Army paratrooper plunges to death in front of crowd as parachute fails to open

Lieutenant Tito Olivera Gonzalez, who was a married father to a young son, died crashing into a mountain on La Union, Honduras

An experienced army paratrooper has fallen to his death after his parachute failed top open during a skydiving demonstration.

Lieutenant Tito Olivera Gonzalez had jumped from a helicopter at 5,000ft with his comrades, but started plummeting towards the ground.

Instead of landing on a football pitch where spectators were waiting for him and his comrades, the 29-year-old crashed into a mountainside near the town of La Union in Honduras.

Lieutenant Gonzalez was a member of the Honduran Army’s elite Special Forces and was reportedly married with a four-year-old son.

Smartphone footage filmed by eyewitnesses shows his parachute failing to open.

Emergency services raced to the scene but Lieutenant Gonzalez, who had flown to La Union from the capital city of Tegucigalpa for the jump, was dead by the time they arrived.

The Honduran Army has ordered staff to observe three days of mourning and has launched an investigation into his death.

Army spokesman Jose Domingo Menza said: “We confirm the accidental death of Tito Oliveira, member of the Special Forces.”

It is not yet known why neither his parachute or his reserve parachute opened properly.

The soldier was taking part in a skydiving exhibition being held as part of a local festival.