Searchers recover bodies of 4 soldiers missing after training accident

A helicopter in the air over the search area Friday. (Photo by Sam DeLeon)
A helicopter in the air over the search area Friday. (Photo by Sam DeLeon)(KWTX)
Published: Jun. 2, 2016 at 9:29 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Searchers Friday recovered the bodies of four Fort Hood soldiers who were missing after an Army transport truck with 12 troops aboard overturned with and was swept away at a low-water crossing, Maj. Gen. John Uberti said during a media update Friday night.

The bodies of five other soldiers were recovered Thursday.

The nine soldiers were swept away at the Owl Creek Tactical low-water crossing and East Range Road during convoy operations training.

The three soldiers who survived were rescued by troops riding in a vehicle that was following the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle.

They were released from the hospital Friday.

"This is a profound tragedy," Gen. Robert B. Abrams said Friday.

Abrams, the commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command, extended condolences to the families of the soldiers who died, and to the missing and injured and their families.

"We will conduct a thorough investigation to better understand the circumstances and how to avoid this as we go forward.

Killeen Mayor Jose L. Segarra extended his condolences in a statement Friday.

“We pray for the safe return of the missing, healing for the injured and comfort and peace for the families of the fallen. In times of tragedy, the bond between city and fort is ever present, and we stand ready to assist in the days to come,” he said.

Rescue crews responded to the crossing at around 11:20 a.m. Thursday.

They recovered the bodies of three of the missing soldiers during the day and Thursday night said that two more bodies had been recovered.

The soldiers were part of the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

“The 1st Cavalry Division is grieving after a training accident at Fort Hood during flash flooding this morning,” the division’s commander, Maj. Gen. John C. Thomson III, said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of several Troopers and continue search operations. Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated during this difficult time as we care for the families, loved ones, and fellow Soldiers of those impacted by this tragedy. God Bless the First Team,” he said.

The three soldiers who were rescued from water near the vehicle were all in stable condition and were transferred from the Coryell Memorial Healthcare System in Gatesville to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center on post.

The four-wheel drive Light Medium Tactical Vehicle has a 2.5-ton payload and is designed to carry both cargo and troops.

The truck, which is powered by a six-cylinder 275-horsepower engine, is part of what the Army describes as a family of vehicles that share a common chassis, but are manufactured in a variety of configurations.

The last incident in which a soldier died at a low water crossing during a training exercise happened more than 15 years ago.

On November 6, 2000, one soldier died as the crew of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle attempted to cross a low water tactical crossing, Fort Hood said.

(Sam DeLeon and Kathleen Serie contributed to this story)

AUSTIN, Texas (KWTX)--U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, whose district includes Fort Hood, issued a statement Thursday evening extending sympathy to those affected by the accident.

"The men and women at Fort Hood are truly a blessing to our great nation.  Our community has suffered a great tragedy today, and I know like all Central Texans, the Fort Hood community is resilient and strong.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the soldiers, their families and the entire Fort Hood Community."

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement Thursday evening expressing sympathy to the soldiers, their families and the Fort Hood community.

“Texas stands ready to provide any assistance to Fort Hood as they deal with this tragedy. The brave men and women stationed at Fort Hood and across our country put their lives on the line every day, and be it through rescue operations or on the battlefield, Texas will forever remain grateful for their sacrifices,” he said.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also extended condolences to those affected by the accident Thursday.

“I ask you to keep the families of three lost soldiers in your thoughts and pray the six soldiers still missing will be found safe and unharmed," he said.