How two parachutists injured in Chicago Air & Water Show

One parachutist clipped a Chicago building on his descent, said witnesses.

(AP Photo/Gary Wiepert) Gary Wiepert
Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan makes makes his tandem parachute jump with the United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team at Niagara Falls Air Force Base in Niagara falls, N.Y., Friday July 17, 2015. A member of the Golden Knights was reported injured during Saturday's Chicago Air & Water Show.

Two parachutists were seriously injured Saturday during the Chicago Air & Water Show, fire officials said, and witnesses reported seeing one of the performers clip a building.

The two men were taken in serious-to-critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Saturday morning, Fire Department spokesman Juan Hernandez said.

He said witnesses told first responders that at least one of the parachutists collided with a building in the lakefront Gold Coast neighborhood, but the Fire Department had not confirmed whether that was the case.

Spectator Heather Mendenhall told the Chicago Tribune she was watching the show from a rooftop and saw one of the parachutists clip 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.

"If he was only one foot closer to the roof, the maintenance guy could've grabbed him," Mendenhall said.

WBBM-TV reported that the parachutist who hit the roof was with the U.S. Army Golden Knights, and had deployed his emergency chute.

The other parachutist was found on North Avenue Beach, near the main viewing area for the show, Hernandez said.

One of the performers is with the U.S. Navy's Leap Frogs team, according to WBBM-TV. The station published a photo of him receiving treatment on the beach. 

Breeda Carr and her husband told the Chicago Sun-Times that they watched the Leap Frogs but didn’t notice
anything was wrong.

“The only thing I found unusual was that two guys were hanging onto each other in the air,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if that was part of
the show.”

The annual two-day air show draws millions of people to Chicago's Lake Michigan shoreline. Headliners include the U. S. Navy Blue Angels.

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