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Two soldiers die in training exercise



TWO soldiers died in an SAS selection exercise on the hottest day of the year.

Temperatures soared to 30°C (86°F) as the pair took part in a gruelling
18-mile exercise wearing uniforms, boots and laden with kit.

The victims, both from the Territorial Army, were among dozens of hopefuls
doing the test in the Brecon Beacons on Saturday.

Graphic showing all equipment soldiers would be carrying including back packs, water bottles and SA80 rifles

Laden … soldiers carried all this kit

It is thought they were seeking coveted spots as reservists in the elite Who
Dares Wins regiment — but succumbed to heat exhaustion.

A third soldier who also collapsed was fighting for life last night in
hospital.

The troops were carrying standard issue SA80 rifles and 55lb of equipment
across the exposed landscape in Powys, Wales — a favourite military training
area.

After the alarm was raised an RAF helicopter took all three victims to Prince
Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil. A fourth soldier was also treated for
heatstroke.

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TRAGIC deaths occurred during a ‘routine’ exercise in Wales as temperatures tipped 29C

A source said: “Normally it’s wet, cold and miserable here but it has been so
hot. With uniform and kit on, it can get unbearable.”

Yesterday soldiers were STILL being put through their paces in the
remote and rugged area, which is used to train regular infantry as well as
special forces.

As temperatures again soared into the high 20s, men carrying weapons and packs
were seen by The Sun yomping across the moorland.

Troops training in a field

Feeling the heat … troops training

A group of cadets also arrived in minibuses for their own exercise.

A sign at the entrance to the Army ranges warns of the “weather state” and
advises units to check the “heat stress index”.

Soldiers in charge patrol in Land Rovers keeping in constant radio contact
with units on the ground.

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Last night officers from Dyfed-Powys Police were probing the deaths. The MoD
confirmed it was working with the investigation.

Warning sign at entrance

Warning … sign at entrance

Lynn Butt, who runs Dixies Corner military supplies near the scene, said: “I’m
not surprised people went down with heat exhaustion. It was absolutely
roasting.”

Monmouth MP David Davies, himself an ex-Army reservist, said: “It’s a terrible
tragedy but nobody should jump to any conclusions. The training is arduous
and sometimes things go wrong.”

A Royal Marine died in a similar tragedy in the area in 2008 during an
exercise for the SBS, the Navy’s special forces unit.

Meanwhile a man was feared drowned last night after going for a swim in the
huge Cantref Reservoir in the Brecon Beacons.

FIFTY serving or former soldiers committed suicide last year — more
than were killed in battle — according to research by the BBC’s Panorama.

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myView

By ANDY McNAB, former SAS soldier

ONE of the reasons why the Special Air Service is so revered among the world’s
special forces is because of the selection process.

It has to be tough to get the right people.

This isn’t the first time and won’t be the last that we have lost soldiers on
the Brecon Beacons.

Questions do need to be asked about whether the right procedures were in
place. But there’s never any doubt over preparation with loads of water and
food available. Everybody knows they have to keep hydrated.

What we need to be careful of is not to allow selection standards to drop
because of this as it could put troops on the ground in even more danger.

r.parry@the-sun.co.uk

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