Monday, April 22, 2013

Coroner's inquiry into death of full-time National Serviceman Private Lee Rui Feng Dominique Sarron

What's even more surprising is the TV news report that said the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) medic at the scene of the incident was not trained or equipped to respond to asthma cases.

Coroner's inquiry into death of NSF starts

Source: Channel News Asia, Singapore 22 April 2013
SINGAPORE: The coroner's inquiry into the death of SAF Private Dominique Sarron Lee started on Monday with his family present in court.

The 21-year-old serviceman died last April during an urban obstacle training exercise involving hand grenades.

The defence ministry's own committee of inquiry had found clear breaches of training safety regulations.

A platoon commander threw six smoke grenades even though regulations specified no more than two grenades were allowed.

On Monday, the state coroner heard that the number of smoke grenades thrown is debatable.

The court heard that the purpose of the grenade was to create a smoke screen to simulate attack under foggy conditions.

Captain Chia Thye Siong, who was then the Chief Safety Officer, said from a tactical view point, the more smoke there is, the better it would be to mask a troop's movement.

The court heard that if a platoon commander decides that the throwing of two smoke grenades does not create that effect, he could throw more.

Captain Chia told the court that the Training Safety Regulations did not prohibit the throwing of more than two smoke grenades.

Captain Najib, who was the Platoon Commander for the exercise, said he threw the extra grenades because there was no wind that day to create the required smoke screen effect.

He also told the court that the troop which Private Lee was in had been handed extra grenades.

The usual number issued to a platoon commander was three but six in total were issued.

This was because another troop had not taken part in the exercise and the commander decided to take their grenades.

Captain Chia also told the court that soldiers with medical conditions wore wrist tags.

This was to allow officers in charge to identify and pay more attention to these soldiers.

Private Lee was asthmatic and had worn a blue tag to indicate his medical history.

But Captain Chia told the court that the Commanding Officers were not trained to identify or predict possible factors that would trigger an asthma attack.

Captain Chia said Private Lee was the first soldier to pop his head out of the window of a smoking room.

Captain Chia then activated a safety vehicle after Private Lee climbed out of the window.

He told the court Private Lee was coughing and took short, shallow breaths and complained of chest pains.

He added that apart from CPR, which he administered on Private Lee, there was nothing else he could have done.

The inquiry continues.

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