Saturday, May 23, 2009

Canoeing Coach Drowned in MacRitchie!

Man dies in canoe accident at MacRitchie Reservoir
By Julia Ng,
Channel NewsAsia
Posted: 22 May 2009 2159 hrs

A freelance canoeing instructor is believed to have drowned while coaching some secondary school students at the MacRitchie Reservoir.
According to national water agency PUB, which operates Singapore's reservoirs, the man's canoe capsized shortly after 6pm.
An eyewitness called the MediaCorp hotline and said he saw a canoe sinking and some school girls crying near the shore.

Officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) received a call at about 6.45pm.
When they arrived, they were taken across the reservoir in a speedboat.
The body had already been pulled onto shore.

Civil Defence officers found some people believed to be the victim's colleagues and friends attempting to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on him.
SCDF officers took over CPR but the man could not be revived.
Paramedics pronounced the 35-year-old man dead at the scene.
Police are investigating how he fell into the water.
- CNA/yt

Unk Dicko says:
I'm extremely shocked by this report. If it's true as stated in the story then I am quite perturbed. Why?

Though the details are did say that the victim was a freelance canoe instructor.
And he was coaching some secondary school students.
It's a little puzzling to think that a qualified canoe instructor/coach falling into the water after
his canoe capsized should be drowned just like that. It may not be shocking to ordinary layman.
But in the context of the canoeing community hard questions would be asked, " how could this be? How can this happen?".
I myself have been conducting canoeing basic and advanced courses at the very same place, since the early 80's. And as part of my course content for my trainees they would all have to go through "capsize drill"...again and again, until it is 2nd nature never to panic when you suddenly capsize. More importantly, you know exactly what to do under water while submerged and also
very important ..what not to do.
The waters of MacRitchie Reservoir are fairly calm compared to the open sea.
I hope more details will be released as it is probably the 1st Canoeing fatality that I know of
at MacRitchie since we began using the reservoir more than 3 decades ago.


yg said...

dick, the instructor could have fainted because of his diabetic condition - low on sugar.

Lam Chun See said...

So sad to read about this type of unexpected accidents; esp when they happen to young people. Another case is the recruit (of my son's age) who died in Pulau Tekong BMT.

Last week I was at MacRitchie. The new car park is ready and a lot of construction is going on. I do hope they improve the stretch where the kids have to carry the canoes from the shed to/from the water. Many pedestrians and joggers also use this place. I have blogged about it before. Some of the members of public are very uncompromising and won't give way to the youngsters carrying the boats. Some of these kayakers are girls and very small built and they are probably exhausted already. What so difficult about moving to the grass and giving way to them?

unk Dicko said...

YG and C See,
It's really very tragic however it happened. There were other people around when he capsized. Were there no other canoes in the water except his and he was doing post-training all alone by himself, far from the enbankment?
Lacking all these details I can't really put my finger on any cause or why no one went to his aid...soon after his capsize.
Btw, when I was conducting my advanced courses for potential canoe instructors...I was always prepared for any eventuality or mishaps during capsize drills or the eskimo roll in slalom kayaks.
I always had a double pair of good goggles with me just in case one of my trainees does not emerge after capsizing...I can go under to perform underwater rescue.
Before I conducted capsize drills at the chosen deep estuary in MacRitchie[ away from public eyes], I would conduct an underwater spotcheck by diving into the water myself just to ensure there were no submerged obstacles like sunken logs, branches, nets etc..
That was the least I could do.
In all my long years there, no serious accidents or mishaps occured to anyone.