Four more bodies of US soldiers have been recovered, taking the death toll to nine after a military vehicle was swept away in floodwater at Fort Hood, Texas. Three bodies were found soon after the accident but the four soldiers were reported missing.
Fort Hood officials reportedly said that the 2.5-ton vehicle was on a routine exercise when it was swept away by the current during heavy flooding in the area. They have termed it an "unfortunate" accident.
Maj Gen John Uberti, deputy commander at Fort Hood, was quoted by BBC as saying the four bodies of the missing soldiers were found downstream from the Owl Creek Tactical Crossing from where the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle had swept away. Fort Hood spokesman Chris Haug said the vehicle was at a low-water crossing point when it was swept away. Haug noted the vehicle was in the "proper place for what they were training", but it was "an unfortunate accident" that occurred during training.
Three soldiers were found dead soon after the accident and two more bodies were recovered late on Thursday night, officials added. The US army has not revealed the identities of any of the victims but is notifying the relatives about the unfortunate incident.
Three occupants of the vehicle, meanwhile, survived the accident and were admitted to Fort Hood's hospital. They have been discharged on Friday. Aircraft, canine search teams and swift-water rescue watercraft were deployed to search for the missing soldiers in the 20-mile Owl Creek.
"This tragedy extends well beyond Fort Hood and the outpouring of support from the country is sincerely appreciated," Uberti reportedly said.
Meanwhile, record-breaking torrential rains and flooding continue to wreak havoc in Texas and has so far claimed at least six lives. Governor Greg Abbott has reportedly declared a state of disaster in 31 counties across Texas as weather forecast for the weekend warned of severe storms.