HAMILTON — A soldier was injured during a U.S. Army Special Operations parachute-training exercise in western Montana.
Sixteen soldiers were conducting a free-fall parachute jump from two Blackhawk helicopters near Hamilton on Monday when one soldier had an equipment malfunction and was forced to land in a residential area, said a spokeswoman for the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Hamilton businessman Tony Dees said he watched as a group of parachutists jumped from two Blackhawk helicopters, and saw one parachute was tangled up.
“He went straight down like a dropped pencil,” Dees told the Ravalli Republic (http://bit.ly/1hyhkcn). “It happened really fast.”
Derek Mitchell, a Seattle resident who was visiting his parents in Hamilton, told the newspaper he spoke to the solider shortly after his fall, and he was conscious. “I asked him some questions to assess how conscious he was, and he seemed very alert,” Mitchell said.
Hamilton Police Chief Ryan Oster said the soldier was picked up by a helicopter that landed on the street shortly after the accident.
Army officials say the soldier was being treated at a hospital in Missoula. The extent of the injuries and the name and hometown of the soldier were not released.
The injured soldier was participating in military free-fall training scheduled from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4 in the Bitterroot National Forest and Ravalli County, Army officials said in a statement.
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