Seizure Knocks Skydiver Unconscious Mid-Fall

Christopher Jones, 22, says 5K-foot free-fall 'possibly scariest moment of my life'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2015 8:52 AM CST

For 30 terrifying seconds, Christopher Jones plummeted through the air over Australia, unconscious and in free fall after suffering a seizure just seconds after jumping out of a plane, NBC News reports. Jones' video of the Nov. 14 incident, which he posted yesterday, already has nearly 4 million views. It shows him prepping, then making the jump, then turning onto his back and convulsing shortly after the one-minute mark. The text under the video says the seizure started when Jones tried to make a left-hand turn at 9,000 feet; he passed out and hurtled through the air until his instructor, Sheldon McFarlane, was able to reach him and pull the parachute rip cord. Jones says he regained consciousness at 3,000 feet and safely landed. "Possibly the scariest moment of my life," he writes under the video.

Jones has epilepsy, but he had a doctor's note saying he was cleared for skydiving ("I'd been seizure-free for four years," he tells ABC Australia). However, the CEO of the Epilepsy Association of Western Australia tells the station that even though people with epilepsy are usually allowed to drive if they haven't had a seizure in a year, he wouldn't recommend skydiving for someone with the condition, since such an extreme sport could be stressful enough to trigger a seizure. The one person unfazed by the incident is McFarlane, who says even if he hadn't cloud-bounced over to Jones, a remote device would have automatically pulled Jones' rip cord. "It was fine," he tells the Guardian. "We don't do it all day every day, but part of our training is to look after students." (A teen skydiver survived a harrowing 3,500-foot fall.)

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