Navy SEAL Accident in Arizona Claims Life of Officer in Bin Laden Raid Team

Two officers' parachutes collide during routine training, only one makes it out alive

By on March 30th, 2013 10:25 GMT

A Navy officer in the elite SEAL TEAM 6 in charge of the deadly raid on Osama bin Laden's camp in 2011 has been killed in a training accident.

NBC News reports that the SEALS were undergoing parachute training in Marana, Arizona when a member of the team was killed while another was injured.

Both SEALS were part of the Navy's Special Warfare Development Group, and were based in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

There is no confirmation on whether or not they took part in the May 2011 bin Laden mission at this point.

The officers' parachutes collided during a diving session at Pinal Air Park and they came crashing down at speeds up of to 120 mph (193 kph), landing in separate locations.

According to a statement issued by the Pentagon, the officers were involved in routine free falling exercises at the time.

USA Today lists the casualty as a senior officer and Business Insider describes the survivor of the parachute incident as an E-6 Petty Officer First Class.

One of the SEALS has been pronounced dead at University of Arizona Hospital. The second victim of the accident is recovering at the same medical facility, where doctors describe his condition as stable.

The Defense Department is not releasing the names of the two officers at this point, in accordance with a policy that requires them to wait 24 hours after next of kin is notified before making the information public.

Ex-SEAL Craig Sawyer tells KGUN 9 that men in the Navy undergo very intense training at the Pinal facility.

"Such a loss to lose another brother. [...] It's happened too often.

"It's a very dangerous job. [...] It takes commitment to train. We can't show them videos and have them in a rubber room completely safe.

"We can't have them shooting at each other to learn what it feels like. Somewhere in the middle there's a perfect balance," he describes.

1 Comment