DAPHNE, Ala. (July 8, 2004) — A helicopter tire explosion that killed a U.S. soldier last year in Iraq was preventable, according to local media reports citing an Army report.
The Mobile Register said Paul Bueche's parents provided the newspaper access to the report. Mr. Bueche, 19, was killed in October when a tire he was inflating on a Blackhawk helicopter exploded. The newspaper said another soldier lost both arms in the incident.
According to the newspaper, the report concluded that Mr. Bueche did not follow procedure when he was refilling the tire with the high-pressure end of a nitrogen cart. The report said a tire inflation kit, which would have helped the tire fill up slowly, was unavailable. The newspaper said soldiers wanted to obtain a replacement kit, but an officer in charge ordered them to fill the tire without the equipment.
“Based on his lack of experience, (Mr. Bueche) likely would have been reluctant to challenge the two (officers) when they decided to cut corners in the interest of speed,” the report said, according to the newspaper.