SINGAPORE - A teen was skateboarding in the grounds of Pine Grove estate when he lost his balance while navigating a slight upward slope and fell, a coroner's court heard.
Republic Polytechnic student Louis Chen Hong Ming, who was wearing slippers at the time of the incident on Nov 15 last year, died from extensive liver laceration in hospital about three hours later.
At Friday's (April 28) inquest into the 18-year-old's death, the court heard that Mr Chen left his Pine Grove apartment at about 9pm on Nov 15 with his skateboard without telling his mother or his grandparents where he was going.
He returned home at about 9.30pm without his skateboard and was wearing only his right slipper. When his grandfather opened the door, the teen was leaning against it. His face was pale and he kept saying "kerb'' and that he was in "great pain'' when asked what had happened.
He was admitted to the accident and emergency department of National University Hospital with multiple lacerations in the right lobe of his liver, among other injuries. He received massive transfusions of blood and blood products.
Despite surgery and prolonged resuscitation, he died at 12.12am.
The court heard that Mr Chen had abrasions on his right knee, toe and chest. The abrasion mark on his chest bore an imprint that could have been sustained from impact against a hard object.
Mr Chen's missing slipper was later found at the edge of the concrete kerb, which was 21cm high and his skateboard was found 2.7m away.
A resident told police that he was walking towards his block, past the club house, when he saw the teen seated on his skateboard with his hands on the metal railing opposite the concrete kerb, and moving slightly. He thought the youth was resting.
In his findings, State Coroner Marvin Bay said Mr Chen suffered significant impact on his chest against a raised concrete kerb after falling off his skateboard. Despite considerable pain, he was able to walk home and tell his grandfather that he had hit the kerb.
"Mr Chen's demise from injuries sustained in an unwitnessed fall, while riding his skateboard, is a tragic misadventure,'' said Coroner Bay.
Skateboarders, he said, are vulnerable to falls, especially if they are infrequent boarders, or traversing a rarely used route, or a path that is not well lit.
It is critical that sensible precautions, such as the use of safety equipment, be observed. He said the use of proper footwear, along with protective helmets and pads, would be prudent steps to mitigate potentially catastrophic mishaps.
Mr Chew, he said, had unfortunately worn a pair of slippers that could have led him to lose his balance and subsequently fall.