Navy Seal dies in parachute incident

Posted at 10:50 PM, May 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-28 22:50:51-04

JERSEY CITY,, NJ (WABC/CNN) - A member of the US Navy's skydiving team was killed Sunday when his parachute malfunctioned during a team jump, the Navy said.

The parachutist hit the water after he cut away from his broken chute, The team jump, featuring the Navy Seals’ Leap Frogs, was part of Fleet Week for New York Harbor, Rear Adm. John C. "Jack" Scorby Jr. said at a news briefing.

Coast Guard personnel retrieved the parachutist and the Jersey City Fire Department Marine Unit took him to Jersey City Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 1:10 p.m. ET, Scorby said. The parachutist’s name has not been released.

Videos on social media show the precision and skill of the US Navy Leap Frogs, and in the moments before today’s tragedy, tourists were snapping photos when things appeared to be going fine. On the other side of the water, a resident in a high rise on Hudson Street was horrified as he shot video of the unmanned chute falling to the ground. Police immediately blocked off the area until they could remove it.

”I was looking, and I was excited to see all these guy parachuting down, and then obviously all of the sudden it just tumbled out of control, It was crazy,” said one witness.  

Following the rescue operation on the water,  things became confusing for onlookers as the planned activities continued on like nothing happened - including a Coast Guard rescue, which was purely a demonstration not related to the actual incident. The result was confusion from the shoreline to the water, where spectators weren’t sure what was happening.

“They asked everybody to not take pictures,” one attendee said. “We could see something serious was going on, but we couldn’t tell what it was.”

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