[TAIPEI] Four soldiers were killed when a tank slipped and plunged into a river during heavy rains following an annual firing drill in southern Taiwan, officials said Tuesday.
The CM11 armoured vehicle carrying five soldiers was returning to camp in southern Pingtung county around 10:00 am (0200 GMT) after completing the firing test when it slipped from a bridge and fell upside down into the Wangsha river, the army said.
The driver managed to escape but four others were trapped inside the vehicle and showed no signs of life when they were rescued.
They were rushed to hospital but emergency treatment failed to revive them, said Alfonso Yang, a spokesman for the Eighth Army Command, the regiment the soldiers belonged to.
"We are still investigating the cause of the accident," Mr Yang told AFP.
The accident happened just days before the military is due to stage annual live-fire wargames codenamed "Han Kuang 32" (Han Glory), also in Pingtung county next week, the island's main yearly drill.