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Army skydiving team suspends schedule, returns to base following member’s death at Chicago show

Members of a U.S. Army skydiving team were planning to return Sunday
to their base, where they will have access to counseling after a
parachutist from their unit died from injuries suffered during a stunt
at the Chicago Air & Water Show, a spokeswoman for the group said.

The Golden Knights demonstration team has been
put on a “safety stand down” after the death of Sgt. 1st Class Corey
Hood, spokeswoman Donna Dixon said. The group will head to Fort Bragg
in North Carolina,
where they can meet with chaplains as the Army works to ensure everyone
is mentally and physically fit to continue with the show season, she
said. The team’s performance schedule could be affected.

“The Knights are a very close knit team and the military skydiving
community is equally close; we will support Corey’s family and each
other during this difficult time.”

– Col. Matthew Weinrich, commander of the U.S. Army Parachute Team

Hood, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was pronounced dead
Sunday afternoon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago,
according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. A day earlier,
he collided in midair with a member of the Navy’s precision skydiving
team during the event along Chicago’s Lake Michigan shoreline.
Hood, 32, served five tours of duty in Iraq
and Afghanistan and had earned numerous awards, including two Bronze
Stars. He had logged more than 200 free fall jumps and 75 military
static line jumps during his career, according to his Army biography.
He is survived by his wife, Lyndsay.
“The Knights are a very close knit team and
the military skydiving community is equally close; we will support
Corey’s family and each other during this difficult time,” Col. Matthew
Weinrich, commander of the U.S. Army Parachute Team, said in a
statement.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement late Sunday that he and his wife were deeply saddened by Hood’s death.
“Our thoughts are with his family, friends and
the entire Golden Knights community,” Emanuel said, calling Hood “an
American hero.”
The Army Golden Knights and Navy Leap Frogs
parachute teams were performing what is known as a “bomb burst” Saturday
when the collision occurred, Dixon said. During the stunt, parachutists
fall with red smoke trailing from packs and then separate, creating a
colorful visual in the sky.
Hood collided with the Navy skydiver and was
knocked unconscious, “which resulted in an uncontrolled offsite
landing,” Dixon said in a statement.
Spectator Heather Mendenhall told the Chicago
Tribune she was watching the show from a rooftop and saw Hood strike the
roof of a high-rise building next door with his feet and then fall —
his parachute trailing behind him.
“His legs caught the tip of the roof, and then he fell over. It was horrible,” she told the newspaper.
The other parachutist, who has not been
identified, landed on a beach near the main viewing area for the show,
Chicago Fire Department spokesman Juan Hernandez said Saturday. He was
treated for a broken leg.
The Army is investigating the accident. The
team did not perform again on Sunday, the second day of the show that
draws millions of people to Chicago. Headliners included the U.S. Navy
Blue Angels.

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