At least one cadet is dead and more than 20 others are injured after a military tactical vehicle overturned on Thursday near the U.S. Military Academy, the institution said.
Twenty cadets and two soldiers were hurt when a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle crashed around 6:45 a.m. near the Camp Natural Bridge training site in Orange County, N.Y., the U.S. Military Academy tweeted.
Victims were taken to hospitals with injuries not believed to be life-threatening, including wounds to the face and a broken arm, academy officials said during a news conference streamed online. All of the cadets on the vehicle were rising seniors, said Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, the superintendent of the academy.
Christopher J. Morgan, 22, was pronounced dead around 11 a.m. on Thursday, academy officials said. He was from West Orange, N.J., and was studying law and legal studies. Morgan had been recruited to the academy to compete on the wrestling team.
“He was a talented, hardworking, and determined athlete who loved his sport,” wrestling coach Kevin Ward said in a statement. “Chris had an infectious personality with a smile big enough to fill any room, and a heart big enough to love everyone around him. He made everyone around him better and he will be greatly missed.”
Lt. Col. Christopher Ophardt, a spokesman for the academy, said Thursday that two soldiers were driving the five-ton cargo carrier from the cadets’ barracks off Route 293 to a nearby area set up for land-navigation exercises.
Tactical vehicles do not typically roll over, Williams said, but the cadets intentionally train in a hilly area to simulate a realistic environment. Camp Natural Bridge is located on the edge of Harriman State Park.
Details of the crash are under investigation, Williams said.
“This is the United States Army,” he said. “We’re strong here at West Point.”
Each summer, about 2,400 cadets at the academy participate in intensive summer training programs that teach educational, military and physical skills.
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) told Albany radio station WAMC on Thursday morning that state troopers and emergency medical services were helping at the scene of the accident.
“These are young people who are dedicating their lives. It’s the anniversary of D-Day,” Cuomo told WAMC. “It really is a sad, sad moment, and it’s especially poignant on the anniversary of D-Day. But I think it’s going to be worse than what we’ve heard.”
President Trump expressed his condolences on Twitter: “So sorry to hear about the terrible accident involving our GREAT West Point Cadets. We mourn the loss of life and pray for the injured. God Bless them ALL!”
The rollover was the second death of a West Point cadet this year. Peter Zhu, 21, fractured his spinal cord in February on the academy’s ski slopes and was declared brain dead days later. His parents made news when a judge ruled that they could freeze Zhu’s sperm to create a child.