A Taoist medium drowned yesterday while performing a ritual on Changi Beach around 2.45am.
Mr Huang Jin Yin, 35, was performing rituals for the Qing Ming Festival when he was swept away by a huge wave, Shin Min Daily News reported.
The Chinese evening daily reported that Mr Huang began the rituals at 9pm on Saturday at a temple, and went to Changi beach around 1am with some of his followers.
At the beach, they set up an altar and Mr Huang entered a trance and walked into the sea to perform more rituals.
Followers told Shin Min Daily News that for safety reasons, two people would usually go into the water together.
But yesterday morning, Mr Huang had gone in alone, supposedly at the instruction of the deity who was supposed to possess him.
When in the water, a large wave was believed to have rolled in and swept him out further.
But his followers on shore had no idea what happened, and continued to wait for him at the beach. It was only a while later that they realised something was amiss.
A few of them jumped into the water to try to look for him, but were hindered by the tide, and could barely see in the dark.
Someone called the police, who started search operations along with Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) rescuers.
An SCDF spokesman told The New Paper rescuers had conducted a surface search after they received a call for help at about 2.45am.
At daybreak, an amphibious vehicle and an inflatable rescue boat were deployed to the scene to continue the search.
A member of the public, believed to be a fisherman, spotted a floating body near Changi Ferry Terminal around 8am, and called the authorities. It was about 1km from the shore.
The SCDF helped to retrieve the body.
Mr Huang, whose nickname was "Goldfish", was known for his gold hair and tattoos.
This article was published on April 7 in The New Paper.
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