Eleven soldiers at a U.S. military base in Texas were hospitalized, two of them in critical condition after drinking what they believed to be alcohol, army officials said Friday.
Soldiers from Fort Bliss, El Paso were doing a 10-day field exercise when the incident occurred Thursday, the Army Public Affairs Bureau said in a statement.
The substance found in laboratory results from the sick soldiers was ethylene glycol, commonly known as an antifreeze, the Army said.
“Initial reports suggest soldiers were using this substance thinking they were drinking an alcoholic beverage,” added the army’s statement. “Army and Fort Bliss regulations prohibit the consumption of alcohol in a field training environment. Initial toxicological results suggest the soldiers are suffering from ethylene glycol poisoning.”
Antifreeze ingestion can cause severe kidney damage and death, Army officials said at a press conference at Fort Bliss.
The military previously said the soldiers became ill after “consuming a substance obtained from outside authorized food distribution channels.”
Antifreeze is known to cause accidental deaths and has been used in crime thrillers and real-life murder schemes because it can be easily mistaken for alcohol.
The soldiers in the hospital include a commander, two non-commissioned officers and eight soldiers, the army said. The army did not reveal their names.
Everyone stayed in the hospital, said the army.
Fort Bliss is home to the Army’s 1st Armored Division nicknamed “Old Ironsides” with approximately 17,000 soldiers.
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