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Chilliwack, BC Explosive Accident In Military, June 1988

SIX KILLED IN ARMED FORCES ACCIDENT.

Chilliwack, British Columbia (AP) -- Six soldiers killed in a blast during a training course were working with explosives capable of blowing up a small house, an official said.
Three other soldiers were injured in Monday's blast near the Canadian Forces Base in Chilliwack.
Killed were second-year officer training cadets in the third day of a four-day training session on explosives handling, said Lt. Col. Graham Meharg.
The killed are:
Capt. J. W. BEST.
Lt. M. D. AUCOIN.
2ndLt. K. J. WILKINSON.
OCdt K. R. GAWNE.
OCdt W. C. SUTTON.
OCdt W. J. WHITLEY.
Further explosives training at the base was suspended pending an investigation, officials said.
There were no immediate clues as to what went wrong, Meharg said. Some survivors were in shock and Meharg would not allow any of the soldiers to speak with reporters.
Meharg said he believed the dead included men and women but refused to provide further details.
Two of the injured men were listed as stable at Chilliwack General Hospital and the third, also a man, suffered multiple fractures and was transfered to a Vancouver Hospital, said Chilliwack hospital spokes-woman Etta Richmond.
The unit -- 29 students, seven instructors and five support staff -- was engaged in an exercise known as "cratering" when the explosives went off prematurely on Monday afternoon, Meharg said.
Cratering requires approximately 60 pounds of plastic explosives and involves blowing a hole in the ground about 10 or 12 feet wide and deep, Mehrag said. The amount of explosives was enough to blow up a small house, he said.
The accident site, 20 miles southeast of the base, was immediately cordoned off.
Among its many functions, the large base at Chilliwack, a city of more than 40,000 people about 60 miles east of Vancouver, serves as a training ground for an armed forces officer candidate school and the school of military engineering. It is also home to No. 1 Combat Engineers Regiment.
The explosion is the latest in a series of armed forces accidents involving explosives.
Earlier this month, six soldiers were injured by exploding mortar shells during a live ammunition training session at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, in New Brunswick.
The soldiers, members of the second battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment, were practicing advancing on an enemy position that was protected by mortar fire.

Indiana Gazette Pennsylvania 1988-06-21

Comments

Chilliwack Accident

I served with OCdt W. (Bill) J. WHITLEY in 3rd field engineer squadron in Ottawa about 1980 to 1982. Bill always did things properly as a consummate professional. Of all the people I knew then, Bill was probably the least likely to die in accident. Never heard what happened, but by the sound of it proper procedure was probably not followed, dets put in prematurely or whatever. There is no good reason for six to be taken out all at once in an accident if proper procedure was followed and a newby officer was not pushing and getting sloppy with safety procure at the same time. More haste, less speed and even a needless fatal outcome



article | by Dr. Radut