Asia

Singapore Underwater World diver killed by stingray

A diver dressed in pink feeds fish at Singapore's Underwater World attraction Image copyright AFP
Image caption Philip Chan was leading a team of divers who were transporting sea creatures from the once-popular tourist attraction

A professional diver has been killed by a stingray at an oceanarium in Singapore.

Philip Chan, 62, was heading a team of divers who were removing sea creatures from the Underwater World attraction on Tuesday.

The once-popular marine life park shut down earlier this year.

Police said Mr Chan was taken to hospital where he died from his injuries. They are now investigating the "unnatural death".

A police spokesman said the incident was the first of its kind in Singapore.


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An official statement from the Haw Par Corporation, which owns the park, described it as a "tragic accident".

"Mr Chan was one of 10 staff who stayed on to care for the animals while suitable homes were being found," a spokesperson said, adding that the animal transfer programme has been suspended.

"He was a veteran diver, aquarist and animal caregiver who had been caring for the aquatic animals since Underwater World's opening."

Rare attack

Underwater World opened in May 1991 but closed last June after struggling to compete with similar aquarium attractions.

It had faced criticism in the past for keeping rare pink dolphins, some of which had been taken from the wild.

Its animals are being moved to an aquarium in China.

Stingrays are commonly found in tropical waters.

Their razor-sharp barbs, located at the end of their tails, are coated in toxic venom which they often use as a means to defend themselves when threatened.

While the animals' stings are painful, they rarely attack humans.

Wildlife conservation expert Steve Irwin was famously killed by a stingray in 2006 during a diving expedition off the Great Barrier Reef. He was struck in the chest by the stingray's barb.

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