July 18, 2008 in Nation/World

Military parachutist lands on band

By JOHN MILBURN Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Members of the 1st Infantry Division band stand at rest while medics work on a tuba player who was hit by a sky diver during ceremonies at Fort Riley, Kan., Thursday.
(Full-size photo)

FORT RILEY, Kan. – A parachutist went off course Thursday at the start of a military review and dropped feet-first into the 1st Infantry Division’s band, injuring three players.

Several thousand people watched as the man under the red, white and blue parachute landed on the 30-member band, about 50 yards off target. A gasp went up from the crowd, followed by silence as at least a dozen people rushed over to help.

“I hear, ‘Oh, expletive,’ and immediately, I hear a crash,” said the band’s commander, Chief Warrant Officer Scott MacDonald.

The three injured band members were treated and released from Irwin Army Community Hospital. The parachutist, Scott Hallock, refused treatment at the scene.

Two tubas were destroyed, said Mike Keating, assistant chief of the post’s Fire Department. MacDonald said a trumpet was also damaged.

MacDonald said band members had been standing, waiting for the start of the ceremony and weren’t looking up. He said they didn’t hear anything except a brief rustling of the jumper’s parachute.

He hit the back row, landing feet first, MacDonald said.

Band member Sgt. Rachel Boggs was knocked unconscious and had a fractured jaw. Sgt. Andrew Spinazzolla suffered minor neck and head injuries and had a fractured ankle. Staff Sgt. Mark Lucero sustained a minor leg injury.

Two parachutists jumped from a single-engine plane at about 6,000 feet. Keating said the second jumper’s parachute lines apparently became tangled, pulling him off course.

MacDonald said he wondered briefly whether he had enough members left to perform.

“We did soldier on,” he said.

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