The explosion set off the shell already loaded into the breech of the main gun. The gunner survived the hit and opened his hatch, releasing a column of grey smoke. As the air rushed in, the fuel from the punctured floor tank ignited, sending a massive column of flame upward. The rush of flame ejected the gunner, who landed in the street, got up, and ran away. His jacket had been blown up over his head and his pants were shredded. He may have been severely burned, or he may have been relatively uninjured if he was wearing body armor and flame-resistant clothing. At any rate, such a miraculous escape may never before have been caught on film.
I've never heard of anyone surviving such and I've seen tanks "brew up" with my own eyes.
Also, what idiot loader would put a main gun round in the gun without closing the breach?!?!
ETA: Don't know what I was thinking here. The T72 does not have a human loader. Instead it has a auto loader system. The round that cooked was probably the one in the ready rack of the auto loader. This is one of the biggest weaknesses of the T72. On top of being slower than a human loader, the auto loader means there is almost always an exposed round right there with the crew. It also does not allow for a quick change in type of ammo being fired. For example if the next few rounds in the auto loader's carousel are HEAT but you've got a main battle tank to your front, you've got to fire all those HEAT rounds before you can get to a sabot round.
This post was edited on 2/13 at 4:45 pm