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Two Fort Bliss soldiers in critical condition, nine others sickened, after ingesting chemical found in antifreeze


They thought they were ingesting alcohol

Bobbie DeHerrera/Getty Images

The military said that two soldiers were in critical condition and nine others fell seriously ill after they ingested a chemical found in antifreeze, believing it was alcohol.

The alarming incident happened at Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas.

"On January 28, 11 Fort Bliss soldiers were injured after ingesting an unknown substance during a field training exercise," said Lieutenant Colonel Allie Payne. "Initial reports indicate the soldiers consumed the substance thinking they were drinking an alcoholic beverage."

Payne continued on to say that soldiers are not allowed to drink alcohol during training exercises or while on duty.

The soldiers were a part of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and had completed a 10-day exercise when they drank a substance that included ethylene glycol, the main ingredient in antifreeze.

They sought medical care when they began to feel seriously ill.

Four of the soldiers were released their families later on Friday, but the two soldiers in critical condition remained under ICU care.

Col. Shawna Scully explained to the media what medical procedures are taken when a person ingests that kind of poison.

"For anyone who has ingested toxic levels of a substance like ethylene glycol, they require medications to help bind that substance, and allow it to be cleared from the system," said Scully. "In extreme cases, that clearance is done using dialysis, much as we do in the dialysis centers all throughout town."

She added that it was unclear how much of the toxic substance the soldiers ingested.

Longterm effects of ethylene glycol ingestion include kidney disease that could lead to organ failure and death.

Officials continued to investigate the circumstances that led to the disturbing incident.

Here's a local news report about the incident:

Army says 11 hospitalized Fort Bliss soldiers drank antifreeze they mistook for alcohol

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