By Beth Main.
One soldier was killed yesterday afternoon and four injured when a tank overturned during a training exercise at a military base in Taiwan’s Hsinchu county. This is the third tank accident in Taiwan in seven years.
The accident happened on Monday December 17 at the barracks of the 66th Marine Brigade, and has been blamed on poor visibility during a dusk training session. The M60A3 tank completely overturned, crushing soldiers that were by the side of the road, injuring four and killing one.
The dead soldier has been named as Huang Junhan who had only joined the military two months ago. He had already secured a job for after his discharge from the military (military service is compulsory in Taiwan) at the world renowned Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
Among the four injured soldiers, one has already returned to the barracks with light injuries. Two soldiers underwent emergency surgery for open fractures to their legs and are now in intensive care at the Taoyuan Armed Forces General Hospital.
The head of the brigade said that the soldiers had seen the tank approaching and been ordered to retreat but the tank had ‘possibly been too close to their position’ so they continued forward and the tank crushed them.
This is the latest in what appears to be a string of tank accidents in recent years. In June this year the same model of tank caused another accident which left one soldier dead and four injured, this time at an army training base in Baihe, southern Taiwan. Seven years ago in Taizhong, Sun Jixiang, the 10th legion company commander was killed during a tank manoeuvre.
The 66th Marine Brigade acquired the M6OA3 tanks in 2010 in hopes of improving their strategic locomotive and artillery power.