An elderly man in Yilan County was killed after mistaking a military rocket for a metal pipe, and attempting to cut it with a saw, yesterday, October 20.
Mr Wu, 72, picked up the 150-centimeter-long cylindrical object after it was discarded by fishermen at the Gengfang fishing port in Toucheng Township. Investigators believe that it was most likely caught in a trawl net, and discarded as ordinary garbage.
Mr Wu, a retired fisherman, collected recyclable materials around the port to supplement his retirement income. The rocket was missing a tail, and Wu mistook it for an ordinary metal cylinder.
At around 4:00pm, Wu attempted to cut the object open with an electric saw, causing an explosion which killed him instantly, and sent shards of rocket fragments up to 30 meters away.
Military personnel identified the object as a 2.75 inch rocket, a version of the American Hydra 70. The rocket is equipped on F-5E/F and F-16 fighter planes, as well as combat helicopters.
According to reports, a 2.75 inch rocket was netted by fishermen operating out of the same port January this year, but it had a tail so was easily identified as unexploded ordnance.
Taiwan’s Chinese Academy of Sciences and the military often tests weapons off the coast of Yilan County, and it is not uncommon for unexploded ordnance to be brought up in fishing nets.
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