Parachute maintenance ruled out as cause of paratrooper accident

Taipei, Taiwan's Army has ruled out problems with the care and maintenance of parachutes as the cause of an accident Thursday in which a paratrooper was critically injured when his parachute failed to open during a military exercise.

Maj. Gen. Wu Li-wen (???), the head of the Army's Aviation and Special Forces Command, said Friday that Chief of the General Staff Lee Hsi-ming (???) visited the Ching Chuan Kang Air Base where the paratrooper was injured to check on the maintenance and folding of the parachutes.

According to Wu, parachutes need to be refolded if they have not been used in over two months, and in the case of the injured soldier, Chin Liang-feng (???), his parachute was last folded on May 7.

The accident occurred when Chin jumped from a C-130 transport plane flying at around 1,300 feet and his parachute failed to open, according to the Ministry of National Defense.

The procedures for folding parachutes at the base and footage of the accident indicated that the failure of the parachute to open completely was not caused by poor maintenance, Wu said.

The parachute was also not too old, according to Wu. He said parachutes are normally used for about 10 years and 100 jumps, and the one Chin used had only been used 23 times and was not over 10 years old.

As the command continues to look into the cause of the accident, ER doctor Wu Chao-hsin (???) of Tungs' Taichung MetroHarbor Hospital reported that Chin is now at a level 11 on the 3- to 15-point Glasgow Coma Scale, with 3 being the worst condition and 15 being that of a normal person.

Chin's breathing and heartbeat have both resumed, and he can blink in response to stimuli, the doctor said.

Chin's unit made a video and posted it on Facebook on Friday to cheer him on and wish him a full recovery as soon as possible.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel