Memorial Day celebrations turned somber at the New York Harbor this weekend.
During the State’s Fleet Week aerial exhibition a Navy SEAL plunged to his death with the whole thing caught on video.
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.
Fleet Week is a festival that showcases dozens of US warships and thousands of service members. This festival has gone on for years in the New York City area, which included demonstrations by the Leap Frogs, the US Navy Parachute Team.
The Leap Frogs are the official skydiving demonstration unit of the US Navy.
Team members are usually active-duty Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen and support personnel.
They’re sanctioned by the Defense Department and recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration.
All that is being reported about this incident is that his parachute failed to deploy.
An extremely sad ending to a Memorial Day celebration, but also a stark reminder that what these members do is dangerous and life threatening.
Here is what eye-witness said of the incident:
Bjoern Kils, 37, of Jersey City, was watching the event from a boat when he saw three Leap Frogs jump from a helicopter, complete their aerial maneuvers and land.
‘Almost the same time that they touched down in Liberty State Park, we heard a splash and turned around very quick. I saw the water splash, and apparently there was a fourth parachutist,’ said Kils, who runs charter boats.
‘We’re not sure where he came from. We didn’t see him exit the same helicopter and apparently the chute did not deploy.’
Kils saw emergency responders pull a man out of the water.
‘They pulled him out of the water and started doing chest compressions,’ he said.
‘He was just limp in the water.’
Pray for this man’s family as they mourn their loss.