Air National Guard Sgt. falls 60-feet in training accident

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It's a routine training exercise that Sergeant First Class David Gentry, of the Kentucky Air National Guard, and others were taking part in Wednesday May 1st, at the Frankfort training grounds. Gentry was there to re-certify by rappelling from a helicopter.

"He's rappelled out of a helicopter about 200 times, so it's nothing new," explained Gentry's wife, Dawn.

However, this time she said, "This time was different. Apparently on the way down something went wrong."

From 60-feet above the ground, Sergeant Gentry went racing down the line, but he didn't slow down and hit the ground and collapsed.

"I mean there's nothing else to it. Sixty-feet from a fall like that, he should be dead," said his wife, "God caught him on the way down."

When the accident happened, Dawn Gentry says she was away from her phone, "I saw that I had eight missed calls. When I found out who was calling, I knew immediately what it was because I knew where he had been."

Miraculously, Sergeant Gentry survived, but with serious injuries.

"A dislocated right elbow, a fractured or cracked sternum, and then he fractured his back L1-T12 vertebrae," described his wife, "He came really, really close to not being able to walk again."

Less than a week after the terrible accident, Dawn Gentry says the real miracle is seeing her husband already up and walking around the hospital with a brace on.

"It could have been far worse! He could be paralyzed or he, more likely, could have been dead. So just to have him here, for me, is a blessing," she said.

The 24-year veteran has a long road to recovery but the blessings keep coming as doctors say he should recover completely. The Gentrys hope that they will soon be able to move from UK Hospital to Cardinal Hill to continue his treatment.

The family said since the fall, the Kentucky Air National Guard, family and friends, along with their church have rallied around the Gentrys. The outpouring of love has been overwhelming, Dawn Gentry said.

The Kentucky Air National Guard said they are conducting an investigation into the accident, they said that is standard protocol for any accident.

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