West Point cadet killed in training accident identified

Authorities on Friday identified a cadet who died one day earlier in a roll-over crash during training at the U.S. Military Academy West Point in New York.

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Officials said Cadet Christopher J. Morgan,22, was set to graduate from the academy in 2020.

Update 12:35 p.m. EDT June 6: Officials identified the cadet killed in Thursday's accident as Christopher J. Morgan, 22, a law and legal studies major who was recruited to join the Army wrestling team.

“We are devastated by the news of Chris’ passing,” Army West  Point wrestling coach Kevin Ward said Friday in a statement. “Chris had an infectious personality with a smile big enough to fill any room, and a heart big enough to love everyone around him.”

Credit: United States Military Academy

Credit: United States Military Academy

Ward described Morgan as “a talented, hardworking and determined athlete who loved his sport.”

“He made everyone around him better and he will be greatly missed,” he said.

Officials said Morgan, of West Orange, New Jersey, died Thursday morning after a light medium tactical vehicle rolled over as soldiers were driving a group of senior cadets to a land navigation training site. Two soldiers and 20 other cadets were injured, officials said.

“Cadet Morgan was a valued member of the Corps of Cadets and will be missed by all,” Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of the U. S. Military Academy, said Friday in a statement. “The entire community is ensuring that our cadets are being cared for physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Morgan family.”

Officials said a vigil will be held by the Corps of Cadets Friday night to honor Morgan. A memorial ceremony and private funeral service will be held at West Point next week.

Update 3 p.m. EDT June 6: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who graduated in 1986 from West Point, shared condolences for the family of the cadet who died Thursday morning in a roll-over accident during training at the military academy.

"Heartbroken for the cadet who was killed in service to our nation at my alma mater, West Point," Pompeo said in a message posted to Twitter. "May the cadet's family find peace in knowing our nation will always honor that commitment. Praying for them, the injured cadets and all of their families."

Update 1:50 p.m. EDT June 6: Authorities said the cadets and soldiers injured in Thursday morning's accident suffered injuries that ranged from facial abrasions to a broken arm.

West Point officials said at a news conference Thursday that they continue to investigate the circumstances that led to the roll-over accident.

Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams said two U.S. Army soldiers were driving a group of senior cadets to a land navigation training site in a light medium tactical vehicle when the vehicle rolled over. Williams said the training was a standard exercise.

Officials said one cadet died in the accident. The cadet has not been identified pending next of kin notification, Williams said.

Twenty other cadets and the two soldiers were injured in the accident.

"Today was a tragic day," Williams said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased and our injured."

Update 1 p.m. EDT June 6: President Donald Trump has shared condolences for those affected by Thursday's deadly West Point training accident.

"So sorry to hear about the terrible accident involving our GREAT West Point Cadets," the president wrote in a Twitter post. "We mourn the loss of life and pray for the injured. God Bless them ALL!"

Update 12:30 p.m. EDT June 6: Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, who graduated in 1995 from West Point, called Thursday's fatal accident "tragic" told the Journal-News there were more training fatalities in 2017 and 2018 than there were combat fatalities.

“Everyone thinks of combat as the main risk, but the reality is that training can be dangerous so you always want to have a great plan for safety,” he said. “The reality is even with the greatest amount of preparation, sometimes there are tragic events.”

>> On Journal-News.com: West Point graduate Davidson on fatal accident: ‘The reality is that training can be dangerous’

Update 11 a.m. EDT June 6: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Thursday that he was directing the State Office of Emergency Management to provide any necessary resources to respond to the deadly accident at West Point.

"My heart breaks for all those involved in the tragic training accident at West Point this morning," Cuomo said. "This incident is made all the more heart wrenching as we commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day today, a day where we remember those who gave their lives for our country.

"On behalf of all New Yorkers, we pray for a speedy recovery for those involved and we share in the sorrow experienced by their loved ones during this extremely difficult time."

Update 10:15 a.m. EDT June 6: Officials confirmed one cadet was killed and 22 others, including two soldiers and 20 cadets, were injured around 6:45 a.m. Thursday in an accident involving a light medium tactical vehicle at West Point.

Officials said the injured were taken to local hospitals for treatment. Authorities continue to investigate the cause of the accident.

West Point is about 60 miles south of New York City.

Original report: Emergency vehicles are responding Thursday morning to reports of a training accident near the U.S. Military Academy West Point in New York.

Officials said the accident happened near Camp Natural Bridge, described by WNBC as a cadet summer training site.

Officials told CNN the incident involved an armored personnel carrier. At least 20 people were involved in the accident, WCBS and WNBC reported, however, officials did not immediately confirm the reports.

Additional details were not immediately available.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

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