A certified lifeguard drowned in the Singapore River after celebrating the Christmas Countdown at Clarke Quay last year. State Coroner Imran Abdul Hamid said on Monday that 21-year-old Jonathan Lim Chong Ping, "had jumped into the river while drunk and accidentally drowned". The inquiry into his death heard that suicide and foul play had been ruled out by police investigators,
Mr Lim was then serving his National Service and was in fine health, having completed a 42 kilometre marathon on Dec 2. However, he was severely myopic and also suffered from astigmatism or blurred vision. It is believed his contact lenses slipped out in the water and added to his confusion when he got into difficulties in the water.
Forensic pathologist Professor Teo Eng Swee told investigators that Mr Lim's blood-alcohol level was 139mg. He said that in general, a person with such a level "would be expected to show signs of alcohol intoxication such as slurred speech, unsteady gait and nausea".
Mr Lim was drinking at the Grand Hollywood Club at Clarke Quay with a close friend, Mr Wah Wei Min, 22, and cousin Jason Koh Xian Wen. At about 5.30am, they were near the Gmax Reverse Bungy area. Mr Koh, 21. was then arguing with his girlfriend when Mr Lim jumped into the river and swam towards some boats. When he got into difficulties, Mr Koh dived in to rescue him . But Mr Lim had grown too weak and the cousin had to abort the rescue so as to save himself.
His family told police that they believed that he probably jumped into the river to distract his cousin and girlfriend from their argument but then drowned because of his visual impairment and alcohol intoxication.
Mr Lim graduated with a diploma in optometry from the Singapore Polytechnic in 2011. His father operates the Everbest Optics in Choa Chu Kang Grove. His mother and younger sister are also opticians.