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Local News

August 20, 2013

Soldier killed overseas

SLHS graduate electrocuted on live railway track

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — South Laurel High School graduate, Staff Sgt. Ryan D. Austin, a soldier in the United States Air Force, died Tuesday, Aug. 6, in Maidstone, England.

British Transport Police Officers said Austin came in contact with a live railway track at the Maidstone East railway station and was electrocuted.  Police said the accident was non-suspicious.

Austin, 25, of Corbin was assigned to the 1st Communications Maintenance Squadron, which falls under the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

In a statement posted Thursday, Aug. 8, on Ramstein’s website and Facebook page, Col. Joseph D. McFall, the 435th Commander said: “We come together during this time of loss to support each other and are thoughts are with Staff Sgt. Austin’s family and friends.”

His wife, Jessica, is pregnant with their first child, a baby boy who will be born next month.

His younger brother, Nathan, said Ryan had been in the Air Force for more than three years, and was a real patriotic soldier who served his country with pride and passion.

“He loved putting on his uniform and following the Air Force code.  Being with them was the best career move he ever made.  The Air Force gave him the chance to go overseas, learn new cultures and serve his country just like our father did.  It made him feel he gave something back to his country, as well as protect America,” Nathan noted.

The brothers were raised in Laurel County; both graduated from South Laurel High School.  Nathan recalled that growing up together they shared a lot of fun experiences.

“When Ryan was around, he was fun to be with.  We included each other in our hobbies like tennis, basketball and video games.  We had our friends and we always had great times,” he said.

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