Air Force releases findings on C-130H mishap, death of loadmaster

  • Published
  • Headquarters Pacific Air Forces

The cause of an Airman fatality on a C-130H Hercules during Operation Christmas Drop in December 2015 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, has been verified as atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and coronary artery thrombosis, a heart attack caused by the blockage of several coronary arteries, according to a Pacific Air Forces Accident Investigation Board report released today.

At 5:10 p.m. on December 13, 2015, Senior Airman Jeremy Jutba-Hake, a C-130H loadmaster, collapsed inside the aircraft while completing post-flight duties at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Following uninterrupted resuscitation efforts by bystanders, emergency responders, paramedics, and emergency room physicians, SrA Jutba-Hake was pronounced deceased at 7:12 p.m. at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam.

An AIB comprised of subject matter experts from aviation and support-related backgrounds conducted a thorough review of all available evidence to determine the facts surrounding the mishap to discover the cause and any substantially contributing factors.

"Jeremy was an exceptional Airman and son," said Brig. Gen. Gregory Guillot, Pacific Air Forces Chief of Staff and AIB president, "He was a highly respected member of the 374th Airlift Wing, and is deeply missed by his fellow Airmen. Unfortunately, the rarity of SrA Jubta-Hake's disease and the absence of symptoms made this condition virtually impossible to detect. Despite the efforts of fellow Airmen, EMTs, paramedics and emergency room physicians to save his life, this was tragically a non-survivable cardiac event.”

The C-130H and crew were assigned to the 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan, with temporary duties at Andersen AFB, were conducting a Low Cost, Low Altitude (LCLA) airdrop of food and supplies to residents of two Micronesian islands as part of the annual Operation Christmas Drop training mission.

The operation ended approximately 30 seconds prior to the last scheduled drop over the second Micronesian island. The co-pilot terminated the drop sequence after aircrew and passengers reported a burning smell throughout the cockpit and cargo compartment. The aircrew properly applied all emergency procedures and checklist items, and after confirming that the smell had been eliminated, an In-Flight Emergency (IFE) was declared and the aircraft returned to Andersen AFB.  After landing, SrA Jutba-Hake was completing post-flight duties on the aircraft when he collapsed.  The board did not find any evidence to suggest the smell caused or substantially contributed to his death.