Novice Skydiver Lands Safely With Dead Instructor

Soldier says military training saved his life after instructor's mid-jump death
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2009 6:39 AM CST
Daniel Pharr in a family photo released Monday, Feb. 2, 2009. Pharr says his military training helped him land safely on his first skydiving jump after the instructor he was tethered to died.   (AP Photo/Pharr family via AP)

(Newser) – First-time skydiver Daniel Pharr had to think fast when he realized the instructor he was strapped to had suffered a medical emergency shortly after they leaped from the plane, he tells the Charlotte Observer. The soldier, copying moves he had seen on TV, pulled the toggles above him and steered the parachute safely to the ground. He then administered CPR but the instructor was already dead.

"The Army training kicked in,” Pharr said. “I knew I needed to get down." Officials on the ground told him that if he had pulled too hard on the toggles, the pair would have come crashing to the ground. The instructor, a veteran of thousands of jumps, is believed to have suffered a heart attack. "I just wish I could have helped him," said Pharr.