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Soldier dies of suspected heatstroke during Commando training. Another in hospital.

An inquiry has been opened into the mystery death of a young soldier undergoing Commando training in blistering temperatures in Alcochete on Sunday.

A second soldier is still under observation after being taken ill in another exercise at the training ground on the same day.

The inquiry will be trying to establish not only why the soldier died, but whether or not the training exercises that took place yesterday were properly conditioned to the weather, which was stultifyingly hot.

According to reports, the young man’s death has been attributed to “heatstroke”, but it was not instant.

He was ‘evacuated’ to the infirmary at the base and put under observation.

It was only “after dinner” that his condition deteriorated and the doctor on duty decided his patient should be transferred to a civilian hospital.

He died on the way, a military source has admitted – stressing “all first aid support was given”.

The same source, talking to reporters at midnight on Sunday, admitted it was “premature to say what really happened”, thus expectations now focus on the inquiry.

Lieutenant Colonel Vicente Pereira, speaking for the army, has told TSF radio that exercises are usually “adapted so that they go ahead safely”.

The soldier who died is understood to have been involved in a “reactive shooting” session.

The soldier who later became unwell in another exercise was being instructed in “combat techniques”.

But “more important” for the army than even the inquiry right now, Lt Col Pereira told TSF, was the need to support the families of both soldiers, and indeed the families of other young men on the Commando training course.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com