Accident Reporting May 2018 – June 2019

German frigate significantly damaged during missile misfire (Off Norwegian coast, 21 June 2018)

German frigate Sachsen has suffered significant damage off the Norwegian coast as a result of a Standard Missile (SM2) misfire. The missile was launched from the launcher in front of the bridge, but didn’t take off and burned out in launcher, inflicting serious damage.

Explosion at storehouse of Heliopolis Company for Chemical Industries (Greece, 13 July 2018)

An explosion took place in one of the storehouses of the Heliopolis Company for Chemical Industries, which was claimed to be the result of high temperature caused by the hot weather. Fire engines rushed to the scene of the explosion to put out the fire resulting from the explosion. Twelve persons were injured and were moved to hospital to receive treatment, the source added. In was also stated that an investigation will be launched to determine the cause of the outbreak of a fire at one of the storehouses of Heliopolis Chemical Industries Company in order to avoid a recurrence of such kind of incidents. Furthermore precautionary measures have been taken at the nearby airport to ensure the safety of passengers and make certain that the heavy smoke caused by the fire would not hinder the departure and landing of planes.

Ammo depot explosion kills dozens (Idlib, Syria, 12 August 2018)

In the earlier hours of August 12, a large ammo depot exploded in the town of Sarmada in the northern Idlib countryside, according to Syrian opposition sources. The Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham(HTS)-linked news agency Iba’a revealed that the ammo depot, which was hidden inside a civilian building and was owned by a local arms dealer named “Abu Yazan al-Homsi.” The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 39 civilians, including 12 children and 9 women, were killed as result of the ammo depot explosion. The cause of the explosion is yet to be known. However, local observers believe that the explosion could be the result of a sabotage operation by an armed group or even other arms dealers.

Explosion in Rheinmetall-Denel munitions factory (Somerset West, South Africa, 3 September 2018)

At least eight people have been killed in an explosion at a munitions factory in South Africa, a spokesman for the fire and rescue services has said. The incident happened in the Somerset West district near Cape Town during the afternoon. The cause of the blast is not yet known but an eyewitness reported seeing a huge fireball from 5km (3 miles) away. Firefighters are continuing to search for others believed to be trapped. The Rheinmetall-Denel plant is joint owned by German-South Africa companies and manufactures munitions and explosive products for the South African military and police, as well as international clients.

Huge explosion at Ukraine ammunition dump leads to evacuation of thousands of people (Ichnya, Ukraine, 9 October 2018)

A huge explosion and fires have hit an ammunition dump in Ukraine. Around 12,000 people were evacuated after a defence ministry ammo depot near the town of Ichnya, in the Chernigov region, blew up. There were two to three explosions a second, officials said. No casualties were reported. Ukraine's state security service said it was investigating possible sabotage, and the defence ministry's spokesman said the fact that explosions were set off in different parts of the depot pointed to sabotage."There are no victims, wounded, injured or killed among military personnel, personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the local population," a Defence Ministry statement said.


Belgian Air Force F-16 destroyed by fire during maintenance  (Florennes airbase, Belgium, 11 October 2018)

On 11 October around 14:10, a Belgian Air Force F16 caught fire during maintenance works at Florennes Air Base. The fire completely destroyed that aircraft. The Belgian Air Force said a second F-16 received collateral damage. A technician was working on an F-16 when he accidentally activated the six-barrels 20mm Vulcan M61A-1 cannon of that F-16. The cannon was loaded and some bullets hit another F-16AM (FA-128). That aircraft had just been refuelled and was – together with another F-16 – being prepared for a (training) mission. Due to the bullets, the F-16AM exploded and damaged the other F-16. Two technicians were injured after the blast, the Belgian Aviation Safety Directorate opened an investigation into the accident. The Belgian Air Force had 60 active F-16 aircraft remaining, including 48 on duty for NATO.

Helge Ingstad: Warship collides with tanker in fjord (Norway, 8 November 2018)

Norway has evacuated the entire crew of one of its warships after it collided in a fjord with an oil tanker. Seven people were lightly injured in the collision in the Hjeltefjord near Bergen in the early hours of Thursday, rescuers say. The frigate has been listing dangerously. The KNM Helge Ingstad had been returning from Nato military exercises. The tanker, the Sola TS, was only slightly damaged and it appears that it did not spill oil. It was not immediately clear what had caused the collision, which reportedly occurred shortly after 04:00, and led to 137 people being taken off the warship. The Maltese-flagged vessel had left Equinor's Sture oil shipment terminal with a cargo of North Sea crude, Reuters news agency reports. Sture, a major export oil terminal, was shut down temporarily as a precautionary measure. An unnamed official told AFP news agency that a "small oil slick" had been detected from the frigate.  "It took on a lot of water and there is a real danger that it sinks where it is," the official said. The tanker, which has a crew of 23, was returning to port for inspection.

25 Soldiers Injured, 7 Missing In Ammunition Depot Explosion (Hakkari, Turkey, 10 November 2018)

Twenty-five soldiers were injured and seven others went missing in an explosion at an ammunition depot in the southeastern Turkish province of Hakkari on Friday evening, according to a statement from the Turkish Defense Ministry. The ministry said the explosion occurred “while firing heavy weapons ammunition” at a military base in Süngü Tepe in the Şemdinli district of Hakkari near Turkey’s borders with Iraq and Iran.

An investigation has been launched into the incident while a Turkish court has imposed a broadcasting ban on media outlets preventing them from covering developments related to the tragedy. The Hakkari Governor’s Office said in a statement that “defective” ammunition exploded during artillery fire. It was not clear whether this happened during a combat mission, or an exercise. Following the explosion, Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Land Forces Commander Gen. Ümit Dündar travelled to Hakkari to visit the site of the incident. Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast has seen years of violent fighting between the Turkish military and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), classified a “terrorist” group by Ankara and its Western allies. Turkey also regularly bombs PKK bases in northern Iraq.

Six killed in explosion in Army depot (Maharashtra, India, 20 November 2018)

At least six persons were killed and a dozen others were injured in an explosion at Central Ammunition Depot at Pulgaon in the Warda district of Maharashtra. Three of those injured are said to be critical. The blast took place when old ammunition was being taken for disposing of, at the demolition ground of the CAD. The ammunition had arrived from Ordnance Factory Khamaria, Jabalpur. Pulgaon has the largest stockpile for weapons in India and it is the second biggest ammunition depot of Asia. In 2016 an earlier accident took place with 19 fatalities.

Fire and explosion at Holston Army Ammunition Plant (Kingsport, Tennessee, US, 3 January 2019)

Fire destroyed a building at the Holston Army Ammunition Plant, with a subsequent controlled burn of the structure triggering an explosion about four hours later. According to Justine Barati, the Director of Public and Congressional Affairs for Joint Munitions Command, no workers were in the building at the time of either incident. One employee who was in proximity to the initial fire was transported to Holston Valley Medical Center for observation, Barati said, and out of an overabundance of safety. An alarm sounded near one of the buildings at approximately 8 a.m., indicating a fire. Due to the nature of the work that takes place at HAAP, Barati told the Times News she was not able to identify the building where the fire took place, but noted the 2,400-square-foot structure was near the rear of the installation. Emergency personnel on site immediately responded to the scene and the building was secured. Barry Brickey, public information officer for the Kingsport Fire Department, said KFD personnel were called in for stand by and were positioned at the fire station inside the plant shortly before 9 a.m. However, the KFD was not requested to assist with the response. Meanwhile, Barati reported the fire was under control and there was no danger of it spreading off the installation. “As a precautionary measure and per our safety standards, the emergency siren was sounded,” Barati said. “As always, the health and safety of our employees and the communities where we live and work are always our top priority.” At about 11:45 a.m., a loud explosion from HAAP could be heard — and in much of the surrounding area, also felt. Barati said the explosion was associated with the controlled burning of the building that had caught fire. “There were no additional injuries, there is no danger to the community and we all allowing the building to burn to the ground,” she said. “Explosions may occur as part of the controlled burn.” KFD officials were still on scene at the time of the explosion and according to Brickey, no injuries were reported to them.

Gaza ammo depot blast (Gaza, Israel, 5 January 2019)

Sources in Gaza report that at least 15 people were killed and more than 40 injured in a huge explosion Saturday night at the home near Khan Younes of Muhammed Talal al Ajani, a senior officer of the Hamas armed wing. The store of ammunition, explosives and missiles located in his home blew up, gutting the house and damaging buildings and vehicles nearby. Witnesses described the explosion as shaking the ground like an earthquake.

Michel Camp: Bombs explode at ammunition depot (Ghana, 16 January 2019)

Huge fireballs reached hundreds of meters into the skies over Michel Camp during the wee hours of Wednesday after the weapon cache caught fire. Residents say the explosions were at the Base Ammunition Depot of the Ghana Armed Forces and multiple blasts could be heard for over an hour. Most of the residents, who were fast asleep, had to run for their lives moments after the explosions at midnight amidst power outage. “The explosion occurred at a laboratory where small arms are kept and the Fire Service managed to prevent it from spreading to where the highly explosive weapons are kept,” Heavy military presence is at the explosion scene as personnel of the Ghana Fire Service control the fire. The cause of the explosion is not yet known.

Two soldiers killed in an explosion (Waldhof, Luxemburg, 14 February 2019)

An explosion took place on Thursday morning 14 February, around 10:30, in a munitions depot of the Luxemburg army in Waldhof. Two people died while two others were hospitalized, one of them was in critical condition. The four were handling an artillery shells inside a hangar at the military camp when the accident occurred. The site hosts the demining Service of the Luxembourg Army (SEDAL). According to the website of the Luxembourg army, it has seven members and carried out around 300 interventions last year. An investigation was opened, with two prosecutors on the spot, to shed light on the facts. Another tragedy had already occurred there in November 2012, where a soldier had died. The investigation determined that he had been killed by a bullet from his own service weapon. One of his military colleagues was sentenced in January 2015 to two years detention.

Several People Injured Following Blast at Ammunition Depot (Polatlı, Turkey, 20 February 2019)

The incident reportedly occurred at 7:00 pm local time during an artillery training; the injured have been taken to a hospital. "According to the preliminary data, five soldiers have been injured at the Artillery and Missile School Command in Polatli during a heavy weapon training," the Turkish Defence Ministry said in a statement. An investigation into the incident has been launched.

Blast at Russian explosives factory (Dzershinsk, Russia, 1 June 2019)

The accident occurred at JSC Kristall Research Institute plant, a factory for production and storage of high-explosive bombs for the military. A factory official says five people were inside at the time, but they were safely evacuated. Most of the people who were hurt were cut by flying glass from the explosion, which also caused a shockwave that smashed windows in homes and other factories in the city. A local health ministry statement says: "According to the latest information, 79 people asked for medical help after the explosion at Kristall: 38 factory workers and 41 residents of the city. There are no children among the injured." It adds that 15 people were hospitalised, but no one had died. Earlier, a local health official said that most victims were suffering from "shrapnel wounds of mild and moderate severity". Residents have posted photos on social media showing a huge mushroom cloud billowing out over the blast area. Officials said it was a "technical explosion" in one of the workshops, which caused a fire of around 100 square meters. Last August three people died in another factory blast in Dzerzhinsk, in central Russia, which is believed to be one of the world's most polluted cities.