BRUNSWICK — One Maine resident is an elite skydiver and holds a Guinness World Record for skydiving, but you may be surprised to know that the most harrowing situation he’s ever been through actually happened on the ground, and nearly cost him his life.
Matthew Gagne is a Guinness World Record holder for the most forward flips in a wind tunnel in a single minute.
“Skydiving was not only my number one hobby, but it became my job and most of my friends are skydivers. It was my golden ticket to take over the world and that was all taken by the actions of another,” he said.
Gagne tells his story as he remembers vividly. He said it’s a miracle to be alive to talk about his beloved sport until just a few years ago when that all changed when he was involved in what was almost a fatal car accident.
“We launch off a sand dune, the car is vertical, and rolls towards the driver side and comes to a complete dead stop on the roof…”
He said the reality of the situation really hit him hard, “the first thing I thought was I wouldn’t be able to walk again and my sky-diving career is over,” he said.
Gagne said the car was going almost 90 miles an hour and continued to roll, and he felt like he barely survived.
“I’m buried in the sand upside town, seat belted in, suffocating in the sand and I’m fully conscious. I can hear the driver already crawled out of the vehicle and I can hear him screaming and crying hysterically,” he said.
Gagne said this led the medical team to make one crucial life or death decision.
“They had to make a decision, move a potential spinal cord injury or leave me to suffocate and die right there in the sand,” he said.
The medical team transported him to the hospital where they installed a metal halo device around his head.
“I had severe nerve damage from my neck to my arms. I broke many bones, nothing came close to the nerve pain I experienced,” he said.
He was afraid he could never skydive again but this hardship led him to begin healing with his C.B.D company called Flock. Gagne said he is now healing and recovering in Maine.
“There is a great quote that I like, fault is in the past, responsibility is in the future, it’s about the individual pursuit,” said Gagne.