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Three Taiwanese soldiers killed after tank falls off bridge in heavy rain

Three Taiwanese soldiers were killed during an exercise after their battle tank fell off a bridge amid heavy rain on Tuesday morning.

The CM-11 armoured vehicle carrying five soldiers fell from a three-metre-high bridge into Wangsha Stream in Pingtung county as it was returning to base after a drill preparing for the annual Han Kuang Military Exercise, the Central News Agency quoted the Taiwanese army as saying.

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The driver managed to escape in time. Rescuers pulled the remaining four soldiers from the tank and rushed them to hospital, the army said.

The tank captain survived after emergency treatment, but the other three died, a brigade commander told a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

The commander said a jam in the tank’s left track caused the vehicle to lose balance and fall off the bridge. The army had set up a group to investigate the incident, he said.

“We are still investigating the cause of the accident,” Agence France-Presse quoted Alfonso Yang, a spokesman for the Eighth Army Command, as saying.

The soldiers belonged the Eighth Army Command.

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The Hang Kuang Military Exercise, which simulates various scenarios of attacks by Beijing, is to be conducted from August 22 to 26. Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen is scheduled to attend the event.

Military authorities on Tuesday said the incident would not affect Tsai’s schedule but that they were assessing whether to conduct another prepratory drill on Thursday.

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