U.S. Army Soldiers Swept Up in Avalanche During Mountain Warfare Training

Six United States Army soldiers were caught in an avalanche Wednesday while training on mountain warfare, sending most of them to the hospital.

The incident happened at Smugglers' Notch, a mountain pass in Vermont near the state's highest peak, Mount Mansfield. The Vermont National Guard, which runs the Army Mountain Warfare School that was training the soldiers, reported that six soldiers were caught in the avalanche, five of whom were injured.

The injured soldiers were transported to the University of Vermont Medical Center, about 20 miles away in Burlington, while the sixth returned to duty, the Vermont National Guard said in a post on Facebook. Since the original announcement, the Guard has added that "none of the five injured soldiers appear to have sustained life-threatening injuries."

The injured soldiers were not publicly identified, but their families were notified.

It was unclear what caused the avalanche or what the soldiers were doing in Smugglers' Notch when it occurred, but they were at a spot in the notch called Easy Gully, where people practice snow climbing on the steep cliffs.

The six caught up in the cascade of snow had been in an "advanced course" of training in the mountain warfare school, the Guard said.

According to the school's website, it "provides tactical and technical training for mountain warfare and cold weather operations." It is located in Jericho, just southwest of the mountain pass where the avalanche hit.

During the avalanche, the soldiers were pushed along for hundreds of feet but were not buried in the snow, The Burlington Free Press reported.

Rescuers evacuated the group of soldiers, an effort that included stretchers, and ambulances were waiting at the bottom of the mountain, Boston Herald reported.

Northern Vermont has been on the receiving end of heavy snowfall over the last few days, according to the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Burlington, and more snow was expected in the mountains through Friday.

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U.S. Army soldiers train at Smugglers’ Notch in Vermont through the Army Mountain Warfare School. Six United States Army soldiers were caught in an avalanche Wednesday while training on mountain warfare, sending most of them to the hospital. U.S. Department of Defense/Staff Sgt. Sarah Mattison, U.S. Army/Flickr
U.S. Army Soldiers Swept Up in Avalanche During Mountain Warfare Training | U.S.