Fort Bragg parachutist dies in Chicago airshow accident

A member of Fort Bragg’s Golden Knights died Sunday after colliding with another jumper and hitting a building during an air show Saturday morning.

Sgt. 1st Class Corey Hood, 32, was participating in a mass formation with 11 other jumpers at the Chicago Air & Water Show about 11 a.m. Saturday, according to Donna Dixon, a Golden Knights spokeswoman. Another jumper was shooting video, she said.

“It’s a normal part of our daily show,” Dixon said.

The 12 jumpers held hands in a circle, then broke off in separate directions. Since the jumpers are trailing red smoke, the maneuver looks like a bomb exploding.

Hood and a member of the Navy Leap Frogs parachute team collided after the jumpers separated but while they were still free-falling, Dixon said.

“They were just breaking away from the mass formation,” she said. Dixon said Hood was knocked unconscious. The Navy jumper broke his leg.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office said Hood was pronounced dead just after 4 p.m. Sunday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, the Associated Press reported.

The two jumpers were going about 120 mph and were about 12,000 feet above the ground when the collision happened, Dixon said.

A device automatically opened a reserve parachute when Hood’s main parachute was not opened, Dixon said. He hit a building in the city, she said.

“He landed at the foot of the building,” Dixon said.

Witnesses say they saw a jumper clip the top of a high-rise apartment building before falling to the ground in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, the Associated Press reported.

Spectator Heather Mendenhall told the Chicago Tribune she was watching the show from a rooftop and saw one of the parachutists strike the roof next door with his feet and fall, with 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. A maintenance worker on the same roof called paramedics, she said.

Dixon said emergency crews took Hood to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He had surgery to relieve pressure on his brain, she said. Hood had been with the Golden Knights about four years, Dixon said and had joined the Army in 2001.

The soldiers and sailors performed the same mass formation maneuver Friday morning, Dixon said.

“It was flawless,” she said.