SAF conducting assessment of parachute jumps following Red Lion injury: Ng Eng Hen

3WO Jeffrey Heng was stretchered off after a rough landing at the Marina Bay floating platform on Aug 9, 2022. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has convened a high level assessment of the risks associated with parachute jumps during the annual National Day Parade (NDP).

This comes after an incident where a Red Lion parachutist was injured while making a rough landing during this year's NDP on Tuesday (Aug 9).

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Saturday that the review included not only Tuesday's incident, but also jumps during the preview shows and past parades.

Third Warrant Officer (3WO) Jeffrey Heng - the last of 10 Red Lion parachutists to land during this year's NDP - was stretchered off after a rough landing at the Marina Bay floating platform on Tuesday.

Dr Ng said on Wednesday that while 3WO Heng was injured, he did not require surgery and a full recovery was expected.

The Singapore Army said in a Facebook post the same day that parachuting at The Float at Marina Bay could be tricky due to strong crosswinds, gusty currents and disruptive airflow.

It said 3WO Heng was able to avoid major injuries by adopting the "Parachute Landing Fall" upon his hard landing.

On Saturday, Dr Ng said the SAF wanted to see whether there were structural issues which increased risk, and it had gone through a lot of data like wind speeds on the day of performances.

Speaking on the sidelines of a National Day event in Toa Payoh Central, Dr Ng added: "The interim assessment is that you need some mitigation measures, which they are putting in place."

He said one of the current conditions is that jumps are cancelled should clouds prevent jumpers from seeing the landing site.

Dr Ng added that one of the interim findings was that a different descent path may be needed to give parachutists more reaction time. He noted that experts needed to examine the issues more carefully before such measures are implemented.

He added: "Obviously we take these risks very seriously. We know the Red Lions are a favourite of NDP spectators and we want to do it safely."

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Dr Ng, who is also an MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, was speaking to reporters during a National Day dinner in Toa Payoh Central.

During the event, he announced new initiatives to help residents of the Bishan-Toa Payoh and Marymount areas.

One of them is the Caregiver Respite programme to support the caregivers of senior citizens and the disabled living in the two areas.

The programme will provide eligible caregivers with up to $500 for 12 months to defray the cost of hiring professionals to take care of those they look after, while the usual caregivers run errands or take time off for themselves.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (back row, centre) announced new initiatives to help caregivers and youth in the Bishan-Toa Payoh and Marymount areas. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

Dr Ng noted that about $50,000 has been raised to help such caregivers in the two areas.

He said there are more than 31,000 residents aged 70 and above living there, making up more than 10 per cent of the areas' population.

Another new initiative is the Structured Youth Mentorship Programme where young people can apprentice with experienced mentors in fields like science and technology and social development.

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