FORT HOOD, Texas — At least five soldiers were killed Thursday at Fort Hood in Texas when their truck overturned in a creek, according to the Army.
Three soldiers’ bodies were recovered Thursday afternoon. Two more were found Thursday night. Four soldiers remained unaccounted for. Three other soldiers were rescued and taken to a local hospital where they were reported in stable condition.
Aircraft, dog teams and rescue boats were conducting the search in Owl Creek.
Fort Hood emergency personnel responded to a call for a swift-water rescue at 11:20 a.m. CT Thursday after the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle got stuck at the Owl Creek Tactical low-water crossing and East Range Road, according to information from Fort Hood. The troops were on a training exercise.
Severe storms have pummeled Texas in recent days, with widespread flooding reported across the state. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster across 31 counties, and heavy rain was falling in some places at a rate of up to 3 inches an hour, according to The Weather Channel.
Earlier Thursday, Fort Hood officials announced the closure of roads on the sprawling base due to high water caused by heavy storms in Texas. They warned residents to stay out of areas subject to flooding, warning them on Facebook that not to attempt “to cross flowing water with your vehicle. Turn around…Don’t drown.”
It was an accident-plagued day for the U.S. military.
Two jets went down in unrelated incidents in Colorado and in Tennessee.
In Tennessee, a U.S. Navy Blue Angels jet crashed just after takeoff for a practice flight in Smyrna and the pilot, Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, perished, U.S. Navy officials said.
In Colorado, a U.S. Air Force elite Thunderbird F-16 jet crashed during a flyover for the Air Force Academy’s graduation ceremony near Peterson Air Force Base. That pilot managed to eject safely and without serious injury, Air Combat Command confirmed.
The names of the Fort Hood dead are being withheld until their relatives can be notified.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the military will try to learn lessons from the fatal incidents in Texas and Tennessee, which involved safety issues. Speaking in Singapore on Friday, he said action to prevent similar accidents will be taken when the investigations are complete.
Abbott, the Texas governor, released a statement offering the state’s help to the Fort Hood community “as they deal with this tragedy,” saying “Texas will forever remain grateful for their sacrifices.”
Fort Hood, covering more than 300 square miles, is the largest active duty armored post in the U.S. Armed Services, according to its website. About 41,000 soldiers work there.
Maj. Gen. John C. Thomson III, 1st Cavalry Division Commanding General, said in a release that the 1st Cavalry Division is “deeply saddened by the loss of several Troopers and continue search operations. Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated during this difficult time as we care for the Families, loved ones, and fellow Soldiers of those impacted by this tragedy. God Bless the First Team.”