An IDF officer and a soldier were killed and four soldiers were injured overnight Wednesday in a training accident on the Golan Heights, when a self-propelled gun cannon overturned during a battalion exercise, Ha’aretz reported. Two of the injured were seriously injured, the other two were lightly injured.
The families of the dead have been informed, but as of Wednesday morning their names have not yet been released.
The wounded were evacuated to Ziv Medical Center in Safed and Rambam Hospital in Haifa. Ziv Hospital, where the seriously injured soldiers were evacuated, reported that they suffer from severe internal and orthopedic injuries.
The accident took place at around 2:00 AM during a joint training exercise for battalion and company commanders course cadets and enlisted men from an artillery battalion. The cannon crew was part of a column of cannons in motion on the ground between two traffic arteries.
For some inexplicable reason, the cannon made a U-turn and stood facing the column of vehicles. According to the initial investigation, the cannon driver said on the comm link that he was being blinded by the lights of oncoming traffic. During the U-turn, the cannon fell into a ravine by the side of the road at a depth of 18 to 24 ft.
The killed officer – an artillery platoon commander, and soldier – a sergeant who served as crew commander, had been standing on the higher part of the cannon during the fall. The rest of the crew members were injured. The rescue of some of the victims was described as rife with difficulties.
Commander of the IDF ground forces Major General Kobi Barak, ordered the cessation of training on land until Sunday for refreshing the IDF guidelines regarding safety during training. In addition, it was decided to stop training of transporting armored vehicles at night until a preliminary investigation into the circumstances of the accident.
At this point it appears that the tragic accident was caused by human error.