Skydiver survives after parachute malfunction - KPTV - FOX 12

Skydiver survives after parachute malfunction

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WEST LINN, OR (KPTV) -

She has fifteen broken bones and torn ligaments, but a West Linn woman is alive after a skydiving accident sent her spiraling to the ground.

“I've been skydiving since I was 16. My adopted dad got me into it,” Nicole Crandall said. “It's so freeing. It's better than any high that you can get from anything else.”

For Crandall, it was all about the rush.

“You're just free in the sky,” she said.

On September 5, Crandall was back to skydiving.

Jumping out of a plane was something she was used to.

“It was my 82nd jump, 20th of the season,” she said.

This jump, her second of the day, would be her last for a while.

Crandall’s jump started at 10,000 feet. At 3,500 feet, she pulled her chute.

“I did a little bit of a spiral,” Crandall said. “Then I looked up and I saw my right brake handle, it wasn't stowed properly, and so it was higher up and I couldn't reach it.”

Crandall kept trying, but was plummeting to the ground fast. Then, she made a critical mistake. She let go of her only brake handle.

“As I let go, at 50 feet, a five story building, it sent me into a huge spiral and just plopped right into the ground,” she said. “I remember laying on the ground and looking up at the people that were around me and they were saying, ‘Stay awake! Stay awake!’”

The lower half of her body is healing, after a broken femur and lower leg, three breaks and a fracture to her pelvis and eight fractured ribs.

“If I landed any hair differently, you know, more left or right, I could have been paralyzed or a vegetable or dead,” she said.

It may take a year before Crandall can walk again on her own, but she's determined.

“I have some bad days though. I'm not going to lie. Some days are tougher than others,” she said.

Crandall says, even though she made a mistake, she wants to skydive again. Until then, she’s appreciating the big things.

“I'm still alive and one day I'll be able to walk again,” she said.

Crandall is an air force veteran and had a job working in a dental lab when the accident happened. She was supposed to start teaching at Portland Community College yesterday, but now she can’t.

Her friends have set up a go-fund-me account to help with her recovery. It can be found at: https://www.gofundme.com/coleswings.

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