An Israeli tank commander briefly lost his Merkava 4 battle tank while he was in the bathroom, the Israeli media reported on January 15.
It appeared that the battle tank rolled 600 meters down a hill out of control and crossed a main highway in southern Israel after the crew fell asleep inside it. The incident reportedly took place over the past week, during a tank commanders course near the Armored Corps training base.
“The crew commander had gotten out of the tank to go to the bathroom, and when he returned he saw that his Merkava 4 tank was missing. It was located only after a few minutes, on the other side of Route 40,” Haaretz reports.
A preliminary investigation of the incident found that the crew of combat soldiers had fallen asleep and didn’t notice the tank was rolling away.
“This is an unusual safety incident that will be investigated and from which lessons will be learned in order to prevent the recurrence of similar cases in the future,” the military said in a statement on the issue.
Security incidents involving Israeli soldiers occur on a cosntant basis. Some of them even cause casualties. For example in April, one soldier was killed and three others were injured when a shell caught on fire inside a tank along the Egyptian border.