Daniel Pharr’s first sky diving experience was terrifying. He was strapped to his instructor who had a mid-air heart attack. On Saturday he and his girlfriend went to Skydive Carolina in Chester, South Carolina to take their first skydive.
The quick thinking young man stayed calm and used images from past television shows to steer the deployed parachute to a safe landing. Had he panicked he may have not survived according to other skydive instructors.
George “Chip” Steele had what appears to be a heart attack during the Saturday jump. As the unconsciousness instructor died his charge took the reins to control the chute. Other instructors were impressed, had Pharr panicked and pulled the toggle too hard he would have spun out of control and likely died himself. He landed about a third of a mile from the airstrip that was the planned landing pad.
Steele had spent the time before the jump explaining what to do. He had told the group of about 10 going up that he had over 8,000 jumps to his name.
Pharr had been given the jump as a Christmas present by his girlfriend.
After landing the chute Pharr attempted to revive his instructor. His efforts were in vain.
The Associated Press reports:
“And then I just looked up at him and he looked like he was conscious, but just talking to him, I realized something was wrong,” Pharr said. “So at that point I realized I was just going to have to do what I had to do to get down to the ground and try to help him.”
“My only thing walking away is that I wish I could have helped him,” Pharr said. “I tried as hard as I could — all my training, I did everything I could.”
Pharr’s mother and girlfriend were at the airstrip waiting for him. They had heard that a tandem pair was down and that things did not appear to be good.
They were overjoyed when they got the news that Pharr was fine. Pharr is stationed at Fort Gordon. He has been in the Army for a year.
Pharr stated that his will be his first and last skydive even though he would like to do it again.
“My family has told me I have to keep my feet on the ground,” he said.