A recon Marine’s death during a jump mishap on Jan. 22 at the Multi-Mission Parachute Course in Coolidge, Arizona, was ruled an accident, according to an investigation completed by Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS.
Cpl. Alejandro Romero, a recon Marine with 3rd Recon Battalion based out of Okinawa, Japan, was killed in a jump mishap when his main and reserve parachute failed to fully function, according to an NCIS investigation obtained by Marine Corps Times through a Freedom of Information Act Request.
On the morning of Jan. 22, Romero was the last member of the seventh stick to exit the aircraft at 7,500 feet during a double-bag static line jump.
A jump master that day noted that Romero had a “clean exit” from the aircraft but was seen grabbing his risers before his chute fully inflated, according to the NCIS investigation.
A crew on ground witnessed Romero’s main chute in a “360 degree right turn,” the report stated.
With the chute tangled, Romero attempted to cut it away while deploying his reserve parachute.
But the main chute never cut away, the investigation detailed, and was left “streaming in trail.”
As Romero continued to fall without a fully functioning parachute he attempted to deploy his reserve but the main chute still streaming impeded the reserve canopy from inflating, according to the investigation.
The recon Marine was witnessed “spinning uncontrollably” toward the ground, the investigation said.
Emergency rescue personnel performed CPR on Romero and he was airlifted to Florence Anthem Hospital in Florence, Arizona, where he was pronounced dead at 8:58 a.m., a little over an hour after he exited the aircraft.
Following Romero’s death, the Corps temporarily suspended all double-bag static line jumps.