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Paragliding legend Nick Neinens can’t walk and could be paralyzed after crash

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Australian professional paraglider Nick Neinens may never walk again after he fell hard on a rock while gliding in the French Alps.

The 39-year-old Brisbane man met up with three other friends in mid-June in Annecy in southeastern France, from where they planned to fly to the mountains.

Nick said it was a relaxed and friendly atmosphere with blue skies, no wind and no sign of any danger.

“I’ve been to many places and conditions around the world and it definitely didn’t feel like one of the most dangerous places,” he told news.com.au.

However, in just one day of their journey, the experienced adventurous pilot experienced the crash of his glider and hit the rock hard, and his spare canopy did not open enough.

Nick said it was a relaxed and friendly atmosphere with blue skies, no wind and no sign of any danger.
Nick said it was a relaxed and friendly atmosphere with blue skies, no wind and no sign of any danger.
nnens/Instagram

A terrible plane crash left Nick seriously injured. Now his spine is damaged, and he cannot move below the waist.

“I remember a few minutes before the accident. I don’t remember the actual accident, but I do know that I hit the ground twice,” Nick told news.com.au as he lay in his bed in the intensive care unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.

“I was on the ground for a while after I crashed the first time, then somehow a gust of wind caught me, which I believe inflated my parachute, causing the second crash that caused the most damage.

Nick took to Facebook where he shared a lengthy post thanking those who donated and all the messages of support he received from around the world.
A terrible plane crash left Nick seriously injured. Now his spine is damaged, and he cannot move below the waist.
nnens/Instagram

“My friend, who took off last, saw the accident from the air and immediately called for a rescue helicopter.”

Nick remembers climbing high to cross the Col de Aravis, then, close to the height of the ridge, he noticed a wind from the west and decided to cross over to the other side.

“Shortly after that, I was in the bowl, facing the wind, and my final shots were less than 400 meters from the crash site, doing a few turns in a mild thermal.”

He said he made a few turns looking for an elevator and then, “I fell out of the sky.”

His friend saw him spin and throw a reserve that didn’t open.

Nick was taken to the Annecy Hospital in France, where doctors operated on his back to stabilize an L1 spinal fracture, as well as other injuries, including a subdural hematoma (head hit), an aortic intima tear, and minor pulmonary contusions (lung hit).

The 39-year-old was in a hospital in France until friends rallied around him to help raise more than $67,000 so he could return to Australia a few weeks ago.

It took a long time to convince Nick to accept financial help from GoFundMe, but now he is happy to be back in Australia.

The contributions not only went towards emergency care and repatriation flights, but will also be used to help Nick cover further medical expenses, living expenses during his recovery without income, and any specialized equipment he may need.

The 39-year-old Brisbane man met up with three other friends in mid-June in Annecy in southeastern France, from where they planned to fly to the mountains.
The 39-year-old Brisbane man met up with three other friends in mid-June in Annecy in southeastern France, from where they planned to fly to the mountains.
nnens/Instagram

Nick, who is originally from New Zealand, is now planning to return there for spinal treatment.

He said he has a long way to go, but while he’s unsure about his recovery, he remains hopeful.

“I think of it as being born again, but I just don’t know for sure how many features I’ll bring back.

The 39-year-old was in a hospital in France until friends rallied around him to help raise more than $67,000 so he could return to Australia a few weeks ago.
nnens/Instagram

“I am patient and working on it and I am not overly emotional about it. I had an amazing paragliding experience and it was one bad day.”

Nick, who has been a paraglider for 15 years, has competed many times in the Red Bull X-Alps – the toughest race on Earth – setting national records and exploring corners of the world that most people could only dream of.

He is often referred to as a “legend” in the paragliding world.

Nick, who has been paragliding for 15 years, has participated in the Red Bull X-Alps, the toughest race on earth, many times, setting national records and exploring the corners of the world.
Nick, who has been paragliding for 15 years, has participated in the Red Bull X-Alps, the toughest race on earth, many times, setting national records and exploring the corners of the world.
nnens/Instagram

Nick took to Facebook where he shared a lengthy post thanking those who donated and all the messages of support he received from around the world. He also revealed if he would ever fly again.

“I always thought it was a risky sport and things like that are part of the deal, but the flight that day I remember was relaxed and fun,” he said.

“From a few minutes before the incident to a few days after it, I don’t remember anything. Will I fly again? I have never had a dogmatic attachment to flying, I just found it to be the best value for money to explore and have a unique and special experience in nature. But now the situation has changed, and it is too early to say what the future will bring.”

#Paragliding #legend #Nick #Neinens #walk #paralyzed #crash

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