EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) — A veteran member of the East Greenwich Police Department died over the weekend following a skydiving accident in Danielson, Connecticut.
Sgt. Christopher Callan, a 15-year veteran of the force, succumbed to his injuries Saturday morning, according to the department. He leaves behind three children, along with his mother, father and two sisters.
Police say Sgt. Callan was also a member of the Rhode Island National Guard and served numerous tours of duty overseas as a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces “Green Berets.”
A close colleague of Callan’s describes him as a loving family man and the heart of the National Guard’s 56th Troop Command.
“Soldiers with whom he served, he would give time and energy to whatever his soldiers needed support with,” said Gloria Berlanga, R.I. National Guard’s Army Chief of Staff. “Some people go through life and they have the expertise the personality and just the larger than life ability to impact people’s live wherever they go and whatever they do and he was one of those people.”
Berlanga says Callan, a father of three, was known internationally for his skydiving skills and was an expert in military parachuting.
He was an experienced skydiver, and served as Jump Master for the National Guard’s annual Leapfest competition at URI, according to police.
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“Sergeant Callan was an exemplary officer,” police said in a news release, adding that he “developed and maintained an extensive network of friends and colleagues worldwide due to his military and police service.”
The incident report from Connecticut State Police says troopers responded to Danielson Airport just before 11 a.m. Saturday for a “report of a skydiver that sustained injury during a rough landing on the airfield.” He was then taken to Day Kimball Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and the East Greenwich community following this terrible tragedy,” said Chief Sidney Wordell (Ret.) Executive Director of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association. “Sgt. Callan bravely served his community and country in multiple capacities. He is a hero who will be missed, but his actions and memory will never be forgotten.”
Details of what happened during the skydiving accident that lead to his death have not been released.
The R.I. National Guard will announce funeral arrangements once they’re finalized, according to the RIPCA.