Philippine paratrooper dies in drills with U.S. troops

  MANILA, April 8 (Xinhua) -- A Philippine air force paratrooper died on Thursday during a parachute training jump with U.S. troops in northern Philippines, military officials said.

  Parachuting from a C130 plane, the soldier was supposed to land at an airport drop zone, but a wind gust blew him to the nearby sea, Philippine army spokesman Captain Celeste Frank Sayson said, calling it a "freak accident."

  Sayson added that the paratrooper was rescued 15 minutes after the accident occurred at the Subic Bay in Zambales province, but died later in a hospital.

  About 3,700 Philippine soldiers and 5,000 U.S. military personnel are participating in the 11-day Balikatan, or shoulder-to-shoulder military exercises that started on Monday.

  Accident prevention is part of the programs of U.S.-Philippine military exercises, but accidents still occur. In 2000, a Philippine soldier was killed when he was run over by an amphibious vehicle during a beach landing exercise in Cavite province.

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