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  1. ITV Report

Details and timeline of SAS march during which three soldiers died

Lance Corporal Edward Maher, Corporal James Dunsby and Lance Corporal Craig Roberts. Credit: MoD/ Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Details and timings of what happened to three soldiers who died in 2013 while on a long march as part of the SAS selection process has been released as the inquests into their deaths begins.

Lance Corporal Edward Maher, Corporal James Dunsby and Lance Corporal Craig Roberts were carrying kit of at least 49lb (22kg) - not including their food and water on the 16-mile (26km) march.

The earliest signs that the hot conditions were getting to some of the other men taking part were at 11.18am, when a report came in of two men - not among the dead - who were "struggling".

Between 12.14pm and 4.53pm, at least nine soldiers were recorded as having problems with the heat, including Cpl Dunsby, L/Cpl Maher and L/Cpl Roberts.

Tracking data from the three men was able to show exactly where they succumbed to the conditions.

L/Cpl Roberts and L/Cpl Maher had been making "good time", then suddenly their GPS monitors showed they had stopped.

SAS recruits taking part in an endurance march in the Brecon Beacons in 1981 Credit: PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images
  • 11.18am first reports of men struggling with the heat.
  • At 3.36pm, L/Cpl Roberts activated his personal "man-down" beacon showing he was in trouble, and was found 25 minutes later.
  • L/Cpl Maher, had set off on the same route at a slightly different time, but at 4.10pm his tracker showed he had also stopped. He was not found for another 45 minutes, and was "not breathing". He was only about 1,000 yards from the finishing line.
  • Cpl Dunsby was on a different route, but started to fall behind time. At 4.10pm, he was noted as not making any progress, and at 4.52pm he was actually found by directing staff

Both L/Cpl Roberts and L/Cpl Maher died of hyperthermia, while Cpl Dunsby died of multiple organ failure as a result of hyperthermia. Data from a weather station five miles from the Brecons showed the temperature was just over 27C by late afternoon.

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