Navy Seal dies after parachute fails to open over Hudson river - Joseph Cettina

Navy Seal dies after parachute fails to open over Hudson river

Skydiver was one of four to participate in Fleet Week display over Liberty State Park in New Jersey, across the river from downtown Manhattan

A Navy Seal team member fell to his death on Sunday after his parachute failed to open during a Fleet Week demo over the Hudson river.

The accident resulted a few minutes after noon near Liberty State Park, a large New Jersey park across from Manhattan where thousands of people a year catch ferries to the Statue of Liberty.

The parachutist, whose identity was not immediately released, was a member of an elite parachute team called the Leap Frogs, a navy spokesman said. The cause of the parachute malfunction was under investigation.

Im terribly saddened, said Nancy Malinowski, a Cranford, New Jersey resident who knew something had gone wrong when she saw a parachute with nobody attached to it descend behind a building.

I dont think 90% of the person or persons there were aware, Malinowski said, describing a gathering in the park that included food trucks, a navy band and lots of small children. Everybody was out there to support the military.

She said the parachutist was among four who floated down from high in the sky from two helicopters. One of the parachutists descended with a large American flag. Malinowski said she learned later in the working day from a firefighter that the parachutist had died.

It was devastating she said. We felt terrible. We figured it had to be a young man trying to do a little PR for the service. On Memorial Day weekend. It couldnt have been worse.

In a release, the navy said the parachutist was rescued immediately from the water by US Coast Guard personnel who were standing by to substantiate its aerial demonstration that featured the coordination of parachute jumping. Local fire department personnel reacted as well. The navy said the parachutist was pronounced dead at Jersey City Medical Center at 1.10 pm.

The navy said the identity of the victim would be released after household notifications were completed.

Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, and I ask for all of your prayers for the Navy Seal community who lost a true patriot today, said Rear Adm Jack Scorby , commander of the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.

In a Facebook post on Sunday morning, the Leap Frogs promoted the jump with a photo of a squad member descending in a parachute during an earlier leap, an American flag attached to him, saying: New York City look to the skies at 12:00. Well be jumping into Liberty State Park today for Memorial Day Weekend and in festivity of Navy Fleet Week.

The accident came virtually two years after a US army skydiver, who had served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, died from injuries suffered in a midair collision with a navy jumper during a stunt at the Chicago Air& Water Show that blended the Army Gold Knights and the Navy Leap Frogs parachute teams. Master Sgt Corey Hood, of Cincinnati, was 32.

According to the Leap Frogs website, the team has performed every month this year, including at baseball home openers in Philadelphia and San Diego last month and at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado in January. In June, it is scheduled to perform at Sail Boston 2017 and at Navy Week in Pittsburgh. Stops afterwards this summer include Minneapolis, Chicago and Salt Lake City, Utah.

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