Missing Soldier Found Dead — He Had Suffered A ‘Tragic’ Parachute Malfunction In A Training Exercise In Washington

A soldier, who went missing after his parachute malfunctioned in Washington, has been found dead. He was part of a training exercise when his parachute reportedly failed to deploy.

A soldier, who was part of the 1st Special Forces Group based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of Tacoma, went missing yesterday. His unit was out on training over a wooded area in Mason County. While everybody including the soldier jumped out as planned, he was not part of the formation. The jump occurred around noon on Friday and as his disappearance became apparent, rescue teams were deployed.

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The rescue teams, which included members of the military, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Police, and many other volunteers, started combing the region for signs of the soldier. The rescue teams searched a six-kilometer diameter circle, reported NBC News. Though the as-yet unidentified soldier was found, he did not survive, confirmed Mason County Sheriff’s Department.

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The woody area had made the search-and-rescue difficult, but the teams managed to find the soldier within 10 hours, added Ryan Spurling, Mason County sheriff’s chief criminal deputy,

“It’s pretty rough terrain with a lot of timber.”

While the military has launched an investigation into what it terms a “tragic training accident,” speculations are rife that the soldier’s primary parachute failed to deploy, which forced him to reach for his reserve, which too might have malfunctioned. The training exercise over the state of Washington was supposed to be standard, but the as-yet unconfirmed problem resulted in the soldier’s death, shared Col. Otto K. Liller, commander of the 1st Special Forces Group.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and loved ones of the soldier involved in this tragic incident. We will conduct a thorough investigation into this incident, and we will do everything in our power to support the family of the brave soldier who died today.”

The army has clarified that it won’t release the name of the soldier who died due to what appears to be a parachute malfunction, at least until his family members are informed and a proper funeral is arranged.

Parachute malfunctions aren’t rare. Just last week, a soldier with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command was injured after his parachute failed to deploy during a training exercise in Montana, reported Sport Act.

[Image Credit | Ian Hitchcock / Getty Images]