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C-130 News:USAF Airman Falls From MC-130 Ten Miles Out in Gulf of Mexico, Search Underway.


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U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard search and rescue crews are searching for an unidentified crewmember who fell out of the back of a C-130 cargo aircraft ten miles into the Gulf of Mexico during the day on Tuesday.

An updated report published by Fox News and attributed to the Air Force Times said that, “The fall happened during a parachute-jump training exercise out of Hurlburt Field.”

An additional report from Florida’s WKRG-TV said that the search operation was underway, “about a mile and a half south of Santa Rosa Island, Fla., along the Florida Panhandle”.

A report from WEAR-TV in Florida went on to say, “The Coast Guard said the airman, identified only as a staff sergeant, dropped about 1,500 feet into the water and his parachute deployed.”

Additional reports said that crewmembers on board the C-130 aircraft had spotted the airman on the surface, treading water, but lost sight of him as the aircraft maneuvered following the incident.

In a story first reported by nwfdailynews.com of Florida, reporter Jim Thompson said, “Coast Guard Petty Officer Kamil Zdankowski confirmed the search late Tuesday evening, about 10 hours after Coast Guard Station Destin was alerted about the incident.” Latest reports early Wednesday morning local time suggest the search area may have now shifted.

Thompson went on to report that, “Coast Guard crews were searching Tuesday evening about 10 miles offshore, south of Hurlburt Field, headquarters of Air Force Special Operations Command, according to Zdankowski.”
Zdankowski said the airman fell out of the aircraft and into the Gulf of Mexico about two miles south of Hurlburt Field, and the Coast Guard was adjusting its search area on the basis of currents in the area.

Weather in the region at approximately the time of the incident was reported as an air temperature of 78-degrees Fahrenheit at Hurlburt Field at 1:00 PM local time with moderate winds NNW at 12 mph. Water temperatures in the region were reported as high as 72-degrees Fahrenheit, although temperatures farther out to sea vary greatly.
Hurlburt Field is home to the USAF 1st Special Operations Wing. The unit conducts aviation operations in support of the Joint Special Operations Command.

Three different units operate versions of the C-130 Hercules from Hurlburt. They are the 4th Special Operations Squadron, who fly the AC-130U Spook gunship variant of the C-130; The 15th Special Operations Squadron who fly the MC-130H Combat Talon II; and the 73rd Special Operations Squadron, who fly the AC-130J Ghostrider gunship.

No reports indicate if the aircraft involved in the incident originated from any of the units located at Hurlbert Field.

Source: https://theaviationist.com/2019/11/06/usaf-airman-falls-from-mc-130-ten-miles-out-in-gulf-of-mexico-search-underway/

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The U.S. Air Force on Sunday identified the airman presumed dead after he fell into the Gulf of Mexico from a C-130 aircraft last week, as recovery efforts continued.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff, 29, a special tactics combat controller with 24th Special Operations Wing, part of the Air Force Special Operations Command, fell 1,500 feet out of the plane Tuesday morning during a parachute-jump training exercise out of Hurlburt Field, Fla., investigators said.

Crew members aboard the C-130 said they initially saw Condiff, whose parachute did deploy, treading water but lost sight of him while making a turn to pick him up. The Coast Guard spent over 130 hours on the scene and searched over 4,900 square nautical miles, but were unable to find the airman.

Condiff was a Dallas native who served a two-year mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Spokane, Wash., the Pensacola News-Journal reported.

He enlisted in the Air Force in 2012, as Fox 13 reported, and his awards and decorations include an Air Force Achievement Medal and an Air Force Commendation Medal with a combat device.

The Air Force said Condiff was a static-line jumpmaster, military free-fall jumper, combat scuba diver, air traffic controller and a joint terminal attack controller.

As a special tactics combat controller, he was trained for immediate deployment into combat operations to conduct reconnaissance, global access, precision strike and personnel recovery operations.

Condiff, who had completed deployments to Africa and Afghanistan, is survived by his wife and their two daughters as well as by his parents, a sister and two brothers.

“Cole was a man with deep-rooted beliefs who dedicated himself to God, our freedoms, peace, and his family. He was a devoted family man within our squadron, focused on teaching his girls to be adventurous like he was,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Steven Cooper, commander of the 23rd STS in a military news release. “This is a tragic loss to the squadron, the Special Tactics community and our nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and teammates at this time.”

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/us/air-force-airman-gulf-of-mexico-c-130-aircraft-identified

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