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Aloysius Pang: 4th SAF training fatality in 18 months

Aloysius Pang: 4th SAF training fatality in 18 months

From the left: Aloysius Pang, Liu Kai, Dave Lee, Gavin Chan. (Photos: Aloysius Pang/Jeremy Long/Jasmine Yeo/MINDEF)

SINGAPORE: An independent Committee of Inquiry (COI) will be convened to investigate a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) training incident in New Zealand, which led to the death of actor Aloysius Pang.

More information about the circumstances of what happened is expected to be revealed at a Ministry of Defence media conference on Thursday afternoon (Jan 24).

This is the fourth time in 18 months where an SAF soldier has died while in training. 

Jan 23, 2019: Corporal First Class (National Service) Pang, 28, was carrying out repair work inside a Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer - an artillery gun mounted on an armoured chassis - with two other SAF personnel when an accident happened, seriously injuring him. 

He had been taking part in Exercise Thunder Warrior at the Waiouru Training Area as part of his reservist commitments and was injured when the gun barrel was lowered.

Pang had to be put on artificial life support for his lungs, kidneys and heart, and died at 8.45pm (Singapore time) on Wednesday at Waikato Hospital in Hamilton.

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

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


The wake of the late NSF Liu Kai, who died in a training incident on Nov 3. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

Full-time national serviceman (NSF) Liu Kai died after he was involved in an accident at Jalan Murai training area on Nov 3.

Corporal First Class (CFC) Liu Kai was operating a Land Rover as part of a field training exercise when a Bionix vehicle reversed into his vehicle, partially mounting it. The 22-year-old died from his injuries and an army-wide safety timeout was called, including overseas training exercises. 

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen told Parliament on Nov 19: "There are obviously a number of questions that need to be answered in determining the cause of this incident.

"They include: Were safety protocols followed by the crew of the Land Rover and the Bionix vehicle during this phase of the exercise? Were the vehicle commander, driver and crew of the Bionix aware of the Land Rover behind them and did they conduct their reversal safely?"

A COI and police investigations will fully examine several questions into the death of CFC Liu, he said.

READ: Death of NSF Liu Kai - Bionix that mounted Land Rover was reversing from 'simulated enemy fire'


A framed photo of NSF Dave Lee at his wake on May 2, 2018. (Photo: Howard Law)

Full-time national serviceman (NSF) Dave Lee died on Apr 30, nearly two weeks after "displaying signs of heat injury" in Bedok Camp following the completion of an 8km fast march.

The COI investigating the death of the full-time national serviceman found that inadequate on-site casualty management and delayed evacuation were "likely reasons" for him succumbing to heat stroke.

Citing preliminary findings, Defence Minister Ng said in a ministerial statement in Parliament on Aug 6 that there were several calls for CFC Lee to be evacuated, but these calls were either "not heard or not heeded".

"The delay in evacuation resulted as the persons attending to CFC Lee mistook his signs and symptoms as due to physical exhaustion," Dr Ng said.

The COI also found breaches of training safety and discipline regulations on Apr 17, the day before the heat stroke occurred.

Dr Ng told Parliament that if no criminal charges are filed against those responsible for lapses leading to the NSF's death, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) would prosecute them in a military court.

READ: Death of NSF Dave Lee - COI highlights inadequate casualty management, delayed evacuation as factors


3SG Gavin Chan's siblings paying their respects before the cortege moved off to Mandai Crematorium. (Photo: Justin Ong)

3rd Sergeant (3SG) Gavin Chan, 21, died after he was involved in a vehicular accident at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland, Australia in September 2017. 

According to MINDEF, 3SG Chan, a Vehicle Commander from 41st Battalion Singapore Armoured Regiment, was travelling in a Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicle as part of an overseas training exercise.

3SG Chan had been giving instructions to the driver of the Bionix vehicle when it got stuck on a large boulder whilst reversing. The vehicle suddenly "dropped down over the rock rolling sideways before coming to rest further down the slope”, a coroner's report said.

According to Queensland police investigations, he was “ejected from the vehicle and suffered significant injuries”.

Source: CNA/mn


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