One Parachutist Dead, Another Injured In Rare Accident
YUMA, Ariz. (AP) _ Two members of the Army’s precision parachute team, the Golden Knights, collided during a practice jump. One died and the other lost both legs.
The cause of Sunday’s accident wasn’t known, but it wasn’t faulty equipment, Col. Richard Walker, commander of the Yuma Proving Grounds, said Monday.
Sgt. Jose Aguillon, of San Antonio suffered a fatal heart attack after landing in a tree, said Chuck Wullenjohn, a spokesman for the proving grounds.
Sgt. Dana Bowman, of North Ridgeville, Ohio, landed in a parking lot near the intended target, suffering injuries that forced amputation of both legs below the knee, he said.
Bowman, a veteran of 300 jumps, was in serious condition at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. Aguillon had been in more than 1,500 jumps with the Golden Knights.
It was the sixth death in the team’s 35-year history and the first since 1987, said Sgt. Jose Pruneda, a spokesman at the team’s base in Fort Bragg, N.C.
The team, which has 95 members, spends about six weeks training in Yuma before beginning its yearly schedule of more than 300 shows, Walker said.