UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: Monday, July 2nd, 301 AP.

Fighter accidentally injures thirteen

Thirteen people have been badly injured in the explosion and landslide that
resulted from an accidental missile fired from an Espectro II fighter jet over
the east of Savana state.

The eastern Savana state village of Amekipa, population 913, was rocked on
Sunday morning by an explosion somewhat uphill from the village, and badly
damaged by the subsequent landslide that injured eleven people. Two other
people, herding animals at the time, were also badly injured by debris from the
initial explosion.

Air Force officials were embarrassed to announce, late this afternoon, that it
was their jet fighter in a training flight that accidentally fired the missile
that caused the explosion. Though the Army sent two helicopters to assess the
damage and attend to the wounded, no official acknowledgment of guilt had yet
been made by the Air Force. Witnesses told reporters they heard the sound of
several jet fighters flying nearby, but since the area is a pilot training area
they thought little of it until the missile was fired and the explosion rocked
the hillside on which the Savaj community lives.

The Army medics treated several people at the scene, but flew seven to nearby
Utan Jesu hospital for medical treatment. Injuries ranged from lacerations and
broken bones to one elderly woman having several suspected broken bones,
including hip and possibly even spinal injuries.

The President was told of the accident on Sunday, but was not told of the Air
Force training connection until early today. He ordered, as commander in Chief,
the Air Force Chief, Air Marshal Miguel A. C'jarkan, to take personal
responsibility and "investigate thoroughly" the circumstances and be ready to
report to the Parliament in two weeks. President Okarvits later told the media
that he regarded the Air Force's conduct as "extremely worrying" and said he
would conduct a full investigation himself should the Air Force Chief's report
"come up wanting".

The Espectro II fighter jets are not believed to be responsible for the
accident, instead pilot error was blamed by the Air Force media liason.
However, he had no explanation as to why a trainee pilot was armed with live
air-to-surface missiles. Utania has leased the jets indefinitely from the
Lendosan Confederation in a deal signed in March.

©UPA, 301 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)