'I should be dead': Venkatesan
A SKYDIVER who crash landed in a tree at Gatton on Saturday has called his survival a miracle.
Brisbane IT consultant Sankar Venkatesan was doing his first solo skydive when everything went wrong.
From his bed at home, the 26-year-old told how he survived a crash landing and the subsequent 10-metre fall when the tree branch keeping him aloft snapped.
"Those nurses and paramedics who helped me are true blue Aussie heroes," he said.
"I should be dead, but I got let off with a slap on the wrist."
It was a heavy slap - Mr Venkatesan is recovering from fractures to his neck and shoulders, and bruised and scratched arms, legs and face.
He was 1000 feet in the air when he started fearing for his life.
With his parachute already deployed, he searched for the toggles used to steer in the air.
"I couldn't find them and rather than stay calm and rational, I just panicked. I remember heading in the direction of powerlines and using the (parachute) straps to try and change my direction," he said.
"The last thing I remember is heading straight at the tree. I tried to lift my legs in the hope I would scrape above the treetop, but that obviously didn't work."
While he dangled from a branch, Mr Venkatesan looked down and immediately found the elusive toggles.
"I don't know why I couldn't find them. It must have been a sensory overload," he said.
Medical crews rushed to his aid, but the branch holding him snapped, sending him falling 10 metres to the earth.
"I've learned that whatever you do, the key in a crisis is to stay calm and rational," he said.
"I still think skydiving is a great sport and I'll remain open to doing it again in the future."