Local actor Aloysius Pang, 28, was the fourth Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)-training related fatality to happen in 16 months.
A press conference chaired by the Chief of Defence Force on Thursday afternoon is expected to shed some light on the fatal incident during a training exercise in New Zealand.
An independent Committee of Inquiry will be convened to investigate the circumstances leading to the incident.
23 January 2019: Corporal First Class (National Service) Aloysius Pang, 28
CFC (NS) Aloysius Pang, an armament technician from the 268th Battalion Singapore Artillery, was participating in Exercise Thunder Warrior at Waiouru Training Area, New Zealand, on Saturday afternoon (19 January) when he sustained injuries to his chest and abdominal areas.
At the time of the incident, the 28-year-old actor was carrying out repair works inside a Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer with two other SAF personnel and was injured when the gun barrel was lowered.
Following his third operation, CFC (NS) Pang’s condition deteriorated and he required artificial life support for his lungs, kidneys, and heart.
CFC (NS) Pang passed away four days after the incident at 8.45pm (Singapore time) on Wednesday at Waikato Hospital, New Zealand, where he was warded in its intensive care unit.
3 November 2018: Corporal First Class Liu Kai, 22
CFC Liu Kai, 22, a transport operator from the Singapore Armed Forces’ Transport Hub West, was operating a Land Rover as part of a field training exercise when a Bionix armoured vehicle reversed into his vehicle at the Jalan Murai training area on 3 November last year.
It was later revealed by Minister of Defence Ng Eng Hen on 19 November last year that the Bionix armoured vehicle that reversed into and mounted the Land Rover driven by CFC Liu – and subsequently killing him – was responding to simulated enemy fire.
“There are obviously a number of questions that need to be answered in determining the cause of this incident,” said Dr Ng in a written reply to questions by Members of Parliament.
Among them, he added, include whether safety protocols were followed by the crew of the Land Rover and the Bionix vehicle during the exercise, and whether the vehicle commander, driver, and crew of the Bionix vehicle were aware of the Land Rover behind them as well as any mechanical malfunction of vehicles or platforms.
Following the accident, an army-wide safety timeout on training was called to ensure all appropriate safety measures were in place.
Police investigations are ongoing and an independent Committee of Inquiry has been convened to investigate the incident.
30 April 2018: Corporal First Class Dave Lee, 19
CFC Dave Lee, 19, from the 1st Battalion Singapore Guards, succumbed to heat injuries on 30 April last year after taking part in an 8km fast march in Bedok Camp 12 days earlier.
A Committee of Inquiry found that CFC Lee succumbed to heat stroke likely because of inadequate on-site casualty management and delayed evacuation to the medical centre.
It also noted that possible contributing causes were accumulated fatigue, insufficient rest, CFC Lee’s less-than-optimal state of health and his potential use of medication. He had been taking medication for acute upper respiratory tract infection in the weeks prior to the fast march.
His platoon was also given unauthorised punishment in the form of physical exercises for about 30 minutes the night before the 8km fast march.
Captain Tan Baoshu, 30, the supervising officer for the fast march, was charged with rash act causing death, which carries a jail term of up to five years, or a fine, or both.
He was accused of failing to evacuate CFC Lee in a timely manner and for not allowing necessary treatment to him from 8.25am to 9.10am.
Six other SAF servicemen – two regular servicemen and four National Servicemen – were involved in the incident, and have been referred to Mindef for investigations.
15 September 2017: Third Sergeant Gavin Chan, 21
3SGT Gavin Chan, 21, was participating in Exercise Wallaby at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland, Australia, on 15 September 2017, when a Bionix infantry fighting vehicle he was guiding out of difficult terrain landed on its side.
The driver and two other passengers travelling in the vehicle were unhurt. 3SGT Chan, however, was left unconscious in the accident.
He later succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead on the same day at Rockhampton Hospital.
A Committee of Inquiry into his death commended various safety measures with the aim of preventing a repeat of the incident.
In his Ministerial Statement in Parliament on 17 May last year, Dr Ng noted that there had been an average of one NS training-related death a year over the past two decades.
He told the House that there were no training-related deaths from 2013 to 2016 and that zero fatalities can be achieved “with effort”.
“With these multiple layers of safety, and with experts within and outside assisting the SAF, we can move decisively to make zero training death the norm. I know it’s difficult but it must be done,” Dr Ng added.