Actor Aloysius Pang injured in SAF exercise in New Zealand dies

Actor Aloysius Pang died last night at Waikato Hospital in New Zealand, where he had surgery following an accident during an SAF exercise.
Actor Aloysius Pang died last night at Waikato Hospital in New Zealand, where he had surgery following an accident during an SAF exercise.PHOTO: ALOYSIUS PANG/FACEBOOK

An independent committee of inquiry will look into the death of 28-year-old actor Aloysius Pang, who was injured in a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) exercise in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed at 11.35 last night that Corporal First Class (NS) Pang Wei Chong died at 8.45pm Singapore time at Waikato Hospital, where he had undergone surgery after an accident last Saturday during the annual live-firing exercise Thunder Warrior.

Mindef said CFC (NS) Pang, an armament technician from the 268th Battalion Singapore Artillery, was carrying out repair works inside a self-propelled howitzer with two other soldiers when he sustained injuries as the gun barrel was lowered. The operationally ready national serviceman was evacuated to Waikato Hospital, a regional trauma centre in Hamilton, where he underwent surgery a number of times to treat his injuries.

"Despite surgical attempts to repair damaged organs and putting him on artificial life support, CFC Pang succumbed to the injuries and passed away," said Mindef, adding that a press conference chaired by defence chief Melvyn Ong will be held today to present the preliminary findings.

Meanwhile, the SAF will make arrangements to bring the body back to Singapore. "Mindef and the SAF extend their deepest condolences to the family of CFC Pang and will continue to render assistance and support in their time of loss."

At around 11 last night, netizens started pointing out how Mr Pang's fellow acting colleagues were changing their social media profile pictures to black and white, driving speculation that the worst had come to pass.

Mediacorp's winner of Best Newcomer award in 2015, he was due to start shooting Channel 8 drama My One In A Million next month.

Mr Pang's parents and his two elder brothers had flown to Hamilton earlier. A post late last night on the actor's Instagram account - appeared to have been written by one of his brothers - read: "Throughout the past few days at the hospital, it has been a difficult time for us. Every news that was brought upon us since his last op was devastating with little signs of hope on his recovery.

 

"We all broke down when the medical team spoke to us that his condition was worsening and we should be prepared for the worst. We are going to lose a brother. And my parents are going to lose their precious son, who is only 28. "

Mediacorp described his death as "a devastating loss".

Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen had posted on his Facebook page that CFC Pang's condition was very serious and he needed artificial life support for his lungs, kidneys and heart.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2019, with the headline 'Actor injured in SAF exercise in New Zealand dies'. Print Edition | Subscribe