A paratrooper in the Republic of Cyprus is on life support following an accident at sea, with the defense ministry calling for an investigation after reports suggested the private jumped incorrectly from a helicopter into water.
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Local media said a 27-year-old private elite commando serving in the National Guard was seriously injured on Monday around noon after his dive from a helicopter into the sea in Paphos went wrong.
Preliminary reports said the trained paratrooper lost consciousness in the water. He was taken to shore and then rushed to the Emergency Room at Paphos General Hospital where doctors said he had a fractured spine and swelling of the brain.
The exercises are planned in such a way that paratroopers dive in the water from the helicopter, then go on to carry out a mission, and then they get picked up by a navy vessel
It was not clear how much time had elapsed between the jump and the recovery.
Officials pointed out the exercises are planned in such a way that paratroopers dive in the water from the helicopter, then go on to carry out a mission, and then they get picked up by a navy vessel.
According to defense ministry spokesperson Christos Pieri, paratrooper was injured following a jump that was not executed properly.
“At first sight, the injury of the young man appears to have resulted from impact, as contact with water did not take place in the correct way,” Pieri said.
The official said young commandos normally leap into water straight down, feet first, but the commando did not jump vertically.
It was not immediately clear whether helicopter maneuvers or weather conditions played a part in the accident.
“Something went wrong and the young man went down that way,” Pieri said, while clarifying that the helicopter was at the right height and had proper speed.
The paratrooper, who has been with the army commandos for six years after joining one of the first cohorts, was scheduled to jump out of the helicopter into the water near Lara beach, with Pieri noting this was not the first time the private had done the exercise.
Local media said the helicopter was eight meters above water when the incident occurred, while additional reports said the entire exercise was being recorded on video.
An investigation into the incident has been launched by the defense ministry.