Canoeist killed by lightning

[Photo: Freak accident- Mr Tan Boon Kiat was seated behind his friend in the two-seater canoe when the lightning struck.]

Report: Koh Hui Theng and Tam Su Ferne

HE WAS at sea on a two-seater canoe with a woman friend when lightning struck on Saturday afternoon.

His woman friend escaped unhurt but Mr Tan Boon Kiat, 37,was not so lucky.

The insurance manager died in the freak accident at Pasir Ris Park.

The lightning hit as Mr Tan and a group of about 20 others headed for shore at around 5pm after it started to drizzle.

Shin Min Daily News reported that Mr Tan was seated behind his friend in the double- seater canoe. After being hit, Mr Tan fell backwards and lost consciousness.

Mr Tan's life vest was charred and smoke was seen billowing from it, reported the Chinese daily.

Those in the water said they felt strong vibrations when the bolt of lightning struck.

A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) spokesman said they received a call at 5.22pm and sent an ambulance to the scene.

A man in his 30s was found with no pulse.

He was not breathing. SCDF officers started CPR and sent him to Changi General Hospital.

According to Shin Min, he died on Monday.

There were showers with thunder in the Pasir Ris Park area between 4.25pm and 5.35pm that day, said a National Environment Agency (NEA) spokesman.

Usually when a storm approaches, a siren will sound as a safety precaution, said watersports enthusiasts.

Dr Ben Tan, a sports physician and president of the Singapore Sailing Federation said:

"(The rate of) lightning strikes in Singapore is one of the highest in the world."

"It's very risky and that's why there are systems that try to manage it."

In some places, like the National Sailing Centre, a siren is used to alert people at sea.

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