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West Point Says 1 Cadet Killed, 22 Other People Injured In Road Accident

Military vehicles sit alongside Route 293 in New York, near the area where a personnel vehicle reportedly overturned. One cadet died in the accident, West Point says.
Allyse Pulliam

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point says one of its cadets died in an accident Thursday morning near a training area in New York state. Twenty cadets and two soldiers were injured, the academy says.

The accident occurred around 6:45 a.m. ET and involved a light medium tactical vehicle, the military's multipurpose transport truck. The truck's rear is fitted with two benches and covered by a soft canopy. The academy says the accident happened off Route 293, near the Camp Natural Bridge training site, which is about 7 miles west-southwest of West Point.

"Today was a tragic day for the West Point community and our United States Army," Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams said.

In a midday news conference held near the scene of the crash, Williams said the cadets' truck had been involved in a "rollover accident." The superintendent also said that there were no life-threatening injuries among those who were taken to the hospital.

The truck had been traveling down a dirt road in hilly terrain, moving senior cadets to another training area, Lt. Col. Christopher Ophardt, West Point's public affairs officer, told reporters after the briefing.

The two soldiers who were hurt are based at Fort Benning, Ga., Ophardt said. The pair had been in the truck's cab; one of them was driving the vehicle.

"Details of the incident are under investigation," West Point announced.

A helicopter dispatched by NBC 4 New York showed the military vehicle had overturned, its undercarriage clearly visible through an opening in the dense tree canopy.

Local and state agencies responded to the emergency, the academy said.

President Trump responded to the accident in a tweet sent from Europe, where he has been commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

"We mourn the loss of life and pray for the injured," Trump said. "God Bless them ALL!"

In a statement about the incident, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, "My heart breaks for all those involved in the tragic training accident at West Point this morning."

Cuomo added that he has directed the state's emergency management office to offer any help needed by the academy and agencies involved in the response.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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