Report: Death of Mexican Paratrooper at Fort Bragg Was Accidental

(Image: U.S. Army)

The state medical examiner's office said a Mexican paratrooper's fall from a functioning parachute during a training exercise on Fort Bragg in July 2016 was accidental.

A report of the medical examiner's investigation into the death of Arturo Godinez-Valenzuela, 31, of Cajeme, Sonora, in northwest Mexico, is dated June 27. He was killed during a training jump on Sicily Drop Zone on July 14, 2016.

The report said Godinez-Valenzuela likely died of multiple blunt force injuries after falling from a high elevation.

"His main parachute deployed after he exited the aircraft, and his descent was uneventful until (about) 100 feet from the ground, when he separated from his main parachute and fell to the ground," the report said.

The report said there is no indication of foul play or that Godinez-Valenzuela was depressed or had ideas about suicide.

"Investigation and reenactment videos concluded that this could not occur by equipment failure; rather, the risers on both sides must have been manually detached," it said.

An Army investigation also concluded that Godinez-Valenzuela's death was an accident. An Army medic on the ground told investigators that Godinez-Valenzuela appeared to become disconnected from his parachute about 40 to 50 feet above the ground.

The Army investigation said technical inspections of the paratrooper's parachute and harness revealed no defects or evidence of malfunction.

Godinez-Valenzuela and other Mexican paratroopers were conducting a training exercise with the 82nd Airborne Division's 3rd Battalion, 73rd Cavalry Squadron, 1st Brigade Combat Team when he died.

This article is written by Steve DeVane from The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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