UK soldiers die in heat wave during trials

2013-07-15 13:01

London - Two British soldiers died during a training exercise over the weekend as they took part in a gruelling selection process for the elite SAS unit on the hottest day of the year, military sources said on Monday.

Police and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) are investigating Saturday's deaths in the Brecon Beacons mountain range in south Wales, while a third soldier remains in a serious condition in hospital.

Military sources said the men were members of the Territorial Army, Britain's reservist force, who were hoping to join the elite Special Air Service (SAS) regiment.

The MoD refused to confirm media reports that the men collapsed from heat exhaustion while struggling through a tough selection process in temperatures of 29.5°C.

"At this stage we are not ruling anything out," a ministry spokesperson told AFP.

It is understood that live ammunition was not involved in the incident.

An unnamed army officer told the Daily Mail newspaper: "The troops are desperate to prove they are up to joining the SAS and push themselves harder and harder.

"There is going to be a huge inquiry into what happened because, on the face of it, these lads look like they've been marched to death."

The Brecon Beacons offer some of Britain's most rugged terrain, and the mountain range is regularly used for military training exercises.

In January, an army captain also believed to have been trying out for the SAS was found dead on a snow-covered mountain in the Brecon Beacons.

An MoD spokesperson said there were no plans to change "routine exercises" in light of the latest deaths in the mountains.

  • Ryan Lockwood - 2013-07-15 13:21

    Just need to point out that the sloppy specimen in danger of shooting his own foot off in the stock photo above is not a British serviceman.

      Clifford Peter Viljoen - 2013-07-15 13:36

      Good thing he left the magazine out then.

      Robert Reeve - 2013-07-15 15:09

      He's a Yank and left the mag out because he didn't know where to put it! It's sad to lose those who try and put their lives on the line to succeed, but Brit SF selection isn't for dreamers and those who try it must be Olympic fit or suffer the consequences.

      Roger Hess - 2013-07-15 15:30

      @ Robert: you're both close and way off target; he is a "Yank" but he's also a US Marine (the headgear tells the difference) & he's obviously on a stand-down break as I can very much assure you that he knows exactly where the magazine to his rifle goes.

      Roger Hess - 2013-07-15 15:43

      @ Ryan; not sure how dressy you like your soldiers to be when they are having a stand down from a training exercise, but it must be something that I never got to see. Having worked with the Brit 33 Commando's on many occasions during joint US/UK exercises + working along side the Brit's in Basra, I don't remember any of them getting into their dress mess uniforms when we had a chance to relax (note the absence of helmet, web gear, body armor, LBE, etc?).

      Mandingo Queen - 2013-07-15 18:16

      Roger, how many Iraqis did you kill?

      Roger Hess - 2013-07-15 23:10

      Mandingo: not nearly as many as I saved.

  • Zumba - 2013-07-15 14:02

    Cleary not cut out for the job! You don't get to chose what days you fight a war!

  • Dylan Loveland - 2013-07-15 14:46

    Many, many soldiers have died while during the brecon beacon march, this is not the first, and will definately not be the last. You cant pamper the troops with nice strolls in the garden and then expect them to trudge miles upon miles in some desert while at war, besides this is the reason why the SAS are THE best in the world, they take you to the physical and mental edge, so those MOD health and safety guys need to just leave the army be, theyve been doing this for a long time, they know what they doing.

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