Two soldiers are fighting for life and nine others have been hospitalized after drinking antifreeze they mistook for alcohol, Army officials said.
The US soldiers from Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, were completing a 10-day field training exercise when the incident occurred on Thursday, the Army’s public affairs office said in a statement.
The substance detected in lab results from the sickened soldiers was ethylene glycol, commonly known as antifreeze.
“Initial reports indicate soldiers consumed this substance, thinking they were drinking an alcoholic beverage,” the Army statement added.
“Army and Fort Bliss regulations prohibit the consumption of alcohol in a field training environment.
“Initial toxicology results indicate the soldiers are experiencing ethylene glycol poisoning.”
Antifreeze ingestion can cause severe kidney damage and death, Army officials said at a news conference at Fort Bliss.
The military said earlier that the soldiers fell ill after “consuming a substance acquired outside of authorized food supply distribution channels.”
The hospitalised soldiers include one warrant officer, two non-commissioned officers and eight enlisted service members, the Army said.
The Army did not release their names.
Fort Bliss is the home to the Army’s 1st Armored Division, nicknamed “Old Ironsides,” with about 17,000 soldiers.