from Eva Brand, Austrian Female National Team, 11 September 2003 published on http://omniskore.com/comp/2003/WPC/2003_wpc.htm
I just spent something about an hour reading the Tidbits on www.omniskore.com and this makes me want to write about my NOT going to Gap... I think, it mainly has therapeutic value for my soul
Charlie and me are going to the Czech Republic, Pink Skyvan, to do some training jumps with Alex Huber for the World Record Attempt in 2004 in Thailand. We will return on Sunday evening, collect our things on Monday and on Tuesday we will head for Gap. Charlie is the Videoman of the Austrian National Team and I am member of the female Austrian National Team.
Cloudy weather, but jumping is possible so after some delay we collect to brief the first training jump. The jump passes eventless an hanging under my canopy I do very carefully guide it down to earth. A lot of canopies make me very cautious. Having landed successfully I collect my canopy as a fellow jumper draws my attention to the accident. Charlie had a linetwist on his main canopy, he cut away and the reserve had a spinning malfunction as well... He hit the ground with high speed. By the time I'm near him a lot of fellow jumpers who are as well doctors provide him first aid. He can talk to us, tells us on request his name, the date and what has happened, but his legs are injured badly. Someone called an helicopter and he is flown to the hospital. I have not seen his impact, so on the first hand I'm terribly sorry for him that he cannot go to Gap. But I'm hoping that he can undergo any necessary operation in Austria and I'm changing my plans: I won't go to Gap on Tuesday morning, but on Thursday evening. That gives me a little more time to see to Charlie. They won't let me go directly to the hospital because I can't be of use there as long as he is investigated, so I drive to the hospital in the afternoon. There I'm told, that beside both legs three vertebrae are broken and that he is operated right now. I spend the rest of the afternoon with a lot of calls and sms.
We call the hospital in the morning and are told, that he will be kept in artificial coma the whole day and that I'm not allowed to see him. I'm assured by a present doctor, that he is doing well and that I cannot be of any help. So before staying on the ground the whole day and crying I take my rig and continue with the training jumps. I'm much more attentive on these jumps than I have ever been before... In the late afternoon we call the hospital again - everything is ok. I'm still planning to go to Gap on Thursday evening, maybe on Friday morning.
Another call at the hospital finally makes me nervous. They cannot hold to their plan to wake him up today, he will be kept in artificial coma. But I can go to the hospital and talk to the doctor and see him. It takes me an hour to go from the dropzone to the hospital and in this hour my thoughts go crazy. But there appears always the rational part of me: I've got to pay attention to myself - I cannot be of any use if something happens to me. So I drive carefully and reach finally the hospital. There are no words to describe the feelings on my way to Charlie or when the doctor tells me about the happenings yesterday evening. Charlie suffered from circulation problems, problems with his myocardial muscle, had an cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated. I can go to him and - holding back my tears - I tell him to take my power and to fight for him. Very soon I have got to leave him, they want to do some more investigations. Sitting in this hospital waiting for news Gap moves out of my thoughts, but still underestimating the situation I plan to go there - if Charlie is transported to Austria in time. In the late afternoon again I'm allowed to sit by him and I'm telling him a lot of things just to let him hear my voice. The investigations brought forth a pneumothorax so there is another flexible tube hanging out of his body. As I'm running out of words I begin to read his favorite author, Terry Pratchett, to him. My team mate Andrea makes the 5 hour drive from Vienna to me and gives me energy to go through this.
Today they will stop the narcotics and try to wake him up. I'm told to try to reach his consciousness and so again I'm telling him a lot to make me heard. The day passes eventless, we do not reach him. Andrea is leaving and in the evening the rest of the team is sitting together to talk about Gap. I tell Andrea that I want to make my decision as late as possible because I'm still hoping that his state will improve that much that I can go to Gap. But my team is much more reasonable than me - they decide not to go. There is another big meet next year and this year there is a place where I'm much more needed. As I'm the one in the team with the most ambition first they try to comfort me. But in my heart everything is clear: the Mondial03 is not any more worth a thought.
On Wednesday, 3 September, Charlie reaches full consciousness again, he starts to breath on his own. On Sunday, 7 September, 8 days after the accident in a country where we both do not understand one word and where only some people talk english or german the helicopter flies him back to Vienna. It can be expected that he will fully recover and will be able to jump again - it is only a question of time. His accident is investigated by the czech institute for air accident investigation, his rig will be checked by the manufacturer.
So let me wish on this way all competitors in Gap the best - we will see 2004 in Rijeka! All the best as well for you, T2 - hope you will be in the air soon again!
Love - Eva
Austrian female National Team