Tank accident death toll rises to four

The death toll of an accident involving an Army tank earlier this week has risen to four with the death of Lt. Wu Te-wei (???), the tank commander, Kaohsiung Armed Services General Hospital said early Friday.

Wu died of multiple organ failure late Thursday night and was pronounced dead in the presence of his family and girlfriend, the hospital said. He was 25.

The officer had been kept on life support since Tuesday, when he was pulled from his overturned CM-11 tank that crashed into a swollen river in rural Pingtung County, southern Taiwan.

Three other crew members died shortly after the crash of the armored vehicle occurred as it came down a slope. They include non-commissioned officers Chen Shih-kun (???), Chen Ping-yi (???), the gunner, and Pte. Chang Chih-wei (???), the loader.

The driver, PFC Yang Yen-lin (???), survived with only minor scratches. He has been questioned by prosecutors and now faces possible charges for causing death of others in the performance of his occupational duties, according to the Pingtung District Prosecutors' Office.

If found guilty, the 25-year-old conscript can be sentenced to five years in prison at most.

Yang has told the prosecutors that the brakes of the 50-ton tank malfunctioned as the vehicle was coming unto a bridge from the inclined country road on its way back to base after a live-fire drill.

Citing Yang's initial account of the incident, which occurred late Tuesday morning, the Army has said that the tanks' left track got stuck while the right track continued to operate, causing the vehicle to veer off the bridge and plunge into the river upside down.

Source: Focus Taiwan