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Second soldier dies from Commando training “heatstroke”

A second soldier has died following last weekend’s spate of hospitalisations ‘due to heastroke’ suffered during Commando training at an army base in Alcochete.

The condition of Dylan da Silva, 20, was described as critical earlier this week, after it was revealed that he was too ill to undergo the liver transplant operation that was said to be “vital” to save his life.

On Thursday, his father Vítor da Silva was quoted as saying the situation was a “story badly told” (a literal translation from the Portuguese, which can be loosely translated as ‘a whitewash’).

“Dylan’s liver is ruined. His kidneys don’t work. This is not normal”, he told Correio da Manhã.

Dylan was prepared for Commando training, da Silva explained. He “ran every day”. He was not in the kind of shape that would warrant “ending up like this after a training exercise”.

“This has to be investigated, and I will attack them”, the heartbroken father added.

Yesterday, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa visited two other recruits who are recovering at the Armed Forces Hospital in Lisbon from what elsewhere is being dubbed a “golpe de calor” (literal translation: heatstroke), and further light was shed on what may have been behind the dismal incident.

As we reported earlier this week, 20-year-old Hugo Abreu died last Sunday as a result of the exercises in stultifying temperatures, and 11 other recruits were treated in the barracks infirmary – five of which required hospital treatment.

The disaster has already led the Ministry of Defence to suspend all Commando training programmes (click here).

Now, CM has revealed that the ‘heatstroke’ could be a much softer name for a syndrome known as Rhabdomyolysis, “a clinical situation provoked by exhaustion, heat and drugs, that causes muscles to produce a toxin that damages the kidneys and other organs”, says the paper.

What happens next remains to be seen. The Ministry of Defence has “presented its profound condolences”, reports TSF radio, while President Marcelo has assured that an inquiry is underway to find out how so many ‘fighting fit’ young men could have been taken so ill, and how two could have become so compromised that their lives ended.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com