A large military parachute training exercise went horribly wrong at an Army base in Mississippi late Wednesday night, resulting in nearly two dozen soldiers suffering injuries as a major emergency response situation unfolded.
A US Army spokesman described to the Associated Press that about 89 soldiers were aboard a C-130 for a night jump at Camp Shelby, but upon exiting the airplane high winds blew the paratroopers far away from their intended drop zone and into a forested area.
At least 22 soldiers were injured in the jump, with seven hospitalized with more serious injuries, though none were reported as life threatening.
According to USA Today, local hospitals quickly mobilized teams to respond to the mass accident:
Approximately 180 were in the zone at the time of the incident, and 89 paratroopers made it out of the planes, said Sgt. Alex Skripnichuk, with the 4th Brigade’s public affairs office.
Each plane carries up to 60 people. Emergency responders took some of the injured to local hospitals, where teams of doctors and nurses could be seen walking quickly toward the emergency room.
It was part of a 10-day exercise involving over 900 paratroopers and heavy equipment drops with 4th Brigade Combat Team 25th Infantry Division, in one of the largest war games exercises of its kind Camp Shelby has ever hosted.
An Army spokesman said the mass paratrooper drills will continue as scheduled despite the significant jump accident.