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2 collide in drop at McGuire air show

The paratroopers, both in good condition, were to return to N.C. The show continues today.

The 2008 McGuire Air Expo got off to a rough start yesterday when two Army paratroopers apparently collided in midair moments after the opening ceremonies. Then thunderstorms rolled in, causing organizers to suspend the entertainment for the day.

The paratroopers were in good condition, and the show is expected to go on today in better weather.

A McGuire Air Force Base medical team took the paratroopers to the Helene Fuld Medical Center in Trenton, McGuire spokeswoman Angel Lopez said.

The two members of the Fastrax drop team from the 82d Airborne Division apparently jumped at the same time and slammed into each other under their plane, said Maj. Tom Earnhardt, spokesman for the 82d Airborne.

"All indications are they had a simultaneous door exit, meaning that one paratrooper exited one side of the aircraft at the same time another exited the other side," he said. "Typically, the paratroopers' exits are staggered."

He stressed that the mishap remained under investigation.

Earnhardt said the paratroopers' training had saved them, and "both managed to safely descend to the ground."

They are expected to return today to their home base at Fort Bragg, N.C., where doctors will check them "to make sure we haven't missed anything," Earnhardt said. He declined to identify the paratroopers.

The show is expected to feature the Air Force Thunderbirds, the F-15 air demonstration team, and the Air Force Reserve Command's jet car.

For more information on the show, visit or call 609-754-1919.