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US Army parachutist dies after Chicago air show accident

CHICAGO –  A U.S. Army parachutist
died Sunday after suffering severe injuries from an accident during a
stunt at the Chicago Air & Water Show, the Cook County medical
examiner’s office said.

Corey Hood, 32, was pronounced dead just after 4 p.m. Sunday at
Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said Mario Johnson, a medical
examiner’s investigator. He didn’t have Hood’s current hometown.

The Army Golden Knights and Navy Leap Frogs parachute teams were
performing what is known as a “bomb burst” Saturday when the collision
occurred, a Golden Knights spokeswoman Donna Dixon said Saturday. During
the stunt, parachutists fall with red smoke trailing from packs and
then separate, creating a colorful visual in the sky.

Dixon didn’t return a message seeking comment Sunday afternoon.

Spectator Heather Mendenhall told the Chicago Tribune Saturday that
she was watching the show from a rooftop and saw one of the parachutists
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. She said he looked unconscious as he
hit the roof.

The other parachutist was found on North Avenue Beach, near the main
viewing area for the show, Fire Department spokesman Juan Hernandez said
Saturday. Dixon added on Saturday that the man is a member of the Navy
Leap Frogs, and that he broke his leg and was expected to be released.

The annual two-day air show draws millions of people to Chicago’s
Lake Michigan shoreline. Headliners include the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

Members of the Navy team are active-duty personnel drawn from forces
including the Navy SEALs. Specialists such as the Army and Navy jumpers
can reach speeds of up to 180 mph during freefall by pulling their arms
to their sides. They typically open their parachutes at around 5,000
feet, joining their canopies together in formation and setting off smoke
grenades to send red smoke trailing behind them.

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