Red Lions thrill the crowd in Ghim Moh with free-fall display, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Red Lions thrill the crowd in Ghim Moh with free-fall display

Dressed in red and white, residents cheered, clapped and waved national flags as the Red Lions descended from the sky onto an open field during a free-fall display in Ghim Moh yesterday.

The Red Lions jumped out from a C-130 aircraft from about 1,800m and landed gracefully on their feet at a heartland National Day event, which was part of efforts to bring the National Day Parade (NDP) celebrations to neighbourhoods.

Afterwards, long queues formed as spectators flocked to take photos with the seven parachutists who are part of the Singapore Armed Forces commando formation. The longest was in front of Third Warrant Officer Sandy Wong, who was participating in her first NDP.

She said that unlike in the airbase, where the parachutists land on clear grass patches, the free-fall jump in the heartland is more challenging. "There are trees and buildings, and we have to consider the wind conditions," she said. "So during the flight, there were a lot of things going through my mind."

3WO Wong was disappointed when bad weather hampered the jump in the morning but was glad for a second chance in the evening.

"At least our efforts did not go to waste," she said, adding they had rehearsed a lot for the performance.

Despite puddles from the heavy rain earlier, photographers, couples and families - some with prams and wheelchairs - showed up.

Freelancer Foo Siang Hwee, who was with his wife and two sons, said August is a month of celebration for the family because his boys, aged four and six, are obsessed with National Day festivities, while the couple's wedding anniversary falls on Aug 8.

The family had missed the Red Lions display in Bishan while taking cover from the drizzle, but were ecstatic to find out they had another chance to catch it in Ghim Moh in the evening.

The 46-year-old, who has never successfully balloted for NDP tickets, said: "I think it's good to get everyone involved with the heartland stuff, especially for those who can't get to The Float@Marina Bay."

Home Team officer Ganesh Nithyaseelan, 36, who carried his three-year-old daughter on his shoulders, said he wanted to show her that women can do anything. He said: "The army choosing women to parachute is the way to go."