SINGAPORE: A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) full-time national serviceman (NSF) died on Sunday (May 13) after being found unconscious at the bottom of a 12m-deep fire station pump well which was filled with water.
The NSF who died, Corporal (CPL) Kok Yuen Chin, had gone into the pump well at Tuas View fire station as part of activities to celebrate his impending ORD with squad mates.
The pump well is a reservoir of water used by fire station personnel for training and for testing the pumps of fire engines. At the time of the incident, the water level in the well was about 1m from the opening, said SCDF in response to media queries.
SCDF said it appears the “mishap” arose as a result of activities which it has prohibited. Two SCDF regulars – a Staff Seargeant and a First Warrant Officer – were arrested on Monday as police conduct investigations.
When CPL Kok did not resurface from the pump well, a number of personnel jumped in to find him but failed, SCDF said. “CPL Kok was eventually pulled out from the well after the water had been drained,” it added.
A paramedic “immediately” administered cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and used an automated external defibrillator, SCDF said. CPL Kok was then taken by ambulance to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, it added.
“The police are conducting investigations on what had happened, including how CPL Kok fell into the pump well, and whether any person(s) are criminally responsible,” SCDF said.
A Board of Inquiry will also be convened to look into the case, it added, with full details to be made public.
“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,” it said.
SCDF said it has meted out “severe punishments and deterrent action” to personnel who engaged in unauthorised activities in the past.
“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,” it added.
“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.”
In response to media queries, SCDF said CPL Kok is Malaysian and a Singapore permanent resident. His family has taken his body back to Malaysia, it added.
This incident comes two weeks after the death of another NSF. Dave Lee, 19, died after “displaying signs of heat injury” in Bedok Camp. A Committee of Inquiry has been convened to investigate the circumstances leading to the death of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Guardsman.
Speaking to reporters later on Monday, Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam confirmed that CPL Kok had drowned, and pledged to get to the bottom of the incident.
This article was originally published on CHANNEL NEWS ASIA.