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Security expert: Training exercises can be deadlier than active service

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Thursday, 9 May 2019, 5:43PM
A Lance Corporal has died after a training exercise at Ardmore. (Photo / File)

The dangerous reality of Defence Force training is that accidents happen, one security expert says.

New Zealand SAS soldier Lance Corporal Nicholas Kahotea died after being flown to Auckland City Hospital in a critical condition last night.

It comes as our troops undertake joint counter-terrorism exercises with the US in Auckland and Waiouru.

Former intelligence officer turned security studies professor Rhys Ball told Mike Yardley that these exercises tend to be set in urban and built-up environments, and tend not to be at just one fixed sight. 

"They will carry out simulation exercises. They have a training facility in Ardmore, and it appears that's where the accident took place."

Ball says that they do tend to use airports or high-rise buildings to simulate certain environments. 

He says that these exercises are "pretty dangerous", and can result in more deaths and injures than active service.

"They are dealing with live rounds, they are jumping out of aircraft at night, so all of these techniques involve a significant amount of risk."

Ball says that 11 people have been killed in training exercises, while over six have been killed on active service. 

He says it is too early to say how the death of an SAS trooper will affect military exercises, as these exercises take years of planning.

"I don't think we will see changes at approach when it comes to training. It is a risk that special operations forces do take. They tend to manage their exercise in as safe a way as possible."

Police were now investigating on behalf of the Coroner, and the Defence Force hold a Court of Inquiry.


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