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US Air Force identifies missing airman who fell out of plane into Gulf of Mexico

18:20  10 november  2019
18:20  10 november  2019 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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The Air Force has identified the missing airman who fell out of a plane over the Gulf of Mexico during a training exercise as a 29-year-old Special Tactics combat controller.

a man wearing a suit and tie: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff, 29, was identified as the airman who went missing after he fell from a C-130 aircraft last week.© U.S. Air Force U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff, 29, was identified as the airman who went missing after he fell from a C-130 aircraft last week.

Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff fell from a C-130 aircraft on Tuesday during a parachute training exercise, according to the Air Force. His parachute was deployed, officials said.

(MORE: Coast Guard suspends search for missing airman who fell from aircraft over Gulf of Mexico)

Condiff fell from the aircraft at about 1,500 feet and others in the plane saw him tread water after he landed, ABC News Pensacola affiliate WEAR reported. It was unclear what led to the fall.

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The Dallas native was with the Air Force's 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing and "was specially trained and equipped for immediate deployment into combat operations to conduct global access, precision strike, and personnel recovery operations," according to his biography.

(MORE: Coast Guard searching for airman who fell out of C-130 plane into Gulf of Mexico)

His roles included static-line jumpmaster, military free-fall jumper, combat scuba diver, air traffic controller and a joint terminal attack controller.

Tech. Sgt. Brett Corriveau, 39th Rescue Squadron loadmaster, scans the waters of the Gulf of Mexico from the inside of an HC-130P/N Combat King aircraft for any sign of the missing Airman from the 24th Special Operations Wing.© U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kelly Goonan Tech. Sgt. Brett Corriveau, 39th Rescue Squadron loadmaster, scans the waters of the Gulf of Mexico from the inside of an HC-130P/N Combat King aircraft for any sign of the missing Airman from the 24th Special Operations Wing.

After enlisting in the Air Force in 2012, Condiff completed deployments to Africa and Afghanistan, according to the Air Force. He was promoted to staff sergeant in December 2017 and was received the Air Force Commendation Medal with a combat device and Air Force Achievement Medal.

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The U.S. Coast Guard announced Saturday that the search for Condiff had been suspended and the Air Force has taken the lead in the efforts to recover his body.

(MORE: 21-year-old Marine killed during training exercise, officials say)

Condiff is survived by his wife and their two daughters as well as his parents, sister and two brothers, according to the Air Force.

Master Sgt. Marcus Hildebrand and Tech. Sgt. Patrick Englishby, 39th Rescue Squadron loadmasters, scan the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.© U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kelly Goonan Master Sgt. Marcus Hildebrand and Tech. Sgt. Patrick Englishby, 39th Rescue Squadron loadmasters, scan the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Air Force described him as a "devoted family man" who was "focused on teaching his girls to be adventurous like he was."

"Cole was a man with deep-rooted beliefs who dedicated himself to God, our freedoms, peace, and his family," U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Steven Cooper, commander of the 23rd STS, said in a statement.

"This is a tragic loss to the squadron, the Special Tactics community and our nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and teammates at this time."

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