Soldier Killed in 'Tragic' Parachute Jump Accident Over Washington

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By Andrew Rudansky and Alastair Jamieson

A soldier died after going missing during a parachute jump over Washington state, officials said early Saturday.

The unidentified soldier, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Tacoma, was found after an extensive search “but did not survive,” Mason County Sheriff’s Department said in an update.

A military investigation has been launched into what the department called a “tragic training accident.”

A spokesman for the base said the soldier was last seen during a parachute jump over Mason County, west of the base, at around noon local time (3 p.m. ET).

Rescue teams searched a six-kilometer diameter circle. "It's pretty rough terrain with a lot of timber,” Ryan Spurling, Mason County sheriff's chief criminal deputy, told NBC station KING5.

The soldier was part of a special forces unit based at Lewis-McChord, KING5 reported, and deployed a reserve parachute during the exercise.

The Mason County Sheriff's Office, Washington State Police, volunteer search and rescue and the military were among the agencies involved in the search.

Phil Helsel contributed.