S'porean student killed in Melbourne gyrocopter crash was to return to serve NS

An 18-year-old Singaporean student has died in a gyrocopter crash in the Victorian bushland, according to Australian reports.


Get the full story from The Straits Times.

According to the Shin Min Daily News, the aircraft took off at about 5.20pm on Saturday afternoon with student Jordan Pang and pilot Reg Thaggard, 51.

Australian media Sky News reported that the aircraft is believed to have crashed within 10 minutes after take-off.

When Mr Pang did not return after two hours, his concerned friends went to the airstrip to look for him. Police then began their search.

The wreckage and bodies of Mr Pang and the Mr Thaggard were discovered at Kinglake National Park on Sunday morning.

According to Sky News, Mr Thaggard was an experienced pilot.

When contacted by reporters from Shin Min Daily News, Mr Pang's paternal grandmother, Mrs Kathleen Farr, 68, a Canadian, revealed that her son and Mr Pang's mother, a Singaporean, had been divorced for many years.

Mr Pang took on his mother's surname and grew up in Singapore.

She said her grandson had packed his bags to study at a Melbourne international school two years ago, and had completed his high school education just last month.

He planned to spend Christmas with his friends in Melbourne, before going back to Singapore to spend New Year's eve with his mother. He was also preparing to enter National Service next year.

Mrs Farr believes he took the trip on the gyrocopter so that he could take photos of the bushland to show his family in Singapore. His father, Matt, added that his son had always had a keen interest in nature, Shin Min reported.

Mrs Farr also revealed that Mr Pang's mother boarded a plane bound for Australia on Sunday night, accompanied by her brothers and nephew.

He wanted to be a social worker

Mr Pang's grandmother revealed to the Chinese paper that her grandson had a compassionate nature and was always eager to help others. She said Mr Pang had planned to return to Melbourne for his university studies after completing NS. He wanted to study social work to help the less fortunate.

She recounted how she gave him A$300 (S$339) to get himself a Christmas present, but he spent the money to help two children enrol for a church camp instead. 

candicec@sph.com.sg

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