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Navy live fire accident Down East

By Mike Valerio, Reporter
Published On: Sep 13 2012 12:26:05 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 13 2012 03:12:16 AM CDT
CEDAR ISLAND -

A Navy sailor suffered traumatic wounds to his arm Tuesday night, in an apparent accident during live fire training in Carteret County.

According to emergency officials, the incident happened at the Piney Island Bombing Range, an area on the Pamlico Sound where civilians are restricted. Shortly before 10:00 p.m. Tuesday, a sailor training with a Navy Special Boat Team sustained injuries to his left arm.

A response plan was quickly initiated, sending the wounded sailor on a boat approximately 14 ft. long from the bombing range to the Cedar Island Ferry Terminal. A source with firsthand knowledge of the operation said the boat docked at the terminal, where an East Care medical chopper landed nearby.

A Navy corpsman, a sailor who handles medical issues, arrived at Cedar Island about four hours before the accident, on call in the event training went wrong.

"The episode lasted under ten minutes," said a witness involved in the response. "The sailor had a tourniquet around his left arm, and he walked to the chopper under his own power."

Emergency responders said life-saving intervention was not required when the sailor arrived at the ferry terminal. Witnesses said bleeding appeared to have stopped on the man's arm, and he was airlifted to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

Lt. Christina Peters, public affairs officer at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, said the Navy Special Boat Team (SBT) will be training at Piney Island for the duration of the week.

SBTs are comprised of small to medium sized crafts, often used to deliver and remove Navy SEAL Team personnel to and from missions.

A fire truck from Cedar Island was called to the designated chopper landing site, using its flashing lights as a beacon for the East Care helicopter to land. Sea Level emergency response teams also assisted in the effort.

Representatives from the Pentagon and Cherry Point could not confirm the sailor's identity or the severity of his wounds. The man's present condition is not known because of medical privacy regulations.