Highly decorated army sergeant dies in “inadvertent explosion” at military camp

Five other soldiers injured, two ‘seriously’

A highly decorated army sergeant died yesterday afternoon in an ‘inadvertent explosion’ at the Santa Margardia military camp in Constância (Santarém district).

Father of two Carlos Mota, 47 – a long term soldier already honoured with the Medal of Military Merit, and of D. Afonso Henriques – was overseeing the ‘burying of unexploded munitions’ when one of these was ‘touched’ by the vehicle covering said munitions, causing it to detonate.

Mota was reportedly killed immediately, and five other soldiers in the vicinity were injured, two relatively seriously.

None of the injured run any ‘risk to life’; indeed three only required light treatment in hospital, while two are being treated now in Lisbon, essentially for damage to their hearing.

PJ military police are said to be ‘investigating’, albeit it seems pretty clear what happened: an absolutely routine operation, following exercises involving live ammunition, went horribly wrong.

The fact that such a catastrophe happened is  “a serious accident”, in the words of President Marcelo, who along with the prime minister, defence minister and parliamentary leader, sent “words of solidarity” to the families of the victims.

Reports today describe Carlos Mota as a veteran of various missions, including action in Bosnia and Lebanon.

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