Special Forces soldier die in skydiving training with US troops

June 18, 2010 8:23 pm 

MANILA, June 18 – An elite Filipino soldier died following a skydiving training with American counterparts at an Air Force base in Pampanga on Friday morning, a military spokesman said.

Army spokesman Maj. Ronald Jess Alcudia said other sky jumps scheduled for Friday were put on hold pending an investigation into the incident and out of respect to the slain Special Forces soldier.

Alcudia said the soldier, was among Filipino and American soldiers, who jumped from a US C-130 plane above the Air Force City in Clark Air Base. He withheld the soldier’s name pending the notification of his family.

The sky jump training is called the Military Freefall event that is scheduled from June 14 to 20. The training is one of the exercises under the RP-US Vector Balance Piston 10-2 that opened last June 14 and will last up to next month.

Alcudia could not immediately tell the exact number of Filipino and US troops involved in the “high-latitude fall” but surmised many probably joined, noting that a C-130 can carry a large number of passengers.

“I don’t have the exact number but there could have been many because they used a C-130 plane….There were US forces who joined the jump. Its a friendly jump,” he said.

“He (victim) was first declared unaccounted at the dropzone during the consolidation of jumpers, and his lifeless body was later found by a joint search team of Philippine Army and US Army personnel,” said Alcudia.

He said the body of the soldier was found at the vicinity of the Nayong Pilipino park. Alcudia could not say whether the soldier’s parachute opened or worked.

“The Exercise Directorate has assured that all safety procedures before and during the jump were observed. All scheduled jumps for today have been put on hold while an investigation is now being conducted by the PA (Philippine Army),” he said.(PNA) RMA/VR

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