Imagine this terrifying scenario: After jumping out of a plane for a skydive, you suddenly became unconscious, unable to control your body as you free-fall to the ground. That was the nightmare situation British skydiver James Lee found himself during a jump – all caught on video with his helmet cam – and he’s very lucky to be alive thanks to fellow skydivers who noticed something was wrong.
Lee, 25, is an experienced jumper, and probably thought nothing of what was his 1,050th skydive, over Wiltshire, England. But things went awry when he was accidentally hit on the back of his head by another skydiver just seconds after falling out of the plane. After noticing Lee was falling incorrectly, two of his co-jumpers chased after him. When Lee didn’t respond to their hand signals, they realized he had become unconscious, corrected his positioning, cleared the area around him, and deployed his chute when they reached the correct altitude. As he parachuted back to the ground, Lee regained consciousness. He was taken to the hospital, but was cleared of any serious injury other than a sore neck and a big headache, he said.
While Lee was unaware of what was happening during his unconscious free-fall, he can relive it through the video shot with his camera. In it, it shows him getting hit and tumbling through the air wildly, with his arms flailing. Immediately, less than a minute into the video, we see his co-jumpers coming to his aid. Just a little over a minute in, most of the skydivers maneuver away from him before his chute is deployed, ending with Lee arriving back on land safely. (His fellow divers also had helmet cams, so we may see those scary footages uploaded one day.)
Despite the near-death experience, Lee has no plans to stop skydiving.
“I am very glad that everything unfolded how it did. This is not something you are taught to do or practice for as it is very uncommon. I think my mum and girlfriend are more relieved than I am,” he told The Guardian. “It hasn’t put me off at all, I have not jumped too much lately because of the weather but will be back in the sport this season.”