Cardiac problem led to 2019 death of Eglin Air Force Base airman during physical fitness training
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — A young Eglin Air Force Base officer died during physical training in August of last year as a result of complications from an irregular heartbeat, according to a Tuesday news release from Air Force Materiel Command.
Capt. Tranay L. Tanner, 29, collapsed and stopped breathing shortly after 8 a.m. on Aug. 16 of last year, following completion of the 1.5 mile run portion of her Air Force fitness assessment at Eglin, according to the news release on the results of a Ground Accident Investigation Board (AIB) probe into the incident.
Airmen at the scene performed CPR, and Tanner was transported to the emergency room at the base hospital.
At the hospital, personnel with the 96th Medical Group initially took actions to treat Tanner’s respiratory failure, but when lab results showed she was also suffering from acute kidney failure, she was transported to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center for emergent dialysis.
Tanner’s condition continued to worsen, and she died early Aug. 17 following a second cardiac arrest, according to the news release.
The AIB report noted, “Tanner did have a known diagnosis of sickle cell trait, but had no prior complications related to this condition nor any previous medical complications during or after exercise or prior fitness assessment,” according to the news release.
The news release went on to note the medical examiner who performed Tanner’s autopsy “determined the cause of death to be multi-organ system failure due to cardiac arrhythmia of uncertain etiology (origin).”
The medical examiner also cited sickle cell trait as a contributing factor in Tanner’s death. Sickle cell trait is a genetic issue that may cause some people to “experience heat stroke and muscle breakdown when doing intense exercise,” according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tanner, a 2012 U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, was an intelligence officer assigned to the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center Detachment 2 at Eglin AFB.
Brig. Gen. John C. Kubinec, who presided over the Ground Accident Investigation Board said Tanner “was highly respected by peers, subordinates, and superiors alike. She was a dedicated Airman who served her nation with distinction and left a lasting positive impact on everybody she met.”
In the immediate aftermath of Tanner’s death, and continuing through Oct. 1 of last year, Eglin AFB changed its fitness assessment schedule to avoid the heat as much as possible on summer days. On and around the date and time of Tanner’s death, local temperatures were well into the 80s, even in the morning hours.