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WWII Tank Explosion Kills Two - Tragic!

Article about: Not sure if this is posted in the correct forum but here it is: 'A tragic day': Blast inside WWII tank kills 2 east of Bend | News - Home

  1. #1

    Default WWII Tank Explosion Kills Two - Tragic!

    Not sure if this is posted in the correct forum but here it is:

    'A tragic day': Blast inside WWII tank kills 2 east of Bend | News - Home

  2. #2
    CBH is offline


    WOW , sad story . I wonder what happened .

  3. #3


    Someone ****** up is probably the most likely scenario.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  4. #4


    Read comments below story for much additional vehicle info, and insights. Dropped round, breach failure?

    MILLICAN, Ore. -
    Two people were killed Tuesday afternoon by an explosion inside a World War II-era tank at a public firing range 24 miles east of Bend, Deschutes County sheriff deputies said.


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    Sheriff's deputies, Oregon State Police and Bend Fire Department medics rushed to the scene when word came shortly after 3 p.m. of the explosion, on BLM land off U.S. Highway 20 East near milepost 24, said sheriff’s Sgt. Nathan Garibay.

    Names and other details were not released, pending further investigation and notification of family members.

    "This is a tragic day," Sheriff Shane Nelson told NewsChannel 21 at the scene Tuesday night. "Two families lost loved ones, and our hearts and prayers go out to those that loved ones today."

    An AirLink helicopter was called out to the scene, which Garibay said was located adjacent to the Central Oregon Shooting Sports Association range. But authorities said one man died in the blast, before first responders arrived, and the other could not be saved.

    "One of the victims was still alive (when police arrived), and they were able to speak with that victim," Nelson said. "Bend Fire Department did attempt life-saving efforts on that victim, but the victim died."

    The sheriff also said video was being taken, which could prove crucial as authorities work to learn what took place, and why.

    "There was a camera crew on scene, and they were filming the tank," the sheriff said. "As to what they were filming or why they were filming, those details haven't been found out yet."

    NewsChannel 21 did a story four years ago that showed what appeared to be the same tank firing its weapon, with Discovery Channel on scene filming.

    Garibay said sheriff’s detectives were jointly investigating the explosion with the Oregon State Police Arson and Explosives Section.

    Officers were on scene, working beneath floodlights to gather evidence and take measurements at the scene after darkness fell. Garibay said they would be on hand through the night.

    Nelson assured there was no danger to the public.

    "The Oregon State Police made sure this scene was safe for their investigators and our investigators," he said.

    NewsChannel 21 will have the latest updates at Sunrise and throughout the day on KTVZ.COM and our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

    Copyright 2015 KTVZ. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed
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    Pazuzu's_Proletariat_Pal • 14 hours ago
    It is an M18 tank destroyer, not a tank.
    12 • Reply•Share ›

    Rick Nolte Pazuzu's_Proletariat_Pal • 2 hours ago
    Tanks are generally armoured fighting vehicles designed for front-line combat which combine operational mobility and tactical offensive and defensive capabilities and perform all primary tasks of the armoured troops on the battlefield; the tank destroyer on the other hand is specifically designed mainly for taking on enemy armour.[1] Many have been based on a tracked tank chassis, while others are wheeled.
    1 • Reply•Share ›

    econobiker Pazuzu's_Proletariat_Pal • 2 hours ago
    Yes, I thought that also. We all must remember that infotainment manufacturers are no longer exact in reporting.
    (Similar goes for the perenial statement "motorcyclist who died in the crash was wearing a helmet" in helmet required states but never reporting that person actually had the state required motorcycle license.)
    My thoughts and prayers to the family.
    1 • Reply•Share ›

    J S • 11 hours ago
    I know the owner of that beautiful tank and I am very saddend for his wonderful families loss. My heart and prayers go out to them and to the other person's family who lost a love one today as well. Both families are amazing.
    7 • Reply•Share ›

    Allen Thompson J S • 4 hours ago
    The names have not been released yet that I've seen so I'll not use them. The owner was a very kind and generous man who seemed to love letting those of us that were interested play with his toys. The younger man is a friend of mine who I looked up to despite being much younger than myself. He was one of the most wonderful young men I've ever met. They will both be missed by all who knew them. Please keep their families in your prayers.
    2 • Reply•Share ›

    NedlyMandingo • 11 hours ago
    Bummer. It is cool that people try and keep history alive and have cool hobbies like this. It is shame. I am sure a terrible accident.
    4 • Reply•Share ›

    JD • 13 hours ago
    Sounds like the round went off out of battery. What a damn shame.

    The vehicle is an M18 Hellcat with a 76mm main gun. It is designated as a 'Gun Motor Carriage' or in layman terms: a tank destroyer.
    4 • Reply•Share ›

    Jarhead1 JD • 10 hours ago
    Had a friend that was there, the round left the tube.
    1 • Reply•Share ›

    William Palmesy Jarhead1 • an hour ago
    which end of the tube and which end of the round? Are you saying the projectile went down range?
    • Reply•Share ›

    ElmiraFudd Jarhead1 • 2 hours ago
    No obstruction in barrel? Generally, civilian rounds are w/o explosive charges in the shell, just "ball" rounds or powder markers. So, unless this was a live round (e.g. AP, shaped charge) it should not have exploded out of the barrel.
    • Reply•Share ›

    MrJest Jarhead1 • 3 hours ago
    Sounds like a breech failure is most likely then. One of the dangers to those who lovingly restore and use these old machines - sometimes an original part you think is in good condition isn't in quite so good condition as you thought. This applies to not only tanks, but aircraft, other ground vehicles, even old firearms. For that matter, even old HOUSES, where preservation techniques mask old structural failures.

    My condolences to the families. :-(
    • Reply•Share ›

    William Palmesy JD • an hour ago
    I don't think it could be an out of battery problem. you must be an old canon cocker 13 bravo. Could have been a breach block failure. Predetenation of a round. not familiar with that gun. dropping a round? Fuel?
    • Reply•Share ›

    Alexsandyr Troutnoodler • 13 hours ago
    I can think of any number of ways this could have happened, and every single one of them is 100% fatal, and horrifying. Ways to die in a tank haven't changed much since WWI, except to happen faster. I sincerely hope, for the sake of the families, that there's no video.
    3 • Reply•Share ›

    William Palmesy Alexsandyr Troutnoodler • an hour ago
    I always told my guys..."these tanks don't care who they kill."
    • Reply•Share ›

    ElmiraFudd • 13 hours ago
    M-18 Tank Destroyer. Light armored anti-tank vehicle, 76 mm gun in final version. did well from ambush positions, but not generally fit for head-to-head combat against a real tank.

    No word on source of explosion? At a range, I would assume they were attempting to live fire the main gun?

    2 • Reply•Share ›

    Alexander Pimm ElmiraFudd • 11 hours ago
    that is what I was thinking, something maybe went wrong with the round or the breach.
    1 • Reply•Share ›

    William Palmesy Alexander Pimm • an hour ago
    when I was trained on the 90 mm M48A2C. We had percussion primers and were taught to keep our hand over the base of that round no matter what happened.dropping a round in the turret would cause that kind of reaction. Rest in peace my brothers
    • Reply•Share ›

    William Palmesy ElmiraFudd • an hour ago
    that's what I would assume also. I didn't know you could shoot a tank gun in Oregon. We had to go to Boise. orchard training area. that's why you take a gunnery skills test before you can fire your main gun. + 300 + PMCs checks and services before during and after apps. may their spirits find rest. and their families find peace
    • Reply•Share ›

    econobiker • 2 hours ago
    A fellow military item enthusiast here (limited budget - helmet restoration and uniforms only).
    This is a sad occurrance that will probably have some sort of media spin due to the ordanance in use because when someone dies in a P-51 plane crash it is just a"plane crash".
    Again, condolances to the family of the people involved.
    1 • Reply•Share ›

    William Palmesy • an hour ago
    I called the sheriff's office and told them if they need any experts you can find them in Redmond at COUTES...
    • Reply•Share ›

    M Mason • an hour ago
    It was this Hellcat M-18 TD

    • Reply•Share ›

    TioZo • 2 hours ago
    "There was a camera crew on scene, and they were filming the tank," the sheriff said. "As to what they were filming or why they were filming, those details haven't been found out yet."

    Maybe ask members of the camera crew?
    • Reply•Share ›

    Tank_Commander • 3 hours ago
    I'm guessing some sort of malfunction; gun went out of battery? If the breech stayed closed and no one was in the path of recoil, I don't think so, but then again, I didn't see any side view of the vehicle to determine if the gun was still out of battery. I think perhaps the breech block failed in some way from mechanical failure, the ammo, or ammo went off in the turret that was not loaded into the main gun. Don't know for sure.
    • Reply•Share ›

    Phillip Leech • 5 hours ago
    It's a Hellcat.
    • Reply•Share ›

    Stephen Flory • 5 hours ago
    Rivet counters are out. Does it matter if its a tank destroyer or a tank, the sad thing is two people have died in a tragic accident.
    • Reply•Share ›

    Sherman2 • 5 hours ago
    Is this the same tank that was on the show "Weapons Hunter" a few days ago?
    • Reply•Share ›

    PoisoningShadow671 • 5 hours ago
    Wouldn't be surprised if the Breach Block gave out during the shot.
    • Reply•Share ›

    John J. Johnson • 9 hours ago
    I am very saddened by the loss of my two friends in this tragic incident. I had the honor and privledge to drive and shoot this M18 Hellcat tank destroyer last summer at Arlington, WA during the annual airshow and gathering. My sympathaies go out to the families.
    • Reply•Share ›

    flashsteve • 12 hours ago
    I believe OSP was first responders. I was on Hwy 20 at Dodds Rd at 3:35 and an OSP trooper went by east at about 90 mph, followed by another a minute later. About 3 minutes later, a Sheriff's SUV went by, but only about 60 mph.
    • Reply•Share ›

    Farmer_Granny flashsteve • 12 hours ago
    I heard 2 sheriffs were on scene with medics , started watching the road and couple mins later both ops went by flying low and chopper right behind them
    • Reply•Share ›

    flashsteve • 15 hours ago
    Other media outlets are confirming one fatality.
    • Reply•Share ›

    saireygamp • 16 hours ago
    Barney private tank or military?
    • Reply•Share ›

    Kevin M. Collver saireygamp • 11 hours ago
    M-18 hellcat tank destroyer, built by General Motors and Buick...they were common in Europe during WWII.... this M-18 was a privately owned and operated vehicle, used for re enactments, museum displays, parades ect.

    6 • Reply•Share ›

    Barney Lerten Mod saireygamp • 15 hours ago
    All we can say right now is military-style. More will come alter.
    3 • Reply•Share ›

    sdumbear Barney Lerten • 13 hours ago
    Private tank
    1 • Reply•Share ›

    Allen Thompson saireygamp • 4 hours ago
    They were both friends of mine. The tank destroyer is privately owned by one of the men that died. He had restored it inside and out including finding a live main gun with all the legal paperwork. He has been shooting it at ranges for several years now.
    2 • Reply•Share ›

    Matthew Alan • 7 hours ago
    Wouldn't a 'gunsmith ' checked over the ammo and barrel?
    • Reply•Share ›

    suzeiki • 13 hours ago
    My condolences to the family and friends of these souls. Can someone please explain to me what these individuals were doing in this tank?
    • Reply•Share ›

    Barney Lerten Mod suzeiki • 11 hours ago
    It seems fairly clear, as they were at a public firing range. Exact sequence of events being investigated.
    2 • Reply•Share ›

    TioZo Barney Lerten • 2 hours ago
    your subsequent post says that it was not on the COSSA range - is there a different, public range adjacent to that one?
    • Reply•Share ›

    Sussie Due • 11 hours ago
    For the life of me I would like to know what COSSA was doing with one of those out there.
    • Reply•Share ›

    Barney Lerten Mod Sussie Due • 10 hours ago
    It was not on the COSSA range, but adjacent to it we're told. We and other media have done stories on a restored tank, apparently this one, in recent years.
    • Reply•Share ›

  5. #5


    It's an M18 Tank Destroyer...There are a number of things that can go fatally wrong inside the Turret, my first thought is Breech Failure- but I don't know what type of Ordnance they were working with...
    Every Tanker past & present is aware of the cold, hard fact that a Tank is designed strictly to kill, doesn't care who it kills, and is unforgiving when mistakes are made...
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    Last edited by bigmacglenn1966; 10-28-2015 at 07:27 PM.

  6. #6


    Their names were Austin and Steve and they were a couple of the friendliest and most dedicated armor enthusiasts we have ever had the pleasure of 'battling' against at a reenactment.

    They were live firing at a range when they had a hang fire in the main gun and then opened the breech before the round went off. It was a simple but tragic mistake.

    I only spent a weekend with them, but they were irreplaceable to the PNW reenacting scene. They died doing what they loved and there really isn't much more to say about it.
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  7. #7


    Thanks for the info Mo, R.I.P. to both lads.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  8. #8


    Tragic accident, R.I.P.

  9. #9


    Sorry for your loss ObKrieger, small world...

  10. #10


    So sorry for the families and friends, as to the accident itself, i thought you had to wait a set amount of time if you had a hang fire, just to see if it would "cook" off whilst still in the breech, before attempting to take the round out, perhaps it was removed too early

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