JONESBOROUGH Tenn. – A skydiver died from his injuries while performing a jump before a high school game in northeastern Tennessee on Friday night, authorities said.
The 55-year-old man, whose name has not yet been released, crash-landed on the football field at David Crockett High School in Jonesborough before the annual Musket Bowl against visiting rival Daniel Boone High School from nearby, WVLT-TV reported.
The diver, who worked for Jump TN, had more than 1,500 jumps to his credit, company spokesperson Angela Alley told the television station. In a statement, the Greeneville, Tennessee-based company said observers and witnesses did not notice anything unusual about the jump or the man’s parachute, saying it was deployed without incident.
“The entire skydiving community is saddened by the sudden loss of a wonderful member of their community. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the deceased,” Jump TN told WVLT.
The incident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. EDT, according to the television station. The pregame ceremony involved three parachutists, USA Today reported.
“Since it was David Crockett’s new field, it was their first game, (the) first Musket Bowl on their new field. So I guess they were trying to celebrate it,” Daniel Boone sophomore Tyler Smith told WJHL-TV.
In a statement, Washington County Schools Superintendent Jerry Boyd said the skydiver was airlifted to an area hospital by helicopter and later died.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of the injured skydiver that has passed away,” Boyd said in a statement. “We ask that everyone keep the family in their thoughts and prayers as they deal with the loss of a beloved husband, father, and grandfather.”
The football game between the two Washington County rivals was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. EDT, and a moment of silence was observed before kickoff, WJHL reported.
Boyd said a decision was then made to move forward with the game, according to the television station.
It is unclear whether the school district will continue to use skydivers before games.
“At this point, I don’t know,” Boyd told WJHL. “It’s not unreasonable to have that response, but this is definitely unimaginable.”