The New Zealand Defence Force confirmed today that a NZ Army soldier undertaking a New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) selection activity earlier this week collapsed and remains in a serious condition in hospital.
Chief of the New Zealand Army, Major General Tim Keating, says the soldier took ill during the NZSAS’s bi-annual selection course.
General Keating wished to confirm details around the incident to avoid unnecessary speculation.
He says that at approximately 1300 hours on Wednesday, 25 January, a group of selection candidates commenced a supervised activity in the Hunua ranges, south east of Auckland. The activity required all candidates to complete an 8km run dressed in military uniform including boots, and carrying equipment in a load carrying vest weighing approximately 10kg.
At approximately 1420 hours, as one of the candidates – a Lieutenant in the NZ Army – was nearing the end of the activity he was seen by other candidates and supervising staff to stop and fall to the ground, where he became unconscious.
“He received immediate first aid assistance and an Army medic commenced treatment within five minutes of his collapse,” says General Keating. “It is standard practice for the NZSAS to have medical staff in close proximity during selection activities of this type.”
A civilian ambulance was requested and the soldier was taken to hospital where he was treated for heat-related injuries.
“The soldier’s condition did not improve and he remains in intensive care in a serious condition. His family is being supported by his Regiment, and our thoughts and wishes are with them.
“As with any incident involving injury that occurs within the NZDF, an inquiry will be conducted,” General Keating says.
Contact: NZ Army Senior Communications and Media Advisor - Major John Gordon: 021 478 574