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Sgt. Jason G. Maxwell
Died: October 30, 2003

YUMA, Arizona (AP) -- A Marine died in a parachuting accident while training at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground, military officials said.

Sgt. Jason G. Maxwell, 25, jumped Thursday with an instructor and others as part of the basic free fall school but his parachute failed to deploy, Maj. Kathleen Devine, a spokeswoman for the Army JFK Special Warfare Center and School, said Friday.

Maxwell, of Fresno, California, was a reconnaissance Marine in the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

An instructor who had been videotaping the jump was hospitalized after his parachute deployed too close to the ground, Devine said. Gunnery Sgt. Richard Schindler was discharged from the hospital with a sprained back on Friday, Devine said.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

The death is the second at the Yuma Proving Ground this year and the sixth since the free fall school opened in 1995. Roughly 30,000 jumps a year are conducted at the proving ground.

YPG freefall accident probe continues; parachutes of Marine who died never opened, says official

Nov 1, 2003

An investigation is continuing into the death Thursday of one Marine and the injury of another at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground. Marine Sgt. Jason Maxwell, 25, of Fresno, Calif., was attempting a High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) jump when he plunged to the ground without either of his two parachutes ever opening, said the commanding officer of YPG's Military Freefall School.

Army Maj. David Dellinger said Friday that Maxwell was traveling at a speed of between 140 to 160 feet per second when he hit the ground.

Dellinger said that in addition to Maxwell's tragic death, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Rick Schindler, a freefall school instructor who was videotaping Maxwell's jump, injured his back when he delayed opening his own parachute until he was 1,300 feet from the ground, so he could continue to videotape the falling student as long as possible.

Students at the freefall school are routinely videotaped by instructors who jump with them with about 8 pounds of video equipment strapped to their helmets.

Dellinger said that at some point during the jump, Schindler realized Maxwell was in trouble, but because of the cumbersome video equipment he was carrying, was unable to help the student.

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