The mysterious death of Lance Corporal Mar Teng Fong on board The Republic of Singapore Ship (RSS) Persistence.

It was reported that the Lance Corporal Mar Teng Fong was found unconscious and trapped between a hydraulic door and its door frame. And that this particular door connected the engine room to the propeller shaft compartment of the ship.

What went wrong? From the brief description, that hydraulic door ought to refer to a water-tight sliding door. Hmm...difficult to imagine such a door can be faulty. Especially with the strict regime of maintenance that any vessel is implementing.

The Republic of Singapore Ship (RSS) Persistence was out at sea for training manoeuvres when tragedy struck.

One of its sailors was found unconscious and had to be evacuated to a hospital in Singapore. He later died.

20-year-old Lance Corporal (LCP) Mar Teng Fong was on engineering watch duty on board the helicopter landing ship on 17 November 2009.

He went for a routine check of the ship's engineering systems at about 11.40pm, but the engineering systems specialist did not return.

After another 15 minutes, there was still no sign of LCP Mar, so a fellow serviceman went to look for him.

LCP Mar was found at 12.01am, unconscious and trapped between a hydraulic door and its door frame

This particular door connected the engine room to the propeller shaft compartment of the ship.

LCP Mar was given immediate medical attention by a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) doctor on board the ship, according to a statement by the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).

His condition was then deemed serious enough to have him evacuated by helicopter to Singapore General Hospital (SGH) at 1.15am. Throughout the flight back to shore, an SAF medical doctor and a medic continued to resuscitate him.

LCP Mar was given emergency medical treatment upon arrival at SGH at 1.26am, he was then warded in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Unfortunately, LCP Mar could not be saved and passed away at SGH this afternoon at 2.44pm.

LCP Mar's superior and Commanding Officer of RSS Persistence, Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) Lee Soon Tat, said, "The RSS Persistence family is deeply saddened by the incident. Teng Fong was a positive and hardworking young man who was well liked by his peers and superiors."

One of the late LCP Mar's crew mate added, "Teng Fong was always willing to lend a helping hand to his buddies and never failed to bring a smile to everybody's faces. We will miss him very much."

MINDEF is currently investigating the incident.

About the RSS Persistence

* Endurance Class Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs)
* The third locally designed and built LST
* Able to accommodate up to 2 Super Pumas helicopter.
* Roles include the support of SAF deployments for overseas training, the conduct of humanitarian and disaster relief operations, and the training of RSN personnel based in Changi Naval Base.

From Asiaone, "Tragedy on board S'pore Navy ship".

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