Australian skydiver suffers seizure during jump, falls unconscious


(CNN) — It was a medical emergency, occurring thousands of feet in the air. An epileptic skydiver has a seizure during freefall training and is saved thanks to his quick-thinking instructor.

But this isn’t Christopher Jones’ first skydive. The 22-year-old Australian is halfway through his accelerated freefall training — meaning he can jump alone and not in tandem — but only at the same time as a highly qualified instructor. That instructor, Sheldon McFarlane, had a camera strapped to his helmet.

As the two take the plunge, at first, it all seems normal. At around 9,000 feet, McFarlane instructs Jones to make a left hand turn.

Suddenly, Jones turns over onto his back and begins to spin — something is wrong. Jones, who reportedly has epilepsy, is having a seizure. He told local media he’d been seizure-free for years.

Jones spends the next 30 seconds in freefall, completely unconscious.

When skydiving, a parachute is typically deployed at around 5,000 feet. With time running out, McFarlane rockets through the high winds to his student and pulls the ripcord. At 3,000 feet, Jones regains consciousness, just in time to make a safe landing.

Although this dramatic rescue took place in November, Jones shared it with the world via YouTube Sunday, and in just 24 hours, the video had gotten more than four million views.

Jones described what happen as “possibly the scariest moment of my life.”

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