Singapore’s Ministry of Defence had the dismal task of delivering yet another tragic announcement this year when a full-time National Serviceman (NSF) died in a vehicular accident on Saturday morning.
A Transport Operator in the Singapore Armed Forces, Private Liu Kai, 22, had been operating a Land Rover around 10:10am at the Jalan Murai training grounds when a Bionix infantry fighting vehicle reversed into his vehicle. He lost consciousness and was immediately attended to by an on-site medic before the Singapore Civil Defence Force and SAF Emergency Ambulance Service were activated. The young man succumbed to his injuries not long after and was pronounced dead by the medical officers around 10.35am.
An alleged photo of the accident appeared online, depicting the armored vehicle’s left track atop a mangled truck.
SAF has since declared an army-wide safety timeout on training to ensure “all appropriate safety measures are in place”. Meanwhile, police investigations are ongoing, and an independent committee will be convened to conduct full investigations into the incident.
According to The Straits Times, Liu — a Chinese national holding permanent resident status here — has been accorded a posthumous promotion to the rank of Corporal First Class. Shin Min Daily News reported that Liu’s family was rushed to the hospital on Saturday without any information and only found out about his death through the Mindef announcement on Facebook.
The fourth SAF death in 2018
This would be the second serviceman death involving a Bionix within two years — another full-time national serviceman died at Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland when the vehicle landed on its side.
Including Liu’s death, there have been a total of four SAF serviceman deaths reported this year alone. In April, 19-year-old NSF Dave Lee died in hospital nearly two weeks after he suffered a heat stroke at the end of an 8km fast march.
In July, an off-duty regular serviceman was found hanging from a rope in his bunk at Nee Soon Camp. In September, an NSF was also found hanging from a rope in his office at Sembawang Air Base.
Last month, regular serviceman 3rd Warrant Officer Muhammad Sadikin Bin Hasban died in Brunei after getting hit by a falling tree branch while supervising contractors carrying out maintenance work at a helicopter evacuation site.