Kayaker suffers 'gaping cuts' from fish bite in Bedok Reservoir, PUB advises caution

A tarpon that was caught at Bedok Reservoir by an angler. This species of fish, which could have caused the injuries to the kayekers, is not native to Singapore waters. -- PHOTO: TNP READER
A tarpon that was caught at Bedok Reservoir by an angler. This species of fish, which could have caused the injuries to the kayekers, is not native to Singapore waters. -- PHOTO: TNP READER
Mr Nicholas Ong, a teammate of Mr Seetoh who was with him at Bedok Reservoir, also received injuries to his legs, which he said he believes came from a turtle bite. -- PHOTO: JANICE NG
Mr Nicholas Ong, a teammate of Mr Seetoh who was with him at Bedok Reservoir, also received injuries to his legs, which he said he believes came from a turtle bite. -- PHOTO: JANICE NG
Mr Seetoh sustained cuts to his feet while climbing out of the water. -- PHOTO: JANICE NG
Mr Seetoh sustained cuts to his feet while climbing out of the water. -- PHOTO: JANICE NG
Mr Seetoh sustained cuts to his feet while climbing out of the water. -- PHOTO: JANICE NG
Mr Seetoh sustained cuts to his feet while climbing out of the water. -- PHOTO: JANICE NG
Temasek Polytechnic student Kian Wei Seetoh suffered from a fish bite that required 13 stitches after he fell into Bedok Reservoir while kayaking there in September last year. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER
Temasek Polytechnic student Kian Wei Seetoh suffered from a fish bite that required 13 stitches after he fell into Bedok Reservoir while kayaking there in September last year. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - An incident last September at Bedok Reservoir where a 19-year-old kayaker was bitten in the foot by what seemed to be a fish has prompted water agency PUB to issue a public advisory on boating activities there.

According to The New Paper, Temasek Polytechnic student Kian Wai Seetoh had fallen into the water after his kayak capsized near a pontoon. As he was attempting to climb onto the pontoon, he felt something bite his right foot.

When he lifted his leg out of the water, he found "gaping cuts" around his toes and was bleeding profusely. The wounds required 13 stitches and he took three weeks to make a full recovery.

Two of Mr Seetoh's teammates also sustained cuts after their kayaks capsized near the same pontoon. A turtle was suspected to have bitten both of them.

The incidents prompted PUB to suspend kayaking, dragon-boating and canoeing in the reservoir for a month - from Dec 17 to Jan 16. It also advised water-activity operators to remind its customers to wear proper footwear.

During the suspension, PUB said it caught several species of fish - including a peacock bass, armoured sucker catfish and tarpon - that were not native to Singapore. An expert TNP interviewed said they could have been released into the reservoir illegally.

mklee@sph.com.sg