Underwater World supervisor killed by stingray
I N WHAT is believed to be the first such incident in Singapore, a man died after he was stung by a stingray on Tuesday afternoon.
The victim is Philip Chan, head of a team of divers at Underwater World Singapore (UWS), which has been closed since June.
Tributes to Mr Chan, who was also the senior supervisor of UWS' curatorial department, began appearing on Facebook on Tuesday evening.
The New Paper (TNP) understands that the once-popular attraction on Sentosa island was in the process of moving its marine animals at the time.
Mr Chan, in his early 60s, was working with stingrays when tragedy struck.
The police said they were alerted at 2.20pm to a case about an injured man at UWS.
A spokesman said he was taken to the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), where he died of his injuries.
They are investigating the unnatural death.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it dispatched an ambulance to the scene.
The victim was unconscious when he was taken to SGH, its spokesman said.
TNP and The Straits Times (ST) carried profiles of Mr Chan, an avid diver who had been with UWS since it opened in 1991, in June after the closure of the marine park was announced.
It was obvious from the interviews how devoted he was to the marine animals he had worked with for 25 years.
"They are so quietly tame," he told TNP, adding that he was sad to say goodbye to his "band of friends".
"We intend to find them the best homes and environment.
"The next time I see them, I might not recognise them any more but if I dive, they might recognise me."
Mr Chan would usually be in scuba gear in the water to place food in the mouths of the stingrays and sharks during feeding time while visitors watched and took pictures.
"I treat (the animals) like my babies," he told ST.
While describing the eagle rays and the nurse sharks as "gentle", he told ST that he had been bitten a few times by sharks which mistook him for a fish, but they let go once they realised he was not food.
"Whenever I get in danger, I just keep calm.
"I can overcome any danger by just being calm," he said.
Tragically, Mr Chan would lose his life to one of his "babies" that he had cherished for so long.
There are more than a dozen species of stingrays in Singapore waters. It is not known which species was involved in the attack at UWS.
THE NEW PAPER