The life of a British soldier who died six days after an incident at an army training base 'could have been saved' if a piece of safety equipment was included, an inquest has heard.

Staff Sergeant John McKelvie, 51, died at James Cook Hospital six days after he sustained serious injuries at Catterick Garrison's training area on Tuesday, January 29, 2019.

Sgt McKelvie, also known as Jock, was travelling in a Jackal army vehicle along with another soldier when it overturned at Gandale Camp at the garrison.

Ambulance and air ambulance crews attended to Sgt McKelvie at the scene, with the soldier suffering from head and neck injuries - caused by him being 'thrown like a ragdoll' when the Jackal vehicle tipped over.

He was transferred to intensive care at the hospital in Middlesbrough, where he was placed in a coma, before he died of his injuries six days later, on February 4, 2019.

The inquest, held at Thirsk Racecourse on Monday (June 17), heard from health professionals who had attempted to save the 51-year-old's life.

This included pathologist Dr Jan Lowe, who performed an autopsy at James Cook Hospital mortuary.

He told the inquest that Sgt McKelvie's life could have been saved if a head and neck support device (HANS) had been worn when the incident happened.

Despite it not being normal for soldiers to wear this equipment on the training, Sgt McKelvie's life 'could have' been saved if he was wearing the equipment, which is usually worn by racing drivers.

During the inquest, Dr Lowe said: "If worn, the HANS device could have made it survivable for Sgt McKelvie. The HANS device could have been used and a fatal outcome would have been prevented."

Dr Lowe also highlighted that the soldier's injuries were "worsened" by the fact that Sgt McKelvie's head was "thrown about" in the Jackal vehicle when it overturned. 

Alongside safety concerns, an insight was also given into the training provided to Army instructors. 

The inquest heard from Sgt Craig Dunleavy, who was a driving maintenance instructor - and was in the car with Sgt McKelvie when he was killed.

The hearing was told this was only the second time Sgt Dunleavy had led a training course on the Jackal vehicle, when the incident happened.

Staff Sergeant John McKelvieStaff Sergeant John McKelvie (Image: MINSTRY OF DEFENCE)

"I'd got lots of experience in driving vehicles of this kind, but not much experience of instructing them," Sgt Dunleavy said. 

"When I met Sgt McKlevie, he had a presence - I got on with him, he had a great sense of infectious humour."

Further into the inquest, Sgt Dunleavy described his colleagues' final moments and how Sgt McKlevie said the "brakes had failed" - before the Jackal vehicle flipped down the hill.

The inquest also heard from Jo Dennett, one of the first paramedics from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service on the scene.

Her statement read out North Yorkshire senior coroner Jon Heath said: "We arrived on the scene of the training centre at 12.55pm - the patient had been pulled out of the vehicle and CPR had been performed. 

"A defibrillator was strapped to the patient - and drugs administered. He was then conveyed to the hospital via air ambulance."

During his life, Sgt McKelvie had served with the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry, since the regiment's formation in 2014. His colleagues paid tribute to him following his death.

At the time, his regiment said: "A giant of a man, he had previously served for a full career with our paired regular regiment, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and had been tested across the spectrum of conflict from the Balkans to Iraq, and never been found wanting.

"The pain we feel regimentally cannot compare to that which his family suffer at this tragic time and our thoughts are with all of them."

In the same incident, Sgt McKelvie's colleague suffered a broken arm.

Evidence was also given by Lance Corporal Nicholas Daniels - who was on the training course at the time of Sgt McKelvie's death and tried to save his colleague's life.

Mr Daniels said he had "several" concerns about the safety of the Jackal - but had not reported them. 

He also highlighted that advice and safety procedures had been done before the training exercise had taken place.

Sgt McKelvie's inquest is listed until Friday (June 21).

The inquest continues.