Heroic Skydiver Saves Woman's Life After Parachute Failure

If you're skydiving and your parachute fails, there's always a backup. But what if the backup fails, too? That's when you pray that you're jumping with a hero like Dave Hartsock, who risked his own life to save another.

Hartsock was the instructor paired with Shirley Dygert for her first ever skydive - a challenge she undertook to celebrate her 54th birthday. But the jump took a nightmarish turn when their first parachute failed to fully deploy and the backup chute got tangled up along with it.

As they were plummeting toward the Earth at 64km/h, Hartsock pulled the parachutes' control handles to position himself underneath Dygert, hoping to break her fall when they hit the ground. His plan worked: Dygert walked away with only minor injuries, though Hartsock himself was left paralysed. He's slowly regaining some feeling, but even in recovery he remains humble about his actions:

People keep telling me that it was a heroic thing to do...In my opinion it was just the right thing to do. I mean, I was the one who was completely responsible for her safety. What other choices were there?

There's a trade off here. I'm left feeling a lot more sceptical about skydiving but even more optimistic about the ability of individuals to act with extraordinary courage when lives are on the line. [CBS News and Daily IQ]

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