U.S. Kosovo peacekeeper killed in Macedonia road accident
July 6, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. Army soldier and a Macedonian child died Sunday in a highway accident involving a NATO military convoy that was driving north from Salonika, Greece, to Camp Able Sentry in Macedonia, Army officials said.
The death of Spec. Anthony William Gilman, 23, from Missouri, marks the first fatality of a U.S. serviceman among the multinational Kosovo peacekeeping mission.
According to an Army news release, the accident occurred around noon southeast of Skopje. Another civilian was injured in the crash.
The Macedonia newspaper Vecer carried a detailed description of the accident. The paper, the name of which means "Night," identified the civilian fatality as a 9-year-old boy from the town of Radovis, Macedonia. No names were provided.
According to the newspaper, the soldier was struck and killed by a nonmilitary, medium-size truck while trying to direct traffic following a convoy accident that occurred in a highway tunnel. The tunnel, which is named Katlanovo, is situated between the town of Veles and Skopje, the Macedonian capital city.
The first accident apparently occurred when one transport truck in the convoy tried to pass another truck in the procession, the newspaper said.
One of the vehicles bumped the other, setting off a series of events that blocked the roadway. A bulldozer being hauled by one of the two trucks apparently slipped onto the road.
According to a witness at the scene, the passing truck may have been driving too fast for conditions -- 25 mph to 40 mph -- especially in the narrow tunnel.
The soldier was standing near the mouth of the tunnel when a civilian truck that could not stop hit him, according to the paper. The 9-year-old boy was a passenger in the truck and apparently was not wearing a seat belt.
The boy flew through the windshield and died immediately, as did the soldier. The driver of the truck was injured.
U.S. military officials are investigating.
California doctors operate on badly injured Kosovo teen
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