NTU student who dies from freak accident in Slovakia helped others even in death

NTU student who dies from freak accident in Slovakia helped others even in death

In life, he was known as someone who was always helpful.

And so it was also in death.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) undergraduate Justin Tan Honng Tze, 23, died on Friday after a freak accident in Slovakia.

Now, his organs will be used to save lives in that country.

His younger brother told Chinese language daily Lianhe Zaobao: "My brother once told me that if he leaves the world, he will donate his organs unconditionally."

His parents helped fulfil his wishes. Before his body was cremated in Slovakia, they agreed to donate his organs to benefit patients there.


Mr Tan, who was a third-year mechanical engineering student, was caught in a storm while he was driving alone in a rented car on Nov 19.

He had rented the vehicle in the neighbouring Czech Republic, where he was an exchange student at the VSB - Technical University Ostrava. It is not known when he started his stint and when he was supposed to come back.

The NTU School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student was supposed to return to the Czech Republic the next day when tragedy struck.

Strong winds blew down a tree and it landed on his car.

In an e-mail to students, NTU president Bertil Andersson said the tree hit Mr Tan's head. Rescue crew found him unconscious and he was rushed to a hospital.

In the e-mail, Professor Andersson said: "He did not regain consciousness in hospital. Accompanied by Professor Ooi Kim Tiow, the associate chair of the school, his parents and brother flew over to be by his side last Wednesday."

Yesterday, NTU said in a media statement that doctors certified him brain dead before he died last Friday.

In the statement, Prof Andersson said: "Justin is lovingly remembered by all who knew him, not just for being a good student, but also as a fine sportsman.

"NTU is doing all we can to assist and support Justin's family and his schoolmates to help them cope with the emotional impact of this tragedy."


Mr Tan was a national youth athlete who represented Singapore in youth sport climbing championships in 2011 and 2012, reported The Straits Times Online.

Lianhe Wanbao reported that Mr Tan's mother had returned to Singapore with her other son on Monday because of the teenager's national service commitment. Her husband is still in the Czech Republic.

She told Lianhe Wanbao: "I actually have two sons, but now, I am left with only one."

One of Mr Tan's friends told The New Paper that she was shocked by his death. The 23-year-old, who asked not to be named, said she had known him for six years.

They were supposed to meet in July for a meal but she could not make it at the last minute.

Regretting her decision, she said: "I have learnt to treasure those around me more. I will never ever back out at the last minute to meet someone again. I wish I had the chance to meet Justin for dinner."

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NTU student dies from freak accident in Slovakia; parents donate organs to patients there

This article was first published on November 30, 2016.
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