Video Emerges Of One Of Tragic Paratroopers Last Jumps

Story ByAna LacasaSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCEN

Video Credit: CEN/Tito Olivera

This is one of the final jumps of an army paratrooper who was tragically killed when his parachute failed to open during a skydiving exhibition.

Smartphone footage seemingly taken by Lieutenant Tito Olivera Gonzalez, 29, shows him during a jump near the city of Juticalpa in the Olancho Department of central Honduras.

The paratrooper is seen talking calmly to the camera, clearly moved by the spectacular view below, saying: “I am here, 4,000 feet over Juticalpa.”

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Pictures Credit: CEN/Tito Olivera

Lieutenant Gonzalez died when his parachute failed to open after he jumped from a helicopter at 5,000 feet (1,524 metres), near the remote town of La Union in the western Lempira department of Honduras.

He plummeted to the ground, landing in a forest near the town instead of at a football pitch where spectators were waiting.

Lieutenant Gonzalez’s family have expressed doubts such an experienced paratrooper, a member of the Honduran Army’s elite Special Forces, would have failed to prepare correctly for the jump.

His father, Miguel Antonio Olivera, said: “He gave his life for the country and now, his son and wife need an answer from the country.”

Mr Olivera added his son had been dedicated to his wife, Blanca Griselda, and four-year-old son, Tito Benjamin, and his loss would be very hard to bear.

Lieutenant Gonzalez was buried with full military honours in his home town of Duyure, in the southern department of Choluteca, on Wednesday and was posthumously promoted to Captain.

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Pictures Credit: CEN/Tito Olivera & CEN

The paratrooper, who would have turned 30 on Monday 11th March, would be remembered as an excellent officer, family man and friend who enjoyed a joke and was always ready to help others, according to his friends.

Moreno Coello, one of his senior officers, described him on social media as a good human being, father, son, brother and friend and highlighted his virtues as a soldier.

He said: “Sometimes we do not understand God’s wishes, but he knows why he does such things. Probably, he needed a paratrooper, a competitor of the army in the sky for his heavenly army.”

The Honduran Army has confirmed its investigation into the death of Lieutenant Gonzalez is ongoing.

Smartphone footage filmed by eyewitnesses showed the paratrooper plummet to his death while taking part in a skydiving exhibition as part of a local festival. 

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Ana Lacasa

I am a senior writer and journalist and editor of the Spanish desk for the Central European News agency.

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