Friday 15 December 2017

Soldier 'hit a structure' while coming to land during training parachute jump

'Responding well' after parachute training accident

Minister Paul Kehoe: spoke with Army's chief of staff Photo: Doug O'Connor
Minister Paul Kehoe: spoke with Army's chief of staff Photo: Doug O'Connor

Cathal McMahon and Luke Byrne

An Irish Army corporal, who was seriously injured in a training parachute jump, is responding well to treatment.

The soldier, named locally as Paul Halpin, is understood to have suffered leg and head injures during a "hard landing" while undertaking a training exercise at Athlone's Custume Barracks at noon yesterday.

It is believed he hit a structure while coming in to land at Custume Barracks in the centre of Athlone.

An Army spokesperson said the soldier was very experienced in undertaking parachute jumps.

He was treated by a doctor before an air ambulance based in Athlone transferred him to Tallaght Hospital in Dublin.

Doctors had considered moving the soldier to Beaumont Hospital but he remained at Tallaght after he was found to be responding well to treatment.

A family open day is scheduled to take place at the barracks tomorrow.

One highlight of the event was advertised as a parachute display undertaken by the Defence Forces Black Knights parachute team.

Serving members and their families, Defence Forces veterans and all members of the public were invited to attend the event.

"Highlights will include weapons, vehicles and equipment displays from various corps of the Defence Forces," an advertisement for the event stated.

"The Army Band will provide music throughout the day," it said.

A Defence Forces spokesman has confirmed that the open day will proceed on Sunday.

The Irish Army has no specific parachute regiment.

However, it has a parachute club and hundreds of soldiers are trained to jump.

Defence Minister Paul Kehoe spoke to the army's chief of staff about the incident yesterday evening.

"My thoughts are with the corporal and his family and I have asked for full details of what is a terrible incident," Mr Kehoe said.


It is understood full safety precautions were in place.

The Army spokesperson said parachute jump accidents were extremely uncommon.

A spokesperson for the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) said it was unclear if it had a role in investigating the parachute incident.

However, the spokesperson said that they would be able to confirm if they do by Monday.

Irish Independent

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