Y2016-04 Death of a reservist in Säkylä on 27 October 2016
On 27 October 2017, an accident occurred in the Säkylä garrison area of the Pori Brigade, in which a reservist died after being run over by a Sisu XA-185 Pasi armoured personnel carrier (APC). The accident happened during a convoy exercise forming part of the training of a crisis management team heading for Lebanon. The victim, who had been on the right side of the Pasi APC, stumbled and fell under the right wheelbase of the carrier when changing to running speed. Despite rapid first aid, the victim died of his wounds soon afterwards.
The objective of the convoy exercise was that the team would have command of the basics of convoy operations after the exercise. The convoy consisted of a column of vehicles including a cross-country vehicle at the head, a Pasi APC behind it, a cross-country passenger car (containing the VIP being escorted during the exercise), another Pasi APC and a cross-country vehicle at the rear. The convoy was intercepted by conscripts, who were acting as demonstrators during the exercise.
The trainees had been instructed that the convoy would progress at walking speed while its protecting troops were dismounted and that the gaps between the vehicles would be as small as possible. The head of the convoy accelerated in order to pass through the crowd of protesters, leaving the rear section of the convoy behind. To maintain a short distance, the second Pasi APC, which had been left behind, raised its speed. The dismounted men were simultaneously forced to change to jogging pace.
After changing to jogging pace, a reservist who had been running on the right side of the Pasi APC stumbled and fell under the right wheelbase of the carrier. The commander of the APC noted the situation and commanded the APC to stop. An attempt was made to move the APC further so that the victim would not remain crushed under the APC’s wheel, due to which the victim was run over again by accident.
The commander of the exercise, who was in a cross-country vehicle in the convoy, was at the scene of the accident and called the Emergency Response Centre. First aid measures were initially handled by battlefield medics. Help soon arrived from the Fire Brigade of the Pori Brigade, and from the civilian rescue services and emergency medical care. In addition, an air ambulance doctor provided consultation. Although the emergency care and rescue operations were adequate, the serious injuries led to the death of the victim.
The safety recommendation presented as a result of the safety investigation relates to the safe distances, travel speeds and communication equipment of the convoy: The dismounted men involved in the exercise remained at the instructed distance from the vehicles, but this was not sufficient, as shown by the incident. Running alongside the carrier also played a role in the reservist's fall; walking speed is considered the appropriate speed for a convoy. In addition, communication equipment between the vehicles, using which messages could have been sent on the acceleration and growth in the gaps, was lacking during the exercise.
The Safety Investigation Authority of Finland recommends that
• The Defence Forces issue instructions on convoy operations and exercises to the effect that infantry protecting the convoy maintain a sufficient distance from the vehicles, movement is at walking speed when infantry are nearby, and the vehicles remain in continuous communication.