Fifty-one soldiers have been injured and five others killed when the Light Armoured Vehicle III they were riding in rolled over, according to new statistics released by the Canadian Forces about the safety of its fleet of combat vehicles.
Statistics collated by the Canadian Army show there have been a total of 16 LAV III rollovers after more than 15-million kilometres of driving since the vehicles were introduced in 1999.
The LAV IIIs are known to be somewhat top-heavy and tippy, a problem that military drivers are trained to compensate for while driving on difficult terrain.
The question of whether the LAVs were too tippy arose following the death of a lieutenant-colonel last month in a rollover during an exercise at Garrison Wainwright, about 200 kilometres southeast of Edmonton.
Lt.-Col. Dan Bobbitt died and four other soldiers were injured in the May 21 incident.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service is looking into the incident and it's likely the military will also convene a board of inquiry to evaluate what happened.
Military still has confidence in LAV
In a statement provided to CBC News today, army spokeswoman Capt. Giselle Holland said the military still has confidence in the LAV, and that proof of that confidence can be found in a plan to upgrade 500 of the LAV IIIs to a new more heavily armoured standard.
"The LAV is the backbone of the army's combat vehicle fleet and will remain so for many years to come," Holland wrote.
"The relatively low casualty rate is a tribute to crew training and the quality of the vehicle."
The military also said three soldiers were killed in Afghanistan in road accidents involving vehicles rolling over, but it did not specify which sort of vehicles.