Lao Military Instructor Killed by Grenade; 26 Students Injured

Lao Military Instructor

A Lao military instructor was killed and 26 students injured after a live grenade exploded during a military drill.

The instructor, First Lieutenant Somphone, had brought both live and disarmed grenades to his training course at the secondary school in Xay District, Oudomxay Province. The trainer mistakenly pulled the safety pin from a live grenade instead of a disarmed grenade when giving a demonstration to students.

According to a statement by police, First Lieutenant Somphone quickly realized his mistake, and selflessly used his own body to cover the grenade in the hopes of smothering the explosion, and saving the students.

Lieutenant Somphone was killed instantly, and 26 students suffered minor injuries. They were rushed to Oudomxay Hospital for treatment.

A statement by Dr Somphan Oudomphan of the provincial hospital confirmed that the students suffered shrapnel wounds, but none of them had been severely injured.

Military drills conducted at secondary schools around the nation include regulations prohibiting live grenades. It is unclear why in this case the instructor brought live explosives to the training course.

Short military training courses are compulsory for secondary school students in Laos.