The 21 soldiers and West Point cadets injured when a military vehicle overturned and rolled at least 15 feet down a steep embankment, killing one cadet, are expected to survive, officials said Thursday — as new details of the crash emerged.
“Their injuries are not life-threatening,” said Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, West Point’s superintendent, of the two soldiers and 19 cadets who survived the crash with injuries ranging from facial abrasions to a broken arm, and are recuperating at area hospitals.
Cadet killed, 21 injured in military vehicle accident at West Point
A West Point cadet was killed and 21 others were…
Williams’ focus, however, was on the cadet who won’t have that chance.
“Today was a tragic day for the West Point community and our United States Army,” said Williams. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased and our injured.”
No identifying information about the deceased was released as the Army worked to notify the person’s next of kin, but, like all of the cadets, the deceased was a senior among West Point’s Class of 2020, Williams said.
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With two soldiers in the cab, the 20 cadets were piled into an LMTV — a 5-ton transport truck consisting of benches on a flatbed covered by a soft canopy — bringing them from their barracks at Camp Buckner to a mandatory training exercise around 6:45 a.m. Thursday when tragedy struck.
While the vehicle was headed along a dirt road about 2 miles into the woods in what Williams called “hilly, mountainous terrain,” it overturned and rolled down some 15 to 20 feet, coming to a rest on a rocky area.
“It is very rough terrain. We want to make sure that our soldiers and our cadets train in a realistic training environment,” said Williams. “So this was part of our realistic training.”
All of the cadets were wearing Kevlar helmets at the time, but the deceased died at the scene.
Williams declined to get into the specifics of how the fatal crash unfolded — including where in the LMTV the deceased was seated — citing an ongoing investigation.
That investigation includes a standard probe by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, a review by a safety team out of Alabama’s Fort Rucker and a recreation of the scene aided by the New York State Police.
Williams did, however, dismiss concerns that the LMTV was over capacity.
“I do not have those concerns,” he said.