On November 5, 2019, Staff Sergeant Cole Condiff, a Combat Controller (CCT) assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron out of Hurlburt Field, Florida, was accidentally pulled out of an MC-130 aircraft during a static-line parachute jump over the Gulf of Mexico.

As he was dragged out of the aircraft, the Combat Controller hit the aircraft’s fuselage. The injuries from the impact were either fatal or rendered SSG Condiff unconscious. Despite the fact that both his main and reserve parachute were properly deployed, the aircraft crew spotted them, SSG Condiff sunk into the sea.

He was declared dead on November 8. A 17-day recovery operation failed to retrieve his body.

Earlier this week, the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) finished its investigation into the incident. The inquiry found that SSG Condiff’s reserve parachute was incorrectly packed. During that fateful day, SSG Condiff was serving as a jumpmaster for the static-line jump. The investigation has revealed that SSG Condiff’s reserve parachute (T-11R model) was inadvertently opened while he was spotting the drop zone.