Updated 4 months ago by Josh Breslow
A Johnson County man about to join the army could be paralyzed after a weekend skydiving accident in Mississippi that killed his instructor.
David Meek, 26, was in a tandem dive, strapped to his instructor, when the parachute and backup parachute both failed to open. The two fell almost three miles, slamming to the ground.
"He wanted to skydive. That was one of his dreams," Meek's friend, Joey VanHoose told LEX 18.
VanHoose and Meek were on vacation in Biloxi, Mississippi. On the way back, they decided they would make Meek's dream a reality.
"How could something so fun, the whole entire week be so fun, and end like this?" VanHoose said.
Despite Meek's extensive injuries, including a severed spine, VanHoose said the 26-year-old tried to play hero.
"He could hear the guy struggling and David crawled over to him with a broken back, broken arm, two broken jaws, used his good hand and tried to press on the guy's chest," VanHoose said. "And was talking to him telling him to breathe through your nose. Breathe through your nose. And David tried to give the guy CPR, and the guy died, attached to David."
VanHoose said Meek was found about six hours after the jump. He was flown to a hospital in Hattiesburg, where he remains on life support.
"The words the doctor used is it's very unlikely that he will ever walk again. But it's also very unlikely that someone would fall three miles out of the sky and live, so we have to have hope," VanHoose said.
VanHoose described Meek's family as "less fortunate," saying they can't even begin to pay for the medical bills that continue to pile up.
"It takes money to stay there. You know they don't have it. You know [his mother's] not staying a motel room. She's sleeping in a chair in the lobby."
If you want to help, you can donate to the David "The Miracle" Meek fund at City National Bank or the Paintsville Recreation Center.