Navy parachutist dies during demonstration over New York harbor

U.S. Navy Parachutist (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — A Navy Seal team member died Sunday after his parachute failed to open during a Fleet Week demonstration over the Hudson River.

The accident occurred a few minutes after noon near Liberty State Park, a large New Jersey park where thousands of people a year catch ferries to the nearby Statue of Liberty.

The parachutist, whose identity was not immediately released, was a member of an elite Navy parachute team called the Leap Frogs, a Navy spokesman said. The cause of the parachute malfunction was under investigation.

In a release, the Navy said the parachutist was rescued immediately from the water by U.S. Coast Guard personnel who were standing by in vessels to support the aerial demonstration that featured a coordinated parachute jump. Local fire department personnel who were also on standby responded as well. The Navy said the parachutist was pronounced dead at Jersey City Medical Center at 1:10 p.m.

The Navy said the identity of the victim would be released after family notifications were completed.

“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 of the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.