SAF suspends smoke grenade training

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has suspended training with smoke grenades. (AFP photo)

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has suspended training with smoke grenades, pending completion of the Committee Of Inquiry into a full-time national serviceman’s death in April this year.

In its latest statement obtained by Yahoo! Singapore on Thursday, Colonel Kenneth Liow, Director of Public Affairs at MINDEF said the COI convened by the Armed Forces Council to investigate the death has started its proceedings and is expected to complete its findings and recommendations.

21-year-old Private Dominique Sarron Lee Rui Feng, died on 17 April, following breathing difficulties while taking part in a platoon exercise.

MINDEF said at the time he was undergoing training that involved smoke grenades at Murai Urban Training Facility at Lim Chu Kang when he lost consciousness shortly after noon. He was sent to Sungei Gedong Medical centre and transferred to National University Hospital where he died after.

The police are also conducting their separate investigations and will submit their report on the case to the State Coroner. A Coroner’s inquiry, which is held in an open court, may also be conducted.

At the same time, the mother of the deceased NSF, Madam Felicia Seah, has written an open letter on Facebook calling for “all parents of Singaporean sons” to stand together and ask the SAF for greater accountability into death and accidents in the SAF.

“It is clear to my family and me that my son's death was preventable. He was asthmatic. The incident that cost him his life was an urban training exercise involving smoke bombs in a confined area," wrote Mdm Seah.

She also called for more thorough screening of trainees’ medical history as well as commanders’ responsibility in ensuring training conditions are not violated.