5 Feb 2012

Soldier out of coma and no longer critical

10:23 pm on 5 February 2012

The Defence Force says the soldier who was in an induced coma after collapsing during the selection process for the Special Air Service is now awake.

Lieutenant Alexander Teira Cowan was taking part in an exercise in the Hunua Ranges when he collapsed from heat exhaustion last month.

An army spokesperson Major John Gordon says the soldier has come out of his coma and is no longer in a critical state.

He says Mr Cowan's family reports he appears comfortable and is able to communicate.

A spokesperson for Middlemore Hospital says the 25-year-old was transferred from Auckland City Hospital on Sunday.

She says he is in a serious but stable condition.

The Defence Force says the incident is the most severe during the SAS selection process in recent times and it always ensures candidates are suitably fit to take part.

It says there will be an inquiry into the incident.