Skydiver's GoPro Captures Mid-Air Collision That Left Him Paralyzed From The Waist Down
A skydiver was knocked unconscious by his partner in mid-flight, and his GoPro captured the entire horrific accident.
Sebastian Leal, 23, jumped out of a plane above Zephyrhills, Florida in his 402nd jump, he said in a press conference at Tampa General Hospital on Wednesday. He descended from 14,500 feet.
In a video of his fall, his 40-year-old skydiving partner in a red wingsuit accidentally collides into him within seconds, sending Leal reeling. The GoPro strapped to Leal's helmet captured the footage from his point of view as he spins wildly, until the camera falls off and lands in a field, unscathed.
Leal said the Automatic Activation Device was monitoring the rate at which he was falling, and activated his reserve parachute when he was descending alarmingly fast.
"My next memory is lying on the ground in pain," Leal said. "I fractured my spine, but I was very lucky not to have broken my back."
Both men were airlifted to Tampa General Hospital, after a former firefighter, who had watched him fall, immediately called 911. Leal was listed in critical condition. His partner was in serious, but stable condition.
Leal is now paralyzed from the waist down but he's hopeful that he'll walk again. He will now go to the Shepherd Center rehabilitation clinic in Atlanta for 10 weeks.
A few days after the accident, he posted to Facebook: "I am optimistic that I will make a full recovery and I am thankful for having such a wonderful and supporting group of friends."