It was mid-afternoon, about 2:30 pm. I was in parachute training and practising a high altitude jump. We were leaving the airplane at about 50,000 feet and had free fall for quite some time. We were instructed to start our parachute procedures at 1000 feet. When my altimeter read 1050 feet, I got ready to deploy my chute. At 1000 feet, I pulled my rip cord. I looked up and the chute was not open. It was a balled-up tube that was rolling and flapping in the air above me. This was a main chute failure. That was alright though because I had trained for this. I cut away from the failed chute, and did my 4 count, like I was taught to do.
I then pulled my reserve chute deployment strap, and out came my reserve chute. I and saw that one of my risers had gone over the center of the reserve chute a little to left. That is when I realized I was screwed. The bow-tie shaped chute above me was not ideal to say the least, and as a result I started to rock to the left and the right. The rocking became more severe at about 500 feet above the ground. The rocking caused the left side of the chute to collapse and made me go into a spin at about 200 to 300 feet from the earth. I thought to myself, ‘This is it, I’m done. I’m 19 years old, and I’m about to leave the earth.’
I spun-in hard and I felt myself losing consciousness as blackness started creeping into my eyesight. I hit the ground really hard. It hurt so badly! At first, there was nothing but blackness and silence. Then, it was like an extremely loud bang. I saw flashes of light with the sound of wind around me and moving faster than I’ve ever heard it before. There was intense heat, followed by freezing temperatures. Then it stopped.
I saw a walkway with millions of colors; all flowing and moving from different directions into a single point in front of me. The colors moved over a misty background, almost like a stage fogger but the expanse of it was enormous. It was like I could see the other walkways leading to the center. There were people on the walkways. Some people were walking, some were standing there, and some were running. I could see all of this even though those walkways looked like they were hundreds of miles long and miles apart from each other. It felt strangely comfortable though.
As I walked very slowly toward the intersection of all these walkways. I saw an attractive woman, about my age, whom I recognized but wasn’t sure who she was exactly. She did not say anything but did shake her head. I took a step towards her and felt an enormous amount of pain. I closed my eyes and felt a jolt backwards so I thought I was falling. I tried to turn around to land on my seat. I felt myself falling into the walkway. My eyes were still closed, and then I heard and felt that fast wind with the temperature changes. I noticed smells. I smelled sulpher, then flowers, and then rust. I could even taste the rust in my mouth.Then there was another massive expanse of silence and darkness, like nothingness.
Then the pain returned in its fullest form.It hurt when I woke up in a hospital on base. I had hit the ground and broken several ribs, my legs, fractured my skull, injured my spleen and other internal organs, and even bruised my heart. One of the other soldiers in my group said they did CPR on me but he didn’t think I needed it. He said he felt a pulse the whole time.