St Pat's ex-student dies just before returning home for NS

MELBOURNE - He had hoped that a bird's-eye view of Melbourne would give him a first-hand understanding of bush-fire damage, and help him craft a winning entrance essay to get into university.

So 18-year-old Jordan Pang climbed into a gyrocopter for a 15-minute trip but it ended up costing him his life.

The former St Patrick's School student was found dead on Sunday morning after the gyrocopter - a two-seater propeller aircraft - crashed.

His body was found at Kinglake National Park, along with the pilot's, about 6km from where the gyrocopter took off.

The cause of the crash is being investigated by the Australian authorities.

The rotor on top of a gyrocopter is not driven by the engine.

Instead, the blades are powered by wind. It is known to be a safe mode of flight because, this way, a crash-landing can be prevented when its engine fails.

Mr Pang had been in Victoria, Australia, to complete high school at Whitefriars Catholic College for Boys.

He graduated just a month ago and was to have returned to Singapore on Sunday to serve national service.

The only child was born and bred in Singapore, and previously studied at St Stephen's School in Siglap, a Catholic primary school for boys.

Explaining the gyrocopter trip, his father, Mr Matt Farr, 45, told MyPaper: "He wanted to see the damage from recent bush fires, and regrowth. He was going to write an essay to get into university, and this was part of it."

Mr Farr, who has not spoken to his son for three years, got wind of the tragedy when his former wife, Ms Veronica Pang, called with the news.

The couple split a few years ago.

He added that he was proud of his son for working at a fish-and-chips shop to earn pocket money for himself while he was in Australia.

His grandmother, Mrs Kathleen Farr, told MyPaper over the phone from Canada that she last saw her grandson in October, when she was in Melbourne for his graduation ceremony.

Over eight days, she said she did all things touristy with him, including sightseeing.

The 68-year-old retiree added that Mr Pang was active in church and spent most of his free time mentoring teenagers with emotional problems.

He was going to return to Australia to continue his studies after national service.

She described him as a "lovely boy" who gave away her Christmas gift to him - $300 - to fund children who could not afford to go to camp.

"I thought that was really something. So many people only think of themselves," she said.

Mrs Farr said that she will be joining Mr Pang's mother and uncle in Melbourne today.

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