JBER paratrooper collapses, dies after jump exercise on base

Tegan Hanlon

A paratrooper at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson died Thursday night after a jump exercise on base earlier in the day, U.S. Army Alaska officials said Friday.

The soldier, assigned to the 2nd Engineer Brigade, collapsed in the Malemute Drop Zone. Medics treated him on scene and called for a medical evacuation, said John Pennell, U.S. Army Alaska spokesman.

"There is no indication the soldier had a hard landing or any equipment malfunction in the jump he had just completed before he collapsed," Pennell said in a statement Friday. "His parachute had been packed away and he was wearing his rucksack when the drop zone safety officer reached him."

The paratrooper was flown to the Providence Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery. He died at 8 p.m., Pennell said.

Lt. Col. Alan Brown, a U.S. Army spokesman, said the man's identity will not be released until 24 hours after next of kin is notified.

"Right now we're obviously focused on providing any support we can to the unit and making sure that his family is taken care of," Brown said.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at thanlon@adn.com or 257-4589.