Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
Special Ops Training Demo Jump Mishap


flyhi  (D License)

Aug 31, 2001, 6:52 AM
Post #1 of 5 (1831 views)
Special Ops Training Demo Jump Mishap Can't Post

Heard on the radio that the Special Ops Demo Jump Team was making a pre-demo training jump into a stadium in Tampa and had one go in. Anyone have any info?


Kris  (D 26033)

Aug 31, 2001, 9:23 AM
Post #2 of 5 (1787 views)
Re: Special Ops Training Demo Jump Mishap [In reply to] Can't Post

From the Tampa Tribune:

Navy Parachutist Dies At Stadium

TAMPA - A veteran military parachutist based at MacDill Air Force Base died
Thursday after crash-landing at Raymond James Stadium while practicing an
exhibition routine.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Rock E. Blais, 40, suffered a broken leg and internal
injuries, emergency officials said. He was treated at the scene and taken to
St. Joseph's Hospital, where he died at 12:41 p.m.

Blais was one of four members of a crack U.S. Special Operations team who
jumped from a plane about noon. Their parachutes snapped open, and they
began a graceful and spiraling decent to the field.

Mike Davis, a stadium employee of 26 years, had witnessed the spectacle
often but couldn't resist watching the blue and yellow parachutes glide down

The first parachutist touched down at the 40-yard line and ``came in
picture-perfect,'' Davis said.

Blais, the second parachutist, seemed ready to do the same but suddenly
faltered, spun and plunged about 50 feet to the turf, landing in the north
end zone.

``I guess he was trying to recover, and he spun to the ground,'' said Davis,
the director of stadium operations. ``It happened very quickly.''

Blais, a second-generation Navy SEAL, joined the Special Operations Command
unit in May 2000 and had logged more than 1,000 high-altitude, free- fall
jumps. He joined the Navy in 1988.

He is survived by his widow, father and two children.

The Special Operations Command, known as SOCOM, is an elite group of Army,
Navy, Air Force, Marines and U.S. government civilians that runs U.S.
commando operations.

The parachuting team, formed in 1991, is based at MacDill Air Force Base and
practices at the stadium regularly for appearances at professional football
and soccer games.

The parachuting team canceled training exercises and exhibitions pending an
accident investigation.

It was the team's first fatality during a routine.

In 1991, however, a member was killed while giving lessons to an
inexperienced jumper in Zephyrhills. Army Sgt. Maj. Santos Alfredo, a Green
Beret who was moonlighting as a parachuting instructor, and his student,
Lynn Sommerfeld, plunged to their deaths when the parachute failed to open
during a tandem jump.

About a dozen people who work at the stadium saw Thursday's accident from
the field. A crew of caterers setting up for an event also looked on from
the press box.

Craig Bergeron, a supervisor for Fine Host Corp., said Blais landed
feet-first and bounced forward, hitting his head.

``Everybody freaked,'' Bergeron said.

Other witnesses told rescuers Blais' rainbow-shaped parachute partially
collapsed when he seemed to dip the chute to slow down.

Reporter Geoff Dutton can be reached at (813) 259-7800. Reporter George
Coryell contributed to this story.

flyhi  (D License)

Aug 31, 2001, 10:04 AM
Post #3 of 5 (1776 views)
Re: Special Ops Training Demo Jump Mishap [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Kris.

As always, it's sad when we lose a brother. Let's all be safe out there.



Aug 31, 2001, 2:29 PM
Post #4 of 5 (1745 views)
Re: Special Ops Training Demo Jump Mishap [In reply to] Can't Post

That really sucks. I realize it's part of the sport but I hate to see it happen.

Be safe up there


freeflir29  (D 10000000)

Aug 31, 2001, 2:53 PM
Post #5 of 5 (1741 views)
Re: Special Ops Training Demo Jump Mishap [In reply to] Can't Post

Is it just bad luck to be a Squeel demo guy. They haven't had a very good record the past couple years. Two of the Frogs got hurt this year too.

"The cab driver said... he recognized my girly by the back of her head" -Beasty Boys

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