32 parachuting soldiers hurt, 4 hospitalized in Mississippi

Updated - Military officials are investigating after 32 parachuting soldiers were injured in Mississippi.

Posted: Oct 3, 2019 6:29 AM
Updated: Oct 4, 2019 10:18 AM

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — Military officials are investigating after 32 parachuting soldiers were injured _ four badly enough to require hospitalization _ when 87 jumpers were blown into trees during a night training exercise in Mississippi.

Injuries during training jumps are fairly common, but the scale of this accident is fairly rare, Col. Christopher Landers, commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, said during a brief news conference Thursday.

“In my career, I’ve seen about a half-dozen times where this many jumpers end up in the trees,” he said.

He said the last soldier was brought down from the trees about 8 a.m. Thursday but equipment was still being retrieved that afternoon.

All injured soldiers should recover fully, with the most severely injured probably taking about three months, Dr. Duncan Donald, trauma medical director at Forrest General Hospital, told reporters earlier . He said five soldiers had broken vertebrae, but none of them had an injured spinal cord.

The soldiers were among 650 jumping in to open a 10-day training exercise at Camp Shelby, a 134,000-acre (525-square-kilometer) National Guard site that includes a joint forces training center for active and reserve service members, officials said.

Landers said the Army is investigating just what caused the accident. Each similar accident has had a different cause, he said.

Col. Bobby Ginn, post commander for the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, said 23 soldiers were sent to emergency rooms, and most were sent back to their units or the Camp Shelby clinic.

The brigade combat team is stationed at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska. A town hall for paratroopers and their families will be held there, Ginn said.

Mississippi National Guard spokeswoman Lt. Col. Deidre Smith said soldiers continued to jump into the drop zone after the injuries, with units trying to account for their members.

“Once all soldiers have been accounted for, our goal is ultimately to continue training,” Smith said in a statement. “Despite the challenges that we currently face, soldiers always place the mission first.”

Smith said the base works to reduce risks associated with airborne operations, with a nearby hospital in Hattiesburg on alert and emergency vehicles on standby at Camp Shelby.

About 3,000 troops from the Alaska base are participating in a 10-day exercise called “Operation Arctic Anvil” in preparation for further training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, starting in January, Landers said.

The Mississippi base is devoted to large-scale training, with convoys of military trucks a common sight on nearby highways and military aircraft frequently seen overhead.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 65436

Reported Deaths: 1848
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5544117
DeSoto357430
Harrison240635
Madison239664
Rankin225132
Jackson222542
Jones185058
Forrest175855
Washington160640
Lauderdale139790
Lee138333
Neshoba128492
Lamar119214
Oktibbeha109638
Bolivar109333
Lowndes105837
Warren103332
Panola102612
Scott99520
Sunflower99224
Lafayette95615
Copiah94528
Leflore90762
Pike89635
Holmes87348
Grenada83821
Yazoo81512
Pontotoc8098
Lincoln79641
Leake78625
Simpson78630
Monroe76952
Wayne75321
Coahoma71511
Tate70527
Marshall6749
Marion64320
Winston61116
Adams61025
Covington61013
Union60116
George5494
Newton53711
Pearl River52937
Tallahatchie52210
Attala51525
Walthall49119
Chickasaw45019
Noxubee44811
Calhoun4079
Prentiss40310
Claiborne39813
Alcorn3975
Smith39713
Clay39214
Jasper3819
Hancock37314
Tishomingo3635
Itawamba34810
Tippah34213
Clarke32525
Tunica3226
Montgomery3153
Lawrence3127
Yalobusha31210
Humphreys28311
Carroll26011
Quitman2521
Greene23611
Jefferson Davis2286
Kemper22714
Amite2256
Webster22512
Perry2237
Wilkinson20113
Jefferson1946
Sharkey1944
Stone1864
Benton1420
Choctaw1314
Franklin1192
Issaquena251
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12743242
Mobile9565206
Montgomery6521148
Madison525030
Tuscaloosa410371
Unassigned347461
Baldwin344323
Shelby320133
Marshall309034
Lee262844
Morgan233017
Etowah207530
DeKalb177113
Calhoun170413
Elmore169438
Walker150264
Houston136412
Russell13422
Dallas131123
St. Clair131016
Limestone128413
Franklin125820
Cullman120112
Colbert115613
Lauderdale113917
Autauga106521
Escambia105416
Talladega98613
Jackson9454
Tallapoosa84979
Chambers83538
Dale82323
Blount7743
Chilton7676
Butler75935
Coffee7475
Covington72620
Pike6907
Barbour5695
Lowndes56724
Marion56724
Marengo54614
Clarke4969
Hale46726
Bullock45411
Winston44411
Perry4364
Wilcox41810
Bibb4164
Monroe4154
Randolph39410
Pickens3849
Conecuh38210
Sumter36218
Lawrence3441
Macon33213
Washington32712
Crenshaw3133
Choctaw27912
Cherokee2637
Geneva2550
Henry2523
Greene25011
Clay2495
Lamar2172
Fayette1985
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Coosa1012
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