Underwater World Singapore senior diver killed by stingray

Channel NewsAsia 5 Oct 16;

SINGAPORE: An Underwater World Singapore (UWS) diver was killed on Tuesday (Oct 4) after he was stung in the chest by a stingray.

In a statement on Wednesday, Haw Par Corporation confirmed that Mr Philip Chan, 62, "was injured in the chest by a stingray" while preparing marine life for transfer to a new aquarium. He was the senior supervisor of UWS' curatorial department.

"He died from his injury a few hours later at Singapore General Hospital (SGH)," the statement added.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) sent an ambulance on Tuesday afternoon to UWS at around 2.20pm. Upon arrival, paramedics found Mr Chan lying near the venue's entrance and assessed the situation before conducting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on him.

He was then taken to SGH and paramedics continued to perform CPR during the journey, SCDF said.

Although UWS has ceased operations since Jun 26, Mr Chan was one of the 10 staff who stayed on to care for the animals while suitable homes were sought out for them, Haw Par Corporation said.

"He was a veteran diver, aquarist and animal caregiver who had been caring for the aquatic animals at UWS since its opening in 1991," it added.

"The management and staff at Haw Par Corporation are deeply saddened by the loss of a long-time staff and colleague and express our condolences to the family of Mr Chan. Haw Par is providing all possible support and assistance to Mr Chan’s family in this time of difficulty."

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said it has instructed Haw Par to stop all activities associated with the transfer of the sea animals after the incident.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Manpower Ministry said officers from its Safety and Health Inspectorate "responded to the scene immediately and commenced investigations" after the ministry was informed of the incident.

"Preliminary findings indicate that a worker was pierced in his chest by the barb of a stingray while he was in the midst of transferring the stingray from its tank. He was conveyed to hospital where he subsequently succumbed to his injuries," it said, adding that investigations are ongoing.

Haw Par said it is assisting the authorities with investigations and has suspended the animal transfer programme at UWS.


Underwater World supervisor dies after getting stung in chest by a stingray
Today Online 5 Oct 16;

SINGAPORE — A senior staff at Underwater World Singapore (UWS) has died after getting stung in the chest by a stingray, prompting a suspension of efforts to transfer the defunct attraction's animals to new facilities.

The unusual incident happened on Tuesday (Oct 4) afternoon, as 62-year-old Mr Philip Chan was preparing some animals for transfer to a new aquarium.

Mr Chan was "injured in the chest by a stingray" in the midst of transferring the stingray from its tank and died from his injury a few hours later at the Singapore General Hospital.

Mr Chan, a senior supervisor of the Curatorial Department, was one of the 10 UWS staff who had stayed after the attraction's closure in late June to help care for the animals while suitable new homes were being found.

Haw Par Corporation, which ran UWS, said Mr Chan was a "veteran diver, aquarist and animal caregiver who had been caring for the aquatic animals at UWS since its opening in 1991".

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was alerted to the incident at 2.20pm on Tuesday and despatched an ambulance to UWS. They found Mr Chan lying near the entrance and the paramedics commenced CPR. The SCDF said the paramedics continued to administer CPR while on route to SGH. The hospital was also alerted to be on standby to receive the Mr Chan.

Haw Par said it is assisting the authorities with the investigations, adding that the company would provide “all possible support and assistance” to Mr Chan’s family.

A Ministry of Manpower (MOM) spokesperson said the ministry, which was informed about the incident on Tuesday, has instructed Underwater World Singapore to stop all activities associated with the transferring of sea animals. Officers from MOM’s Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate had responded to the scene immediately and commenced investigations, said the spokesperson. Investigations are ongoing.


Veteran Underwater World diver killed by stingray had loved animals and diving
TOH EE MING and CHRISTOPHER TOH Today Online 6 Oct 16;

SINGAPORE — When she received a call at 2pm on Tuesday that her husband had been involved in an accident at work and was sent to hospital, Madam Serene Tong thought little of it, assuming that it was minor.

Her husband, Mr Philip Chan, was a veteran diver at Underwater World Singapore (UWS). Years ago, a sand tiger shark bite had left him needing stitches and a hospital stay, but he recovered and continued working at the attraction.

By the time she reached the hospital, their two daughters broke the news that her husband was “gone”.

“The worst thing was ... I didn’t even rush down,” said Mdm Tong, 59, before breaking down in tears.

Mr Chan, 62, died in Singapore General Hospital (SGH) on Tuesday (Oct 4), after getting stabbed in the chest by a stingray while he was preparing some animals for transfer to a new aquarium from UWS, where he had been working since it opened in 1991.

The attraction closed in June this year, and Mr Chan, a senior supervisor of the Curatorial Department, was one of 10 employees who had stayed to help care for the animals while suitable new homes were being found.

All activities to transfer the defunct attraction’s animals to new facilities have been suspended since the incident, said the Ministry of Manpower, which sent officers from its Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate to investigate when it was informed about the incident.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was alerted to the incident at 2.20pm on Tuesday and despatched an ambulance to UWS.

They found Mr Chan lying near the entrance, and the paramedics performed CPR. The SCDF said the paramedics continued to administer CPR en route to SGH.

The hospital was also alerted to be on standby to receive Mr Chan.

Family and friends turned up for Mr Chan’s wake at Block 52, Lengkok Bahru on Wednesday.

Beside his coffin, his old scuba diving suit was displayed as a reminder of his love of diving.

He was someone who passionately loved animals, and had a thirst for adventure and all-things diving related, often venturing out to the surrounding waters to catch marine wildlife, even sharks, as specimens for the aquarium.

Mr Jimmy Tan, 54, who has known Mr Chan for more than 30 years, was one of those who went on these marine specimen collection trips.

He said Mr Chan was thinking of continuing to work with animals after his contract with UWS ended, adding that he had received a job offer from River Safari.

“I remember he was still showing off his muscles, telling me he still felt very strong ... He was more like a brother to me, like family,” he said.

Last week, they met and floated the idea of a diving trip to their old haunt near Pemanggil island in Malaysia sometime in March next year.

“But now (this trip) will never happen,” Mr Tan said.

Mdm Tong told reporters that she had met Mr Chan while they were both working at Sentosa. He was a lifeguard and she was an administrative staff there.

“He was very honest, forthright ... We just clicked,” she said, revealing how the family used to go on diving trips during their 34-year marriage.

In a statement on Wednesday, Haw Par Corporation, which ran UWS, said Mr Chan was a “veteran diver, aquarist and animal caregiver who had been caring for the aquatic animals at UWS since its opening in 1991”.

Haw Par said it is assisting the authorities with investigations, adding that the company would provide “all possible support and assistance” to Mr Chan’s family.

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