-mortem on Aloysius Pang before repatriation

A KC-135 aircraft from the Republic of Singapore Air Force has been sent to New Zealand to repatriate Pang's body, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in a Facebook post on Thursday. 

WHY WAS HE TRAINING IN NEW ZEALAND?

The actor, a familiar face on local Mandarin television, had been on reservist duty.

Before he left for New Zealand, he wrote on Facebook in a Jan 5 post: "Off to serve our country. Back at the end of the month! May not be able to post much when I'm there so (wait for me to return) yeah."

READ: Aloysius Pang: A young life devoted to acting, despite being bullied

Pang, who was with the 268th Battalion Singapore Artillery, was participating in Exercise Thunder Warrior at New Zealand’s Waiouru Training Area when the incident happened.

singapore self-propelled howitzer 1 primus
A Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer 1 Primus. (Photo: MINDEF) 

Exercise Thunder Warrior is an annual artillery live-firing exercise which has been conducted since 1997.

This year's exercise, which runs from Jan 5 to Feb 2, involves more than 500 personnel from the 268th and 24th Battalions, Singapore Artillery.

READ: Actors Ian Fang, Desmond Tan remember their best friend Aloysius Pang: 'He's a genius actor'​​​​​​​

READ: 'My world is no more': Aloysius Pang's girlfriend Jayley Woo mourns his death​​​​​​​

READ: Actor Aloysius Pang’s death 'a devastating loss’: Mediacorp

Source: CNA/ic(gs/dt)

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