It’s the stuff nightmares are made out of — free-falling toward the hard ground, spinning out of control, and unable to open your parachute. That’s what happened to one female student on Sunday, and that’s when her courageous instructor moved in for the rescue.
According to Fox 5, the student was jumping with two instructors east of San Diego this weekend. When one of the instructors saw the student spinning out of control and dropping below the altitude she was supposed to deploy her parachute at, she held off opening her own parachute and maneuvered her way over to her.
Grabbing onto her, the instructor got her steadied so she could open her chute. The chute opened at 2,500 feet, about half the altitude it was supposed to open at, but the student was able to land safely.
As for the instructor, she wasn’t able to open her parachute until she was only 1,500 feet, which would put her at about the 90th floor of the world’s tallest building, the 163-story Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Needless to say, she hit the ground hard.
“It’s low,” explained Skydive San Diego general manager Greg Lund. “There’s not a lot of time for anything other than to get a parachute out and to land."
"Essentially, [the instructor] saved her life," added Lund, explaining that, “If [instructors are] altitude aware, they will pull [the parachute] at a designated altitude, which is 5,000 feet, and if it’s below that, the instructor’s job is to go ahead and deploy that parachute for the student to make sure they get a good parachute deployed over their head."
The instructor was hospitalized with a broken leg and ankle after hitting a rugged hillside. She’s being hailed as a hero as she recovers.
This was the first of two hard landings for Skydive San Diego this week. Two days later, on Tuesday, a U.S. Navy student made a hard landing at the company’s field after jumping from a plane above the adjacent Navy training camp. According to local NBC affiliate 7 San Diego, the student in his 30s suffered moderate injuries.
In 2014, ABC News published a hair-raising helmet camera video of an incredible rescue after a skydiver was knocked unconscious in mid-air by another skydiver. Take a look at it below:
Prayers for the recoveries of the injured skydivers! In other news, police are asking for the public’s help in finding a 17-year-old girl who went missing with a 27-year-old soccer coach. They could be headed across the country.