Mortar blast at ammunition depot leaves 9 soldiers injured, two seriously

Nine soldiers were injured, two seriously, when a mortar round exploded while being handled at an army ammunition depot in northern Taiwan today, July 24.

According to a press statement by Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, a 120 mm mortar round exploded during an inspection by technical personnel at the Hsiang Feng army base in Keelung City at around 3:00 pm.

Fire Department paramedics risked their own lives to attend to the two seriously injured soldiers, who lay beside several unexploded mortar shells. Pictures taken at the scene showed paramedics attending to the injured while some soldiers were seen crouched behind a blast-proof wall, and others, wearing full-body bomb suits, stood beside the paramedics.

A paramedic was quoted by Taiwanese news outlets SETN and China Times, saying that he was warned to be careful not to step on the unexploded shells as he attended to a patient who was bleeding heavily. Most of the patient’s left hand was blown off, with only a few fingers remaining. His clothes were torn, and his upper body and face were black. The patient was conscious but struggling to remain so.

According to Liberty Times Network, the most seriously injured patient was a sergeant named Hong. Hong suffered severe injuries to his left arm and right thigh. Hong lost vital signs after arriving at the hospital but was resuscitated. The other seriously injured soldier was a sergeant named Yin, who lost his left hand and suffered burn injuries to his arms and face.

The other 7 soldiers affected suffered minor injuries including bruising, tinnitus, and dizziness.

Taiwan is currently on the first day of the 5-day, nation-wide, annual Han Kuang military exercises.

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