Recovery teams have located the bodies of four Army soldiers who went missing when their truck overturned in a fast-flowing flooded creek during a training exercise at Fort Hood, officials said Friday evening.
Maj. Gen. John Uberti announced that a total of nine soldiers had died, including five whose remains were recovered Thursday. Another three who were rescued shortly after the accident have been released from the hospital, Uberti said.
An Army safety board was on its way to the base to conduct an investigation.
The portion of road on the northern fringe of the post where the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle overturned hadn't been overrun by water during past floods, Fort Hood spokesman Chris Haug said earlier Friday. The vehicle resembles a flatbed truck with a walled bed and is used to carry troops.
Haug said during a news conference that the soldiers were being trained on how to operate the 2½-ton truck when it overturned along Owl Creek, about 70 miles north of Austin.
"It was a situation where the rain had come, the water was rising quickly and we were in the process, at the moment of the event, of closing the roads," Haug said.
Soldiers on training exercises regularly contend with high-water situations following heavy rains, he said.
"This was a tactical vehicle and at the time they were in a proper place for what they were training," Haug said. "It's just an unfortunate accident that occurred quickly."
The bodies of two soldiers were found late Thursday night. Three soldiers were found dead shortly after the vehicle overturned. Three others were hospitalized in stable condition after being rescued by personnel traveling in a separate vehicle.
The Army has not yet released the names of the dead because it was still notifying relatives.
"This tragedy extends well beyond Fort Hood and the outpouring of support from the country is sincerely appreciated," Maj. Gen. John Uberti said.
Crews used helicopters, boats and heavy trucks to search the 20-mile creek, which winds through heavily wooded terrain. At Owl Creek Park, where the creek feeds into Lake Belton at the northeast edge of Fort Hood, the creek is normally 30 to 40 feet wide was swollen Friday to some 500 feet wide.
The 340-square-mile post, one of the nation's largest, has seen fatal training accidents before. In November 2015, four soldiers were killed when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a training exercise. And in June 2007, a soldier who went missing for four days after a solo navigation exercise died from hyperthermia and dehydration while training in 90-degree heat.
Central and Southeast Texas have been inundated with rain in recent days, and more than half of the state is under flood watches or warnings
At least six other people have died in floods.