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Old 02-06-15, 15:57   #1
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European Union PhOtOs-Soldiers Die in SAS Gruelling Selection Training

Soldier who Collapsed on SAS Selection March Which Killed Three Comrades
-'Was Allowed to Carry on Despite Medic Warning He Could Die'

  • Fourth unnamed soldier removed form the 16-mile hike in Brecon Beacons
  • He told coroner how medic who withdrew him said: 'You don't want to die'
  • But he said he was told to continue despite feeling 'dizzy, confused, sick'
  • Lance Corporal Craig Roberts, 24, Lance Corporal Edward Maher, 31, and Corporal James Dunsby, 31, collapsed and died on gruelling hike
Daily Mail UK, 2 June 2015

A heat-stricken soldier who collapsed during a 16-mile SAS selection march which killed three of his comrades was allowed to continue despite medics fearing he could die, an inquest has heard.

During the second day of an inquest into the deaths of three army reservists, the coroner heard how a fourth soldier was withdrawn from the gruelling hike in the Brecon Beacons due to the effects of heat of the blistering 27C heat.

Giving evidence from a screened-off witness box, the reservist - known by the cipher 1W - said a medic had removed him from the march at a checkpoint, telling him: 'You don't want to die'.

Lance Corporal Craig Roberts, pictured, was among three reservist who died during an SAS training hike

Tragedies: Corporal James Dunsby (top) and Lance Corporal Edward Maher also died during a march on the hottest day of the year in 2013

But the soldier claims he was then told to carry on with the march, despite feeling 'dizzy, sick and confused'.

The man, who sounded close to tears on several occasions, was giving evidence at the inquest into the deaths of Lance Corporal Craig Roberts, 24, Lance Corporal Edward Maher, 31, and Corporal James Dunsby, 31, who died during the training on Pen-y-Fan in July 2013.

The reservists, all of whom were described as being incredibly fit, were walking amid soaring temperatures when they began suffering from hypothermia and collapsed, the inquest heard.
Soldier 1W said:

'The medic pulled me off the march. He said that he had noticed (from a tracking device) that I had stopped moving for an extended period of time. The medic sat me down and took my temperature.

'He said to me "You want to wake up in the morning, you don't want to die".'

The soldier, who joined the reserve army in 2012, said he was both relieved and disappointed when he found out he was being withdrawn at checkpoint four.
But he then overheard a radio conversation between a member of the march's directing staff and a chief instructor, known as Soldier 1B, which suggested he carry on.

'It was asked, could I complete the march?' Soldier 1W told the inquest. 'The medic said "He probably could but won't complete in time". And from that I was told to continue.'

The unnamed soldier described to Solihull Council Chamber how he had collapsed three times on the route after running out of water.
'I was not feeling very good at all. I was dizzy, weak, sick and I was confused,' he told the inquest.

Tough: In the Brecon Beacons (pictured), recruits are expected to march up and down the 2,900ft Pen Y Fan (pictured)

'I made the assessment that it was due to dehydration. This concerned me.
'Regardless, I continued towards checkpoint four. My intention was to complete that march and complete that week. That is just my personal outlook.'

Bryher Dunsby pictured at the first day of a four-week inquest into the death of her husband

She described her husband as 'charming and handsome' and told the coroner: 'I must do right by him'

The hearing heard how, before being seen by the medic, the soldier had suffered a nosebleed and nearly collapsed.
Describing how he felt, he said:

'I did not feel myself. I felt dizzy. The indicator for me was that I was bearing off my route. I was zigzagging.
'I collapsed. I blacked out. I was feeling very bad at that point. I was still sweating at this point. I could feel my legs starting to cramp.'

He said this was the first moment the soldier considered pressing his emergency 'man down' button for support but still decided he wanted to continue.

The soldier added:

'I think at this point it was more down to my stubbornness. I thought I would take a period of time here before continuing. My thought process was not 100 per cent.'

A passing colleague helped him back to his feet and onto checkpoint four. It was at this point that a medic - identified only as medic 1U - checked his vision, rehydrated him and assessed the blood on his face, the inquest heard.

Speaking about the conversation that he overhead, he said:

'He [the directing staff member] was speaking to the medic [on the radio] so I am pretty sure he would have been made aware [it was heat-related].
'I went with the decision for me to carry on. I was very tired and lethargic but I was not confused.'

Despite the assistance, soldier 1W collapsed again on the way to another checkpoint, the hearing heard.
Medics were unable to provide quick assistance because they had to rush off to treat other candidates, it was said.

The soldier added:

'The directing staff ran off. They were saying at that point that there were soldiers down and they needed urgent treatment.
'I assumed he went off to support those soldiers instead.'

The soldier was later taken to hospital where blood tests and other assessments found he had damage to his kidneys and heart.
He then underwent tests at the SAS military unit but found he had no long-lasting damage or intolenance to the heat.

Another soldier, named only as 2J, also told how he was withdrawn from the exercise by medics after getting three-quarters of the way through.
He told the hearing:

'It was warm. I had stopped to catch my breath. A civilian passed me and asked how I was and encouraged me to carry on.
'I was beginning to feel rough. I had put it down in my mind to the strain of the exercise.'

The soldier reached his fourth checkpoint of five and was stopped by medics 1U and 1T.
He added:

'I gave what I believed to be my correct date of birth but this was not a good enough answer.
'They sat me down in the shade and poured water over me and had one of the drivers fan me in the shade. They took my temperature and believed I was suffering from a heat injury.
'I continued to be treated for at least half-an-hour after they had originally stopped me.'

The soldier was withdrawn from the march and then spent "several hours" recovering at the checkpoint.

Yesterday, the court heard how L/Cpl Roberts, a fitness instructor and teaching assistant, died from heat exhaustion on the Welsh mountainside.

Afghanistan and Iraq verteran L/Cpl Maher was discovered not breathing and rushed to Prince Charles hospital in Merthyr Tydfil where he died the same day.

And Cpl Dunsby, who fought in Helmand Province, also collapsed from heat exhaustion and passed away two weeks later.

The hearing also heard how army chiefs refused to cancel the gruelling march because it would involve too much paperwork.

The inquest, which is due to last four weeks, continues.
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