Navy Seal dies in parachuting training accident

Chief Special Warfare Operator Michael Ernst was involved in a fatal training accident in Marana, Arizona

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Friday 24 February 2023 18:07 GMT
Chief Special Warfare Operator Michael Ernst
Chief Special Warfare Operator Michael Ernst (Navy)

A Navy SEAL was killed while taking part in free-fall parachute training in Arizona, according to military officials.

Chief Special Warfare Operator Michael Ernst was involved in a training accident in Marana, Arizona, and pronounced dead at Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix, according to Naval Special Warfare Command.

The death on 19 February is now under investigation, and the Navy said it would not comment further on the circumstances of the death.

“Mike was an exceptional teammate. He was a dedicated NSW Sailor who applied his talents and skills towards some of our nation’s hardest challenges, while selflessly mentoring his teammates,” said Rear Adm. Keith Davids, the commander of Naval Special Warfare Command.

“Mike and his family will always be part of the NSW family, and he will never be forgotten.”

Fast-roping exercises typically involve military personnel sliding down a rope from a platform such as a hovering helicopter.

It is the fourth Navy SEAL death since late 2021, reported

Ernst Ernst enlisted in the Navy in August 2009 and his awards and decorations include a Silver Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and three Combat Action Ribbons, according to Navy Times.

The Navy said Ernst, who was from Massachusetts, was assigned to the East Coast Special Warfare Unit which is based in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

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