Feeds

Cannon runs amok, kills nine fleshies

Software glitch to blame for berserker?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

South Africa authorities are investigating how nine soldiers were killed and 15 injured during a training exercise when an anti-aircraft gun went haywire.

An artillery officer who reportedly risked her life was unable to curtail the fatal firing spree involving a 35mm Oerlikon cannon at the army's Lohatla training base in Northern Cape province last Friday (10 October), Wired reports. The weapon discharged a burst of shells lasting one-eighth of a second before it ran out of ammo and fell silent.

The reason why the gun malfunctioned has become the focus of a South African army inquiry, and a separate police investigation.

Earlier theories suggest either a software glitch or small explosion might have caused the gun to malfunction, causing it to begin "wildly swinging" as it sprayed 15-20 high-explosive 0.5kg 35mm cannon shells. The incident followed running repairs on the gun, a part of normal procedures when the weapon jams.

In normal use the gun is designed to automatically target aircraft, helicopters, and cruise missiles and fire when they come into range. The weapon is capable of operating, and even reloading, without human intervention. Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota told the National Assembly on Tuesday that all the guns were set on "manual" at the time of the exercise.

The weapons were sighted on a target some 2km away and clamped into position "so that the barrel should not move from side to side," he explained.

The loss of life has prompted calls for a wider review of weapons maintenance and safety. "By nature of their job soldiers can be exposed to these incidents, but now a reality check is needed," National Defense Union General Secretary Pikkie Greeff told the South African Press Association, AP reports. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.