An Army investigation into the death of Sgt. Shaina Schmigel found that a jumpmaster did not properly inspect the paratrooper’s line before the jump that killed her last year, according to an Army Times report.
Army Times reporter Kyle Jahner obtained the investigation through a Freedom of Information Act. The investigators said the failure to check the line was the “single most definitive failure,” according to the report.
Schmigel died from lacerations to the throat and a broken neck after she became entangled in another paratrooper’s parachute. Investigators wrote in their report about the final moments before Schmigel left the aircraft:
“When Sgt. Schmigel’s static line was fully extended to the portion of the static line just above the curve pin protective cover … her static line became wedged beneath her main curve pin protective flap because it was misrouted in such a manner to catch both corners of the main curve pin protective flap. As a result, Sgt. Schmigel’s full body weight was causing the main curve pin protector flap grommet to be pressed against her main curve pin which interrupted her T-11 parachute’s deployment sequence,” according to the report published in Army Times.
Schmigel likely collided with the following paratrooper and became entangled in the soldier’s chute, according to the investigation findings.
The Army’s investigative team did not find any criminal wrong doing, but investigators recommended permanently decertifying one of the jumpmasters who served as a safety, according to Army Times. The jumpmaster did not attend the briefing before the operation and his training was not current “at the time of the jump,” according to the report.
The training jump was conducted by the 37th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.