Army instructor killed, 9 trainees hurt in ‘accidental’ grenade blast

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/06 Sept.) — An Army instructor was killed while nine trainees were injured after a grenade “accidentally exploded” during an explosive simulation exercise at an Army training facility here on Monday afternoon.

Supt. Romeo Galgo Jr., public information officer of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-12, said Tuesday the grenade went off at around 4 p.m. inside the 12th Regional Community Defense Group Army Reserve Command (RCDG-ARESCOM) camp at Asinan in Barangay Buayan.

He said the Army trainees, who were composed of active personnel and reservists, were having a simulation session as part their explosive ordnance reconnaissance training when the grenade exploded.

“It was an accidental explosion. It appears that there was no foul play involved,” he told MindaNews, citing their initial investigation.

He identified the fatality as T/Sgt. Pableo Balansag, an instructor of the 12th RCDG-ARESCOM.

The injured trainees were identified as T/Sgts. Sergeant Rolando Camoro and a certain Soriano; Staff Sgt. Norjan Salik; Corporals Jonard Barlizo and Cpl. Michael Camus; Privates First Class Ramon Baylon and Basser Lumanga; and, Privates Francisco Martinez and Jovito Besana.

Col. Faisal Nawang, 12th RCDG-ARESCOM group commander, maintained in a radio interview that the explosion was accidental.

He said the exercise was supposed to be a simulation and they were later surprised to see blood on the hands of T/Sgt. Balansag after the explosion.

“We’re still shocked and can’t believe that it actually happened,” he said.

Galgo said the PRO-12 has sent a team to the Army training camp to further investigate the incident.

He said Army officials and personnel of the 12th RCDG-ARESCOM are cooperating in the investigation. (MindaNews)