Wales

Soldier deaths: Third SAS training reservist dies

  • 31 July 2013
  • From the section Wales

A third Army reservist has died after taking part in an SAS selection training exercise in the Brecon Beacons earlier this month.

Edward Maher, 31, and Craig Roberts, 24, died after collapsing during a 40-mile (64km) hike on 13 July when temperatures reached 29.5C (85F).

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Tuesday a third reservist had died.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has announced a full inquiry into what happened.

In a statement on Tuesday, the MoD said: "It is with great sadness that we can confirm that a third Army reserve soldier injured during a training exercise in the Brecon Beacons has died of his injuries.

"The family have asked for a period of grace before he is named and request that this is respected by the media."

Right to life

The soldiers had taken part in a four-week trial for the Territorial Army's SAS reservists ending in the hike over the Brecon Beacons in Powys.

An inquest in Brecon, which opened and adjourned last week, heard the cause of Mr Roberts' and Mr Maher's deaths remains "unascertained".

Edward Maher and Craig Roberts
Army reservists Edward Maher, 31, and Craig Roberts, 24, died on 13 July

Powys coroner Louise Hunt warned that the MoD could face investigation under the Human Rights Act.

She said "right to life" will play an important part in the inquest.

"The state has a duty to protect an individual's life," she said.

"The importance of looking into the wider circumstances of these deaths is that Article Two of the Human Rights Act will come into play."

Before adjourning proceedings, she said a full inquest would examine all the circumstances leading up to the deaths, and any failings.

The BBC's defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said "lots of serious questions" would be asked about the day and it was an issue that would concern MoD lawyers.

Aptitude test

The soldiers were among six men rescued during the hike.

A witness on the day described coming across two soldiers "clearly in distress" who pleaded with them for drinking water.

The soldiers were understood to be taking part in the aptitude training element of the course to become SAS reservists.

L/Cpl Roberts, 24, of Penrhyn Bay, Conwy, had served with the Territorial Army for about five years and is understood to have served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Brecon Beacons is home to the Infantry Battle School and makes up one of Britain's largest military training areas.

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