A Navy special warfare sailor and member of the service’s parachute demonstration team was injured during the Duluth Air and Aviation Expo in Minnesota on July 15, when an airborne stunt went wrong, the Navy Times reported.
Naval Special Warfare Command spokesman Cmdr. Ben Tisdale did not specify what happened in an interview with the Navy Times, saying in an email that the sailor “was involved in an incident resulting in injury.”
But staff with the Duluth News Tribune newspaper were at the show and reported that the sailor hit the ground hard during a stunt.
News Tribune coverage of the mishap indicated that a staff photographer witnessed the sailor strike the ground “after separating from another jumper during a stunt in which they were attached at the feet to each other.”
“Both had chutes out during the maneuver,” the News Tribune report states. “A News Tribune photographer said that as the pair approached the ground, they split apart while horizontal. One jumper hit the ground hard while the other landed safely.”
The Navy’s parachute team, known as the “Leap Frogs,” is comprised of SEALs, special warfare combatant-craft crewmen, or SWCCs, explosive ordnance disposal technicians and aircrew survival equipmentmen, also known as parachute riggers.
The Leap Frogs dropped 10,000 feet in the air on July 4, when the group delighted fans while perfectly nailing their landings at the Coronado Fourth of July festivities.
Tisdale declined to provide specific details about the sailor’s injuries but said that he remained at a local hospital as of Monday afternoon and was “in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery.”
Tisdale also declined to disclose the rating of the injured sailor, citing privacy regulations.
The mishap happened at about 2 p.m. local time Saturday, and the sailor was evacuated via helicopter, with the show resuming around 2:45 p.m., according to the News Tribune.
“The crowd gasped as the jumpers approached the ground at high speed, and the jumper impacted the ground near the announcer’s stand,” the report states.