Parachutists stuck in trees at Fentress Airfield

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Firefighters rescued two Navy parachutists caught in trees at Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress Tuesday.

Capt. Scott Saunders with the Chesapeake Fire Department said the department’s technical rescue team was dispatched to the airfield around 10:40 a.m. for a mutual aid request.Anne McNamara reports on parachute drill accident

It took fire crews about two hours to complete the rescue. Access to the tree line proved to be a challenge, and ladder trucks and other fire equipment couldn’t reach the location.  Instead, firefighters used ropes and harness rigging to get into the trees.

Photo: Parachutists stuck in trees at Fentress

Stirling told WAVY New’s Anne McNamara just before 12:30 p.m. that one of the parachutists was removed from the tree. The second parachutist was pulled down by 1 p.m.

No one was hurt.

According to Kelley Stirling with Naval Air Station Oceana, the parachutists jumped during a pre-planned training exercise, but unexpectedly drifted into the woods.

The Sailors’ peers, still dressed in training gear, stood by and watched how the big hang up at Fentress all played out. Neighbors around the air field could see the grayish parachutes from the road, but it was the flashing lights and fire trucks that first got their attention.

“My first thought was there is a lot of jet activity out here, a lot of helicopters,” said Mike Greenstreet, who lives nearby. “I looked for smoke, but didn’t see any, so that was a good sign.”

A Navy spokesperson would not say which unit the parachutists are attached to, but did say the Navy has no plans to investigate the incident.


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