After surviving a fall of 12,000 feet in a terrifying skydiving accident, a Victorian grandfather has praised the man who saved his life.
Christopher Rantall was doing a tandem jump with his instructor Arron Toepfer when the pair got into difficultly when their parachutes didn’t open.
As they plummeted towards a paddock in Torquay, Arron turned in the last seconds of the fall to cushion the blow for Christopher and did not survive the impact.
In an emotional interview, Christopher spoke to 7News about the traumatic ordeal.
“It still gets to me. Arron basically sacrificed his life (so) that I can live, or have a chance at living,” the grandfather said.
“I personally believe it is a miracle that I’m alive and another miracle that I’m as able-bodied as I am.”
He shared the skydiving experience with his daughter Raya, as part of her birthday present and a bucket list wish for Christopher.
The grandfather said he was having the time of his life until he realised something was wrong.
“Arron has gone to release the first chute – It didn’t work,” the 54-year-old said.
“I didn’t know and I’m just loving this free-fall and we’re just going down and down and down.”
Christopher said he realised the severity of the situation once they were in a vertical position and he noticed the secondary chute was not filling with air.
“At the same time I could see Raya above us, so I was like: ‘Oh, we’re in trouble here’,” he said.
Raya had jumped first but her father overtook them as he fell at up to 200km/h.
After not remembering the impact of the crash, Christopher spent two weeks in hospital with a dislocated hip, bleeding into his spleen and some broken bones.
The 54-year-old praises his instructor for saving his life, and insists he won’t skydive again.
“For someone to put their life in danger to save a stranger – how brave do you have to be to do that,” he said.
Image credits: 7News
This article first appeared on Over60.