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Injured paraglider comes home from hospital, recalls seconds before falling 150 feet

Posted at 11:45 PM, Jul 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-20 04:21:16-04

JUPITER, Fla. -- Damien LeRoy is home from the hospital after falling nearly 150 feet while power paragliding in Jupiter.

 

The professional athlete is now sporting some extra scars, bruises and broken bones, but grateful to be alive.

 

“I always said to people no matter how good you are, you can always make a mistake,” LeRoy said.

 

He’s calling his survival a miracle.

 

Last week, he describes it as a perfect day on the water.

 

“I was a perfect day to fly a motor … I’ve been flying a motor for a long time,” LeRoy said.

 

He says he didn’t do anything different from what he has done countless times, but somewhere, he says he made a mistake.

 

“I knew I was in trouble when it first spun up,” LeRoy said. LeRoy described how his lines got tangled up and he wasn’t able to reach them to untangle them.

 

He unclipped himself and prepared to drop into the water.

 

He said the wind picked up and took him toward the shore faster than he expected. The water was shallow so he held on, flying over the beach and nearby road.

 

He didn’t want to drop any sooner and risk hitting anyone with his equipment.

 

“As I'm going over the road, I'm like, 'Man, look at this big bush. This thing is perfect, this thing is like a pillow,'” LeRoy said.

 

He made the decision to drop into the bush, staying calm.

 

“I would say it wasn’t quite like a pillow,” LeRoy laughed.

 

He says he was knocked out, and woke up to rescue crews and a friend tending to him.

 

The fall landed him in the hospital for more than a week.

 

He suffered fractured bones in his back, a punctured lung and broken femur, among other injuries.

 

“There are angels. There are miracles,” LeRoy said.

 

He’s been staying extremely positive, and hopeful his experience will be inspiring to others. He has no plans of letting it discourage him from doing what he loves.

 

“My whole life has been trying to motivate and inspire and I think everything happens for a reason,” he said.

 

LeRoy also said he is grateful for the hundreds of calls, texts and visitors sending him well wishes.

 

It will take about a month or more to recover, but he looks forward to getting back on the water.

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