NSF, who died during Exercise Wallaby, was guiding vehicle in difficult terrain when it landed on its side

A file photo of a Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicle. NSF Chan Hiang Cheng Gavin was found unconscious next to a similar vehicle at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The 21-year-old Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) full-time National Serviceman, who died on Friday (Sept 15) at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland, Australia, was guiding the vehicle out of difficult terrain when it landed on its side.

3rd Sergeant (3SG) Chan Hiang Cheng Gavin, who was the vehicle commander of a Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicle, was found unconscious next to the vehicle, said the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) in an update on Saturday afternoon (Sept 16).

The driver and two other passengers travelling in the vehicle were unhurt, the statement said.

"Mindef has made necessary arrangements for 3SG Chan's next of kin to be flown to Australia. They arrived earlier this morning, and were accompanied by family-liaison officers from the SAF," it added.

3SG Chan, who was from 41st Battalion Singapore Armoured Regiment, was taking part in Exercise Wallaby, a unilateral military training exercise, when the incident happened at around 6.15pm (Singapore time) on Friday.

An SAF medic carried out resuscitation on 3SG Chan, and was joined shortly by two SAF medical officers who delivered onsite medical treatment.

3SG Chan was then evacuated via an SAF helicopter to Rockhampton Airport during which resuscitation efforts continued, before being transferred by local ambulance to Rockhampton Hospital, Mindef said.

He was pronounced dead at 10.36 pm (Singapore time).

Exercise Wallaby, an annual event, is the SAF's largest unilateral overseas drill.

A safety pause on training in Shoalwater Bay Training Area has taken effect and an investigation of the incident is ongoing.

"Training and safety management plans are being reviewed, to ensure that all appropriate safety measures are in place before training is allowed to continue."

Mindef and SAF said that they extend their deepest condolences to 3SG Chan's family and are assisting them in this time of grief.

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