French reporter dies after being struck by U.S. tank in Kuwait
KUWAIT CITY -- A French television reporter who was hit by a tank during U.S. military exercises in the Kuwaiti desert died Sunday, the French Embassy said.
Patrick Bourrat, who was in his 40s, was hospitalized Saturday after being hit by a U.S. tank at the Udairi training area. He worked for France's TF1 television station.
The embassy's spokesman, Christian Huteau, said initial tests showed four broken ribs, but a more thorough scan revealed that "his spleen was smashed and one of his kidneys was damaged."
Bourrat was operated on Saturday and he started to bleed after the operation, Huteau said. The journalist's body will be flown home Sunday.
Battalion commander Lt. Col. Eric Schwartz said Saturday the reporter was hit after leaning into the path of incoming tanks to take a picture.
Bourrat was "an example of professionalism at the service of information," French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said.
Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said he was "shattered" by the death. Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie expressed sadness "felt by all, notably in the armed forces, who had the occasion to work with Patrick Bourrat."
More than 12,000 U.S. military personnel are now in Kuwait under a defense pact signed with Kuwait after the 1991 Gulf War that liberated the country from a seven-month Iraqi occupation. Kuwait could become a staging area for any future war on Iraq.