A Navy SEAL and member of the Navy’s elite parachute team, the Leap Frogs, based in San Diego, was killed by a parachute malfunction during an aerial demonstration at Liberty State Park in New Jersey on Sunday.
According to the Navy, the SEAL landed in the Hudson River at approximately 12:10 p.m. EST and was immediately retrieved by rescue crews on standby. He was taken to Jersey City Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 1:10 p.m.
Theresa Saleeby Awad, who lives in New Jersey, was watching the show with her husband and two young children.
“We were all standing there watching the jumpers,” she said. “Everyone realized what was going on. We immediately turned towards the parachuter. We saw the parachute and something else going into the water and the parachute going off into the building.”
Awad said the parachute looked like the sail of a boat that lost it winds.
“The entire crowd was just stunned. Period,” she continued. “ No other word for it. You saw everybody, all of the emergency services react very quickly. Eerily quiet after it happened. Somebody told the DJ to start playing again to divert attention from the crowd. My husband wanted to leave but we stayed for our children. It was sad to see, truly it was. This was a day we wanted to celebrate men and women of the armed forces.”
A Facebook post on the Leap Frogs official page stated that the demonstration started at 12 p.m.
The aerial demonstration was a coordinated jump featuring the Leap Frogs during a Fleet Week New York event.
"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, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.
The SEAL’s name has not been released. The incident is under investigation.
No other information was available.
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