Two U.S. Army supply trucks crashed into each other on the German autobahn on Thursday, Feb. 9, injuring four soldiers, two seriously.
The accident happened just after 3 p.m. on Thursday near Kirchberg an der Jagst, according to local police from the city of Aalen, who initially reported it as a hit-and-run incident. The five-vehicle convoy was with the 21st Theater Sustainment Command. The trucks were transporting tons of missiles and other munitions to the U.S. Army base at Grafenwoehr. The crash happened as one M915A5 tractor-trailer tried to merge on the highway.
“The convoy was traveling on the motorway with a total of five vehicles when the driver of the third articulated lorry in the convoy misjudged the distance when changing lanes and crashed the driver’s cab into the left rear corner of the vehicle in front of the semi-articulated lorry in front,” police said in a statement.
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The crash tore off the driver’s cab on one of the tractor-trailers. The lead truck and the rear two managed to avoid collision. Four soldiers, two in each vehicle, were injured. The soldiers in the truck that tried to merge were seriously injured. Emergency responders got to the scene quickly, and a rescue helicopter airlifted one passenger who needed emergency medical attention, taking the soldier to University Hospital Wurzburg.
The crash set the merging truck on fire but the flames were quickly extinguished, according to Aalen police. The incident shut down the highway in both directions as crews cordoned off the area until the munitions could be inspected and recovered.
None of the explosives on the convoys had ignition components or detonators, police said. Army explosive ordnance disposal teams arrived on the scene and recovered the munitions, according to Maj. Vonnie L. Wright, spokesperson with 21st Theater Sustainment Command. They were “handled properly per safety regulations” and transported to Grafenwoehr on replacement vehicles.
No civilian vehicles were involved in the crash. Roads were cleared and reopened on Friday, according to local police.
As of Friday night, three of the injured soldiers were released from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. The other soldier remains at University Hospital Wurzburg, Wright said.
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