Soldier dies after parachuting accident in Ohio

AP News
Posted: Oct 24, 2010 8:31 PM
Soldier dies after parachuting accident in Ohio

An Ohio National Guard soldier died four days after being injured in a parachuting accident during an airborne training exercise, officials said.

Herbert Mills, 59, of Groveport, died early Sunday morning at a hospital in Columbus, Franklin County Coroner Jan Gorniak said. Mills' rank was not released.

The cause of his death had not been determined, but an autopsy was scheduled for Monday, Gorniak said.

Mills was one of four soldiers who were taken to hospitals following jumps Wednesday afternoon at the Rickenbacker Air National Guard base.

Officials said the men caught a wind gust and hit the ground hard after they parachuted from a plane. Wind speeds at the airport at the time were 15 mph, with gusts up to 22 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

One of the men landed on the airport tarmac, while the other three came down on the grass. The soldiers were ages 26 to 45.

Hard landings are not uncommon during the monthly jumps, but the injuries are usually less serious, like sprained ankles and scrapes, said David Johnson, a spokesman for the Army Reserve 412th Civil Affairs Battalion in Columbus.

The soldiers were among 56 troops from the Guard and Army Reserve who jumped from a military cargo airplane flown by an Air Force Reserve unit out of Pittsburgh.

The base at Rickenbacker is mainly a cargo airport that also has a charter passenger terminal, and it's south of Columbus' main airport.