Army Ranger dies in routine parachute jump in Georgia

June 16, 2013 at 12:11 AM
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SAVANNAH, Ga., June 16 (UPI) -- An Army Ranger died during a routine parachute jump in Georgia when his chute's cords got tangled around his neck, an officer said.

Investigators had yet to determine how the cords came to be wrapped around Pfc. Christopher P. Dona's neck during a jump Thursday evening at Hunter Army Airfield at Fort Stewart, the Savannah Morning News reported Saturday.

The 21-year-old soldier's colleagues found him unresponsive when they reached him and were unable to revive him, Lt. Col. Brian DeSantis, a Fort Benning-based spokesman for the 75th Ranger Regiment, told the newspaper.

"We don't have evidence that the parachute malfunctioned," DeSantis said. "It's not a case where the parachute didn't deploy. We don't know if the Ranger was knocked unconscious during the descent or when he landed or if he became entangled on the ground -- we're currently investigating all possibilities.

"I've never seen anything like this. This was a very routine proficiency jump. It was not part of a training exercise or anything. It was just jumping to practice jumping, something we do routinely. So, this is something that's out of the ordinary for us."

Dona was a native of Dudley, Mass. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment as an automatic rifleman last August and returned from his first deployment to Afghanistan last month.

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