A soldier who went on a routine parachute jumping exercise in Washington was found dead Friday evening. It was a tragic end to what the Associated Press reports was a 10-hour search.
The deceased soldier was said to be part of the special forces unit based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. KIRO-TV reports the unnamed man was part of a training operation that was carried out on Friday morning in a wooded location in Mason County. The Mason County Sheriff’s Office stated that the paratrooper went missing some time after the noon jump, prompting an immediate search.
According to KIRO-TV, a command post was established near Shelton, and the search “centered around Highway 101, in the Kamilche, Washington area.” The news station reports that more than 100 soldiers were involved, in addition to aid offered by “MCSO, Fire, Fish and Wildlife, WSP, Volunteer SAR, [and the Squaxin Police Department]”. It wasn’t until about 11:00 p.m. that the Mason County sheriff alerted the press that the search had ended. A local rescue team discovered the body of the unidentified soldier.
— Local 12/WKRC-TV (@Local12) September 12, 2015
Because the body was only recently found, the Army has refused to identify the man until after his family is notified of his death and a sufficient time (24 hours) has passed. For now, it’s only known that a male soldier died after participating in a parachute-jumping exercise — as to exactly what went wrong, that information has also been withheld.
The soldier has been found but he did not survive. An investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Army and MCSO. Tragic training accident.
— Mason County Sheriff (@MasonCoSheriff) September 12, 2015
First Special Forces Group spokesman Maj. Timothy C. Chavis stated that he was of the belief that the deceased soldier was part of a common exercise. Because an investigation into what caused the paratrooper’s death is ongoing, Chavis was not able to release any additional facts about the case.
As the tragic news spreads, there have been multiple posts made to social media sites out of sorrow and respect for the fallen paratrooper.
— Eric Clay (@EricSClay) September 12, 2015
Newsweek reports this isn’t the only unfortunate incident to occur this month involving a parachute jump exercise. A little over a week ago, a soldier with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command suffered injury when his parachute failed to deploy during an exercise. That incident occurred in Montana — the man was said to be part of a group of soldiers performing a free-fall jump from Blackhawk helicopters.
These incidents prove that even though soldiers are highly trained at what they do, or despite the seemingly routine nature of the exercises they go though, unexpected complications can occur, which bring about serious injury or even death.
[Photo by Chris Hondros / Getty Images]