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Taiwan missile mishap strikes fishing boat, kills captain (update)

2016/07/01 16:30:53

Kaohsiung, July 1 (CNA) A Taiwanese fishing boat was hit by a missile launched from a Navy corvette by mistake Friday, causing the death of its captain and injuring other crewmen on the boat, a Ministry of National Defense (MND) spokesman said.

Initial investigation confirmed that the accident caused the death of the captain of the fishing boat Hsiang Li Sheng (翔利昇), while the injured crewmen suffered minor injuries, MND spokesman Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said at a press conference.

Those injured left the hospital in Tainan after receiving medical treatment, Chen said.

The local media identified the captain as Huang Wen-chung (黃文忠), and the three injured as Huang's son Huang Ming-chih (黃明智), as well as a migrant fisherman from the Philippines and another from Vietnam.

Navy Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Mei Chia-shu (梅家樹) said the Hsiung Feng III supersonic missile ripped through the boat, causing the captain's death, but it did not immediately explode or cause the vessel to break up.

Earlier in the day, Mei said the missile blunder, which occurred during a drill, was most likely caused by human error and by missile operators not following standard procedure.

The missile was accidentally launched from one of the Navy's 500-ton Chinchiang-class corvettes from Zuoying Military Harbor in Kaohsiung at 8:15 a.m. and hit the fishing boat about two minutes later, according to the Navy.

It hit the fishing boat an estimated 40 nautical miles from the harbor. A chart provided by the Navy showed that the simulated position targeted by the missile was in the Taiwan Strait, northwest of the harbor and southeast of the offshore county of Penghu.

(By Christie Chen)

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