HATTIESBURG, Miss. — A military training exercise at Camp Shelby left at least eight paratroopers injured and several “in the trees,” an army official said. But authorities don’t know what went wrong during the night jump to land them there.
At least four were brought to the emergency room at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, hospital spokeswoman Millie Swan said late Wednesday. She added that more may be arriving.
Members of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division out of Alaska were conducting night jumps at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, 25th Infantry spokesperson Cpt. Ashley Sangster said. Three aircraft were operating near two jump sites in a military exercise, Sangster said.
On the first pass to a drop zone near Camp Shelby, something went wrong and several in the unit ended up “in the trees,” Sangster said. Weather was “fair” and the aircraft landed safely, Sangster said, so authorities are still trying to determine what went wrong.
There were 84 infantry members that should have been part of the jump, and so far 75 soldiers have been accounted for. Base officials are conducting a headcount and say it is “all hands on deck” to get soldiers out of the trees.
Some soldiers suffered limb injuries from hard landings, but none of the injuries are life-threatening, Sangster said.
In a Facebook post, the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division said that Wednesday was the start of a 10-day training exercise with 650 soldiers. The post added that the hospital was notified of possible injuries ahead of time and that emergency vehicles were on standby.
“Airborne Operations all bear an inherent risk. We strive to mitigate this risk as much as possible,” the team said on Facebook. “Once all Soldiers have been accounted for, our goal is ultimately to continue training. Despite the challenges that we currently face, Soldiers always place the mission first.”
Camp Shelby is a military post located at the southern boundary of Hattiesburg, covering more than 134,000 acres.
A US Army recruiting battalion, @GoArmyMidwest tweeted Tuesday that 25th Infantry Division paratroopers were leaving home in Alaska for Camp Shelby “with minimal notice on an Emergency Deployment exercise.”
The 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division this week has posted many videos to their official Facebook page documenting their paratroopers training at Camp Shelby.