Pichi Chuang / Reuters

A Taiwanese naval boat accidentally fired a supersonic missile in the direction of China on Friday that hit a fishing boat, killing one person.

The misfire happened around 8 a.m. local time, during a training drill at a naval base in the southern city of Tsoying. The missile flew about 45 miles, hit a fishing boat, killing one person, and injuring three more. The missile did not explode. Instead, officials said it broke the boat to pieces and then sank in the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan from mainland China.

It wasn’t clear how the missile misfired, but officials said it may have been due to human error.

The South China Morning Post reported that Vice-Admiral Mei Chia-hsu said:

... navy authorities would take responsibility for the accident and deal out compensations after a full investigation into the case.

In an earlier press conference, Mei said the navy had reported the incident to the island’s defence ministry, which would handle the case accordingly. He was responding to a question on whether the incident risked a misunderstanding with Beijing.

China and Taiwan have had a troubled relationship for nearly seven decades. China regards Taiwan as a renegade province.

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