A fishing boat captain was killed and 3 crew injured when a Taiwan Navy crew accidentally fired a Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missile during a drill in the Taiwan Strait this morning July 1, 2016.
Around 8:10am crew on a 500-ton Chinchiang-class corvette were testing equipment when they accidentally fired the missile. The missile with a range of 300 kilometers fell into waters near Penghu.
An explosion on a fishing boat was reported around the same time but it was unknown if it was related to the missile incident for several hours. This afternoon, the navy confirmed the fishing boat had been damaged by the missile, and offered a formal apology for the incident.
The injured crew of the fishing boat including a Taiwanese, a Vietnamese, and a Philippine citizen were taken to a hospital in Tainan City.
The accidental firing of a missile in the Taiwan Strait carries the potential danger of igniting a conflict between China and Taiwan. Military officials were quick to assure the public that the missile had not passed over the median line and had remained on the Taiwan side of the strait.
Next Magazine was criticized for publishing an article that claimed China must have detected the missile and activated its own missile systems. A retired military intelligence officer dismissed the report, and pointed out that while Chinese radar can scan airspace over most of Taiwan, it would not have been able to detect the low-altitude sea-skimming missile involved in the incident. Due to the low-altitude and the curvature of the earth such missiles can only be detected within a distance of about 20 miles.