Friday, September 22

A judge investigates as a crime the death of a paratrooper who died in a jump in Cartagena

A military court in Cartagena has ordered the death of Sergeant Rafael Gallart to be investigated as a possible crime during a jump off the coast of the city in June of last year. In a resolution advanced by the newspaper The country to which has had access, the robed court understands that those responsible for the exercise carried out by the soldier could have committed a crime against the effectiveness of the service resulting in death and calls four of them to testify as of April . The judge suspects that the jump would have taken place in inadequate weather conditions and wants to know the orders given by those responsible for the exercise.

Sergeant Gallart, originally from the Albacete town of Hellín, died last June during a parachute jump off the coast of Cartagena. Then assigned to the “Alejandro de Farnesio” third of the Legion, the sergeant had participated in different missions in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic and Senegal and had also been decorated with the Cross of Military Merit with a white badge. He fell into the water and his companions had to cut the parachute straps to get him into the already unconscious rescue boat.

The territorial toga court number 14, located in the city of Cartagena, understands that those responsible for the exercise could also have been responsible for the “fatal outcome” of the death of the sergeant. In the first place, they question whether the jump was carried out in the ideal conditions in terms of wind speed and waves: “Rational indications emerge to understand that the existing meteorological conditions would not allow the parachute jump to be carried out,” says the robed judge highlighting that, according to the reports collected in the case, the wind speed that morning could have been above the 14 knots allowed.

The writing also puts the magnifying glass at the moment of the sergeant’s rescue once in the water with his parachute. Witnesses have recounted how a man jumped into the water several times until he managed to cut the ropes that attached him to the parachute with a knife. Only a sergeant and a corporal were on that boat when, according to regulations, the crew of collection boats must include at least three soldiers. All these circumstances, according to the court, “could have had a decisive impact on the production of the fatal outcome.”

The indications, according to the military court, point to the irregularities of those responsible for the exercise in which Sergeant Gallart died: “They point to the possible existence of negligent behavior,” he says. In addition to calling the four soldiers to testify, the court also launched other proceedings: it requested a report from the Headquarters of the Special Naval Warfare Force, another from the Headquarters of the ‘Almogávares VI’ Parachute Brigade, both intended to offer more details about what happened that day.

The lawyer Antonio Suárez-Valdés is the one who represents the widow of the deceased sergeant and who exercises the private accusation in this case. The lawyer understands that the exercise, he explains, “should have been suspended given the adverse weather conditions” and agrees that the behaviors that he defines as “allegedly negligent” on the part of those responsible for the exercise must be clarified. “It is very sad that in the Ministry of Defense it is necessary to put dead people on the table to normalize the security conditions,” says the lawyer, and urges the Minister of Defense to “keep her word and provide a solution to the precarious situation in which both the widow and the sergeant’s daughter find themselves, who was born last month and who have been left in a situation of total abandonment”.