Wind blew the soldiers from their intended drop zone into nearby pine trees, but none of their injuries are life-threatening, officials said
At least 22 soldiers were injured Wednesday night after parachuting from planes and becoming tangled in trees as they attempted to reach a Mississippi military base as part of a training exercise, reports say.
Fifteen people were treated by medics and seven were transported to local hospitals after jumping from C-130 planes alongside hundreds of other soldiers around 8:30 p.m. on Camp Shelby, WDAM reported. Wind blew the soldiers from their intended drop zone into nearby pine trees, but none of their injuries are life-threatening, officials told WDAM.
The troopers belong to the 4th Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division of U.S. Army Alaska and officials said in a Facebook statement that they were looking for 87 troopers who jumped from one aircraft. Officials announced that 78 were accounted for by that night and all 87 were recovered by Thursday morning.
“Paratroopers from across the brigade and Camp Shelby are assisting in getting others out of the trees,” officials with the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment wrote on the battalion’s Facebook page. “All of the accounted for jumpers are being afforded access to phone to call their loved ones.”
Photos showed injured soldiers being carried into Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg on stretchers. Dr. Duncan Donald, with Forrest General Hospital, said injuries ranged from back injuries to “significant fractures,” according to WDAM.
“One soldier received a successful surgery for a broken back, and is expected to recover well,” according to the 1st Battalion’s Facebook page.
The hospital’s staff was notified about the training exercise prior to the event and were prepared for potential injuries and even casualties, officials said.
“Once all Soldiers have been accounted for, our goal is ultimately to continue training,” officials with the Mississippi National Guard said in a Facebook post. “Despite the challenges that we currently face, Soldiers always place the mission first.”
About 650 soldiers were expected to participate in the jump as part of a 10-day exercise, according to the Mississippi National Guard. The exercise is part of a larger, month-long training called “Operation Arctic Anvil,” with about 3,000 troops participating, the Associated Press reported.