Three soldiers dead after tank plunges into river in Taiwan

Three soldiers in Taiwan are killed after a military tank falls off a bridge, ahead of the country's annual Han Kuang military exercise.
The CM11 armoured vehicle carrying five soldiers was returning to camp in southern Pingtung county when it slipped from a bridge and fell upside down into the Wangsha River, the army said.
The CM11 armoured vehicle carrying five soldiers was returning to camp in southern Pingtung county when it slipped from a bridge and fell upside down into the Wangsha River, the army said. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

TAIPEI • Three soldiers were killed when a tank slipped and plunged into a river during heavy rain following an annual firing drill in southern Taiwan, officials said yesterday.

The CM11 armoured vehicle carrying five soldiers had been returning to camp in southern Pingtung county around 10.30am after completing the firing test when it slipped from a bridge and fell upside down into the Wangsha River, the army said.

The driver managed to escape with light injuries but four others were trapped inside the vehicle and showed no signs of life when they were rescued.

According to the army, the driver was unable to make a left turn when the vehicle possibly malfunctioned and then fell into the river.

The army initially said that they had all been killed but later revised the death toll to three as one soldier was revived after emergency treatment and transferred to a military hospital in neighbouring Kaohsiung city.

"We are still investigating the cause of the accident," said military spokesman Alfonso Yang.

According to the army, the driver was unable to make a left turn when the vehicle possibly malfunctioned and then fell into the river.

President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her condolences and demanded the military speedily investigate the cause of the incident, her spokesman said.

The accident happened days before President Tsai is due to preside over an annual live-fire exercise codenamed "Han Kuang 32" (Han Glory), also to be held in Pingtung county. It is the island's main yearly drill.

Last month, an anti-ship missile misfired from a military patrol boat stuck a Taiwanese fishing boat in the waters off Penghu and killed one person.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2016, with the headline 'Three soldiers dead after tank plunges into river in Taiwan'. Print Edition | Subscribe