"SAS training" soldiers died during exercise on hottest day of year

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"SAS training" soldiers died during exercise on hottest day of year

15th July 2013

As investigations continue into the deaths of two soldiers on a training exercise on the hottest day of the year, a specialist military claims lawyer is hoping the Ministry of Defence’s own Board of Inquiry will determine exactly what happened.

As widely reported today, two soldiers died and a third is in a serious condition after the incident on Saturday (13 July), which is thought to involve six soldiers – all serving with the Territorial Army - collapsing in hot weather whilst on exercise in the Brecon Beacons, Wales. Although the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has so far refused to comment on reports the reservists were taking part in the selection process for the Territorial SAS, most major news sources are reporting that was the case.

"I am saddened to learn of the deaths of these TA soldiers, reportedly undertaking Special Forces selection exercises,” said Zoe Sutton, head of the Military Claims department at Fentons Solicitors.

“This is absolutely tragic for the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and we hope that the others involved make speedy recoveries,” she said, “and there are obviously now several questions that need to be answered. The MoD - as with any other employer - owes a duty of care to all its soldiers to ensure that all possible steps are taken to remove the risk of injury or death, whether on training exercises or on operations.

 “The MoD has its own guidelines, specific to ensuring the health and safety of personnel operating or training in hot weather conditions such as the extreme heat witnessed at the weekend, and these should be followed regardless of the type of activity being undertaken,” she said. “To not do so runs the risk of such tragic consequences as we have unfortunately seen here.

The Brecon Beacons is home to the Infantry Battle School and makes up one of Britain's largest military training areas. The national park area is used for military training because of its relative remoteness.

The tragedy occurred on the hottest day of the year so far in Wales, with temperatures reaching 30C – 86 degrees Fahrenheit - in Powys. Around 30 members of the four south Wales mountain rescue teams were called out to help in the emergency on Saturday, in an area of the Brecon Beacons near to Pen y Fan.

The MoD has released little information about the two soldiers who died, but an investigation is apparently focussing on the weather conditions and the nature of the exercise.

“It is now vital that the investigation progresses quickly so that the families of all those involved can understand what has happened,” said Zoe. “I await the outcome of the MoD's Board of Inquiry into the events surrounding the deaths, and hope and expect that the results will ensure that lessons are learned and such a tragic incident can be avoided in the future."

Read more at: BBC News