Sun, Nov 07, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Three soldiers die after explosion in Kaohsiung depot

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

Three soldiers at a military depot in Kaohsiung County's Chishan Township were killed yesterday when the mortar shells they were moving exploded.

Military sources said the incident occurred at 2:50pm. Second Lieutenant Hung Tuan-lung (洪端隆), Sergeant Huang Chien-che (黃建哲) and Private First Class Yang Wu-chang (楊武璋) were moving the shells against orders when the explosion occurred.

"As they were working, they accidentally hit a shell against a wall and the shells exploded," unit spokesman Major General Huang Ching-hsiang (黃清祥) said.

He said Huang and Yang were killed instantly, while Hung died en route to hospital.

The local fire department said that its personnel were refused entry to the depot by guards. Huang Ching-hsiang said that the guards had followed orders from the Ministry of National Defense's denying them entry.

"The explosion involved mortar shells, so the minister asked us to send our own team in because of the potential danger at the scene, and we did," he said.

The military does not normally handle dangerous items on weekends or holidays. When asked why the three soldiers were doing so yesterday, Huang Ching-hsiang said they were "hard workers."

"Hung was a hard-working man. He wanted to keep the ammunition depot tidy, so he asked his comrades to help," he said.

Sources said the other two soldiers were not authorized to handle the weapons that they had been moving.

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