Outdoor activity leader, 22, charged with causing the death of an ACS(I) student during a rope course in Safra Yishun
SINGAPORE — A 22-year-old man was charged on Thursday (September 15) with causing the death of a 15-year-old student at a Safra Yishun clubhouse adventure sports center last year.
Muhammad Nurul Hakim Mohamed Din was working as a dispatcher for the Canopy Sky Walk ropes course when the incident happened on February 3 last year, according to court documents.
Hakim faces a single charge of causing the death of Jethro Puah Xin Yang by a reckless act that does not constitute culpable homicide.
Jethro was studying at the time at the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) or ACS(I). He was attending a school camp program, run by outdoor adventure learning company Camelot, in Safra Yishun at the time.
Court documents showed that before Hakim sent Jethro on a ropes course, he allegedly failed to ensure that both leg straps of the safety harness Jethro was wearing were properly buckled and adjusted.
Jethro was then suspended in the loose harness after falling from the rope course, and his leg straps completely unbuckled.
The 4th secondary student died of “multi-organ failure following compression (of) the neck and traumatic asphyxia”.
Paramedics from the Singapore Civil Defense Force responded to a call at around 1.50pm that day, performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation and using an automated external defibrillator on him.
He was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Yishun where he died the next morning.
Following Jethro’s death, the Department of Education (MOE) announced the immediate suspension of outdoor activities involving high elements for all schools, pending the completion of investigations.
High-level activities involving students clearing an overhead obstacle course are usually organized as a form of outdoor education to instill confidence, toughness, and teamwork.
On Thursday, Hakim was offered bond of S$10,000. He will return to court on October 13.
If found guilty of causing death by a reckless act, he could be imprisoned for up to five years or fined, or punished with both.
Jethro’s parents told reporters at his wake that their only child was a loving son, an exemplary student and a caring friend.
He was class president and among the best in his class academically, even without tuition or pressure from his parents, they added.
In a statement following Thursday’s hearing, Mr. Delane Lim, honorary secretary of the Outdoor Learning and Adventure Education Association, said the community was deeply affected by the incident.
He added that since the beginning of this year, the association has been working closely with the Ministry of Education, Outward Bound Singapore and the outdoor education community to review and strengthen safety practices.
They will also collectively develop national outdoor adventure education (OAE) standards, Lim said.
“We continue to engage our industry and remind our OAE community of operators and practitioners of the need to be vigilant and ensure that the wellbeing and safety of our participants continues to be of paramount importance. and an overriding priority,” he added.