US soldiers training for mountain warfare hit by avalanche

A mountain warfare training exercise almost turned deadly for six US soldiers on Wednesday who got caught in an avalanche on one of Vermont’s tallest peaks.

Rescue crews worked for more than hour to save the servicemen following the 1 p.m. snowslide near Smugglers’ Notch, according to Army officials.

The narrow pass is located at the northern edge of Mount Mansfield, the state’s highest mountain.

All six survived and were successfully located — with five going to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and the other returning to active duty, WVNY reports.

The soldiers had been training in Easy Gully with the Army Mountain Warfare School when the avalanche happened, says Sgt. Nathan Rivard, public affairs deputy for the Vermont National Guard.

The school is based in Jericho, Vt., and teaches military personnel how to “navigate and fight in rough terrain,” according to the Army website.

“The program is built to teach Soldiers and commanders operational endurance and self-sufficiency,” the site says.

Smugglers’ Notch reportedly received nearly two feet of snow over the last 24 hours — and was expected to get more. The white stuff was still falling throughout the Mount Mansfield area as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

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