Army parachute training resumes after fatal accident

Army parachute training has been authorised to recommence after being paused in March following a fatal accident at RAAF Base Richmond.

FILE PHOTO (October 2021): Australian Defence Force special operations force trainees from the ADF School of Special Operations conduct a parachute load-follow jump from a Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules into water off Manly, Sydney, NSW. Photo by Able Seaman Benjamin Ricketts.

Lance Corporal Jack Fitzgibbon died from injuries received in the parachute accident on 7 March 2024.

The death of Lance Corporal Fitzgibbon – son of former Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon – was deeply felt across the 2nd Commando Regiment, Special Operations Command, Army and the wider Australian Defence Force community.

Commander Special Forces Group Brigadier Marcus Fogarty said the Australian Defence Force used several types of parachutes to deploy personnel and equipment and that training had resumed on all types with the exception of the parachute type used during the March training incident.

“Training on the Military Javelin Parachute System remains paused,” Brigadier Fogarty said.

“All military training involves inherent risk, however we do everything we can to mitigate this risk and keep our people safe, while delivering required capability.

“We are returning to training to make sure we can respond to any need, at any time, and to maintain our world-class special forces.”

Brigadier Fogarty said independent authorities, including the NSW Coroner and the Inspector General of the Australian Defence Force, were still conducting investigations into the March training incident.

“Defence is cooperating fully with these investigations, and we must let the investigations run their course and present their findings.”

But training must go on.


UPDATE: The ABC has reported that six members of the parachute-packing unit involved tested positive for illicit drugs just days before the above fatal accident. The report further suggests that although the use of drugs was not directly associated with the fatal accident, it further suggests that the use of drugs may be symptomatic of low morale associated with endemic undermanning in a high-pressure job.







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Posted by Brian Hartigan

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