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Defence Minister speaks on the recent deaths of 3 servicemen

Excerpt of speech by Minister for Defence RADM(NS) Teo Chee Hean in Parliament on 16 Oct 2003 regular SAF serviceman and 2 Full-time National Servicemen died during training in unrelated incidents over the period of 21st August to 23rd September this year.

MINDEF is very sorry for the anguish and distress that has been caused to their families and loved ones. I deeply regret the loss of these three young men. I extend my heartfelt condolences to their families and loved ones.
MINDEF treats every training death with the utmost seriousness. In every case we convene a thorough investigation to determine the cause of death and also to enable us to take all the necessary measures so that what can be prevented will not happen again.....
Let me now explain the circumstances of the three cases and the measures that are in place to ensure the safety of our servicemen as they undergo military training, as well as the actions that MINDEF has taken. I shall take the most recent case first.

Recruit Chew Heng Huat, Andrew, IPPT Categorisation Test, 23 Sep 03

Summary of Incident

The serviceman who died was Recruit Chew Heng Huat, Andrew. On enlistment, Recruit Chew had been classified as being medically fit except for being moderately obese.

He was in the fourth week of the four-month Basic Military Training Programme for obese recruits. On 23 Sep 03 at the Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC) School 1 in Pulau Tekong, Recruit Chew was undergoing an Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) categorisation exercise to gauge his fitness level.
At about 1745 hrs, during the 2.4 km run of the IPPT, Recruit Chew collapsed 30 metres short of the end point. He was immediately evacuated to the Pulau Tekong Medical Centre for medical attention and thereafter, evacuated by helicopter to the Singapore General Hospital, arriving at 1842 hrs. He was pronounced dead at 1905 hrs. The cause of death is pending final determination by the forensic pathologist from the Health Sciences Authority.

IPPT Categorization Exercise

The IPPT categorisation exercise for obese recruits takes place during the 4th week of their 4-month BMT programme, after they have completed 3 weeks of physical conditioning. In the normal 3-month BMT for non-obese recruits, this categorisation exercise is done in the 2nd week.

The purpose of the categorisation exercise is to group the recruits according to their physical fitness level. This allows us to design the subsequent training in a more focused, customized and progressive way, taking into account the health and fitness condition of each serviceman.




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17 October 2003

Singapore Time