A Singaporean paraglider who helped rescue trapped people in last month’s earthquake in Indonesia has died while paragliding in India, according to a memorial posted by the Air Sports Federation of Singapore (AFS).
Ng Kok Choong, who was in Palu during the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, went missing Monday in Himachal Pradesh province after the weather turned while he was airborne, according to a statement from the AFS.
His body was found by an Indian helicopter search team Tuesday, the statement said.
“(Ng) was selfless, brave and always moving for the next challenge,” it added. “As recently as a month ago, he was involved in a dramatic rescue of a child during the 2018 Palu earthquake. Coming from a commando background during his National Service years, his always-can-do attitude was highly appreciated and admired by his mates.”
Ng was in Palu for a paragliding competition when the earthquake struck on September 28. He and a Belgian paraglider freed a young girl trapped by rubble, and rescued her mother several hours later, the Straits Times reported.
According to the Straits Times, Ng comforted the older woman, who was pinned by a concrete slab, for hours, even as conditions outside worsened after the tsunami struck.
The pair were among 33 paragliders in the city for the meet when the magnitude 7.5 earthquake and subsequent waves destroyed the city.
Ng’s fellow enthusiast, Asgaf Umar, a paragliding instructor and organiser of the Indonesia open paragliding competition, told CNN that the Singaporean was “passionate” and a “fighter.”
“I think (Kok Choong) is a friend as well as one of a large family of paragliders. (He’s) very nice, accommodating and friendly. Although I haven’t known him for too long, but keep a lot of memories (of him),” the Indonesian, who also stayed behind in the city to help look for and rescue survivors — including a number of the competition’s participants — said.
“He’s a passionate, outgoing and a fighter. I thought he stopped flying for a while while he recovered from the trauma caused by the earthquake in Central Sulawesi, but apparently not.
“May he be in peace in heaven.”
Photo: Channel News Asia