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Friday, 2 August, 2002, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
British soldiers killed in Oman
British troops in Oman
Britain regularly uses Oman for exercises
Two British soldiers have been killed in separate training accidents in Oman, one during a parachute jump and the other on a firing range.

Inquiry boards are being set up to try to establish why the soldiers - believed to be members of the SAS - died.

The first soldier was involved in a parachuting accident on 17 July and died of his injuries on Thursday, 1 August. On 27 July the second man was fatally injured on a firing range.

An MoD spokeswoman said the soldiers - one an engineer - had been taking part in a "routine Army field training exercise" in Oman.


Boards of inquiry will be convened into both fatalities

Ministry of Defence
She said the department would not comment on speculation that the men may have been training for a continuation of the war against terror, and possible action in Iraq.

The MoD had not announced the deaths until approached by the media as a mark of respect to the men's families, the spokeswoman added.

She said: "Boards of inquiry will be convened into both fatalities."

The MoD has not named either of the men and funeral dates have not been set.

Training

Health and safety regulations regarding training for SAS soldiers are stricter now than they were in the past.

But the nature of the training, which includes live ammunition, means there is always an element of danger.

Several members of the SAS have been killed in the last couple of years, most of them in traffic accidents.

Late last year two British soldiers in Oman died in road accidents.

Secretive

The deaths follow a major operation, Saif Sareea II, involving 22,500 personnel from all three services last year.

Oman is considered ideal for training, as it is secretive and offers desert conditions.

It was used to help troops train for active service in Afghanistan

Earlier this week the National Audit Office criticised the equipment used by British troops in Saif Sareea II.

It said tanks, helicopters, radios, rifles and even the soldiers' boots failed to stand up to the heat and dust of the desert.

See also:

24 Oct 01 | UK
03 Nov 01 | Scotland
02 Aug 02 | UK
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