A Singapore Armed Forces armoured vehicle during Exercise Wallaby 2016
A Singapore Armed Forces armoured vehicle during Exercise Wallaby 2016 Russell Prothero

Soldier Death: Army vehicle moving rough terrain when rolled

SUNDAY 1pm: The Singapore Armed Forces personnel who died in an accident at Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area on Friday night was found next to the vehicle unconscious.

According to the Straits Times news website, Singapore's Ministry of Defence (Mindef) released further information about the accident yesterday afternoon which stated 3rd Sergeant (3SG) Gavin Chan Hiang Cheng, 21, was guiding a vehicle out of difficult terrain when it landed on its side.

The driver and two other passengers travelling in the Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicle were unhurt, the statement said.

The Strait Times also reported Chan's next of kin arrived in Australia yesterday morning, accompanied by family-liason officers from the SAF.

SATURDAY 2.55pm: A SINGAPORE man has died at Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area overnight.

The Morning Bulletin has confirmed through emergency services that the Queensland Ambulance Service were called to the training area for a patient at 10.35pm last night.

It has been confirmed that the man, who is in the Singapore Armed Forces, has died.

The Singapore Armed Forces is currently carrying out Exercise Wallaby 2017 at the Australian-owned training facility about 100km north of Rockhampton.

This is the second accident at the Central Queensland military training area this year to claim lives of military personnel.

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The Ministry of Defence, Singapore has posted on Facebook:

"An SAF Full-time National Serviceman, 3rd Sergeant (3SG) Chan Hiang Cheng Gavin, 21, a Vehicle Commander from 41st Battalion Singapore Armoured Regiment, was involved in a vehicular incident at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland, Australia at around 18:15hrs (SG time) on 15 Sep 2017.

3SG Chan was travelling in a Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicle as part of an exercise when the incident happened. An SAF medic commenced resuscitation efforts on 3SG Chan, who was unconscious. 3SG Chan was evacuated via a helicopter to Rockhampton Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at around 2236hrs (SG time).

A safety pause on training in Shoalwater Bay Training Area has taken effect, and an investigation of the incident is ongoing.

The Ministry of Defence and the SAF extend their deepest condolences to the family of the late serviceman and are assisting the family in this time of grief."

While most people posted their condolences on the MINDEF's Facebook post, there were a number who questioned why there was little detail about what happened in the accident:

Victor Lam: What vehicular incident? MINDEF, please come clean.

Surash Ram: Yes. No clear story. At least we would know what happened and hopefully the same mistake would not be repeated. Rip to e soldier

Richard Cheah: R.I.P. No details were fully given. Mindef should be more transparent here. What incident? Involved collision with another vehicle, Bionix overturned, etc. Instead of keeping people guessing.

Benjamin Chong: "investigation of the incident is ongoing"

Adrian Tremnox: Lee Not the time sir. Not the time.

Justin Choo: For now, only the family needs know. The details and investigation will take time. The rest is just gossip for the general population. The most important thing is that a son on Singapore gave his life for the country, and his sacrifice should be remembered and appreciated.

Ong LeQuan: Nothing is transparent here and we just cannot afford to do it. If we are going to make every case transparent, we will have more law suits than trading activities.

PerformanceCycles Sin: Now is not the time to press for answers, I believe no one wants this to happen