A longtime Surrey, B.C., firefighter has died in Washington State in a parachuting accident.

Emergency crews were dispatched to an area near Snohomish just before 3 p.m. Thursday after witnesses reported seeing a parachutist in trouble who had just landed in the Pilchuck River, KOMO News reported.

Witnesses say he had trouble with his main chute and the back-up chute's lines became tangled.

Fifty-one-year-old Cal McKibbon was rescued from the water by firefighters and transported to a nearby gravel pit, where he was airlifted to hospital.

Authorities say McKibbon plunged more than 1,200 metres to the ground when his parachutes failed. He apparently cut his first parachute when it failed.

He was listed in hospital in critical condition, but died later that afternoon.

Captain McKibbon was a 26-year veteran of the Surrey Fire Department.