The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search efforts for the Special Tactics airman who had an unplanned parachute departure from a C-130 aircraft during a training exercise Tuesday morning over the Gulf of Mexico, about four miles south of Hurlburt Field, Florida.
As of 6 p.m. Friday, the Air Force had taken the lead role as the search for the airman, from the 24 Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt, transitions to a recovery effort.
“We would like to extend our gratitude to all of the federal, state and local units that have aided in the search for our airman, especially the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Col. Matt Allen, commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing, in a news release. “We will continue our recovery effort as long as circumstances and resources allow to bring our airman home.”
Recovery teams are currently refining and adjusting the search area as efforts continue, the 24th SOW said in the news release. To respect the privacy of the family and teammates of the individual, we will be releasing the name of the airman following next of kin notification.
The Air Force is actively investigating the incident.
The Coast Guard’s 8th District Headquarters in New Orleans told Navy Times Wednesday that officials diverted the Dania Beach, Florida-based cutter Gannet to join the search, which began shortly after watchstanders in Mobile received a distress call at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Others involved in the search:
♦ 24th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field
♦ 1st Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field
♦ Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter aircrew
♦ Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew
♦ Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew
♦ Two Coast Guard Station Destin 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crews
♦ 96th Test Wing, Eglin Air Force Base
♦ U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group, Duke Field
♦ Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office
♦ Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission