An Air Force staff sergeant, special tactics airman from the 24th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field in Okaloosa County, is missing after falling about 1,500 feet from a four-engine aircraft during a training exercise over the Gulf of Mexico in Florida.
He plunged out of the C-130 aircraft and into the water, Tuesday. His parachute deployed but he suddenly vanished into the water below and was not found. The incident happened during a parachute-jump training exercise. The airman exited the plane about four miles south of the 24th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Crew members aboard the C-130 initially saw the airman treading water. His name and age have not been released. At the time of the incident it was 78F and the water in the Gulf was reported as high as 72F.
The Coast Guard, as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, have assisted the Air Force in their search about a mile and a half south of Florida’s Santa Rosa Island, without finding the man. Multiple teams are continuing a desperate search for him. Additional information was not immediately available. The Coast Guard is asking for anyone who may have seen something around the time the airman went missing to call the Coast Guard Station Destin Command Center at (850) 244-7147.