TICKER: I shouldn’t be alive: Skydiver survives 13,000ft drop as parachute fails

A British skydiver who miraculously survived a 13,000ft fall in New Zealand has told of the terrifying moment his parachute failed to open.

Liam Dunne, 35, broke his back and said he “ought to be dead” after crashing to the ground at high speed and landing in a bog.

But since the accident during the Good Vibes festival in Moteuka on the country’s South Island two weeks ago, he has astonished doctors with his recovery.

Speaking from his hospital bed, the father-of-two originally from St Annes in Lancashire said his canopy opened normally after he jumped from 3,900m.

But he went into an unrecoverable spin, had to ditch his main parachute, and could not find the reserve canopy’s handle. It finally opened just 228m from the ground.

He said: “As my reserve chute was coming out I realised it was too late, so I just braced for the impact.

“Luckily I hit the softest patch of ground on the whole airfield. I bounced hard and my whole left side went numb.

“It felt like I had broken every bone in my body, and I couldn’t breathe. I was just sitting there dying.

“But my friend landed next to me, and she said ‘you’re all right, you can breathe’.

“I probably ought to be dead the speed I hit. Twelve weeks of spinal rehab and I’ll be fine.”

He said it was still early days and he was “trying to focus on the positives,” adding:

“Chances are I am going to walk again. The fact I am alive is what I need to hold on to.”

Mr Dunne, who lives in Taupo on the North Island after emigrating with his wife Sally in 2005, underwent surgery to insert metal pins into his shattered spine and is recovering at a specialist spinal unit in Christchurch.

He said: “Those last 1,000 feet it was like ‘here we go, this is it’. It wasn’t nice. But that said, it was a one in a million accident and a one in a million save.

“Skydiving is an awesome sport, and I’ve done 4,000 jumps and never had a problem.”


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