A member of the US Navy’s elite skydiving demonstration team plunged to his death on Sunday when his parachute failed to open while performing in an aerial exhibition as part of New York Harbor’s annual Fleet Week festival.
The parachutist was pulled from the waters of Morris Canal near the mouth of the Hudson River moments after the accident, witnessed by thousands of spectators watching the show from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Amateur video recorded by Aaron Moss showed a piece of the parachute coming down after the parachutist separated from his chute and landed in the water.
The skydiver, a member of the Navy SEALs commando unit that operates under the Naval Special Warfare Command, was pronounced dead at the Jersey City Medical Center, Rear Admiral Jack Scorby told a news conference outside the hospital.
The Navy man’s identity was being publicly withheld pending notification of his family.
Scorby gave few details about the cause of the accident except to say that the skydiver’s ‘parachute did not open.’
Sunday’s festivities, part of a weeklong showcase that brings dozens of US warships and thousands of service members to the New York City area every year, included demonstrations by the US Navy Parachute Team, known as the Leap Frogs.
The team is the official skydiving demonstration unit of the US Navy, comprising active-duty Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen and support personnel.
It is sanctioned by the Defense Department and recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to its website