SAS selection deaths: Paramedic told exercise had 'occasional deaths'

Cpl James Dunsby, L/Cpl Edward Maher and L/Cpl Craig Roberts Image copyright MOD/PA
Image caption Cpl James Dunsby, L/Cpl Edward Maher and L/Cpl Craig Roberts took part in the exercise last year

A helicopter paramedic scrambled to an SAS test march was told "we occasionally get deaths on these exercises", an inquest has heard.

Winchman Andrew Dixon said military personnel gave the response after he offered his condolences over the death of a soldier on the exercise.

L/Cpl Craig Roberts, 24, died during the Brecon Beacons exercise in 2013.

L/Cpl Edward Maher and Cpl James Dunsby died in hospital after collapsing while attempting the same march.

The paramedic was part of a four-man aircrew scrambled to reports of a "military incident" in the Brecon Beacons.

The inquest, being held in Solihull, West Midlands, heard the aircrew first evacuated one patient, who was conscious and breathing.

They were later told they needed to pick up another soldier who had been declared dead.

Image caption The exercise was carried out on the Brecon Beacons on one of the hottest days of 2013

In his original statement, read out to the inquest, Mr Dixon said: "I was unsure of the relationship between the casualty and the military personnel so I offered my condolences.

"One replied 'We occasionally get deaths on these exercises'.

"I was shocked by his frankness."

The inquest also heard from a soldier, known as 1S to protect his identity, who had been running one of five checkpoints soldiers had to navigate that day.

He told the inquest he was "surprised" to hear reservists were allowed on the test march the day after the incident.

He said during the briefing for the next day's march there was "no reference made to what happened".

The hearing has previously been told the exercise took place on one of the hottest days of the year on 13 July 2013, with temperatures expected to hit 27C (80.6F).

The inquest continues.

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