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Soldier dies during live-firing exercise

Published 23/08/2016

The soldier was from the Royal Regiment of Scotland
The soldier was from the Royal Regiment of Scotland
A soldier has died while taking part in a night live-firing exercise, the Armed Forces Minister has said
Troops training at Otterburn Camp, Northumberland, where a soldier from the Royal Regiment of Scotland has died during a night live-firing exercise

A soldier has died while taking part in a night live-firing exercise, the Armed Forces Minister has said.

Mike Penning said the incident happened at the Otterburn Training Area in Northumberland

The soldier was from the Royal Regiment of Scotland, and police and the Ministry of Defence are investigating.

Mr Penning said: "My thoughts are with the soldier's family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.

"The safety of our personnel is our absolute priority and, while deaths in training don't happen often, any death is a tragedy.

"As well as a police investigation, MoD accident investigators are looking into the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident."

The MoD said the soldier who died was male and he was shot during a training exercise on Monday night.

A spokesman said the Defence Safety Authority is investigating, but added that there were no details on whether any other personnel were involved.

The accident happened on a firing range at the training area, and Northumbria Police said the soldier died after suffering a "serious head wound".

A spokesman said: "At around 11.15pm last night police received a report that a soldier had been shot on the military ranges in Otterburn during a live-firing exercise.

"Emergency services attended and found the male soldier had received a serious head wound. Sadly he was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

"Police will be working with the Ministry of Defence to establish the exact circumstances of the incident and a cordon is currently in place. Military officials have informed the soldier's next of kin."

The MoD has not yet released the soldier's identity.

The death comes little more than a month after another soldier died while on a training exercise in Brecon, Wales, on the hottest day of the year.

Joshua Hoole, from Ecclefechan near Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, died on July 19 while on a pre-course training for the Platoon Sergeants' Battle Course, taken by infantry soldiers who want to progress to the rank of sergeant.

The 26-year-old, who was based at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire and was a member of The Rifles regiment, collapsed after taking part in a fitness test near the Dering Lines infantry training centre at about 6.30am, when temperatures later peaked at just above 30C (86F).

Cpl Hoole's death came just three months after the Defence Select Committee published a report calling for the MoD to become liable for prosecution for the deaths of armed forces personnel.

The report found that since the start of 2000, 134 military personnel had died while taking part in training exercises - 89 from the Army, 22 from the RAF, 15 were Royal Marines and eight were from the Royal Navy.

Three other soldiers died while taking part in an SAS training exercise in the Brecon Beacons on one of the hottest days of 2013.

Those deaths - of Lance Corporal Craig Roberts, Corporal Edward Maher and Corporal James Dunsby - led to the Health and Safety Executive to issue a so-called Crown Censure on the MoD, saying but for Crown immunity it would have faced prosecution for the failings that were identified.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "This is a tragic incident and my deepest condolences go to the family, friends and colleagues of the soldier who has died.

"Our armed forces do a difficult and dangerous job at all times, and this is another stark reminder of that. My thoughts are with all who loved this brave soldier."

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