Army skydiver dies after airshow accident

By Ralph Ellis and Kevin Conlon

(CNN) — Sgt. 1st Class Corey Hood, a member of the Army Golden Knights parachute team, was making final preparations before a skydiving performance at an airshow Saturday.

His wide, relaxed smile reflected the exuberant atmosphere of the occasion; and they were among the light moments captured by WBBM photographer Bart Shore high above the Chicago Air and Water Show.

Hood's luminous grin exuded a cool confidence that makes it all the more hard to believe that the Iraq veteran who had logged more than 500 free falls would soon be dead.

But moments after Shore, aboard the aircraft, snapped a shot of Hood floating away from his camera's lens, Hood collided midair with a member of the Navy Leap Frogs team.

The collision happened during a group maneuver called "bomb burst," which called for 13 skydivers to hold hands in a circle for about 15 seconds, the Chicago Tribune reported.

After Hood's emergency chute opened, he struck a building on North Lake Shore Drive and fell to the ground, a spectator told WLS.

"It's just devastating to hear about it. I mean, just to have been there with him in his last moments is stunning to me," Shore said.

The 32-year-old, who did five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, died Sunday afternoon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Timothy Holland, the Navy skydiver Hood collided with, landed on North Avenue Beach and broke his leg, WLS said. He is expected to recover, said Allison Bettencourt, public affairs officer with the Army.

CNN's Kara Devlin contributed to this report.

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