SAF resumes parachute training with new safety measures
After a four-month suspension due to a training incident, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) resumed parachute jump training involving cords on Tuesday, but with new safety measures.
These measures include enhanced emergency stop drills, greater supervision of less-experienced jumpers, and lowering the rate of dispatching trainees for jumps so trainers have more time to react if they need to intervene.
The training had been halted following an incident that resulted in Private Joshua Quek sustaining a cervical spine injury in Taiwan last December.
He was flown back to Singapore in January. He was discharged from hospital last month and has been recovering at home.
The 21-year-old full-time national serviceman was doing his fifth and final jump for his Basic Airborne Course when the cord that attached his parachute to the aircraft - called the static line - swept across his neck as he exited the plane.
A Singapore Army Facebook post on Tuesday said that trainees from the commando formation executed live jumps as part of the 240th Airborne Training Course, with improved safety measures.
Image-capturing devices are now mounted on the helmets of jump masters and parachute jump instructors on board, so that the jump training can be recorded and reviews can be done after the training.
And a physical marking was added to the static line so that it can more easily be seen how slack the line is.
For courses that involve less experienced jumpers, a third jump master will be appointed to provide more supervision.
For all jumps, a qualified jump instructor must be on board with two qualified jump masters at the exit door to check that proper measures are followed.
Each jumper is now issued a walkie-talkie and will inform a person in charge when he has landed safely.
For night jumps, the jumper must switch off his green blinking light and infra-red strobe light when he has done so.
The enhanced measures were recommended by a board of inquiry convened to investigate the incident, examine safety procedures and suggest areas for improvement.
The measures were reviewed by the Army Safety Board and validated through trial jumps conducted by regular commando soldiers, including the Chief Commando Officer, Colonel Kenny Tay.