The inspector general of the national guard is the investigating officer who will probe the conditions under which the fatal accident which led to the death of a 27-year-old non-commissioned female officer at an army camp in Kornos occurred, national guard spokesman Christos Pieris said on Friday.

Corporal Natalie Neophytou was inside a military jeep after a training exercise at 11am when the vehicle overturned. With her inside the vehicle were a cadet and a conscript.

“Something must have gone wrong,” Pieris told Alpha news during an interview on Friday morning, describing the incident as “unprecedented.”

“Nothing out of the ordinary was noticed with the vehicle, but clearly something must have happened, we are looking to find the reason behind the tragic accident.

“I can confirm the National Guard has appointed a special investigating officer and launched an internal investigation to better understand what has taken place,” he said.

Media reports that emerged on Friday say Neophytou, who was from Paphos and joined the national guard only last December, was a passenger in the jeep.

She was rushed to Nicosia general hospital in critical condition and intubated, but doctors were unable to save her life.

“The incident happened after the exercise on a dirt road at the camp, when the jeep was being taken to be refuelled. We are awaiting more information from the investigation that was launched,” Pieris said.

“We have also requested assistance from the police, which has more experience in cases such as this one.”

He added that the Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides will ask the Council of Ministers for the funeral of the 27-year-old corporal to be paid by the state.

He also said Petrides, along with the Commander of the National Guard Demokritos Zervakis, have visited the Kornos army camp on Friday.

“We will support her family for as long as they need. Their loss is immense,” Pieris said.

On Thursday, surgeon Chrysanthos Georgiou told Sigmalive that all necessary steps were taken to deal with the officer’s injuries based on protocols.

He said Neophytou was stabilised, transferred to the intensive care unit but stopped breathing as she was being rushed to the operating theatre.

“Unfortunately, we were not able to bring her back,” the doctor said, adding that her injuries were too severe.

The two persons in the jeep with Neophytou were treated at Larnaca hospital and later discharged without serious injuries.

Later in the day, President Nicos Anastasiades likewise said he was saddened by the “tragic accident” and Neophytou’s death while on duty.

In a tweet, the president promised that “the state will stand by her family.”

 

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