Singapore MOE suspends outdoor high-element activities after death of boy who attended school camp at Safra Yishun

All activities at the Safra Yishun adventure sports centre (pictured) are temporarily suspended to facilitate investigations. — TODAY pic
All activities at the Safra Yishun adventure sports centre (pictured) are temporarily suspended to facilitate investigations. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Feb 5 — The Ministry of Education (MOE) has suspended all outdoor activities involving high elements until investigations into the death of a 15-year-old student are complete. The victim appeared to have lost his footing while at a height at Safra Yishun on Wednesday (Feb 3).

The student from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), or ACS(I), was taking part in a school camp programme.

He “had purportedly lost his footing while participating in a high-element course, but was suspended by the safety harness and subsequently lost consciousness when he was lowered to the ground,” the police said in a statement yeserday.

Paramedics from the Singapore Civil Defence Force, responding to a call at about 1.50pm that day, performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and used an automated external defibrillator on him.

The boy, who was not identified by the authorities, was taken to the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital where he died the next morning.

“Preliminary investigations suggest there is no foul play,” the police said, adding that investigations are ongoing.

The activity was run by an accredited vendor — outdoor adventure learning company Camelot — at the adventure sports centre in Safra Yishun.

In a brief statement yesterday evening, Camelot said that it was deeply saddened to learn of the student’s death and offers its deepest condolences to his family.

“Camelot has been providing, and will continue to provide, its fullest cooperation and assistance to the relevant authorities in this matter.”

MOE and ACS(I) said in a joint statement that they will give their fullest support to the family and the boy’s classmates and teachers.

“The safety of our students has always been a priority for us,” they said.”

Pending the completion of the investigations, all schools will suspend outdoor activities involving high elements with immediate effect.”

In a message seen by TODAY that was posted last night on an online communication channel for parents used by the school, ACS(I) said that the student was taking part in “the High Ropes Course during our Year 4s’ two-day non-residential Outdoor Activity Enrichment Programme”.

“The matter is now under the investigation of the police and the school is rendering all support to affected students and staff and the bereaved family,” it added.

“As a school family, we seek your help by not speculating on the matter while investigations are ongoing, and to respect the privacy of the family during this difficult period.”

High-element activities involving students clearing an obstacle course at a height are commonly organised as a form of outdoor education to instil confidence, ruggedness and teamwork.

These activities are often held during cohort camps, such as the ones organised by Outward Bound Singapore, where all students are given an opportunity to attend as part of the Education Ministry’s National Outdoor Adventure Education Master Plan.

All activities at the Safra Yishun adventure sports centre are temporarily suspended to facilitate investigations, a Safra spokesperson said. — TODAY

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