Paratrooper collapses, dies following jump


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A Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson paratrooper died at the hospital Thursday, Jan. 30 after collapsing following a jump at the Malemute Drop Zone.

Sgt. Jose Maria Pasillas, 34, underwent emergency surgery for a torn aorta at Providence Medical Center and was pronounced dead just before 8 p.m., according to a JBER press release. He collapsed about five hours earlier.

As of Saturday, Feb. 1, JBER said it believes the jump did not cause his death.

“There is no indication Pasillas had a hard landing or any equipment malfunction in the jump he had just completed before he collapsed,” the press release said. “His parachute had been packed away, and he was wearing his rucksack when other soldiers reached him.”

Medics on site provided initial aid and called for medical evacuation, JBER said. Medics and a physician’s assistant continued to care for Pasillas until an Alaska Air National Guard 210th Rescue Squadron medevac helicopter arrived.

Pasillas was a construction equipment repairman with the 23rd Engineer Company. Pasillas, of Fort Worth, Texas, joined the Army in 2001. He arrived in Alaska in 2012.

Pasillas deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 and three times to Iraq in 2004, 2006 and 2009.

“An investigation into the circumstances of the death is ongoing,” JBER said.

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