FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (AP) — Five international soldiers who were on holiday leave during a temporary assignment at Fort Leonard Wood drowned when their car went off a dark, rural highway in southwest Missouri.
The soldiers were returning to the fort from Osage Beach Saturday night when their car was swept off Highway U near Crocker, about 15 miles northwest of Fort Leonard Wood, Pulaski County Sheriff Ron Long said.
All five soldiers were attending officer education at the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, a program that brings troops from other countries to the installation to study engineering, military policing and chemical defense.
The victims were identified Wednesday as Maj. Mohammad Hassan Ibrahim, 32, Egypt; Maj. Akram Abu Al-rub, 38, Jordan; Capt. Ahmed Moussouni, 32, Algeria; Capt. Ahmed Abdelghani, 29, Egypt; and Capt. Hasman Hussin, 33, Malaysia. Fort officials said the bodies are being returned to the men’s home countries for burial.
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The bodies of four of the trainees were recovered Sunday and the fifth was found Tuesday.
“Some were recovered in the car and outside it,” Long told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1NWjtbt ). “The last one was way downstream.”
The men were driving back to the fort after a shopping trip, he said. A witness reported seeing the car go off the road about 8:30 p.m. Saturday and quickly lost sight of the car floating away.
“It’s just a very dark and rural highway, and I am sure they had no idea of what was ahead of them until they got into the water,” Long said. “Most of the time, these roads are traveled by people who know what lies ahead. They don’t venture off into the water.”