75th D-Day anniversary: 1.400 parachutists, 60 of them Belgian, over Sainte-Mère-Eglise
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    75th D-Day anniversary: 1.400 parachutists, 60 of them Belgian, over Sainte-Mère-Eglise

    © Belga

    About 1,400 parachutists, some 60 of them members of the Belgian military, jumped over the La Fière marshes at Sainte-Mère-Eglise on Sunday, during the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the landing of allied troops in Normandy during World War II.

    A U.S. parachutist was badly hurt in one of the jumps and had to be taken to hospital.

    About 20 large transport planes from seven countries, including one Belgian C-130 Hercules, dropped the parachutists, some of them wearing uniforms from the WWII era, not far from this place in the history of the landing. They included some 60 Belgian para-commandos from the Special Operations Regiment (SOR).

    “Everything went well; the weather conditions were favourable,” 1st Master Sergeant Remi Berghmans, chief communications officer of the SOR, told Belga. “Some people landed in the river, but no one was hurt.”

    A U.S. parachutist aged about 20 did not have the same luck, according to various French media: he was seriously injured in a late-morning jump, after his parachute malfunctioned. He was taken to Caen Hospital by helicopter with a spine injury.

    The Belgian contingent was also present on Monday at the static Belgian stand in the Inter-Army Village at Sainte-Mere-Eglise Square.

    The event was well attended, with crowds of people and vehicles massing on the roads leading to the site.

    In addition to the parachutists, the public was able to see demonstrations by the French air patrol, and the Breitling Jet Team, the only professional civilian jet patrol in the world.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times