An Army parachutist who died after a horrifying accident at a Chicago Air Show was a decorated soldier who had survived five tours Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sgt. First Class Corey Hood, 32, of Cincinnati, was in an accident during a jump at the Chicago Air & Water Show Saturday, and died Sunday afternoon, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Spectators watched as the parachutist fell to the ground after colliding with a member of another team mid-air. Hood’s U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights, was conducting a trick called a “bomb burst” with a member of the Navy Leap Frogs jump team, WCPO added.
The trick requires each parachutist to hold hands before breaking apart in different directions. At this point, Corey and another parachutist collided. Hood clipped an apartment building, then crashed onto the sidewalk, and was knocked unconscious. The other parachutist landed on the beach, breaking his leg.
“It was really scary. The man was coming really low and appeared to be almost motionless or lifeless. He came in really low right at the building,” witness Daniel McSweeny told ABC7 Chicago.
“It’s horrible. It’s horrible. Everybody just gasped. We thought it was part of the show — and then it wasn’t. So scary,” said another witness, Sue Ondas.
He suffered a head injury and on Sunday, surgeons operated to remove pressure on his brain — by 4 p.m., he’d died. U.S. Army Parachute Team commander Lt. Col. Matthew Weinrich said that the soldier’s loss will be a tough one for the others to handle. When they return to Fort Bragg, they will be able to talk to a chaplain about the accident.
“As soldiers, there are risks every day in what we do, but you do everything you can to minimize those risks and it is extremely hard when that is not enough. 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.”
For now, the Golden Knights will remain on the ground — following the accident, they’ve been put on a “safety stand down.”
The Army parachutist is being remembered for his talent, service, and bravery following his accident and death. He enlisted in the Army 10 years ago and ended up a platoon sergeant. He served five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. For his service, Corey received two Bronze Stars, two meritorious service medals, and five Army commendation medals.
His uncle, Terry, said that despite their grief, they family is proud of him.
“He always saw good where there was evil and he wanted to do something about it. He loved to help people. (We are) ‘very proud of what Corey has done.’ “
Corey started jumping in 2010, logging 500 free falls since. He is survived by his wife, Lyndsay. An investigation into the accident is ongoing.
In Florida earlier this month, two airmen were killed during a free fall as part of a training exercise at Eglin Air Force Base, as the Inquisitr previously reported.
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