THE Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has flown a team to Brunei to help in the search for a full-time national serviceman (NSF) who went missing on Sunday morning, it said at a press conference yesterday.
The team is led by the commander of Training and Doctrine Command, Brigadier-General Lim Hock Yu, who is in charge of the search operations.
Lance-Corporal (LCP) Muhammad Fahrurrazi Salim, 20, was a coxswain on a boat which was part of a convoy of four vessels. The boats were supposed to provide safety coverage for a water-crossing segment of a jungle-training exercise in the Temburong training area.
A proficient swimmer, LCP Fahrurrazi was last seen on his aluminium assault boat at about 8am. The weather was clear and the water was calm when he went missing. He was the only one on the boat at the time and was wearing a life jacket.
SAF coxswains undergo training to operate a boat alone, but boats are required to travel in convoys of two or more.
LCP Fahrurrazi had been part of a similar water-crossing exercise the day before, and had supported at least 10 such exercises previously.
Search-and-rescue operations by the SAF and the Royal Brunei Armed Forces began on Sunday and are ongoing.
More than 250 troops from Singapore and Brunei, as well as 16 naval divers from both countries, are involved. They are supported by three Republic of Singapore Air Force Super Puma helicopters and nine boats equipped with side-scan sonar, which can detect objects underwater.
All training in Temburong has been suspended to support the search efforts.
LCP Fahrurrazi's parents and younger sister are in Brunei and have been taken to the location.
The last time an NSF went missing while on duty was in 2007. Dave Teo Ming, then 19, went missing from Mandai Hill Camp with his SAR-21 assault rifle and live bullets issued to him for guard duty.
After a nationwide manhunt, Teo was caught in Cathay Cineleisure Orchard, one day after he went absent without official leave.
He was charged in court and sentenced to nine years and two months' imprisonment, along with 18 strokes of the cane, with various weapon charges.
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