Daredevil loses grip and falls 200ft to his death while trying to climb from plane on to helicopter at air show

Monday, August 22, 2011

-Todd Green dies at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison, Michigan

-Veteran stunt wing walker loses grip whilst balancing on plane wing

-Witnesses thought it may have been joke or dummy falling from aircraft

-He had performed for 25 years and was son of a prominent aerial stuntman

-Family say he was doing what he loved and 'following in father's footsteps'

By Daily Mail Reporter

Scroll down for video. Warning - graphic content

Horror: Todd Green falls 200ft to his death after losing his grip while performing a stunt at an air show at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township, Michigan

Some onlookers thought it was a joke and others were pretty sure it was part of his performance.

But they were all left stunned after a veteran stunt wing walker died following a 200ft fall as he attempted to climb from a plane onto a helicopter at an air show in Michigan.

Todd Green was attempting the move from a Stearman aircraft at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, in Harrison Township, when he lost his grip while balancing on a wing and fell.

Grip: Mr Green reaches out towards the helicopter during his performance at the air show, but is unable to hold on

Some witnesses thought it was either a joke or part of the performance, until an announcer told a crowd of around 75,000 that something had gone wrong.

An ambulance took the father-of-two to Mount Clemens Regional Medical Center, but he died from his injuries.

Other witnesses expressed surprise that Mr Green did not have a parachute, but it may have not even opened in time as he was only 200ft above the ground.

Photographer Ed Goodfellow was at the event and said Mr Green looked like a mannequin as he fell.

Sometimes a dummy can be thrown from an aeroplane during air shows to create the impression that something has gone wrong as a joke, he told the Windsor Star.

'It looked like a dummy falling to the ground,' witness Arnold Sese told ABC News. 'But when the emergency crews started rushing to the runway everyone knew it wasn't part of the stunt.'

Slipped: The stuntman falls behind the plane as his attempt goes disastrously wrong. He was rushed to hospital, but died of his injuries

Dad: Todd Green leaves behind a wife, son and stepson following the tragic incident on Sunday

Jennifer Bradley, of Linden, was at the show on Sunday with her sons - aged seven and 11 - when the accident occurred in front of horrified onlookers.

'There were lots of tears,’ she told the Macomb Daily. ‘We sat and prayed together.'

Only moments before Mr Green fell, the show announcer reportedly told spectators that winds were causing problems and reminded them how dangerous the manoeuvres were.

John Cudhay, president of the International Council of Air Shows, told ClickOnDetroit that this type of act was 'one of the ones we would least expect to see this kind of problem with'.

U.S. Representative Candice Miller was also watching when Mr Green fell. The Republican, who lives in Harrison Township, said she had watched the stuntman perform on the day before as well.

Entertainment: Mr Green waves to the crowd as he climbs on to the top of the Stearman plane during the air show

Daredevil: Mr Green holds on to the wing of the plane untethered as the helicopter pilot flies closer

'It was very surreal,' she said. 'It takes a moment to get your mind around what just happened. I know he was a big part of this show, a lot of people came just to see him.'

Mr Green had reportedly been performing aerial stunts for more than 25 years and was the son of prominent aerial stuntman Eddie ‘The Grip’ Green.

The Silver Wings Wingwalking Team website states: 'During his 45-year career as a stuntman, Eddie performed with pilots Harold Krier, Bill Barber, Bob Barden and Jimmy Franklin.’

It added that Todd Green 'continues the tradition his father founded'.

Federal authorities are now investigating the death.

Reaching out: Mr Green makes a second attempt to grab the helicopter, but he apparently lost his grip and fell as thousands of spectators watched

Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which hosted the show, is working with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Mr Green is survived by his wife Dawn, son Tyler and stepson Derrick.

Mr Green's cousin Becky Eversole Soubeyrand told ABC News: 'He was doing something he loved. I am sure he would rather die no other way.

'He was following in his father's footsteps. He had been doing this kind of thing for over 25 years.'

His death comes after Red Arrows pilot John Egging was killed after his aircraft crashed following an air show in Bournemouth, England, on Saturday.

And stunt pilot Bryan Jensen was killed after his biplane spiralled into the ground at an air show in Kansas City.


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