23 Army paratroopers hospitalized after nighttime training jump at Camp Shelby in Mississippi

None of the injuries were life-threatening, officials say.

October 3, 2019, 5:35 PM

Twenty-three U.S. Army paratroopers were hospitalized with injuries suffered during a nighttime training jump at Mississippi's Camp Shelby on Wednesday night, officials said.

They were among the 87 soldiers who landed in trees next to their intended drop zone at about 8 p.m. (CDT). One paratrooper remained stuck in a tree for almost 12 hours.

The soldiers, from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in Alaska, parachuted out of U.S. Air Force C-130 aircraft that had taken off from Keesler Air Force Base in Gulfport, Mississippi, bound for two drop zones at Camp Shelby. The 87 soldiers who missed their drop zone were aiming for an area at the airfield on the military base near Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Two safety officers on the ground were in radio communications with the C-130 pilots providing information about when the paratroopers should jump.

PHOTO: U.S. Army paratroopers were injured during a nighttime training jump at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, Oct. 2, 2019.
U.S. Army paratroopers were injured during a nighttime training jump at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, Oct. 2, 2019.

The 23 paratroopers were transported to local hospitals with non life-threatening injuries and four of them remained hospitalized, said Col. Bobby Ginn, the commander of the Camp Shelby Joint Force Training Center.

Several other soldiers were treated for their injuries in the field.

The paratroopers were among 650 soldiers from the unit who were participating in a nighttime training jump to kick off a 10-day training exercise known as "Arctic Anvil." The brigade's 3,000 soldiers were at Camp Shelby for the exercise

Col. Christopher Landers, the commanding officer of the 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, said paratroopers and equipment were taken down from trees throughout the night. The last paratrooper was recovered from a tree at 8 a.m. on Thursday, nearly 12 hours after the jump had occurred.

Landers did not know if wind was a factor in the 87 paratroopers landing 200 to 400 yards away from their intended drop zone, but he said investigators would look at all potential causes for the incident.

PHOTO: Camp Shelby in Mississippi.
Camp Shelby in Mississippi.

The weather on Wednesday evening was fair with clear skies, said Capt. Ashley Bain-Sangster, the spokesperson for the 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.

She added that winds were within acceptable ranges for jumps both at the plane's altitude of 1,000 feet and at the drop zone.

While injuries are not uncommon in Army airborne jumps, Landers said it was "relatively rare" to have so many paratroopers land in trees.

Medical staffers at nearby hospitals were notified of the jump ahead of time and were prepared for the potential influx of patients, as well as the types of injuries to be expected. Meanwhile, emergency vehicles were on standby at Camp Shelby prior to the exercise, according to a 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division statement posted on Facebook.

The Arctic Anvil exercise will resume on Thursday night after what Landers described as a "short pause" following the incident.