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Chris previously spoke to the ACE group about his own skydiving and Base-jumping adventures.
This was a follow-up talk about the trauma he experienced after his wife Ruth had a skydiving accident on their holiday in Spain.
On the day of her accident, Ruth was an experienced skydiver and they were jumping together, with Chris leading.
When he landed and looked up he expected to see Ruth landing, but instead, he saw a crowd of people gathering around someone, on the ground, a short distance away. He rushed over and saw it was Ruth. She was unconscious and not breathing, but she had a pulse. Chris, with help, organised for her to be supported as she was rolled from her side onto her back, where he could start helping her to breath.
An ambulance arrived, but the Spanish paramedics could not speak any English and no one was able to translate for him. They gave him her wedding ring in a surgical glove. What did that mean? She was in serious danger.
Ruth was airlifted to a hospital, one and a half hours drive away, where she gained consciousness and started breathing for herself.
Chris followed and spoke to Ruth, but she had lost all her memory and she kept repeating the same question over and over.
He couldn’t stay with her like that and the doctors couldn’t explain her condition to him, so he had to return to his hotel room alone, frightened, depressed and unclear above Ruth’s future.
All he could do was pray.
He described this trauma with great skill and emotion. Ruth was flown home and he returned their hire car and flew home himself.
Ruth has now recovered, after a long period of rehabilitation, and returned to work. She continued skydiving for a short time, but she decided to give it up as it was clearly making Chris very anxious.
Chris is an excellent speaker. He spoke without notes and full of feeling and companion that brought tears to our eyes.