A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) Full-Time National Serviceman died during a celebration for his impending Operationally-ready Date (ORD) at Tuas View Fire Station, and two regular personnel have been arrested over the incident.
According to the SCDF, Corporal (CPL) Kok Yuen Chin was found unconscious at about 9.20pm on Sunday (May 13) at the bottom of the fire station’s pump well, a reservoir of water used by personnel at the fire station for training and the testing of fire engine pumps.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam speaks on the death of Singapore Civil Defence Force full-time national serviceman Kok Yuen Chin:
Part of the celebrations involved getting CPL Kok into the well.
When he did not resurface later, several SCDF personnel jumped into the well to look for him but could not find him.
The well was then drained of water, and CPL Kok was retrieved, with cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately administered by a paramedic.
An automated external defibrillator was also used before CPL Kok was conveyed by ambulance to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The police are investigating the case to find out how CPL Kok had fallen into the well, and whether anyone is 'criminally responsible'.
Two SCDF regular personnel have been arrested on Monday (May 14) based on preliminary investigations.
The SCDF said that a Board of Inquiry will be set up to look into the case, and promised that details surrounding the incident will be made public in due course.
SCDF said in its statement:
"SCDF is saddened by his death and extends our deepest condolences to his family. We are providing all necessary assistance to the family during this difficult time."
The SCDF added that preliminary investigations showed that the mishap had arisen as a result of activities prohibited by the SCDF, nothing that punishments have been meted out to personnel for such activities in the past.
The SCDF also shared steps taken to prevent such tragedies from occurring:
"We continually educate our personnel, including during their foundation courses, briefings at recruit and specialist levels, as well as at periodic intervals, to make clear to our officers the risks of such activities and that they are prohibited.
"They are also warned by their Commanders. SCDF also has a whistle-blowing programme in place to help identify irresponsible behaviour.
"SCDF will be conducting briefings in all its fire stations and bases, and check again whether there were any such activities in the recent past."