Outdoor company, employee charged over 2021 student death at Yishun Safra, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Outdoor company, employee charged over 2021 student death at Yishun Safra

A company that organises adventure-themed activities for young people, and one of its staff members, have been charged over the death of a 15-year-old student in 2021.

According to court documents, Camelot and its officer Liew Foo Loong allegedly failed to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of persons who may be affected by an activity it carried out, causing the death of Jethro Puah Xin Yang.

The mishap occurred at Safra Adventure Sports Centre in Yishun on Feb 3, 2021.

Puah, a student from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), was suspended in mid-air by the safety harness after he lost his footing.

As he was being lowered to the ground, he lost consciousness. He was unresponsive when the police arrived.

Liew, 35, and Camelot allegedly failed to ensure proper training and instruction were provided to instructors on rescue operations, in situations when the harness becomes loose or unsecured.

They are also said to have failed to ensure adequate supervision in the donning of the safety harness for participants, and in ensuring that the harnesses are properly maintained.

Liew, whose lawyer is Mr Favian Kang, represented Camelot in court on Jan 9.

The firm’s lawyer, Mr Nichol Yeo, said it was served the charge on Jan 4, after the company’s case, originally scheduled for Dec 28, was adjourned for a summons to be issued to it.

A third party separately charged in connection with the incident is expected to plead guilty on Jan 15 over a charge of causing death by a rash act not amounting to homicide.

Muhammad Nurul Hakim Mohamed Din, 23, is accused of failing to ensure that both leg straps of the safety harness worn by Puah were properly fitted before letting the student attempt the rope course.

Nurul Hakim was the outdoor activities facilitator at Camelot.

The incident sparked changes in the outdoor adventure learning industry.

Height-based activities, which were suspended following the incident, only resumed from Feb 1, 2023, with enhanced safety measures set in place by the Ministry of Education.

Among other things, operators are now required to ensure that their facilities are accredited regularly by a national sports association or a regional outdoor adventure learning professional body.

If found guilty, Liew can be jailed for up to two years, fined up to $200,000, or both. Camelot can be fined up to $500,000, if found guilty.

For causing a person’s death by performing a rash act, an offender can be jailed for up to five years and fined.

Liew and Camelot are expected back in court on Feb 15.