SINGAPORE - Home-grown actor Aloysius Pang was seriously injured during an overseas military exercise in New Zealand on Saturday (Jan 19).
In a statement on Sunday, the Ministry of Defence confirmed that Corporal First Class (NS) Pang Wei Chong, 28, was hurt while repairing a Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer around 2.05pm Singapore time. "An investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the incident," Mindef added.
Talent agency NoonTalk Media confirmed that its artist had met with an accident while on reservist duty in New Zealand.
CFC Pang, an armament technician from the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF) 268th Battalion Singapore Artillery, had been taking part in Exercise Thunder Warrior at the Waiouru training area in New Zealand, Mindef said.
He was transferred to the battalion casualty station at 2.25pm, where he was stabilised by a medical officer before being evacuated to Waiouru Camp Medical Centre for further treatment.
A helicopter arrived at 4.10pm and CFC Pang was evacuated, while conscious, to Waikato hospital in Hamilton, south of Auckland.
He reached the hospital at 6pm and underwent surgery, which was completed at 11.40pm. He is now being monitored in the high-dependency unit, Mindef said.
"The Ministry of Defence and the SAF are assisting CFC (NS) Pang's family during this period," it added.
Exercise Thunder Warrior is an annual artillery live-firing exercise that has been conducted by Singapore and New Zealand since 1997.
This year's exercise, which began on Jan 5 involving over 500 personnel, ends on Feb 2.
NoonTalk Media said in a Facebook post on Sunday: "Aloysius' mum is currently travelling to New Zealand, and NoonTalk Media is also in close communication with Mindef."
His older brother Wei Zhe told the media on Sunday afternoon that the actor was in stable condition and had spoken with their mother by phone in the morning.
He added that he and his father would be flying to New Zealand to see his younger sibling on Monday.
The actor had posted on Facebook on Jan 5 about his upcoming reservist duties: "Off to serve our country. Back at the end of the month! May not be able to post much when I'm there," adding "wait for my return" in Chinese.
Following the news of his injury, his fans, friends and manager Dasmond Koh all took to social media to voice their concern.
Mr Koh, 46, a television host who is also the head of NoonTalk Media, wrote on Instagram in Chinese on Sunday morning: "To be honest, I'm feeling at a loss, and also a lot of heartache. Everything will be all right... I am unable to respond to everyone's text messages and telephone calls, please forgive me."
The post was followed by messages of encouragement from other local celebrities such as Mr Romeo Tan and Mr Shaun Chen, who said that Mr Pang "will be fine".
Mr Pang's close friend and former actor colleague Xu Bin, 29, also wrote on Instagram in Chinese: "I received bad news early in the morning. I hope you'll be fine, and that you will return (home) safely."https://www.facebook.com/NoonTalk.Aloysius/photos/a.220230471406651/2023...?
An Instagram user who goes by the handle @sonebuddyx3 wrote: "Rest well, and get well soon. Will pray for you."
Mr Pang was named one of the top 10 most popular male artists at the 2016 Star Awards, and clinched the Best Newcomer Award at the 2015 Star Awards.
A child star who started acting at age nine, he was one of eight young male stars picked by Mediacorp to form a new generation of celebrities dubbed the Eight Dukes.