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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, March 12, 2006

Soldier in training killed on Big Island

By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer

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One of five Schofield Barracks soldiers injured Friday afternoon while training on the Big Island died that night, the Army said yesterday.

"The soldiers were conducting live-fire training at the Pohakuloa Training Area when the incident occurred," said Kendrick Washington of the Media Relations Office, 25th Infantry Division & U.S. Army, Hawai'i. "We don't know the exact cause of the accident."

Washington said Army policy did not allow him to release any details about the incident at this time.

However, a report released by the Hawai'i County Fire Department, which helped transport the soldiers from the training area to Hilo Medical Center, said all five "sustained blast trauma due to munitions malfunction."

The Fire Department listed the explosion as "accidental."

Four of the soldiers were moved by a Black Hawk helicopter to the Hilo Medical Center, and the other went by ambulance, Washington said. "And then they were flown from Hilo to The Queen's Medical Center early Saturday morning."

One of the soldiers died ion the Big Island, Washington said.

Washington said Army officials notified the soldier's family yesterday morning. He no details about the incident would be released until 24 hours after the notification.

Washington said a military safety team was on the scene yesterday and that all live-fire training had been suspended.

The Pohakuloa Training Area consists of 109,000 acres used by the military for training aircraft and ground troops.

The military had increased troop maneuvers on the Big Island after a federal court last month rejected the Army's bid to resume live-fire training in Makua Valley on O'ahu.

Reach Will Hoover at whoover@honoluluadvertiser.com.