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Investigators from Alabama will look into U.S. Army accident that killed two soldiers


Two U.S. Army soldiers were killed and 12 others injured after a military transport vehicle flipped on a dirt road leading to a training area in Alaska, officials said. The single-vehicle accident happened Monday as the soldiers headed to the Yukon Training Area near Salcha, or about 30 miles southeast of Fairbanks, the 11th Airborne Division said in a statement. Investigators from the Army Combat Readiness Center northwest of Dothan will look into the incident.

Army spokesperson John Pennell told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the driver lost control of the vehicle on a dirt road going into the training area, causing the large transport vehicle to flip. There were 17 soldiers in the vehicle at the time. First responders extracted soldiers from the vehicle and provided on-scene treatment. The 12 injured soldiers were taken by ground ambulances and air to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

Of those, the two with the most severe injuries were taken in air ambulances to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Pennell said. Their conditions were not immediately available Tuesday.

"We're a real tight-knit group in the military, so right now, the entire 11th Airborne Division is grieving and preparing to provide whatever support is necessary for the families of the deceased and to help support those who are still in the hospital and dealing with their injuries," Pennell said.

The Army will investigate the cause. Because there were deaths involved, Pennell said, the Army Combat Readiness Center in Alabama will also send an investigatory team. The Center is located at Fort Novosel in Alabama’s Wiregrass region. The facility’s website describes its mission to preserve Army readiness through analysis, training, and the development of systems that prevent accidental loss of military personnel.

The names of the two soldiers killed will be released 24 hours after relatives are notified.

It's the second deadly episode involving Alaska-based soldiers this year. In April, three soldiers were killed when two military helicopters collided while en route to Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks from a training mission.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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