Richard Sheffield: Veteran skydiver, 55, dies after 'hard landing' on field during high school football game
JONESBOROUGH, TENNESSEE: The tragic death of skydiver Richard Sheffield, 55, after hard-landing on the field during a high school sporting event while being mid-air has left local residents devastated. He was immediately taken to the hospital after the crash and was pronounced dead at the area hospital.
Sheffield crashed and landed into a football game being conducted at the David Crockett High School in the eastern town of Jonesborough, Tennessee. It all happened while horrified spectators watched and could do nothing. The skydiver was airlifted to an area hospital where he died of his injuries, according to a report by the New York Post.
The elderly man had hard-landed fatally onto the ground when the pre-game ceremony was taking place. The game was slated to kick off at 7 pm. A statement was then followed by the Superintendent of Washington County Schools, Jerry Boyd. “Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of the injured skydiver that has passed away,” he said while adding, “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." Boyd has stated that Sheffield was hired by JumpTN, Greenville. The company is a member of the US Parachute Association.
JumpTN has let out a statement in light of the incident. According to a report by USA Today, they have stated that Richard Sheffield is an immensely skilled veteran with over 1500 jumps to his credit. They have also reported that the observers and witnesses at the site did not notice any unusual activity or anything abnormal about the free fall or the parachute, which was deployed without incident.
"The deceased was a highly experienced jumper with decades of experience to their credit and a well-respected member of the skydiving community," JumpTN said in the statement. "The entire skydiving community is saddened by the sudden loss of a wonderful member of their community," reported the outlet.
According to reports, after the horrific incident that left all the witnesses at the game feeling very uneasy and devastated, the school administrations and district officials led the crowd in a moment of silence. The football game continued, after a long delay.
Boyd has also made sure to inform the public that mental health professionals will be available for all the students and staff at all the Washington County schools on Monday.