Army Report Blames Overconfidence for Training Avalanche

In this still image from video provided by WCAX-TV Channel 3, a U.S. Army soldier is evacuated on a stretcher, right, following an avalanche Wednesday, March 14, 2018, after participating in U.S. Army mountain-wartime training near Easy Gully in Smugglers Notch, a narrow pass at the edge of Mount Mansfield, in Cambridge, Vt. (WCAX-TV Channel 3 via AP)
In this still image from video provided by WCAX-TV Channel 3, a U.S. Army soldier is evacuated on a stretcher, right, following an avalanche Wednesday, March 14, 2018, after participating in U.S. Army mountain-wartime training near Easy Gully in Smugglers Notch, a narrow pass at the edge of Mount Mansfield, in Cambridge, Vt. (WCAX-TV Channel 3 via AP)

BURLINGTON, Vt. — A U.S. Army accident report suggests overconfidence was a factor when Vermont soldiers were hit by an avalanche during a training exercise.

The Burlington Free Press reported Wednesday an instructor in the heavily redacted report said soldiers underestimated the overall avalanche risk and overestimated their ability to mitigate conditions.

Six soldiers were climbing Smugglers Notch in Jeffersonville in March when the snow gave way. Five of the soldiers were hospitalized for their injuries.

The soldiers were part of a training program in the Army's Mountain Warfare School run by the Vermont National Guard.

The report shows mountain school officials skipped a morning safety meeting the day of the avalanche, and no one in the squad had a beacon, shovel or probe.

The "Findings and Recommendations" section was redacted from the report.

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