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Preliminary Loss Reports (PLRs)

About Preliminary Loss Reports (PLRs)

Preliminary Loss Reports provide leaders with awareness of Army loss and highlight potential trends that affect combat readiness. Within 72 hours of a loss, PLRs provide a synopsis of the incident: unit, date of loss, description of the activity at the time of the death. PLRs do not identify root causes of an accident, as the investigation is ongoing. Further details will be available later on RMIS (account required).

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PLR 21-019 Sports, Recreation, and Physical Training Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life

Posting Date:   /   Categories: Preliminary Loss Reports, Sports & Recreation
A Private First Class assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, died in a Sports, Recreation and Physical Training mishap 24 November 2020 on the installation. The Soldier was operating his dirt bike with his friend near the Fort Bragg training area. The friend left about 1430, while the Soldier continued riding. He was traveling east on a dirt road when he struck a tree. At approximately 2340, members of the Soldier’s platoon discovered his dirt bike. A special agent with the Criminal Investigation Division notified the platoon that a body was recovered and they were awaiting confirmation that it was the Soldier. The following morning, the Soldier’s battalion and company commander identified his body. This investigation is currently ongoing. Alcohol use is not suspected in the incident. Personal protective equipment was worn, but completion of the required Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses is unknown at this time.

Since 2016, the Army has lost an average of 13 Soldiers a year to Sports, Recreation and Physical Training mishaps. This mishap is the second off-duty Sports, Recreation and Physical Training fatality of FY21 and above the number of fatalities for the same time period last year.


If you are planning to operate any off-road type of disciplines or simply trail riding with others, be sure to stay on well-marked and frequently used trails to prevent any occurrences with fencing and avoid unforeseen surprises such as holes, abandoned mines, well pipes, debris, ditches or drop offs, all of which could be disastrous if encountered suddenly at speed.

Dirt Bike Riding Tips:

-Always wear a Department of Transportation-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots and gloves.
-Except for dual-purpose models, never ride on paved surfaces except to cross when done safely and permitted by law; another vehicle could hit you. Dirt bikes are designed to be operated off-highway.
-Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
-Supervise riders younger than 16; dirt bikes are not toys.
-Never permit youngsters to ride dirt bikes that are too tall or too powerful for their capabilities.
-Don’t ride alone on remote trails. Use the buddy system.
-Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
-Take a hands-on riding course.

 

 

PLR 21-005 - Off-Duty Water-Related Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life

Posting Date:   /   Categories: Preliminary Loss Reports, Sports & Recreation
A Chief Warrant Officer 2 assigned to U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, Republic of Korea, and TDY to Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Georgia, died in an off-duty water-related mishap 18 October 2020 on Tybee Island, Georgia, at 1510 local. After eating lunch on the beach, the Soldier walked out to a sandbar until he was waist deep in the water. His friends lost sight of the Soldier and notified a lifeguard, who began searching. At approximately 1700, the lifeguard found the Soldier unresponsive in the water. The county coroner pronounced the Soldier dead at 1829. No alcohol use was reported; however, Tybee Island had red beach flags posted, indicating high-hazard conditions.

Since FY16, the Army has lost an average of eight Soldiers a year to off-duty water-related mishaps. This tragedy was the first fatal off-duty water-related mishap of FY21 and below the number of off-duty water-related fatalities from this time last year.

Safety tips for swimming at the beach:
- Never swim alone and, when possible, swim at a lifeguard-protected beach.
- Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
- Make sure you understand the significance of warning flags and understand that the absence of red flags does not assure safe conditions.
- When swimming at an unguarded beach, be cautious at all times. If in doubt, don’t go out!
- When caught in a rip current, remain calm to think clearly and conserve your energy:
* Don’t fight a rip current. If you are unable to swim out of it, float or tread water calmly. Then swim parallel to the shoreline.
* When certain you are out of the current, swim toward shore.
* If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself: face the shore, wave your arms and yell for help.

 

 

PLR 20-086 - Off-Duty Sports, Recreation, and Physical Training Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life

Posting Date:   /   Categories: Preliminary Loss Reports, Sports & Recreation
A Sergeant assigned to Vicenza, Italy, died in an off-duty hiking mishap 19 September 2020 in Valli del Pasubio, Italy. The Soldier was hiking on the Road of 52 Tunnels trail with another Soldier when he stopped to pose for a picture and fell approximately 300 meters through steep and rocky terrain. When the other Soldier could not locate or communicate with the fallen Soldier, he coordinated a medical evacuation with the assistance of an Italian guide. Italian medical personnel made multiple attempts in difficult terrain to retrieve the Soldier before finally evacuating him to a local hospital. While en route, the on-board MEDEVAC physician pronounced the Soldier dead. The mishap is under investigation.

Since FY16, the Army has lost an average of five Soldiers a year to off-duty sports, recreation and physical training mishaps. This tragedy was the third fatal off-duty sports, recreation and physical training mishap of FY20 and below the number of fatalities from this time last year.

The Road of 52 Tunnels was built during World War I by the Italian Army. Back then, it was designated for mules, which carried equipment and supplies to the Italian front lines. The road is situated in northern Italy and is a popular hiking trail.


Hiking Safety Tips:

1. Consult a park ranger.
When deciding where to hike, your best bet is typically going to be a national or state park. They're staffed by rangers with a wealth of information about what you need to stay safe in that particular location. Give the park office a call before your hike, visit the official National Park Service (NPS) site or stop by the office before you leave the trailhead.

2. Agree on an emergency plan.
Part of your plan for any hike should be what you're going to do in an emergency situation. Before heading out, know how you will call or send for help in the unlikely event something bad happens.

These are the key questions your plan needs to answer:

-Will there be reliable cell service? Is someone bringing a fully charged phone and a portable charger? If not, is someone bringing a personal locator beacon, satellite messaging device that can get emergency messages out by pinging satellites with your GPS data, or satellite phone?
-If there's an emergency, does the park have its own emergency number, or should you call
911?
-If you can't transmit a message, which one of you will volunteer to get help?

3. Stay on the trail.
For the sake of your own safety, the natural resources, other hikers and a potential search party, it is paramount that you stay on that trail. Your odds of encountering a risky obstacle go up when you step off the path. It's also easy to get turned around. Veering off the trail also leads to what rangers call "social trails," or unofficial routes carved into the wilderness by wayward hikers. Social trails can trample vegetation, disturb animals, cause erosion and endanger hikers after you who might think it's the right way.

4. Go for a small trial hike before taking on a major one.
Some things are hard to figure out until you're actually out there. Go for a modest hike before a major one, especially if you're new to hiking. A modest hike allows you to shake out your gear, feel out the weight of your pack, break in your boots, and figure out how much food and water you consume as an individual.

5. Be extra careful on the second half of the hike.
The second half of a trip or the end of the day is usually when accidents like falls, slips and trips happen. Your energy levels are lower, your leg muscles are fatigued and your mind might be more focused on getting to the finish than the next step. Take your time and be extra careful with your footing.

6. Be ready to turn back.
You can look at a map and talk to folks all day. But when the rubber meets the road and you have to make decisions, you've got to be willing to turn around. You're more likely to make a poor judgment call — ignoring signs your body needs a break, pushing a straggler to keep up, pressing on when a storm rolls in — when you're hyper-focused on getting to an endpoint. You'll find it easier to be flexible if you keep in mind an objective besides the summit, literally or metaphorically.

 

 

PLR 20-081- Off-Duty Sports, Recreation and Physical Training Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life

Posting Date:   /   Categories: Preliminary Loss Reports, Sports & Recreation
A Captain assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, died in an off-duty hiking mishap 4 September 2020 in Big Heart Lake, Washington, at 1230 local. The Soldier was hiking with a group of other Soldiers when he slipped on loose rocks and tumbled down a slope, striking several other rocks on the way toward a lake below. He did not resurface. A nearby hiker used a handheld satellite communicator device that allows GPS messaging to emergency services to report the incident. King County search and rescue personnel received the message and launched a team of hikers to investigate the site. Rescue and recovery efforts were hampered by fog, delaying their response until the following day, when they recovered the Soldier's body and made positive identification.

Since FY16, the Army has lost an average of 12 Soldiers a year to off-duty sports, recreation and physical training mishaps. This tragedy was the second fatal off-duty sports, recreation and physical training mishap of FY20 and below the number of fatalities from this time last year.


1. Consult a park ranger.
When deciding where to hike, your best bet is typically going to be a national or state park. They’re staffed by rangers with a wealth of information about what you need to stay safe in that particular location. Give the park office a call before your hike, visit the official National Park Service (NPS) site, or stop by the office before you leave the trailhead.

“By reaching out to the park department, you’ll get a lot of key information about what you might encounter,” Hoyer says, such as “big and little critters,” toxic flora and fauna, and recent changes to the terrain, like fallen trees or rockslides. The park department can tell you how to stay safe in the environment and how to protect it from human damage too.

2. Bring at least one friend.
You and your companions should discuss a few things before you set out, like how strenuous a hike you're all OK with, the general itinerary, and an emergency plan. Those last two deserve a bit more detail, so let's get to it.

3. Create an itinerary and share it with someone outside of the group.
Draw up a rough plan that all members of your party agree upon well before you leave the trailhead. Include your starting point and time, destination, route, and anticipated finish time. When calculating timing, keep in mind that it can be really tough to predict how long a hike will take when on unfamiliar terrain.

Share this plan with at least one person not hiking with you. You can also leave this info with the park office. If you don’t return on time, someone will be able to relay this key information to a search party if necessary.

4. Agree on an emergency plan.
Part of your plan for any hike should be what you’re going to do in an emergency situation. Before heading out, know how you will call or send for help in the unlikely event something bad happens. (Again, the park service is a prime resource here).

These are the key questions your plan needs to answer:
•Will there be reliable cell service? Is someone bringing a fully charged phone and a portable charger?
•If not: Is someone bringing a personal locator beacon, satellite messaging device that can get emergency messages out by pinging satellites with your GPS data, or satellite phone?
•If there’s an emergency, does the park have its own emergency number, or should you call 9-1-1?
•If you can’t transmit a message, which one of you will volunteer to go get help?

5. Prepare for the weather.
This goes beyond just checking the weather before your hike. Talk to the rangers or consult the park site to find out what inclement weather events are most likely at this time of year and how to stay safe in them. Thunder and lightning are common dangers. If you get caught in them, the NPS advises making your way towards shelter and spreading out in case one person is struck (unlikely, but still). Also, avoid high and open areas (like boulders or fields), tall objects like trees, bodies of water, and metal.

Even small changes in weather can make your whole hike much riskier because of how they affect the terrain.

6. Pack the 10 Essentials.
The 10 Essentials is a list of emergency provisions originally created by Pacific Northwest hiking and conservation non-profit the Mountaineers. According to the Mountaineers, the objective of the 10 Essentials is to ensure that you can respond to an emergency and spend at least one night outdoors. It’s a classic reference point in the hiking community for beginners and experts alike.

Here’s NPS’s expanded version of the 10 Essentials:

1.First aid kit
2.Navigation: map, compass, and GPS
3.Sun protection: sunscreen, sunglasses, hat
4.Insulation: jacket/raincoat, extra layers
5.Illumination: flashlight, lantern, or headlamp
6.Fire: matches, lighter, fire starters
7.Repair kit: duct tape and multifunctional tool
8.Nutrition: at least an extra day’s supply of no-cook, nutritious food
9.Hydration: water and/or means of water purification
10.Emergency shelter: tent, space blanket, tarp, bivy (as in, emergency shelter for a sleeping bag)

The list is non-exhaustive and adaptable, so keep the circumstances of your hike in mind when assembling your pack.

7. Customize your first aid kit.
Having a premade first aid kit containing items like adhesive and elastic wrap bandages and antiseptic. This will help you deal with the most common hiking injuries, like scrapes, ankle rolls, and bug bites. You can find a first aid kit at a drugstore or online. Bring any medications you take on a regular or emergency basis, like insulin if you use it to manage diabetes or an EpiPen if you’re allergic to bees.

8. Buy proper hiking boots and socks.
Properly fitting footwear with good cushioning and grip is essential for avoiding issues like rolling an ankle due to improper support. It will also help you prevent one of the most painful hiking hindrances: blisters. Avoid cotton socks. They retain moisture from sweaty feet, causing skin to blister more easily. Instead, opt for hiking socks made from materials like wool or synthetics made to wick away moisture and ease friction. To help keep your feet dry during your hike take off your boots and socks when you sit to rest.

Always bring blister dressings in your first aid kit, too. As soon as you feel discomfort stop and inspect your feet for signs of a nascent blister, like redness and irritation. And if you’re breaking in new boots or have a problem area that tends to blister easily, consider applying blister dressings before you start hiking.

9. Protect yourself from the sun.
Your first line of defense here is good timing. To avoid the peak hours of sun and heat, most experienced hikers set out in the early morning or late afternoon. Also, heed the weather report. If it’s going to be 100 degrees and clear skies, it’s not the best day for a four-hour trek through shade-free terrain.

Cover exposed skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has at least SPF 30, and don’t forget to reapply based on the product’s instructions. Wear sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat to shade your face and neck. And to protect yourself from heat illness, which can range from miserable (heat rash, heat exhaustion) to life-threatening (heat stroke), the NPS recommends staying hydrated and taking frequent breaks, preferably in the shade.

Finally, pay attention to how you’re feeling and take action at the first sign of a problem. “You can pick up on the signs that you're getting too hot or dehydrated before they become a real big issue. If you or someone in your party experiences symptoms of heat illness like headache, dizziness, nausea, and confusion, the NPS recommends stopping. Then you should move the affected person into a cool and shady area if possible, call or send for help, give them water to drink, and douse them with water as well. (By the way, if you’re hiking at high elevation, be on the lookout for altitude sickness, too.)

10. Bring extra water or a purification system.
The NPS recommends drinking about one-half liter to one liter per hour while active outdoors. The exact amount you need will depend on the circumstances of your hike as well as your usual water intake. While you can bring all your water with you (especially on a short hike), if you want to save weight, find out if there will be places to refill your bottle with potable water and if there are any natural water sources along the trail. (If you’re visiting a national or state park, the rangers or site should have this info.)

If there are natural sources of water, you can take advantage (and lighten your pack!) by bringing purification and disinfection materials. You can use a heat-safe container and heat source to boil water, according to the NPS. You can also use a physical filter to remove larger contaminants plus a disinfecting tablet or liquid to kill microscopic pathogens.
Never drink unpurified water while on a hike (or otherwise). Even if it’s the most crystalline spring water you’ve ever seen, it could contain potentially harmful pathogens, according to the NPS.

11. Stay on the trail.
For the sake of your own safety, the natural resources, other hikers, and a potential search party, “it is paramount that you stay on that trail. Your odds of encountering a risky obstacle go up when you step off the path. It’s also easy to get turned around.
Veering off the trail also leads to what rangers call “social trails,” or unofficial routes carved into the wilderness by wayward hikers, Hoyer explains. Social trails can trample vegetation, disturb animals, cause erosion, and endanger hikers after you who might think it’s the right way.

12. Go for a small trial hike before taking on a major one.
Some things are hard to figure out until you’re actually out there. Go for a modest hike before a major one, especially if you’re new to hiking. A modest hike allows you to shake out your gear, feel out the weight of your pack, break in your boots, and figure out how much food and water you consume as an individual.

13. Be extra careful on the second half of the hike.
The second half of a trip or the end of the day is usually when accidents like falls, slips, and trips happen. Your energy levels are lower, your leg muscles are fatigued, and your mind might be more focused on getting to the finish than the next step. Take your time and be extra careful with your footing.

14. Be ready to turn back.
You can look at a map and talk to folks all day. But when the rubber meets the road and you have to make decisions, you’ve got to be willing to turn around.

 

 

PLR 20-077 - Sports, Recreation and Physical Training Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life

Posting Date:   /   Categories: Preliminary Loss Reports, Sports & Recreation
A Private assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, died in a training-related mishap 28 August 2020 on the installation at 0700 local. During the individual release portion of a physical readiness training (PRT) platoon run, the Soldier collapsed and lost consciousness. He remained unresponsive and had a core temperature of 102 F as nearby Soldiers assessed his condition. Several minutes later, medics arrived and began CPR. The Soldier was taken to the installation medical center and placed in a medically induced coma. Two days later, he was transferred to another medical center in Temple, Texas, where he remained in a coma and underwent an apnea test as part of the medical protocol. Doctor’s removed him from oxygen in attempt to have him breathe on his own, but it yielded no positive results. The Soldier was later pronounced dead by the attending doctor. At that time, the Soldier’s family made the decision to remove him from life support. The mishap is under investigation.

Since FY16, the Army has lost an average of one Soldier a year to on-duty sports, recreation, and physical training mishaps. This was the second on-duty sports, recreation, and physical training mishap of FY20.

 

 

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