SEAL Team actor Justin Melnick was hospitalized Saturday after he fell from a helicopter during a private commercial shoot near Blue Cloud Movie Ranch in Santa Clarita, California. Melnick reportedly fell 15 to 20 feet and suffered "minimal" injuries, according to local law enforcement. He is already back home and recovering. The actor began working on SEAL Team as a dog handler but was recently promoted to a recurring role as Brock Reynolds on the CBS military drama.
It was first reported that the person who fell while rappelling from a helicopter was conscious and in stable condition when first responders arrived at the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch, reports Deadline. "His injuries appear to be very minimal," Sgt. Aaron Jacob of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's station in Santa Clarita told the site. Melnick was also working with a dog during the stunt, and it is also recovering and in good condition, reports Variety. It was later confirmed that the shoot was completely unrelated to SEAL Team.
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Melnick was a police officer in real life and was the main dog handler for SEAL Team. He owns Dita, the Belgian Malinois who plays K9 dog Cerberus on the show. Dita was originally trained as part of a search and rescue team in Indiana before she was switched to narcotics detection. Melnick has been working on SEAL Team since the show launched in 2017. The show is now in the middle of its fourth season and airs Wednesdays at 9 .m. ET on CBS. David Boreanaz is the lead star, alongside Max Thieriot, Jessica Pare, Neil Brown Jr., A.J. Buckley, Toni Trucks, and Judd Lormand.
In 2018, Melnick told Variety he spent six years as a combat photographer and was embedded with troops in Afghanistan. He was then inspired to join the military and helped develop a direct special forces program. He ended up moving to Indiana, where he helped revamp their program and active shooting training. He wound up with Dita after his roommate was not able to keep her. "Our narcotics K9 at the time retired because he had been in service for eight or nine years, and we work on a very limited budget in the small town — we have five full-time officers and 24 reserve, part-time officers," he explained. "So I took Dita and started training her."
Melnick fell in love with the production work and has no interest in doing anything else, he told Variety at the time. "It’s so much fun," he said. "You get to run around and play dress up every day. Yeah, the cost in the real world is very great, but if we can bring the story of what these guys go through at home and at work — it’s such a specialized unit that most people don’t really understand it. To most people Navy SEALs don’t cry, they don’t bleed, but they’re human, and they pay the greatest sacrifice. It’s been 17 years. It’s been a long war."