Pray for Help. Fast. (R Kikuo Johnson)
Last year, during a wingsuit flight in Chamonix, France, Eric Dossantos slammed into a tree. How can anyone live through a crash like that? We asked him and renowned trauma surgeon David Shatz, of the UC Davis Medical Center, to explain the barely possible.
Stay on Target: Dossantos never braced for impact, which Dr. Shatz says likely minimized trauma. “We see drunk drivers who are less hurt than sober victims in an accident for the same reason,” he says.
Protect Your Noggin: Dossantos’s helmet glanced off the tree, and his left shoulder took the brunt of the impact. “I hit it just right,” he says. Branches slowed his fall.
Don’t Bleed Too Much: Dossantos sustained a few broken ribs but avoided massive blood loss. “With sudden deceleration, the most common fatal injury is the aorta coming off the heart,” says Dr. Shatz.
Pray for Help. Fast.: Three hours later, a trail crew rushed Dossantos to a hospital. “If you get medical attention quickly, you have good odds,” says Dr. Shatz.
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