- Reaction score
Military vehicle in fatal accident has history of rollovers
Last Updated Fri, 25 Nov 2005 07:44:21 EST
Questions are being raised about the safety of a military vehicle after one Canadian soldier was killed and four others were injured in an accident in Afghanistan Thursday.
* INDEPTH: Afghanistan
24-year-old Private Braun Scott Woodfield of Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia(Courtesy DND)
The light armoured vehicle, called a LAV III, rolled over at 6 p.m. local time on a highway that connects Kabul with Kandahar, near the village of Laghman.
"It was a road accident, a single-vehicle accident," said Deputy Chief of Defence Staff Lt.-Gen. Marc Dumais.
In the six years the LAV III has been in use, two other Canadian soldiers have died in 10 rollover accidents. As recently as September, a 24-year-old Quebec soldier died when one of the vehicles rolled into a river during a nighttime training exercise in Alberta.
Last year in Bosnia, two Canadians were injured when their LAV III rolled into a ravine.
Documents obtained by CBC through Access to Information laws show the army had been warned that "speed and driver inexperience" were frequent causes of rollovers.
A two-page briefing memo written in 2004 said the LAV III is limited in the type of terrain it can handle.
The note said it is especially prone to tipping on ground with an angle of 30 degrees or greater, and should be driven in the centre of roads in countries with poor highway systems, where edges of roads tend to be prone to breaking away under heavy weights.
Despite those concerns, retired major general Lewis MacKenzie called the LAV III "an outstanding armoured personnel carrier" that has saved "a multitude of lives" because of the protection it offers from landmines and enemy fire in combat zones.
During an interview with CBC Newsworld Friday, MacKenzie compared it to SUVs, which are more prone to rollovers than passenger cars because of a higher centre of gravity.
Dead soldier was from Nova Scotia
The soldier who died in Thursday's rollover has been identified as Pte. Braun Scott Woodfield, 24, from Eastern Passage, N.S.
The four injured soldiers are:
* Sgt. Tony Nelson McIver, 31, from McAdam, N.B.
* Cpl. Shane Dean Jones, 30, from White Rock, B.C.
* Pte. Paul Schavo, 24, from London, Ont.
* Cpl. James Edward McDonald, 32, from Pembroke, Ont.,
None received life-threatening injuries, but three were seriously injured.
All the soldiers were from the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment, based out of Gagetown, N.B.
Officials say they don't yet know what the weather conditions were at the time of the rollover, only that it would have been dark outside.
House of Commons observes silence
MPs rose in the House of Commons for a moment of silence to honour the soldiers and their families, while the prime minister spoke from Kelowna, B.C., where he is attending the first ministers conference.
LAV III armoured vehicle (AP file photo)
"I wish to convey to the families, particularly the family of Pte. Woodfield, our sympathy and our deep regret," said Paul Martin.
"A family has lost a treasured friend loved one and we have lost a superb soldier and a member of our regimental family," said Lt. Col. Robert Walker of CFB Gagetown.
Eighth Canadian soldier killed
Woodfield is the eighth Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan since 2002.
The others were:
* Cpl. Jamie Brendan Murphy, killed by a suicide bomber near the Canadian base near Kabul on Jan. 27, 2004.
* Sgt. Robert Alan Short and Cpl. Robbie Christopher Beerenfenger, who died on Oct. 2, 2003 when a roadside bomb went off as their jeep patrolled southwest of Kabul.
* Sgt. Marc D. Leger, Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer, Pte. Nathan Smith, and Pte. Richard Green, who were killed when a U.S. fighter jet dropped a bomb on them near Kandahar on April 18, 2002.
Roughly 250 Canadian soldiers are part of a provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in and around Kandahar.
As many as 1,250 Canadian soldiers will be serving in Afghanistan by February 2006.
In early October, a suicide car bomb exploded near a Canadian patrol near Kandahar, injuring three soldiers. A number of Afghan civilians were killed in the blast.
Ah, yes. Now the LAV IIIs are coming under scrutiny. I wonder when this will end, until each piece of equipment we use is not longer safe.