Heart condition caused tragedy
MoD inquiry report on soldier’s death
The sudden death of an Ecclefechan soldier during an Army fitness test was an “unforeseen tragedy” stemming from an underlying medical condition, an official report has concluded.
Corporal Josh Hoole, 26, of The Rifles, collpased at about 6.30am on July 19 last year in Brecon, Mid Wales.
He was taking part in a “mentally and physically demanding” training course which he’d been passed as medically fit to attend eight days earlier.
Temperatures peaked at just above 30C that day.
A probe into the incident concluded the cause of his death was “within the definition of sudden arrhythmogenic death syndrome (SADS)” – a condition that affects the heart.
A panel found Cpl Hoole would not have known of his susceptibility to SADS and that it was reasonable for the Army not to have known about the problem.
A Ministry of Defence service inquiry into the death was carried out by the Defence Safety Authority, with the findings now made available.
It found a combination of SADS trigger factors – exercise, heat, adrenaline levels and potentially an imbalance of blood salt levels - were “contributory to this accident”.
Writing in the report, Lieutenant General Richard Felton said: “Cpl Hoole was a physically fit, determined and capable infantry soldier.
“He was experienced, with numerous operational deployments under his belt in his eight years of service and had a promising career ahead of him”.
The panel concluded the soldier did not die as a direct result of doing the annual fitness test.
“Cpl Hoole’s medical condition might have manifested itself similarly at any time if what he was doing caused the trigger factors to prompt SADS,” the report stated.
“Furthermore, despite the immediate and comprehensive emergency medical treatment Cpl Hoole received, it was not realistically possible to have saved his life once he had collapsed”.
The panel has made a number of recommendations to address inconsistencies and shortfalls across the areas it examined but said: “It must be stressed that none of these were factors that directly contributed to, or aggravated Cpl Hoole’s death.”
Lt Gen Felton offered his condolences to Cpl Hoole’s family and friends adding: “The loss of such a gifted and promising soldier was an unexpected tragedy.”
Cpl Hoole’s father Phillip confirmed last year that his son had an undiagnosed heart defect that was only revealed by the post-mortem.
Gifted soldier Cpl Josh Hoole