| Two noncommissioned officers in the South Korean Army`s special forces have died of apparent suffocation and another has been injured during a training exercise for survival in captivity situations. The Army is under fire for loose safety measures despite the high intensity of the drill.
According to the South Korean military authorities on Tuesday, two staff sergeants were killed and another of a Special Warfare Command unit in Jeungpyeong, North Chungcheong Province, was injured during the captivity experience training around 10:40 a.m. Tuesday. They were receiving training simulating a situation in which they are held captive by enemies at a two-story training facility within the base from 9:00 a.m. To simulate a realistic captivity situation, they spent about an hour on their knees with their hands tied behind their backs while wearing polyester hoods over their faces.
A military official said that a training controlling officer checked the soldiers after hearing a scream and found two of them unconscious. They were rushed to an infirmary for first aid resuscitation before being taken to an intensive care unit of Cheongju St. Mary`s Hospital. However, two of them died. The other one is reportedly not in a critical condition. "The hospital presumed that the two dead soldiers died of apparent suffocation," an official at the unit said, adding that the exact cause of their deaths is under investigation.
The military authorities said that the Special Warfare Command introduced the captivity training for the first time this year by order of its commander, Lieutenant General Jeon In-beom. "It seems that the unit failed to control the highly intensive training and take proper safety measures," a Special Warfare Command official said. The military plans to reprimand relevant officers and men who are found to have failed to adhere to safety procedures.