Nine Army instructors face disciplinary action for a series of blunders that led to the deaths of four elite Army Rangers who died of hypothermia during a training exercise in a Florida swamp last month.
The four Rangers were immersed in water too cold, too deep and for too long, the Army said Wednesday in announcing results of a six-week investigation into the incident.
During the desperate rescue mission, the Army further revealed, a Medevac helicopter dropped the stretcher bearing one stricken trainee as it was hauling him out of the swamp.
“Below, in the swamp, the group saw the stretcher descend out of the blackness, go vertical, and then fall from a height of between 10 and 20 feet,” the Army report said.
The victim landed on his feet, was resuscitated, placed back onto the stretcher and hauled upward with another Ranger beside him to steady the stretcher. The injured soldier later died of hypothermia.
In what at times resembled a tragic fiasco, a shortage of fuel delayed a rescue flight, the rotor wash from a helicopter swept three trainees downriver, and a radio being used for an SOS call was rendered useless after it was dropped into the water.