Investigation underway into parachute accident that killed U.S. Navy SEAL in Jersey City

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Tim Fleischer has the latest on the deadly parachute accident. (Jacob Oster)

An investigation is underway into the parachute accident that killed a U.S. Navy Seal on Sunday in New Jersey.

The SEAL was remembered on Memorial Day during ceremonies at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan, where Mayor Bill de Blasio observed a moment of silence.

"This young special operator's death is an all too real reminder of the hazards our men and women face when building the skills necessary to defending this nation," said Admiral Phil Davidson, commander of U.S. Fleet Command. "Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and loved ones, and his team this Memorial Day."

The victim's identity is being withheld pending family notification.

Four SEALs on a parachute team dropped out of a helicopter during a Fleet Week stunt at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, but one of those parachutes did not open.

"One of the team members' parachute malfunctioned. The Navy SEAL's parachute failed to open properly, and he landed in the water adjacent to Liberty State Park," said USN Admiral Jack Scorby, the US Navy Commander of the Mid-Atlantic.

A piece of the parachute fell to the ground, and moments after, the Navy SEAL cut himself loose, and splashed into the water.


He was rescued immediately by the US Coast Guard and Marine unit teams who were on standby. He was then rushed to Jersey City Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead an hour later.

"I ask for all of your prayers for the Navy SEAL community, who lost a true patriot today," added Admiral Scorby.

The Navy SEAL was a member of the Leap Frogs, an elite US Navy Parachute Team.

Four SEALs were supposed to land in the park. The parachute demonstration was a part of a Fleet Week event. It was part of several events, like an unrelated helicopter demonstration that had many spectators confused and unaware of the tragedy that had just taken place.

"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 Scorby.

The elite Navy SEAL team cancelled a jump planned for Monday afternoon's Mets game at Citi Field after the death of their parachutist.

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

The accident came nearly two years after a U.S. 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 combined the Army Gold Knights and the Navy Leap Frogs parachute teams. The Aug. 16, 2015, accident claimed the life of 32-year-old Master Sgt. Corey Hood, of Cincinnati.

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 later this summer include Minneapolis, Chicago and Salt Lake City, Utah.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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newsfleet weekaccidentu.s. & worldnavyNew Jersey
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