Taiwan rules out parachute maintenance as cause for accident

Soldier's condition is improving: hospital

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Parachute maintenance issues were not the cause for Thursday's accident, the military says.

Parachute maintenance issues were not the cause for Thursday's accident, the military says. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The military said Friday that there had been no problems with the care and maintenance of a parachute used by a paratrooper who sustained severe injuries in a fall during preparations for the annual Han Kuang exercises.

Chin Liang-feng (秦良丰) jumped out of a C-130 transport plane flying at an altitude of about 1,300 feet near Taichung Thursday when his parachute failed to open. The 26-year-old was gravely injured in the fall, but his recovery was making steady progress, the Central News Agency reported Friday.

An inspection of his parachute showed that all proper safety rules had been followed, Major General Wu Li-wen (伍立文), head of the Army’s Aviation and Special Forces Command, told the media.

Chin’s parachute had most recently been folded by maintenance staff on May 7, corresponding to a regulation that says refolding a parachute should happen at least once every two months if they have not been used, CNA reported.

In addition, Chin’s parachute had been used 23 times, while the upper limit was usually 100 jumps in 10 years, Wu said.

Meanwhile, the young soldier is making progress during his treatment at Tungs’ Taichung MetroHarbor Hospital, reports said. Late on Thursday, doctors put his condition at about 7 on the Glasgow Coma Scale, but on Friday, he had already improved to level 11. The scale ranges from 3 to 15 points, indicating a range from the worst coma situation to normal consciousness.

Chin was able to respond to stimuli by blinking after his breathing and heartbeat resumed their functions, CNA reported.