He cites those responsible for the training as accused because the weather conditions to jump into the sea were not adequate and the rescue team was insufficient
The Territorial Military Togado Court number 14 has summoned to declare a captain and a first sergeant investigated for the death of non-commissioned officer Rafael Gallart during a parachute jump on June 10 off the coast of Cartagena. A native of Hellín (Albacete), 34 years old, married and the father of a baby he never met, this member of the Legion’s Tercio Alejandro Farnesio was participating in a special operations course when the fatality occurred.
The military instructor’s decision to investigate a crime for alleged negligence resulting in death comes after analyzing all the accident reports and having taken statements as witnesses from 11 soldiers: seven lieutenants, a brigade and three sergeants. The robed judge considers that there are reasonable indications to understand that the existing meteorological conditions in the area (wind speed and waves) would not allow the jump to the sea.
In this sense, the meteorology report issued by the Infanta Cristina Patrol Boat indicates the existence of “moderate fair winds, rough seas, clear skies and good visibility. With gusts of between 20 and 25 knots between 10 and 11 in the morning, with an average of 11 to 16 knots throughout the morning, with the maximum speed allowed to make the jump being 14 knots.
In addition, the personnel of the crew of the boat that provided first aid to the deceased would not be made up of the members required in the exercise of the Almogávares VI Parachute Brigade, according to the coordination meeting of the head of the water drop zone. There were only two uniformed men on the rescue boat, a first sergeant and a corporal. According to the Civil Guard, the composition of said crew caused the delay in the Gallart rescue maneuver.
“It slipped out of his hands”
According to the car to which this newspaper has had access, “when they arrive with the boat at their height, Sergeant Naveiras decides to jump into the water to the injured person to try to free him from the parachute, since he was waving his arms. However, the task became complicated and he decided to hang onto the risers to support himself and not sink Gallart, opting instead to cut part of the parachute cords with a knife to reduce the power of the canopy’s drag».
The story continues: «All these actions cause Gallart great fatigue, drifting off the hook after escaping from his hands and in the end his partner, Sergeant Naveiras, approaches with the boat helping him to get on it, returning again to jump on the cords of the parachute to try to counteract the opening of the canopy, this action taking effect. However, Gallart was already unconscious.
For the judge, there are indications of negligence regarding the forecast, organization, direction and supervision of the development of the jump, hence the citation as accused of the head of the launch (Captain González) and the person in charge of the landing area (First Sergeant Domínguez) . The reason, adds the order, is that the exercise had to be adjusted to the standards established by the destination unit: the Almogávares VI Parachute Brigade. The instructor also wants to know the role in this exercise of Colonel Jáñez, director of the unit; Lieutenant Colonel Soto and Commander Balaguer, head of the course.
In the opinion of the lawyer for the private prosecution, Antonio Suárez-Valdés, “it is very sad that in the Ministry of Defense it is necessary to put dead people on the table so that security conditions are normalized.” He recalls that Minister Margarita Robles must keep her word and find a solution to the precarious situation in which both the widow and the sergeant’s daughter find themselves, who was just born last month and who have been left in a situation of “total abandonment”.