2 dead in freak tank accident

Two people were crushed to death and another three seriously injured yesterday at an army camp in northern Greece when a trainee driver lost control of his light tank and crashed into a group of cadet officers. Army officials said the accident happened at the Perama camp, some 5 kilometers (3 miles) north of Ioannina, when the Russian-made BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle stalled at the top of a slope, causing the driver to lose control of the hydraulic brakes and steering system. The 13.5-ton vehicle rolled down the slope and into a light shelter where 30 cadet officers were receiving training on tank-driving. Lieutenants Pantelis Psychountakis, 23, and Christos Pelitaris, 24, died under the BMP-1’s tracks. Another two lieutenants and a sergeant suffered severe but not life-threatening injuries. Premier Costas Karamanlis expressed his sorrow at the accident, and pledged to revise security procedures at all military units. Greece bought 500 BMP-1s from Germany in the early 1990s.

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