It looks like five New Jersey National Guardsman who drove a truck into flood waters in Manville, N.J., will suffer no punishments beyond the public’s ridicule.
An onlooker recorded their near-drowning in a video that went viral after the storm. His taunts are audible in the background.
“Are you guys that stupid?”
“Why would you take a guy that can’t swim?”
“You guys are stupid.”
The Star-Ledger reports that a task force commander spoke with the two drivers, and there is a routine inquiry into the incident. According to Patrick Daugherty, a spokesman for the New Jersey National Guard, the soldiers did not know the depth of the flood waters and attempted to ford the newly formed river. As they did, the engines and electricity of their two vehicles stopped functioning.
“At the time they entered the water, they believed they were fine until everything turned off. At that time they panicked a little bit,” he said.
Daugherty told Stars and Stripes that their ambitious effort took an unexpected turn.
“In many cases, soldiers, firemen, policemen, they overcome the impossible,” he told Stripes. “Sometimes, they enter the darkest places that people would never enter. Those soldiers were there to search for and assist residents of New Jersey who needed help. … Unfortunately, things didn’t work out right.”