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Body recovered after river accident

Around 100 troops and rescue specialists are continuing the search Keystone

Rescuers have found the body of one of two soldiers who went missing after an army boating incident in the Bernese Oberland.

This content was published on June 14, 2008 - 17:04

Police confirmed the recovery of a body from the River Kander near Wimmis on Saturday afternoon.

Rescuers have been searching for the two soldiers since Thursday's incident in which three others died.

A police spokesman said the body was one of the missing men but his identity still needed to be confirmed.

The accident happened during what was apparently a team-building exercise.

Two rubber boats that collided while carrying ten men from an airfield security unit have been recovered, but it remains unclear what went wrong.

The army has so far been unable to say whether the boats were designed for the type of exercise that was undertaken, or if soldiers had already travelled down the Kander this way before.

Inquiry

A preliminary inquiry is investigating suspicions of negligence resulting in death and serious bodily harm, said military spokeswoman Silvia Schenker.

The company commander in charge of the exercise was also injured during the river accident and is due to undergo an operation. He will be questioned after approval has been given by doctors.

Meanwhile the search of the area continues for a fifth missing soldier. Around 100 rescue specialists and troops are involved.

Sonar equipment and underwater cameras are being used, and helicopters are carrying out air searches.

Five of the soldiers were injured and treated in hospital.

Altogether four soldiers have been confirmed dead. A defence ministry spokesman said psychologists were on hand to support their families.

A memorial service is planned for the victims next week in Thun.

swissinfo with agencies

Recent army accidents

July 12, 2007: six recruits die in an avalanche on the Jungfrau in the Bernese Oberland, the worst accident in 15 years for the armed forces.

October 12, 2001: an Alouette III helicopter hits a cable near Crans-Montana in canton Valais and crashes, killing all four people on board.

May 25, 2001: an Alouette III helicopter hits a cable near Delémont in canton Jura, killing the pilot and three border guards.

November 12, 1997: a Pilatus Turbo-Porter aircraft crashes during an exercise near Simmental in canton Bern. The pilot and four passengers die.

June 22, 1994: a civilian helicopter collides with a Swiss army Super Puma helicopter and crashes. A British couple and the pilot are killed.

April 27,1993: an army Pilatus Porter is caught up in high winds and flies into a cliff on the Finsteraarhorn in canton Bern. Three people die.

November 2, 1992: six people die when a munitions depot blows up near Susten in canton Bern.

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