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FFs Rescue 5 Navy Parachutists Stuck in Trees

FFs Rescue 5 Navy Parachutists Stuck in Trees

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Associated Press

June 17, 2010

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – Virginia Beach fire crews rescued five Navy sailors who got stuck in trees while parachuting near Fort Story.

At around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, Navy officials say they were conducting a routine parachute training exercise.

The Navy would not allow media on the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek Fort Story where the accident happened, but Navy officials say that the five sailors landed in a remote area of Fort Story surrounded by tall pine trees.

Virginia Beach fire officials were called to help rescue the sailors. Four were stuck in pine trees.

Fire officials say the other sailors landed on the ground and had to go to the hospital with minor injuries.

Using special climbing equipment, Virginia Beach fire crews suited up to go up in the trees.

“They have tree climbing equipment and there was two sets of tree climbing gear that was used to climb the tree and take a line to the individuals in the tree,” said Greg Benshoff, Captain of Ladder Company 1.

Fire officials say the four sailors stuck in the trees were trained in repelling, but because they did not have the equipment to repel down, fire crews had to go up and get them.

“Brought up a harness, put a harness on him real quick and sent him down,” said Matthew Chiaverotti, Virginia Beach fire captain.

“Luckily, I know that the gentleman that I helped, he actually had a belt on like a harness and he actually was able to clip onto that like a normal harness would be and bring himself down.”

Fire crews were able to safely get the sailors to the ground and fire officials say the sailors went back to their unit.

Navy officials will not say why the sailors were parachuting in a wooded area – they would only say they are investigating what happened.