Hero skydiving instructor sacrificed himself to save man in horror 12,000ft fall
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A hero skydiving instructor sacrificed himself to save a man in a horror 12,000ft fall.
Arron Toepfer, 35, turned to cushion the impact during a tandem skydive with grandfather Christopher Rantall, who thinks it is a "miracle" he survived the fall.
The jump started out well but Mr Rantall, 54, soon realised something had gone wrong when he looked up to see the parachute had not opened properly.
Mr Rantall, of Warrnambool in Victoria, Australia, was on his first skydive with his daughter Raya, and he shot past her with his instructor as the backup chute also failed to open.
His fall was cushioned by Mr Toepfer, an extremely experienced skydiver who had completed more than 6,000 jumps, who turned at the last second and put himself between Mr Rantall and the ground.
Mr Rantall told 7 News: "I'm just loving this freefall, it was just fantastic. I look up and I could see (the chute) wasn't filling with air and I could see Raya above us and I was like: 'Oh, we're in trouble here.'
"I was just saying 'trust God' and that was my last memory. I don't remember the impact at all.
"It still gets to me that Arron sacrificed his life so I can live. I personally believe it is a miracle that I'm alive."
Mr Rantall, who says his skydiving days are now over, spent two weeks in hospital following the accident in July with a dislocated hip, bleeding to his spleen and left kidney, and several broken bones.
He is learning to walk again and still relies heavily on a wheelchair.
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His wife Berni paid an emotional tribute to the heroic Mr Toepfer who sacrificed himself for her husband.
She wrote on social media: "Thinking and praying for the instructor's family. He was a true hero and such a brave young man."
The owner of skydive company Ralph Hamilton-Presgrave said: "Arron was always willing to help and would give you the shirt off his back if her could… he will be sorely missed."
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