Saturday, March 9, 2013

Near-miss: Full-time National Servicemen injured in grenade explosion

Source: Ministry of Defence, Singapore

Posted: 08 Mar 2013, 2115 hours (GMT +8)
Grenade Incident During NS Training

At 10.45am today, two Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) full-time National Servicemen (NSFs), Safety Officer Second Lieutenant (2LT) Kamalasivam S/O Shanmuganathan and Recruit (REC) Abdul Hamid Bin Abdul Smad were injured while participating in a live hand grenade training at Pulau Tekong. The practice throw earlier the same morning had proceeded without incident. But for the actual throw, REC Abdul Hamid accidentally released the hand grenade lever while pulling out the safety pin. 2LT Kamalasivam, the Safety Officer, immediately instructed REC Abdul Hamid to throw the grenade towards the designated impact area. 2LT Kamalasivam then pulled REC Abdul Hamid down to take cover in the grenade throwing bay and shielded him. The grenade detonated in mid-air away from the bay.
REC Abdul Hamid sustained an injury to a finger on his right hand while 2LT Kamalasivam was injured on his left shoulder. Both servicemen were treated on site and subsequently sent to Changi General Hospital (CGH) at 11.45am. Both are stable and conscious, and currently under observation in the general ward in CGH.
Live hand grenade training has been suspended until investigations are completed. The alertness and quick action of 2LT Kamalasivam averted more serious injury to both the recruit and himself.


Anonymous said...

Chao recruits. Impossible to account for this sort of accident in training. I guess that's why it's called training! Gonna watch and wait for all the anti-NS chorus to fire up! :) thank goodness for quick reflexes 2LT Kamalasivam. Take 2 extra days off!

Anonymous said...

I can still remember quite clearly that day I threw my first live hand grenade during ITD at Pulau Tekong. I did okay.

Derek said...

The Malaysians must be laughing at how pussy we are for celebrating such 'heroism'.

Anonymous said...


I am Malaysian and I'm just glad that everyone involved are safe. Training accidents will happen any armed forces and they are not something for others to gloat about.

We have lost our troops in various training situations - paras during training jumps, commandos during live fire exercises etc. While we mourn for them, we also accept the fact that they are professional soldiers who have accepted the risk of protecting the nation. And we honour them for it.

Anonymous said...

Mindef owes an explanation how the men were injured when "the grenade detonated in mid-air away from the bay."

Looking at the design of the bay, it is difficult to imagine how they were injured unless the grenade was thrown straight up.

SAF grenade procedure and bay:

Anonymous said...

Recruit had difficulty pulling the pin out. When he fumbled the pin loose, his other hand slipped which let the safety lever fly. Grenade fuse was thus set.

Recruit probably froze. He could very well instinctively turned to the 2LT with a "what should I do look?" This would have taken the grenade away from being over the ledge and into the pit.

He either recovered quickly enough to toss the grenade, or the 2LT forced his hand. The grenade probably did have an initial upwards trajectory. This is especially likely if the 2LT had to force the recruit's hand.

2LT used his body to shield the recruit. The recruit probably was crouching with the 2LT half squatting over him. This would have exposed at least part of the 2LT's upper torso, which is consistent with the wound he suffered (to his left shoulder I believe).

The recruit's finger was either injured by the safety lever flying off or during the pin pulling process. Who knows - it could have been clipped in the mechanism which caused the initial fumble. If you view the video posted in the earlier comment, you can see the recruit fumbling with the pin.

Regardless, that they were still injured despite the design of the grenade bay suggests this was truly and absolutely done in the nick of time. The grenade probably exploded just after it was let go.

Thank God the 2LT didn't suffer the same fate as 2LT Tay Seow Kai in 1970.

Anonymous said...

The alertness and quick action of 2LT Kamalasivamwam would have prevented this and not injuries to a Rec Abdul and himself. So now is the army going to paint the 2LT as a hero?

Anonymous said...

I still remember that after tossing the grenade, we were told to look at where the grenade lands before taking over? Is this still the current practice or did my memory fails me?

Anonymous said...

Above, you are correct. As shown in the video.

However, my unit did not practice this during my BMT 10 years ago. Instructor and myself ducked down the moment I threw it. The bay is safe for this practice. I suppose in war you must check in case it rebounds back at you.

That was my only grenade throw. I am a down PES soldier.

The said...

Most recruits are sensible, but there are some who gabra and some who are very kiasi. I remember in the mid 70s when I was a PC taking a platoon for live grenade throwing. One of the learning point is for trainee to see where the grenade land before they take cover. On occasions, I had to physically pull the recruit up by the SBO straps, tell them to see where the grenade land, before ducking for cover.

Ka Chng's Name Sounded like a Cock Up in the Making said...

Why not make a training grenade with half charge and a longer duration fuse?

Some of the soldiers I have served with are quite scary. When firing starts, not sure if they will throw grenades in the correct direction.

AnyLobangAlsoCan said...

This is problem.

SAF got firepower, but manpower a bit the kuching kurat leh.

Not enough people. Too many unit. Quality is suffering.