SBS leader dies in diving accident

Danielle Demetriou
Thursday 17 March 2005 01:00 GMT

The commanding officer of the Special Boat Service has died after a diving accident in Norway.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard van der Horst died in hospital after encountering difficulties during an amphibious assault exercise in the Narvik area of northern Norway.

The accident happened when Colonel van der Horst was trying to exit a mini-submarine.

He died on Monday in hospital with his wife by his bedside. The accident took place in an assault exercise last weekend.

The details of what exactly went wrong during the exercise remained unclear and were expected to be subject to an investigation by authorities.

Colonel van der Horst, who was in his early 40s, was made an MBE for his work with the British Special Forces in Iraq and had a distinguished career in the armed services.

The British military rarely discloses information about the SBS, one of two special forces branches of the British military, which is recruited from the Royal Marines, alongside its sister army unit, the Special Air Service.

Lord Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader, was once a member. The SBS specialises in reconnaissance work, requiring expertise in swimming, diving, navigating and demolition.

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